No.88, Sec. 5, Nanjing E. Rd., Songshan District, Taipei City
ChiaTe has the best pineapple cakes. I was skeptical at first because my parents’ client took us there, but I should have known with the line coming out the door. They have just the right amount of sweetness and the pastry itself is not that flaky. ChiaTe has a wide variety of flavored pineapple cake as well, but I’ve only had their cranberry one which is worth a try. It’s not just cranberry sauce; it actually has chunks of cranberry inside. However, I have to admit, I’d rather just have the original flavor. Another thing worth getting is their milk cakes, which is actually another pastry, not a cake.
No. 15, TaoYuan Street, Jhongjheng District, Taipei City
Directions: Take the MRT to Ximen
Every time my dad goes to Taiwan, he has to eat here. EVERY TIME. WITHOUT FAIL. This past trip, he rushed us there 1.5 hours before we were supposed to have dinner with my mom’s friends because it was our last day in Taipei and we would not be returning. We cabbed it over there and cabbed it back just so he could get his beef noodles, steamed spareribs, and pig’s knuckle. The food is pretty good here, but I think it’s more for nostalgia for him.
The beef noodles aren’t the best beef noodles I’ve ever had, but it would probably be in one of my top five places (most likely number 4 or 5). The meat and broth though is quite good. Well, there braised broth anyway. They also offer their beef noodles in a light broth (清燉牛肉麵), but I would never get that. The steamed spareribs and pig’s knuckle are good, but out of the two, I definitely prefer the spareribs.
This place is worth trying if you are in Taipei. It’s always packed, so you know they’re doing something right. There’s only a handful of items on their menu, but early warning there is no English menu. Don’t expect courteous waiters; expect to sit with random folks. The tables are large and they have a lot of clients to feed.
No. 31, Huaxi Street, Taipei City
02 2308 1123
Price: Expensive, but worth it
Directions: You can walk from the Longshan Temple MRT Station or just hail a cab, I recommend the latter at night unless you want weirdos to approach you.
Must Get: Any kind of seafood you like that they have and, of course, their namesake– the dan zai mein (read below)
So, this place is a completely unexpected find. It’s in the middle of this creepy night market filled with snakes, dirty old men, and, apparently, prostitutes. It’s also one of the nicest restaurants in Taiwan with their Wedgewood tableware, Christofle silverware, and unique dining rooms. The seafood is amazing here which is how my parents know about it. They import/export seafood, but they have been coming here since back in the days of when they used to live in Taipei and owned an electronics company.
You order out in front. There’s a man who stands by the seafood and you just tell him what you want. There’s no menu, but if you tell him that you want crab, shrimp, etc., he’ll tell you the best way to prepare it. You can, of course, disagree and tell him you want it fried, steamed, etc. instead. Make sure you get your favorite things and, of course, an order of their dan zai noodles for each person at your table. Their dan zai noodles are simple, but so delicious. It’s just noodles in broth with tiny bits of pork, some vegetables, and one shrimp.
And since there’s no menu and the seafood changes all the time, there’s nothing I can really tell you that you have to get, although I’m sure there will always be steamed fish available, so I’m just going to leave you with pictures of the restaurant and some of the dishes we got here:
Most of the dishes here are served per person, unlike most Chinese restaurants where they put it all on one big plate and make everyone share. One bad thing about this place is the fact that there’s no menu means there are no prices. The first time I went we easily spent over $100/person– US$100/person! This past trip we ran into one of my dad’s clients here at the end of our meal who turned out to sell seafood to this place, so we got a free meal! I was happy about that, but my parents weren’t, of course. Oh Chinese people…
Anyway, bottom line… this is a great restaurant, but not a place you can go to everyday unless you are rolling in dough. It’s a great place to go if you are trying to impress someone/people. There are branches in Taichung and Kaoshiung too, but my dad claims the one in Taipei is the best. It’s also good for weddings as my cousin just got married in the one in Taichung this past week. Congratulations again to him!
2F, Urban One, Qingcheng St., Songshan Dist., Taipei City 105
Directions: It’s right behind the Nanjing East Road MRT Station
Must Get: 蘿蔔糕 Radish Cake (luo bu gao), 工夫麵 Kung Fu Noodles (gong fu mian), 牛肉麵 Beef Noodle Soup (niu ruo mian), 排骨酥麵 Pork Chop Noodle Soup (pi gu mian)
While this post is basically about the restaurant in Taipei’s Urban One, I can vouch that this chain is good overall. There’s a reason why there are so many locations throughout Taiwan– the food is consistently good despite the branch you go to and I’ve been to more than a handful of them.
I used to sit at the one in Chung Yo (above Starbucks) in Taichung quite often, grading homework or practicing writing Chinese characters, so I’ve tried a number of their dishes. The ones that stick out the most are: 蘿蔔糕 Radish Cake (luo bu gao), 工夫麵 Kung Fu Noodles (gong fu mian), 牛肉麵 Beef Noodle Soup (niu ruo mian), and 排骨酥麵 Pork Chop Noodle Soup (pai gu su mian). The radish cakes, pictured above, are tiny rectangular pieces here which are fried and not just grilled liked most places in Taiwan, so they have a crispy outer skin. The Kung Fu Noodles (I still snicker at the name) are dry noodles (meaning no soup) with pieces of pork, green onions, and bean sprouts. It’s probably my favorite noodle dish here– it’s tasty and just the right size for before class. (I used to eat breakfast, lunch, a snack before class, and dinner after class when I lived in Taiwan. And somehow I managed to lose weight!) The beef noodle soup is comparable to the taste of my mom’s, but not nearly as good of course. It’s a decent replacement for when I was starving and already heading towards work. The pork chop noodle soup consists of spareribs that were fried and then added to soup, so they lose the crispiness but retain the flavor.
This place offers a number of small dishes like shui mai, fried chicken, chicken wings, fried octopus balls, etc. They are decent overall, but I usually stuck to the noodles. There is one mushroom dish that I would stay clear of though.
And, of course, tea… it is a tea place afterall. The tea here is great, but costs you an arm and a leg if you are comparing it to places you’ll find off the street like 50 Tea (50嵐), Dodo, Asir, etc. I guess the added cost goes to supplying you with some seats and a table to sit and chat with your friends. They make up for it by giving you an enormous cup though which if you don’t finish, you can ask for it to go.
This place is comparable to 水舞饌 (shui wu zhuan), another tea shop found commonly in Taichung. The name literally translates into Water Dancing Gala, or so Google Translate says… The food is similar (水舞饌 offers hotpot as well) and the prices are about the same. Remind me to write up a post about this place another day…
And please no one kill me for the bad pin yin. =X
No. 156, Sec. 3, Minsheng East Road (next to Starbucks)
Hours: 11:30- 2:30PM / 5:30-10:30PM (midnight on Fridays & Saturdays)
PRICE: $$$ (approx. NT$1,500/person ~US$50/person)
RATING: Pretty good, you should go!
DIRECTIONS: Hail a cab
MENU: English & Chinese!
MUST GET: Cheese stuffed meatballs, strawberry tart
I first heard about this restaurant on TV while I was home in LA with my mom. The name, of course, made me curious. Who names their restaurant the idiot? For those of you interested, according to the Taipei Times it’s named after a scene in Steve Martin’s LA Story and according to the waitress I asked it’s because the owner (Fudy) really enjoys French tv and it was a phrase that he heard often. Whatever it is, who cares? The food is good and that’s really all that matters.