Taiwan

[Taipei] Raohe Street Night Market 台北饒河街觀光夜市

Never worry about going hungry in Taiwan... because there's going to be food everywhere you go. And I mean literally. Street are filled with stalls, snacks and stores. Xiao chi (小吃), or street snacks, are fundamental to daily life in Taiwan. So much so that it's indoctrinated into their culture and social lives.

During my 8 days in Taiwan, I had food at least every 2 hours Here are just some of the snacks and street food I tried while traveling around Taiwan. Needless to say, I gained some happy tummy rolls as I left the country.

 Entrance of Raohe Night Market

Entrance of Raohe Night Market

For starters, I recommend going to the Raohe Street Night Market (台北饒河街觀光夜市) located in Songshan District of Taipei. Open daily from 5pm to midnight. It's not the biggest one around, but trust me, it's enough for a night and less crowded than some of the more popular places. I think the food here is more authentic and of higher quailty due to there being less tourists.

MUSTS:

  • Handmade pepper buns (福州世祖胡椒饼) , freshly handmade and oven-baked made on the spot! I had to wait 15 minutes for it, but well worth the time. Filled with carefully marinated pork and pepper, the filling is mixed with spring onions and other spices. Baked with a sesame crust, it's super crispy on the outside and tender-juicy on the inside. One of the most popular vendors in the market - for a good reason!

  • Peanut and sesame coated glutinous sticky rice balls 麻糬 (mashu) but known to be 糖不甩 in some other places

 Savory and crispy on the outside, and juicy on the inside! A must!

Savory and crispy on the outside, and juicy on the inside! A must!

Pepper buns (胡椒饼) fresh out of the oven

 Handmade mochi with peanut powder and black sesame (mashu or 麻糬) 

Handmade mochi with peanut powder and black sesame (mashu or 麻糬) 

 Jello
 Peppered and deep fried squid sticks

Peppered and deep fried squid sticks

 Black sesame sweet soup with mochi balls 黑芝麻

Black sesame sweet soup with mochi balls 黑芝麻

meat-sticks-taiwanese
 All kinds of meat sticks - from pig hearts to livers

All kinds of meat sticks - from pig hearts to livers

Have fun and be adventurous! Try some things you've never tried before! More likely than not, you won't be disappointed. :)

[Kenting 垦丁] Kenting National Park & Kenting Main Street, Taiwan

Kenting (垦丁) is located at the most southern tip of the Taiwan island, in Hengchun (Pingdong Country) and is surrounded by water on all three sides: the Taiwan Strait, the Luzon Strait, and the Pacific Ocean. Due to its geography, it has a very warm climate and tropical weather all year long. Kenting is known for its beautiful equatorial scenery and is approximately 90 kilometers, or 56 miles, away from Kao-Hsiung (高雄).  

Even though it was late December when I visited, the weather in Kenting was perfect. Neither too cold nor too hot, the temperature was ideal to relax in the sun. At times, there would be wind but not unbearable. In fact, the breeze was quite comfortable, especially during the day. However, I would recommend bringing a jacket if you come here in the wintertime because it does get a little chilly at night. 

Like all other night markets in Taiwan, the Kenting Main Street night market is full of little stalls that serve all kinds of local snacks, food, and souvenirs.


I stayed at the Chateau Beach Resort, which is located in the Kenting National Park area and by the beach. The resort itself has an exclusive 3-km (1.88miles) long beach with very fine sand. 

Here are some pictures I took from the resort's private beach: 

The resort has an outdoor private pool that faces the beach.

I was so glad to have ended my Taiwan trip on such a relaxing note! :)

[Taipei] Lin Dong Fang Beef Noodles 林东芳牛肉面

Categories: Taiwanese
Address: No. 274, Section 2, Bādé Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei | 台北市中山区八德路二段272號 
Closest MTR: Zhōngxiào Fùxīng Station (忠孝復興站)
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11:00am – 6:00am (Yes, it's open all night long!)
Date visited: December 2013
Cost: ~NT$170-330
Thoughts: Everything was delicious and deserves a recommendation - a place worthy of repeated visits! I especially loved their beef tendon and famous hua gan/wheat gluten (花干) appetizer. I think it's worth the hype (as of 2014, at least) and yes, in case you're wondering, I prefer this place over Taipei's other well-liked beef noodle store Tao Yuan Street Beef Noodles (桃源街牛肉面).

