Markets and Restaurants
I would like to start off by saying that I can in no way, shape, or form, possibly include all the wonderful places to eat that Taipei has to offer. For further reference, please seeA Hungry Girl's Guide to Taipei, which is an absolutely fantastic food blog by a woman who frequently visits Taipei. It’s very helpful in that she categorizes the restaurants by neighborhood, MRT stop, and food type.
So, with that in mind, let me share a few of my favorites！
Taipei has a plethora of delicious night markets, big and small. Most travel guides recommend Shilin (士林), and I think it’s a must-see because it’s so huge. Besides food, there are also a lot of fun games there, and prawn fishing, which is definitely something I would recommend (you fish for the shrimp and they will cook the ones you catch immediately after – yum!). To get there, go to Shilin or Yuanshan on the Tamsui (red) MRT line.
Shida (師大), located near Taiwan Normal University (hence the name), is also well known, although apparently it isn’t as good as it was in the past. That being said, it’s very close to the university’s main gate and Mandarin Center, so it’s great for dinner after Chinese class, and they have some good basics (green onion pancakes, sausages, noodles, crepes, bubble tea).
Raohe (饒河) is an excellent, if smaller venue. Located about 1 km from Houshanpi stop on the Bannan (blue) line, it apparently has some of the best 雞排(jipai, fried chicken) in the city (this is based off of something a friend told me, couldn’t say if it’s true). It’s also located next to a beautiful Daoist temple.
Qingguang (晴光), near Exit 3 of Zhongshan Elementary School stop on the Zhonghe-Xinlu (gold) line, is also small, but most of the stands are also open during the day which is nice for a late lunch. They have a very well known stand there that sells 紅豆餅(red bean cakes, although they also have butter and radish varieties that are pretty tasty).
Lehua (樂華) is excellent and possibly my favorite. Located near Dingxi on the Zhonghe-Xinlu (gold) line, it has mostly food stands. The sausages (香腸) there are supposed to be particularly good, but I also had some excellent shaved ice, fruit, and fish ball soup. I also found that it was not as crowded as the other night markets, although I’ve only been during the week.
How to even begin discussing restaurants in Taipei？ There are so many good ones! I have to mention Din Tai Feng, famed for its soup dumplings. There are three branches throughout the city, but I’ve only been to the one near Zhongxiao Dunhua on the Bannan (blue) line. That being said, I think the soup dumplings at Jin Din Rou near the intersection of Linsen North Rd and Changchun Road could give them a run for their money, and this restaurant has better 蛋花湯(egg drop soup).
Xiao Nan Men (小南門) has several branches around the city (including a conveniently located store on the second floor of the Taipei Main Station). They serve reasonably priced Chinese food. Their beef rolls are particularly good, and if you’re craving 宮保雞丁or 魚香茄子, it’s a good place in a pinch!
For beef noodles, Chef Hung （洪師傅), also on Changchun Road, has won a lot of awards. A big bowl of their award-winning beef noodles goes for around 250 NTD or more, which is a bit pricey, but there’s a lot of meat and noodles in one, so it’s pretty good deal.
For sushi, I would recommend either NCIS (North California Inspired Sushi)near Zhongxiao Dunhua or A-Plus Sushi near Xinyi Anhe (on the new Xiangshan line). Both do fusion-style sushi and although a bit on the pricier side, are well worth the money. Too many good dishes at both of these to recommend one, but if I recall, both places do really good tuna rolls. If you want to eat there on the weekends, you should recommendations a few days in advance (particularly NCIS, since it has limited seating)
For good Xinjiang food, Pamir (帕米爾), located near Dongmen on the Zhonghe-Xinlu (gold) line is excellent! Lamb kebabs are excellent, as is the bread. Also be sure to order the yogurt dessert with honey.
Shao Shao Ke (勺勺客)on Ren’ai Road serves delicious Shaanxi food, although the restaurant itself can be a little difficult to find.
Jinjiang (晉江茶堂) has delicious Hakka food, and is located in a beautiful old building near Guting MRT stop on the Zhonghe-Xinlu (gold) Line. The location is small, so get there early if you don’t want to wait.
Also, for people craving salads, Dressed (a couple of branches, the biggest is near Exit 2 of Xinyi Anhe on the Xiangshan Line) is a somewhat expensive, but delicious salad and sandwich shop. I recommend the California salad and the seared tuna salad.
If you’re just looking for a good restaurant, but aren’t sure what you want to eat, the Dongmen and Gongguan neighborhoods are both good choices, and easily accessible by MRT. There are lots of hole-in-the-wall restaurants and food stands in these areas, and Gongguan in particular tends to be cheaper because it’s a student neighborhood (National Taiwan University is located there).