#197 MUST-EAT(s) in Taiwan (台灣)
Monday, 12 January 2015

I recently spent a good portion (roughly 3 weeks) of my last ever December holidays in Taiwan. The initial part of my trip was spent with my family. Thereafter, I returned to Singapore to celebrate Christmas, before flying over again on Christmas Day to spend the remainder of my vacation with my friends. Overall, it was a very memorable experience and I'm thankful to both my friends and family for contributing to such happy memories.

However, I think the more important purpose of this entry is to document some of the best food encounters I had whilst in Taiwan (majority of what is featured resides in Taipei). I must admit that for the longest time, when anyone mentions Taiwan to me, the words food haven don't exactly resonate very strongly (in comparison to places like Hong Kong). However, with the marvellous development of the smartphone application, Foursquare, we managed to discover really good food in Taiwan. I guess in some ways I'm doing my part to construct a list of MUST TRY(s) when you visit the country.

Ning Xia Night Market, Taipei (寧夏觀光夜市)

I honestly can't remember the name of this street food, but it's basically chicken meat wrapped in chicken skin. For convenience sake, let's refer to it as the chicken wrap. So yeah, there was a really long queue for this (roughly 30 minutes). But being typical Singaporeans, we decided to queue and were definitely not disappointed. It's relatively affordable as well, as are all Taiwanese street food. And it was with this that we also started using the hash tag #faithinlongqueues

四川吳抄手, Taipei

This, I would recommend eating only during winter. It's known as a 辣妹子 - a chili padi wrapped with chicken meat and batter that's deep fried into something seemingly harmless. However, after taking one bite of it, I started sweating like a maniac. And mind you, I can handle spicy food quite well. That said, despite it's insane level of spiciness, it was really delicious. What I did for the rest of the meal was pull out the chili padi and just eat the meat that has already been infused with the spiciness. We also ordered a bunch of other things in the restaurant that were equally as yummy, but I'd say that this is something unique that's a definite must try.

藍家割包, Taipei

割包綜合 (半肥半瘦), I think this is their version of 'Kong Ba Bao'. The one that's being sold at this particular store is so sinful but so good. You get to determine how fattening you want your bun filling to be, so I guess we picked something in between to try both their lean and fatty meat. It looks very unspectacular, but trust me, once you sink your teeth into this bad boy, you'll be seeing stars. Oh and side note, what made this visit even more memorable was that one of the store assistants kept staring at us throughout while we were having our meal there (we ordered 2 bowls of soup as well). So be prepared to be slightly creep-ed out while enjoying good food, ha-ha.

港園牛肉麵, Kaohsiung

BY FAR, the BEST beef noodle I had in all of Taiwan. Granted, I haven't tried EVERY single bowl of beef noodle available in Taiwan, but as of now, this is without a doubt the reigning champion. I ordered the dry version, though the soup version is equally as good. Dry beef noodle in Taiwan is slightly different from the kind we get in Singapore. It's basically similar to their beef noodle soup, just that the broth is more 'bisquous' in a way. They had a side container of chili and garlic that went extremely well with the noodles. To be frank, Taiwanese don't seem to relish in spicy food as much as Singaporeans do. Thus it was a real treat to find a store with quality chili that was not only flavourful, but packed a real punch. MUST MUST MUST TRY if you are ever in Kaohsiung!

Ramen Nagi, Taipei (ラーメン凪)

The restaurant reminded me a lot of Butao Ramen, a ramen place I visited whilst in Hong Kong earlier in August 2014. So I sort of knew what to expect when waiting in line. My travel companions on the other hand reacted much more enthusiastically to their bowls of ramen having tried it for the first time. If you're in the mood for quality ramen whilst in Taiwan, do consider visiting this place. It's really popular with the locals and you know what that means #faithinlongqueues

Seafood Addiction Taipei (上引水産)

ERMAGHERD, this was possibly one of the best meals I had in Taiwan, which ironically enough consisted of Japanese cuisines. It's also the only place I'm featuring in this entry that was a recommendation from friends rather than something we read about on Foursquare. Your one stop destination for fresh seafood and delectable sushi. While you can readily find Japanese cuisines all over Taiwan, this is as fresh as it gets because it's a freaking fish market for crying out loud! And it's honestly quite reasonably priced, using Singapore prices as a form of comparison of course. I would have gladly went back a second time, but we didn't have many days left by the time we visited the fish market.

And with that, I conclude my current list of MUST EAT(s) when in Taiwan. Hopefully I'll get the chance to visit the place again at the later end of this year and come back with an updated list of places to try when you're there.


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written at 21:55