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May 13, 2013 01:57 PM

tainan, taiwan- one dinner, 2 lunches--recommendations, please.

would welcome suggestions for 2 lunches and 1 dinner of "must eat" local Tainan cuisine...we're taking my son back in 3 weeks to refresh his memories, and i know he loves the minced pork over rice and noodles galore...the complication is that i'm allergic to shellfish, so would appreciate some "go to" dishes and places just in case.

up for adventure, just not hidden shellfish.


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    1. no one? Tainan is such a historic city....lots of xiao chi, i know, but really looking if there is a "don't miss". thx.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mlschot

        DanZai Noodles is probably what you referred to。 Try eel noodles, fish paste soup, Vegi Zhongzi, and pickled fruits in An Ping. I just got back from a couple of months travel in Taiwan and Tainan was very impressive。There are clusters of good outlets near the East gate traffic circle, QingZhong St, the confucious temple (coffee/brunch) and near the warrior's temple.

        1. re: mlschot

          Unfortunately, mlschot, Taiwanese food-blogs (and there are *many*!) are mainly in Chinese. I had the same problem when asking for advice prior to my Kaohsiung trip a few years back. Ended up relying on local colleagues' advice when I got there. Or they'll bring me there themselves.

          Anyhow, if you *do* happen to stop by Kaohsiung, hope my thread helps:

          1. re: klyeoh

            Hmm, it really is a pity that there are so few threads on food in Taiwan. I enjoyed some of the best renditions of Shanghaines cooking when I was in Taipei!

        2. Never been, but have read up a little on the area. My recommendation would be to do online searches for some of the more popular night markets around the area for dinner, and observe the busiest food stalls you can find (where there's a line, chances are the food is better). I believe the biggest night market is Hua Yuan (Garden) night market 花園夜市.

          This site gives a brief overview of each:

          You might also want to take note that the operating hours/days of the night markets vary and appear to rotate between the night markets in town. Hopefully you'll end up at a very good one, since you only have one dinner available.

          Peddler Noodle/Daan Jai Mian, is very popular and well known and said to have originated in Tainan. But this one you may have to steer away because the version at the famous Tu Hsiao Yeh ( which has headquarters in Tainan, the base broth is made with shrimp shells (but does give it a very nice natural sweet accent).

          One well known Tainanese specialty is milkfish (bangus in the Philippines), or Shu Mo Yue in Mandarin 虱目魚. It's insanely boney, but the specialty restaurants can drum up a multi course meal with it, and there are chefs that are trained to completely debone the fish. The best part is of course the fattiest belly, where salt grilling it (like Japanese style) is the best, with a lemon wedge. The rest of the body can be used to make milkfish balls (usually in soup) or stir fry or soupy stews. The head can be served as a soup (usually with ginger slivers) as well (watch out for scales and bones). You can supplement the various courses with side dishes, a plate of boiled vegetables with a little oil and soy sauce/dried fried shallots and minced pork is already quite excellent. Some of these restaurants if they have other dishes, would probably have minced pork rice and noodles too.

          9 Replies
          1. re: K K

            +1 for Tu Hsiao Yeh.

            In fact, if I ever visit Tainan, this is the *first* place I'd go to: Tu Hsiao Yeh (Slack Season) for its danzai noodles (擔仔麵). It was the *only* Tainan-based eatery featured in CNNGo's well-researched list of Taiwanese eateries (most of them seemed to be Taipei-based, with some from Kaohsiung, Taichung, etc).

            The eatery is 118-years-old, and started by a fisherman who peddled his iconic noodle dish during the off (slack)-season. His noodle side-business was so profitable, he quit his day-job and became a full-time restaurateur. I'd not had this dish before, but it was described by CNNGo as a bowl of noodles in shrimp-flavoured soup-stock, topped with bean sprouts, chopped fresh coriander sprigs, minced pork and fresh shrimps. You can also add extras like a hard-boiled egg simmered in soy.

            Address details
            Tu Hsiao Yeh (度小月)
            16 Jhongjheng Road
            Tainan City
            Tel: +886 6 223 1744

            For other branches:

            1. re: klyeoh

              Yeah the founder's name is 洪竽頭 Hung Euh Tou, where the last two characters translate to the root vegetable known as purple taro... The slack season 度 spending the little months 小月, was the elegant way to describe the rough 2 to 3 months of typhoon season, preventing him to taking the boat out to sea fishing to support his means of living, and thus finding his call through the noodles, which the receipe came to him through his Fuzhou or Fujian origins or travels, and also out of desperation. There are competitors using the founder's name as well. But Tu Hsiao Yeh is now 4th or 5th generation run now, and has been recognized as a local culinary symbol at a national level. YouTube had a video from a local Taiwan tv show, interviewing the founder's grandson and their son and grandson who took the Taipei branch and redesigned the Yong Kang Street Taipei location's theme while adding Tainan dishes to the menu with a Japanese aesthetic approach. Very interesting stuff indeed.

              1. re: K K

                Actually come to think of it, the peddler noodle at Tu Hsiao Yeh CAN be requested to be brothless so the shrimp shell stock can be avoided that way. There is usually one piece of shrimp put at the very end, and I suppose one can skip it and maybe ask for more minced pork (which already has a lot of flavor in it). I am not entirely clear of what's in the seasoning for minced pork or if they add some stock to it but either way, it will be glorious. In any case a bowl of noodles is small and is a snack portion, can't beat the US$1.50 or $2 price range. The flagship restaurant should have some additional non shellfish side dishes available for those seeking to fill stomach space.

              2. re: klyeoh

                There is a branch of Tu Hsiao Yeh in Taipei not far from the original DTF. Minimum TWD 100 per head imposed. The presentation looks a lot prettier in Taipei but the taste is about the same.

                Yong Kang Street #9-1,Taipei City, Taiwan

                1. re: Ting Ting

                  Now *that* sounds more doable - Taipei's one of my fave cities in Asia. Thanks, Ting Ting.

                  Coming by Singapore again anytime soon?

                  1. re: klyeoh

                    No sure about Singapore yet but I'll definitely head back to Taipei some time soon. I will write up something when I get time...

                    1. re: Ting Ting

                      Please do write about your eating adventures in Taipei. For such a great food city, Taipei has precious little write-up in the English language webspace about its culinary delights.

                      Each of its night markets alone can fill up a thread on our Chowhound board.

              3. re: K K

                Here are the pictures of the famous Tu Hsiao Yeh peddle noodle in Tainan (first pic) and Taipei (second pic). The competitor Chih Kan peddler's noodle was pretty famous as well.

                1. re: Ting Ting

                  that looks amazing...trying to go back to taiwan this year, maybe ill make it there

              4. Here are some dishes I tried in Tainan.

                1. sauteed eel over fried noodles (must have in Tainan but there are a few different renditions in town), shrimp free

                No 46 Sec 1 FuQian Rd
                There are a few famous eateries here (A'Long noodles, ZhongZi place)

                2.Candy maker around the Confucius Temple

                3.Zhou's Shrimp roll in AnPing township. Not impressed

                4.Tu Hsiao Yeh Peddler noodle

                5. Steamed rice cake (breakfast 碗粿) with sausage (likely with dried shrimp)

                6. Fish paste soup place across the street from Chih Kan Fort. This should be shrimp free.

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