Pretty much synonymous with good food, Taiwanese cuisine offers delectable must-try treats around almost every corner of Taipei. Find your way to some of the best with our guide to Taipei’s must-try local bites.
If dining offers one of the best ways to experience local culture, then Taipei is a veritable treasure trove waiting to be explored. From savoury to sweet, the best beef noodles to bursting pineapple tarts, breakfasts to boba teas and beyond, Taiwan’s capital has it all on a plate. Read on for our guide to some of Taipei’s must-try local bites.
Braised Pork Rice: Jin Feng Lu Rou Fan
There are few things that embody Taiwan’s unbelievably mouth-watering cuisine more than a bowl of braised pork rice. And, in the small and bustling restaurant of Jin Feng Lu Rou Fan, you’ll find just the sort of nationally-renowned bowls of fatty and greasy braised pork rice that make this dish such a must-try. Head here for melt-in-your-mouth pork belly cubes accompanied with a sticky, dark and flavourful braising sauce, sitting beautifully atop fluffy grains of white rice.
Insider’s Tip: In true, traditional East Asian eatery style, customers should expect to share seats with other groups and be prepared for staff yelling orders back to the kitchen. Also, don’t worry if you can’t read Chinese – English menus are hung on the restaurant’s walls to help you along.
Address: No. 10, Section 1, Roosevelt Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
Open From: Mon – Sun: 8am – 1am
Beef Noodles: Liu Shandong Beef Noodles
Running a close second to pork rice when it comes to national dishes, Taiwan’s famous beef noodles are not one to miss. And, as one of the Michelin guides’ recommendations for good value, Liu Shandong, a famous Taiwanese beef noodle stall that’s been serving up bowls of the good stuff since 1951 from its tiny, well-hidden location tucked away in an alley, is a great place to give them a try. Run by second-generation owner Liu Shaolin, this spot serves up extra thick, handmade noodles along with traditionally braised strips of beef swimming in a rich and robust broth. With a bilingual Chinese and English menu, it’s no wonder this place is considered a must for both first-timers and frequent visitors to Taipei.
Insider’s Tip: Be prepared to eat quickly – all customers are asked to finish their meal within 15 to 20 minutes.
Address: No. 2, Lane 14, Section 1, Kaifeng Street, Taipei 100, Taiwan
Open From: Mon – Sat: 8am – 8pm
Danzai (“Slack Season”) Noodles: Du Hsiao Yueh
Created by an inventive fisherman who turned to selling minced pork noodles during the slack fishing season, Danzai Noodles have become a nationally beloved dish. Containing over a century’s worth of history, namesake restaurant Du Hsiao Yueh was established in 1895 when the place became so successful that the founder quit his original trade altogether. Now, this once small, humble street stall has expanded to include numerous locations around the city. Each one invites you to dine in a traditional Taiwanese inn setup, complete with beautifully-patterned brick walls, wood furniture and calligraphy decor, whilst you feast on addictively comforting bowls of al dente wheat noodles topped with a special minced mix of pork and Tarakan eco-shrimp in a fragrant shrimp broth.
Insider’s Tip: Enhance your meal with a side of crunchy deep-fried shrimp rolls and soft milkfish belly.
Address: No.9-1, Yongkang Street, Taipei 106, Taiwan (check their website for more locations!)
Open From: Mon-Sun: 11:30am – 10pm (last order at 9:30pm)
Oyster Egg Omelette: Yuan Huan Pien Oyster Egg Omelette
Street food is undoubtedly a big part of Taiwanese food culture. A prominent stall in Taiwan’s street food scene since 1965, Yuan Huan Pien specialises in traditional Taiwanese style omelettes (slightly gooey and perfectly seasoned), encasing Tainan-sourced fresh oysters, drizzled in homemade sweet hot sauce. A show and meal combined into one, head here to watch as your tasty seafood snack is prepared in front of you by a friendly and passionate chef.
Insider’s Tip: Visit during weekdays or have your omelette to go if you want to avoid long queues.
Address: No. 46, Ningxia Rd., Datong Dist, Taipei, Taiwan
Open From: Mon – Sun: 12pm – 2:30pm, 4:30pm – 1:30am
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Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings): Din Tai Fung
Originating from Taipei, Din Tai Fung started as a small, modest restaurant founded by a husband and wife duo in 1958. Fast forward to today and the Michelin-starred business has become an internationally recognised brand with bustling branches all around the globe. Their bite-sized, soup-filled dumplings are heavenly pockets of succulent minced pork and lusciously rich broth, packaged by handmade, chewy dumpling wrappers that easily garner up 90-minute queues. The 330-seater four-storey flagship store features a large window where diners watch a team of chefs carefully assemble each dumpling from fresh, high-quality ingredients. If you’re looking for dumpling nirvana, then this might just be it.
Insider’s Tip: Din Tai Fung’s flagship store only accepts cash, so be sure to bring enough. You can also check wait times for each branch on their website.
Address: No. 194, Sec. 2, Xinyi Rd., Taipei City (MRT Dongmen Station Exit 5)
(Be sure to check their website for more locations!)
Open From: Mon – Fri: 10am – 9pm; Sat – Sun & Public Holidays: 9am – 9pm
Taiwanese Traditional Breakfast: Fu Hang Soy Milk
Traditional Taiwanese breakfasts hold a special place in the hearts of many foodies and make up a quintessential part of the daily morning routines of locals. Michelin-recognised joint Fu Hang Soy Milk is generally considered to be one of the best spots in town for a taste of the real deal, dishing up favourites from savoury or sweet soy milk to fluffy spring onion scrambled eggs sandwiched between thick, doughy slices of sesame-flavoured bread and greasy fried dough sticks. Laminated menus here have both English descriptions and pictures for reference. Notorious for the queues that wrap around the whole block, it’s a good idea to come in a group and take turns exploring the other stalls while someone holds your place in line.
