Eating locally in Taiwan has proven to be super cheap to eat out in Taiwan so I tend to take advantage of going around and trying new things constantly. The main thing while I am looking for when eating out is good, somewhat healthy, fulfilling and most importantly, cheap food.
Braised Pork with Rice
This is the OG, the staple, the must-try dish if you ever visit Taiwan. I personally don’t care to eat pork so much, but when I do, this is always my go-to. This pork is cooked under low heat for hours and some unknown Taiwanese sauces are placed into the mixture to create this bad boy. It has a savory yet sweet taste to it and normally cut into very small tiny pieces. A lot of shops have this staple dish, but I recommend everyone to try it at this restaurant. To spice it up, add a Tea Egg for an additional 10 NT for love.
Chicken with Rice
As simple and plain it may look, this is yet another staple and my go to when I am just trying to keep it simple. Can be served with various side dishes and another tea egg. If you want the best Chicken with Rice dish in Taiwan, go visit Chiayi, located in the southern part of Taiwan right above Tainan. They know what they’re doing down there.
If you are in the NTNU Night Market and just wanna get full off of one dish, gotta stop by this curry shop. Now I am not sure if this is purely Taiwanese (I feel a strong Japanese/Taiwanese food combo here) but its all about the curry here. They serve a smooth curry with bean sprouts, and your choice of either fried chicken, fried fish, poached egg, or everything mixed together. You can also get sides of kimchi, and cheese. This is one of my goto lunch spots!
Enough with the meat and rice!
These type of restaurants have some of the best traditional Taiwanese food to offer. They are typically in buildings half inside/outside, some having live fish swimming in tanks in the front ready to be eaten, others are built more formally like a typical restaurant. These are great places to go if you want to enjoy and try a variety of food and have a drink with a big group of people. They are typically only open for dinner and you can easily spot it out if you hear a ton of people chatting really loud and drinking beer together. If your group is relatively large, better call and make a reservation in advance. For starters, I highly recommend here and here.
Another great way to eat all types of food in Taiwan is to visit a buffet style shop where you can select all types of dishes and depend on how much/what you get will depend on the cost. Fish/meat tend to cost more. You can also try out the vegetarian ones as well. Don’t sleep on those locations. Their food is not only good but sometimes even better. It is generally accompanied by rice and you can almost always get some soup on the side and even some free drink such as black tea for free too.
Located on one of the side streets of Tonghua Night Market, but its easily one of my favorite places to go eat with friends for dinner. You can choose your choice of meat/fish and it is sautéd in green veggies along with your choice of how spicy you want it. Could not explain the taste to you, but it is so fricking good. Normally accompanied with some rice and Taiwanese Beer. This shop is super popular so go early if you don’t want to wait. You can also take food to go, but you will have to wait. This shop is also closed on Tuesdays.
Nothing beats eating hotpot on a really nice cold day outside or when you’re sick. Hotpot is literally a hot boiling pot of your chosen soup base. It could be savory, could be spicy and even could be sweet (Thai hotpot) And the best thing about it, most hotpot shops in Taiwan are personal based meaning each person has their own hotpot. These are great places to go visit on your own AKA great for me. I eat out alone a lot so sometimes when I am feeling a bit sick, hotpot it is. Choose your choice of meat (or go full veggie) and demolish. Some shops include many condiments to add to spice up your hotpot experience along with a set of vegetables to pair your meat with.
This is definitley my favorite thing when it comes to Taiwanese food. This section seriously needs a separate blog dedicated to it. First of all, it is very cheap and there are tons of different kinds of food you can try. On top of that, it not only can be eaten for breakfast but also all sorts of hours due to the endless 24-hour shops open all around Taipei. Great food to have after a long night out with friends drinking or singing KTV.