Taipei is a rich city with many starred restaurants and some internationally famous restaurants. Among our restaurant suggestions below are popular fast food restaurants and a snack street, and we also suggest famous and classy restaurants. They are places to explore and enjoy a new culinary world.
Taiwan has been somewhat isolated from China, and while in Taipei you can enjoy some of the local dishes influenced by Chinese, Japanese, and local Taiwanese styles of cooking.
Popular Taiwanese local dishes are steamed buns (xiao lóng bāo), Taiwanese porridge (zhōu), and oyster thin noodles (oa misua). The restaurants below specialize in these dishes.
Din Tai Fung for Steamed Buns or Dumplings
Steamed buns (xiao lóng bāo) are not only a favorite dish in Taiwan, it is an internationally recognized award winning dish. There is an internationally recognized restaurant chain called Din Tai Fung that specializes in steamed bun dumplings that originated in Taiwan.
International recognition: In 1993, the Din Tai Fung restaurant in Taiwan was ranked as one of the world's top 10 restaurants by The New York Times. Then, in the last several years, the chain’s Hong Kong Tsim Sha Tsui branch and the chain’s Hong Kong Causeway Bay restaurant were awarded One Michelin Stars. In 2012 the news network called CNN reported on this family-run chain.
Din Tai Fung is known for other dishes too. In addition to steamed buns, Din Tai Fung also serves a chicken and seaweed soup specialty and other specialties.
- Preparation: internationally recognized quality. They prepare the dumplings with exacting precision. The outer flour skin has a standard weight of about 5 grams, and it is stuffed with about 16 grams of filling. Eighteen folds are then used to seal each bun. The buns are served with thin slices of ginger and are accompanied with a dipping sauce.
- Price: 170 NTD (6 USD) or above.
There are presently about 8 Din Tai Fung restaurants in Taipei. Here are three in Taipei that we recommend for tourists because they are in places that attract tourists.
1. Zhongxiao Restaurant
This restaurant is at the busy Zhongxiao district of Taipei at the Sogo. This is one of the original restaurants that made the chain famous.
- Location: Number 218, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Taipei City
- Phone: 2-2721-7980
- Hours: Monday-Thursday 10:00 am to 2:30 pm, 4 pm to 9:30 pm; Friday & the days before holidays 10 am to 2:30 pm, 5 pm to 10 pm; Saturday & holidays 10 am to 10 pm; Sunday 10 am to 9 pm
2. Xinyi Restaurant
One of the original restaurants.
- Location: 194 Xinyi Road Section 2, Taipei City
- Phone: 2-2321-8928
- Hours: Monday to Friday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, Saturday & holidays 09:00 am to 9 pm
- Transportation: MRT Daan Station (Muzha line)
3. Taipei 101 Restaurant
This newer restaurant is located in the Taipei 101 that is a favorite tourist attraction and one of the tallest buildings in the world. The decor is modern and professional.
- Phone: 02-8101-7799
- Hours: Sunday to Thursday 11:00 am to 9:30 pm; Friday, Saturday & before holidays: 11:00 am to 10 pm
- Location: 45 Shifu Road, Xinyi District, Taipei
A Zong Oyster Thin Noodles (ā zōng miàn xiàn, Oyster Vermicelli)
Oyster vermicelli (Taiwanese: oa misua, "o-er-meesua") is the English name for a kind of noodle soup that is popular in Taiwan. Its main ingredients are oysters and misua (Taiwanese vermicelli). A special steaming technique caramelizes the sugars in the dough and imparts a unique flavor. A large restaurant group called A Zong (Ay Chung) Mian Xian has specialized in serving this soup since 1975, and its outlets are spreading over China and around the world.
- Preparation: What makes this restaurant so popular? It is the addition of a little bit of pig intestine (chitlins)! Then they add the precise amount of spices such as parsley and basil. The flavor is described as mild but delicious.
- Locations: In Taipei the chain has a branch in the Ximenting night market street and another outlet near the Taipei Railway Station.
- The Ximenting Night Market A Zong Mian Xian Restaurant has a great reputation. There is usually a line for the popular noodle dish at this restaurant. It is one of the most popular restaurants in the Ximending street night market.
- Types of food: Taiwanese-style fast-food noodles. Seats and tables are not provided. You can eat while standing.
- Prices: 45 TWD per bowl (1.60 USD)
- Location: Emei Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City
- Transportation: MRT Ximen Station. Cross Zhong Hua Street, and then walk walk a little to the right, and then turn down the alley to the left. It is about 200 meters away from the station.
Ching Yeh Aoba Restaurant for Taiwanese Porridge Dinners
In Taiwan, it is common to eat porridge (zhōu) for breakfast. It can be a simple dish simply made of watery rice, bits of chicken or other meat, and sweet potato. It is also called "congee". However in Taiwan, Taiwanese porridge restaurants also serve up classy, upscale, and even romantic dinner meals featuring specialty porridges and side dishes. The Aoba Restaurant is a famous gourmet porridge restaurant in Taipei.
The restaurant opened in 1964. It is known as one of the first authentic Taiwanese-style restaurants.
Now, Aoba is known for impeccable environment, beautiful decor, and an excellent menu selection of authentic Taiwanese cuisine.
There are perhaps hundreds of dishes you can choose from. Try their sweet potato porridge, and select side dishes, dessert, and drinks.
- Preparation: authentic Taiwanese-style dishes
- Reputation: This almost 50-year-old restaurant is a favorite with both tourists and locals.
- Types of food: Taiwanese porridge, side dishes, and delicacies
- Prices: up to 1300 NTD (43 USD)
- Phone: 2 -2571-3859
- Hours: Open daily 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5:00 pm to 10:30 pm
- Location: 10, Lane 105, Zhongshan North Road Section 1
Chingye Shinleyuan Buffet
Aoba Restaurant is also known for its Taiwanese porridge buffet. They present various side dishes, and their restaurant features Japanese-like decor.
- Preparation: Taiwanese buffet
- Address: Number 1, Section 1, Bade Road
- Lunch buffet: Noon to 2:30 pm; the cost ranges from 550 (19 USD) to 680 NTD depending on the day or holiday.
- Dinner buffet: 5:30 to 9:30 pm; costs 680 (24 USD).
- Afternoon tea: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm; costs 460 (16 USD).
- Phone: 2-3322-2009
Instead of going to the restaurants, you can do what many locals do and experiment with snacking on the snack streets. Taipei has about twenty well-known snack streets where vendors sell snacks of many kinds from movable stands or little shops open to the streets.
Shilin Night Market (Recommended)
If you want to try a variety of Taiwanese food and pay less, go to a snack street in a night market in Taipei. While you are strolling and snacking, you can also shop for souvenirs or other products.
The Shilin Night Market is in northern Taipei. It is the largest and best-known night market in Taipei. There is a covered food court with hundreds of food stalls, a parking lot for about 400 cars, and there are shops, restaurants and stalls where you can find hundreds of dishes and lots of products to buy.
The Shilin District is Taipei's foremost residential district, and major universities are located in it.
- Special snacks: try stinky tofu and Taiwanese bubble tea. See our authentic Taiwanese food and snacks suggestions.
- Address: Opposite Jiantan MRT, Shilin District
- Prices: Snacks from 30 NTD and above
- Hours: The night market times start about 4 pm (when students return from school and people get off work). The crowds reach their peak between 8 and 11 pm. Businesses close about 1 or 2 am depending on the weather.