Insider’s Tip: Only cash payments are accepted at Fu Hang Soy Milk.
Address: Stall 28, 2F, Huashan Market, 108, Section 1, Zhongxiao East Road, Zhongzheng, Taipei
Open From: Tue – Sun: 5:30am – 12:30pm
Hot Pot: Orange Shabu
Shabu-shabu, a dining experience that involves cooking thinly sliced meat yourself in a simmering hot pot of soup stock served with dipping sauces, is another one of Taipei’s must-try local bites. Offering a ‘fine’ dining experience, Orange Shabu serves up gorgeously marbled meat and high-quality seafood – think fresh Hokkaido crabs, Japanese abalone, Hokkaido scallops, and jumbo shrimps, all topped with their signature yuzu-based sauce. While each group of diners privately enjoy their meal in a calm, spacious environment, the friendly and proactive staff here are ready to help in any way possible.
Insider’s Tip: Hardpressed on what to get? This shabu-shabu spot has set meals that come with pre-chosen appetisers, meats with mixed vegetables, and dessert.
Address: B1, No. 135, Sec. 1, Daan Rd., Daan Dist, Taipei, Taiwan
Open From: Mon-Sun 11:30am-11pm
Radish Cakes: Wen Zhou Jie Radish Pancake
Another classic street food, Taiwanese radish cakes are beloved by tourists and locals alike. Wen Zhou Jie Radish Pancake serves up their version of the well-known snack with wonderfully seasoned strips of radish packed into a crispy, deep-fried pastry shell. Guaranteeing freshly made servings, customers here get to watch vendors assemble discs of radish and listen to the satisfying sizzles as they get dropped into an oil-filled pan.
Insider’s Tip: If the radish cakes aren’t filling enough for you, their deep-fried green onion pancake topped with an optional runny egg won’t disappoint.
Address: No. 186-1, Section 1, Heping East Road, Taipei, Taiwan
Open From: Mon-Sat 7am-9pm
Bubble Tea: Chun Shui Tang
Taiwan’s unofficial national drink of bubble tea has taken the international foodie world by storm in recent years. Shops selling all kinds of this iconic, milky tea-based drink containing bouncy ‘boba pearls’ made of tapioca can be found around every corner of town, but the original Chun Shui Tang store in Taichung is said to be the birthplace of pearl milk tea back in the early 1980s, and therefore well worth a visit. Evolving into what is arguably one of the most successful bubble tea businesses in the world, the brand has now expanded to 90 branches around Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan with 10 located in Taipei alone. Serving up rich and creamy milk tea with chewy, gummy-like pearls, this spot is a must for anyone from bubble tea fanatics to first-timers.
Insider’s Tip: If you’re not feeling the traditional pearl milk tea, look out for their seasonally exclusive drinks.
Address: B1, No. 9, Songshou Rd., Xinyi Dist | Shinkong Mitsukoshi A9, Taipei, Taiwan
Open From: Sun – Thu: 11am – 9:30pm; Fri – Sat: 11am – 10pm
Mango Shaved Ice: Ice Monster
Perhaps Taiwan’s most iconic dessert, mango shaved ice is always found on Taiwanese must-eat lists. Attracting eager customers since 1997, Ice Monster’s version of the celebrated shaved-ice dessert is served with velvety milk, vibrantly-orange mango cubes, creamy mango ice cream and, (if that wasn’t enough,) additional servings of fresh mangoes to pour on top of your ice mountain. From cotton candy to black sesame, coffee to boba tea, this dessert heaven has endless shaved-ice options, each guaranteed to come in large portions.
Insider’s Tip: Ice Monster has a minimum spend rule of NTD 110.
Address: No. 204, Section 2, Xinyi Road, Da’an District, Taipei (Dongmen Station Exit 5)
(Check their website for their other location!)
Open From: Mon – Sun: 10:30am – 10pm
Pineapple Cakes: SunnyHills Taipei
A symbol of wealth, good luck and prosperity, Taiwanese pineapple tarts are shortbread pastries filled with gooey pineapple jam. Considered a must-buy souvenir when in Taiwan, SunnyHills Taipei centres on a ‘farm-to-bakery’ concept and does an amazingly yummy take on these Taiwanese delicacies with high-quality, hand-cut, 100% pure pineapple jam enclosed in a brick-shaped, buttery pastry. SunnyHills is definitely one of Taipei’s must-try local bites.
Insider’s Tip: Regardless of any purchase, a complimentary full-sized pineapple tart and a cup of hot Taiwanese oolong tea are provided for all visitors.
Address: 1F., No.1, Alley 4, Lane 36, Section 5, Minsheng East Road, Taipei, Taiwan
Open From: Mon-Sun: 10am – 6pm
Cheese Tarts: BAKE Cheese Tart Taipei
Cheesecakes may be a classic dish in New York, but cheese tarts have become instant hits in Southeast Asian countries in recent years. BAKE Cheese Tart Taipei is the go-to restaurant to sample these delightful pastries with crumbly exteriors filled with warm and oozy cheese. With edges charred to a beautiful golden brown, these soft and cheesy delights live up to the hype that this dessert shop has received since opening in January 2018.
Insider’s Tip: Still craving more sweet sustenance? BAKE Cheese Tart’s soft-serve ice cream tastes of a unique, smooth and milky combination.
Address: 1F., No.15, Nanjing W. Rd., Zhongshan Dist., Taipei City 104, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Open From: Sun – Thu: 11am – 9:30pm; Fri – Sat: 11am – 10pm