05 April 2016

Eat Your Heart Out: Taiwan

When I first got to Taipei, it was a joy to walk around and randomly find wonderful places to eat. The problem was re-finding a spot. Enter Foursquare/Swarm. I highly recommend downloading both apps and using Swarm to check-in and Foursquare to look for food. While Yelp is in Taiwan now, it's still relatively new and I find a lot of places not on it still.

My entire eating guide for Taiwan is available as a Foursquare list, if you wanna just follow that: Eat Your Heart Out, TPE Edition. As you'll soon realize, fifty-percent of my food consumption is noodles. And here's my other post about favorite night market foods if you wanna take a look.

Late Night Options
While there's always the old standbys for late nights -- 24-hour beef noodle soup, Chinese breakfast joints, 小李子 for congee, cold noodle spots, slurping 7-Eleven instant noodles while sitting on the curb -- I've discovered a few places that are open later than usual and worth the trek. No surprise, Taipei is a night owl's eating paradise.

Also take a look at Thousandth Girl's breakdown of late night eats before you dive into mine because Steph breaks it down pretty accurately. As usual.

  • Chubby noodles @ Gao Jia Silver Needle Noodles 高家莊米苔目 : Open from 7PM till 5AM. There’s basically only five things on the menu here and the standout is the chubby noodles, but you’ll want to order a bit of everything. Note: Seating is outside.
  • Fried fish, plus everything @ 阿財虱目魚肚 : This place doesn’t even open until 10PM, and it stays open till 5AM. I love a variety of things here, from the fried fish to the clam soup, to the fried rice. Mostly it's a nice step up from other late night basic eats. The only downside is that oftentimes there’s a long line.
  • Noodles @ Matsu Noodles 四鄉五島馬祖麵店 : This place is open late, depending on location, and has a variety of noodles plus some fried chicken and nice sides to set things off. Plus there’s a plastic bin of hard boiled eggs right in front, which is the sign of a in-the-know establishment.
  • Seafood congee @ 嘉義鮑魚海產粥 : Now this was a true hidden gem, also another open until 5AM. This place serves individually stewed pots of congee filled with fish, shrimp, oysters, and other assorted seafood. It's a wonderful remedy on a rainy night.
  • Dim sum @ Sweet Dynasty 糖朝 : I don’t mess with much dim sum in Taipei but Sweet Dynasty is open until 2AM and useful as it’s just above Omni night club. Warning: They seem to run out of the popular dishes late at night but if you’re in a pinch for dim sum, this will do.
  • Cold Noodles @ Deluxe Noodle 劉媽媽涼麵 : If you go clubbing in Xinyi then you’ve probably been here. Cold noodles and egg drop soup served outdoors. Open from 10PM until 6AM. Classic. Also, there’s Chen’s noodles 陳家涼麵 nearby, but I hugely prefer this one.
  • Noodles and lu rou fan @ 芝香雞肉飯 : Another post-clubbing staple, this spot is located right across from Taipei City Hall MRT so it's very convenient, and open until 6AM on most nights. Similar rotation of cold noodles, lu rou fan, and egg drop soup.

In General

  • Beef noodle soup @ 濟南牛肉麵 : Everyone has their own favorite beef noodle soup place. This is mine, right by Zhongxiao Xinshen MRT and family run. My grandmother has been going to this place since she was young. The secret's in the broth, which has all kinds of extra complexity over the normal beef noodle soup broth. (Don't confuse this for 七十二牛肉麵 directly across the street.) My usual option B for beef noodle soup, although in a totally different direction, was 林東芳牛肉麵.
  • Yakiniku @ 弍兩日式炭火燒肉 : My Malaysian friend’s parting gift was to introduce me to this cheap Japanese BBQ spot. The decor is worth half a star but the food is delicious and the prices outrageous. There’s an all you can eat NT399 option but we could never even eat enough to get to NT399 so we just ordered plate-by-plate. While they have a lot of things on the menu, after multiple tries we basically just stuck with the beef slices. So freaking cheap and good! This spot is the gift that keeps on giving.
  • Wonton noodles @ 奇福扁食 : Located near the Dongmen MRT, my classmate put me on this and it quickly became a staple restaurant for me. A quick bowl of wonton noodle soup, what's not to love?
  • Sausages @ 紅花大香腸 : The one I frequented was at the entrance of Tongan Night Market and it was the best sausage I’d ever eaten. There are a lot of sausage vendors at the various night markets but this one was just simply above the rim.
  • Octopus noodles @  Tainan Way 臺南味 : I covered this already in my post about slurpy things, but I’ll put it down again because the octopus noodles are just that good. Plus dumplings!
  • Soba @ 2½ Months Soba 二月半 : Also covered in the previous post, and worth repeating.