02-27522556

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When beef noodle shops are as ubiquitous as doner kebabs are in Europe or coffee shops in Melbourne, it's not surprising that everyone has an opinion on where to find the best beef noodles in the city. Sure, of course it always also depends on personal preferences on saltiness and broth-type but usually there are legitimate reasons upon why some are more acclaimed than others. Lin Dong Fang Beef Noodle House 林东芳牛肉面 is one of the most popular beef noodle shops in Taipei. Finally, here I am to try it for myself!

 Lin Dong Fang's store front and open kitchen faces the street, where you can watch the chefs make your noodles.

Lin Dong Fang's store front and open kitchen faces the street, where you can watch the chefs make your noodles.

 Lin Dong Fang's indoor seating area

Lin Dong Fang's indoor seating area

 The menu isn't long but they have everything I want with my noodles. Small and large portions available for their beef noodles too! All appetizers are NT$30.

The menu isn't long but they have everything I want with my noodles. Small and large portions available for their beef noodles too! All appetizers are NT$30.

  Their famous Hua Gan/wheat gluten (花干).  A must!

Their famous Hua Gan/wheat gluten (花干). A must!

  豆干 Dried tofu (NT$30)

豆干 Dried tofu (NT$30)

lin-dong-fang-appetizers
 Lin Dong Fang's large half tendon/half shank beef noodle soup 红烧半筋半肉牛肉面 (NT$220). 

Lin Dong Fang's large half tendon/half shank beef noodle soup 红烧半筋半肉牛肉面 (NT$220). 

Everything was delicious about this big savory bowl. The beef and tendon pieces were cooked to perfection and each bowl came with generous portions of protein. With a table of 6, we still ordered additional side dishes of beef and tendon to share because they were that good.

However, unlike most other beef noodle places, Lin Dong Fang doesn't give you the option to choose from different broths (eg. clear vs spicy). Everybody gets the same soup here. The broth mix lies somewhere between the typical red-braised spicy broth and clear broth. I loved it because it wasn't too salty but certainly flavorful enough for that umami taste. 

 Lin Dong Fang's special beef chili butter paste

Lin Dong Fang's special beef chili butter paste

The noodles are freshly handmade in store and very al-dente.

They also offer a housemade special "beef chili butter paste" to bed added to the broth. It melts right into the spices.

A very satisfying meal. Lin Dong Fang, I'll be back!

[Taipei] Tao Yuan Street Beef Noodles 桃源街牛肉面

Categories: Taiwanese
Address: No. 15, Táoyuán St, Zhongzheng District, Taipei | 台北市中正区桃源街15号

Closest Metro stop: Ximending 西门町 
Hours: Mon-Sun, 10:00am – 8:00pm
Date visited: December 2013
Reservations: No
Cost: NT$180/bowl
Thoughts: It was delicious and I'm happy to enjoy this as my first meal in Taipei as some claim it to be the best in Taipei. However, I personally liked the meat and red-braised spicy broth at 林東芳牛肉面 (Lin Dong Fang Beef Noodles) more.

02-23758973

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This shop actually doesn't have an official name. It's commonly referred to as 桃源街 (无招牌) 牛肉面, which directly translates to "Tao Yuan Street (No Name) Beef Noodles," since there are two beef noodle houses on the same street, one with a name and one without. The one without a name is actually more acclaimed. 

It'd be difficult to accidentally stumble upon as the site's quite out of sight (haha). It's popular nonetheless and you'll find the place packed during any regular meal hour. 

Some locals claim that this is one of the best Taiwanese beef noodle shops in the city and way better than the more internationally famed 永康牛肉面 (Yong Kang Beef Noodles) but others beg to differ. I have not tried Yong Kang so I can't speak for it but I do prefer Lin Dong Fang more.

There are two floors but by the time my friends and I arrived at 7:30pm (almost closing time), it was still a full house. 

 

Like most specialized beef noodle shops in Taiwan, there's only a limited menu. You have two types of beef noodles to choose from: red-braised spicy broth 红烧牛肉面, or clear broth 清汤牛肉面. I was disappointed by their  lack of beef tendon (my favorite!), but I figured that if they only beef shank, it better be exceptional.

(P.S. They also offer a pork knuckle noodle soup (猪软骨面) if you don't eat beef.) 

Clear broth braised beef noodle soup (NT$180) . I normally would have ordered the red-braised noodle soup but I had a sore throat so I went for the clear broth. The broth was savory without being salty. I didn't feel thirst-quenched afterwards, which probably means there was little or no MSG for extra flavoring.

The noodles were firm and chewy though not the hand-cut thick type. . 

I wasn't mind-blown but reasonably impressed as my first meal in Taipei. I would recommend it if you happen to be in the area. 

Edit: Check out Lin Dong Fang Beef Noodles (林东芳牛肉面)! I liked their beef noodles more.