Tasty Taipei


As Taipei’s tourist scene grows, so does it’s dining scene. From traditional night market nosh to kitsch ‘Kitty’ fare and the offerings of Taipei’s high-end hotels. We made sure to sample a broad spectrum of the delicacies on offer…

One of the seminal places to sample Taipei’s traditional fare is at one of its numerous night markets. We didn’t make it to the most famous, the Shi Lin Night Market, but did take a wander around one of the smaller markets.  Mixed in amongst the shops selling glittery phone covers and clothing are endless food stalls, touting everything from fried chicken to delicious spring onion pancakes to oyster omelettes and, of course, the infamous stinky tofu.  They aren’t kidding with the name, the slightly rancid smell permeates the the night air as you wander through the market. I took a whiff up close but just wasn’t brave enough to try it for real.  Next time maybe… 

I love to try new cuisine when I’m visiting a new country and, on the recommendation of our local friends, we spent Friday night at the fantastic Qin Wei Guan, which serves serves cuisine from the Shaanxi province of China. The food was hearty and full of flavour if a little oily, but that was definitely a good thing given the potent local liquor, Kaoliang, was the tipple of choice! My favourite dishes were the soup with ripped up paomo (a kind of dense bread), the broad noodles and the chicken with scallion.  For those red meat eaters of you out there I was assured that the lamb and pork dishes were amazing, and for those with a sweet tooth their speciality dessert, pastry filled with cheese, looked totally sinful. The atmosphere was brilliant and despite the lack of English spoken they were really welcoming to a table full of foreigners (who, let’s face it, were pretty noisy after a few shots of the aforementioned spirit). A warning, however, to those chilli intolerant of you – the food here is pretty spicy (even I was weeping a little by the end). Qin Wei Guan can be found at No.2, Lane 138, YanJi st, Taipei. 台北市延吉街138巷2號.

Another highlight was eating at the original Din Tai Fung (which as you know from Monday’s post provided the perfect fuel for a day’s sightseeing).  Although this chain is now famous worldwide I enjoyed visiting the location where it all began (No. 194, Sec. 2, Xinyi Road, Taipei).


Heading in a slightly different direction (and as promised in Wednesday’s post) it is probably time to recount one of the best and worst dining experiences in Taipei…Hello Kitty Kitchen & Dining!


A high because this place doesn’t do it’s theme by halves…

Taipei-HK-boothevery little detail of the restaurant, the food and drinks focuses on Miss Kitty White and her friends.


I mean, there must be some seriously bespoke machinery behind this food…the burger bun in particular blew my mind! But it was quite hard to take seriously as a meal…


not least because, in terms of flavour, it was probably one of the worst meals I’ve had in a long time…


That said I’m so glad I went, just because ‘when in…’ and, of course, the people watching opportunities were immense.I would definitely say this is a must visit when in Taipei (if you can stand all the pink that is!) Hello Kitty Kitchen & Dining can be found at No. 90, Section 1, Da’an Rd, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106

We ended our trip to Taipei with afternoon tea at the Jade Lounge.  Not exactly traditional Taiwainese fare but I’ve been following Frank Haasnoot on Instagram for a while and his beautiful photographs of his inventive and mouth-watering cake creations meant I couldn’t go to Taipei without stopping off at the Mandarin Oriental where he is the resident pastry chef.

The Mandarin Oriental is newly opened in Taipei – it is very shiny and the décor rather opulent!


The Jade Lounge was immaculate and full of well-heeled ladies.


If you’re heading for afternoon tea save some room – there is a lot of food (we practically rolled onto the plane afterwards!) Apologies for the shaky photos, I was a bit too excited about tucking in, but even my wobbly photos serve to show off the abundance of sandwiches, cakes, scones and petit fours on offer…

Taipei - MO Afternoon Tea

The food, as expected, was beautiful and the attention to detail impeccable but I found it was overly sweet for my liking. The tea menu also deserves a mention as it was amazing – I’ve never seen so many different varieties (black, green, white, oolong, Chinese, Indian…I could go on…I won’t!) And the waitresses were brilliant at decoding and recommending something to meet everyone’s different tastes. Compared to the afternoon teas on offer in London,, the Jade Lounge’s take was was seriously good value and definitely worth a visit if you’re passing through and fancy something which reminds you of home.

And last but by no means least, it is definitely worth mentioning our favourite cocktail bar. Taipei is making a name for itself on the cocktail scene and so we naturally made sure to try a few different places during our visit. Ounce stood out among these for it’s friendly, knowledgable barmen, pretty authentic speakeasy style and delicious, well-balanced cocktails – definitely worth seeking out (as a hint – go through Relax cafe to the hidden door at the back).

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