Taiwan - May 2018

Trying a new experiment. I will try to document our current Taiwan trip with eating/food pictures. My food descriptions are not so tasty, so I’ll let the pictures mostly speak for themselves. Think food soft porn.

We often eat at places without English names. I will however post a picture of the menu cover with an address printed, if available. Many places won’t even have simple menu with establishment name. I’ll also try to include a shot or two to hint at the ambiance, or lack thereof.

Without further adieu, our first/only meal in Taoyuan last week. An overnight respite between San Francisco and Okinawa.

A drinking establishment, thinly disguised as a seafood restaurant. Noisy, a bit raucous, but all in all a good place to decompress, have a bite and drink some beer. Food a tad over seasoned and sauced to our taste, not typical of most of our experiences in Taiwan. Encourages the downing of copious amounts of Taiwan beer. Yellow six-pack carriers by every table to receive your empties and track consumption.

We had earlier reluctantly passed on the tempting airplane cuisine for the second half of our 14 hr flight, so we may fully feed unencumbered upon landing. Eating plan worked and we scarfed most of the 1st order of fried rice before remembering the photo op.

  • Clams with loofah.
  • Ong choy (morning glory) with garlic and bird’s eye chili.
  • Yeow teow with oysters.
  • Egg tofu.
  • fried rice (not shown)

Too much food for the two of us for a midnight meal. We vowed to not let our eyes get bigger than our stomachs again. Yeah, right!! Good luck with that in food wonderland where “the price is always right”.

We landed Kaohsiung late last night and dining options were again limited. We ate at another pub type restaurant. We’d eaten at this restaurant a few months ago, and it merited a return visit.

  • salted egg yolk hot oil fried chicken. Very tasty. Fast becoming a salted egg yolk fan.

  • slivered goat stir fried spring onion.

  • bamboo shoots pork stir fried.

  • fiddlehead ferns with tiny dried fish. A MUST HAVE whenever available.


We had lunch at what I would describe as a local canteen. Cold cases with appetizer and small course sizes are self serve as you enter.

We chose:

  • mountain vegetable. What my wife calls it. Tendrils like a very delicate pea sprout.

  • bean curd stir fried with tiny fish and chili.

  • drunken free range chicken.

Off the checklist menu:

  • XLB’s. Was time for our once a year fix.

  • gnocchi. Not potato, but wheat flour. Stir fried with beef. Like a delicate variation of chow fun. Very nice, good light chew.

Per local practice, the extended sidewalk area fronting the restaurant serves as the bakery prep and oven station. XLB’s and other dumplings are constructed in the rear prep area. This house was doing a banging business. Fresh finished goods whizzing by from the front, the back, all over the house.

Saw lots of stuff that we didn’t order, but must have. Beef rolls, SJB’s, drunken pork hocks and more.

Needing to burn some calories after lunch, we strolled over to a nearby street market. Came upon my favorite lunch buffet cart. Beautiful selection, delicious food at astonishing prices.

A few blocks away, came across a gaggle of ducks air drying for the crispy skin. Turns out to be a take-away Peking Duck shack. WTF!?!?!?

460 NT (USD$15.50) for a WHOLE FREAKING duck two ways. Classic crisp skin/meat self wrap in crepe with spring onion and hoisin, bones and bits stir fried or other prep.

Don’t need to be a psychic to see what’s on our plate tomorrow. :slight_smile:


Niiiiiiiiiice! I have a soft spot for stir-fried clams with basil but with loofa is also great.

Roast meats appear to be cheaper than in HK! Could you write down the address for the roast duck place later? I’m hell-bent on finding goose in Kaohsiung. Boiled and sliced, not roasted. Had it several times in the north and it still haunts my dreams. Tried a couple of places in Taipei but it’s not as good.

Try this with map. You can type in Chinese and find the place.

Taiwan has the best clams I’ve had, anywhere. They are plump, succulent and clammy. (Sorry, not a very good food describer).

The most common prep is in soup with slivers of ginger. The ginger here is great, almost sweet.

Best clams basil was on Cijin Island. A five minute ferry from Kaohsiung or USD$10 cab ride from central Kaohsiung. Very good fresh seafood with delicious prep at more than reasonable prices.

Clams with basil at Cijin:

Walked by the boiled goose place today. It’s a trinket stand during the day??? Took pictures of the nearest intersection. Will try to pinpoint an address before we move on, or find it on Google street when I get home on a PC.

The stand during the day. Nearest intersection.

Will most likely get some of that roast duck before we move on. Will firm up address as available.


Thanks naf. Typing on my IPhone, can’t handle any fancy stuff. Will ask SO for assistance when home on PC.

Thanks for the live reportage! Good to know you are so efficient and do everything on the spot!

Its fun to share with like minded people.

Fascinating - thanks for doing this!

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Thanks for the boiled goose find. I’m still looking for 6 other goose places in town :joy:

A fan of beef noodle soup?

When you find them geese, do share. :slight_smile:

We’re heading north to Yuanlin on Sunday. I’ll keep an eye out for more of our down covered friends during our travels.

I’ve enjoyed Taiwan beef soup. It’s tasty, but it’s not on my short list of gotta-eats.

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I LOVE street markets, especially those abroad. Dry markets. Wet markets. Night markets. Love ‘em all.

To me, an entre, a glimpse into a part of the everyday life of the local inhabitants. The cacophony of venders hawking their wares, grandmas throwing elbows to score the pick of the bin, pushcarts/lorries parting the crowds effortlessly, scooters putting from stand to stand as their own personal drive-through…its all good!!!

We walked a very local residential area this morning.
When the Chinese Nationalists “emigrated” to Taiwan, they built large dormitories on unused land to house the flood of loyalists. These became enclaves of folks who steadfastly clung to their previous culture, expecting to return triumphantly any day to reclaim their Homeland. Decades later, these communities are less homogeneous. One can now hear folks conversing in tongues other than Mandarin and/Shanghainese. Many of the old soldiers have intermarried with local Taiwanese ladies, Mainland gals and/or mail order brides from surrounding countries.

This morning, we had a typical breakfast. The stand we targeted was bustling, with many people in line. The line moved quickly and customers did not linger after eating. We were good to go in a short time.

A sure sign this will be good, a station pumping out fresh yeow teow in a steady stream. These crullers were perfect in size, color, crispness and chew.

Holding steadfast to our vow to not over order, we ordered only one of each of following.

  • savory soy milk
  • yeow teow ( to dip in above)
  • “pancake” split and stuffed with egg and pickled vegetable.
  • 3 baos (buns). Chives. Cabbage. Daikon.
  • sweet soy milk (to drink)

After breakfast, we strolled through the very neighborly day market.



I like the way these ladies scoot from stand to stand. Picking up their day’s groceries, their scooter is their shopping cart, never dismounting. Very efficient.

There was a huge building housing a busy wet market also. Since we just came from Japan, we’ll hit this up next time.


Looking at those Chinese preserved pork belly, it says :sugar cane meat". Was it smoked? Smoked with sugar cane?

“ Was it smoked? Smoked with sugar cane?”

Don’t know for sure. We saw some stands selling peeled sugar cane sticks for gnawing and fresh cane juice squeezed to order.

My guess would be the pork is smoked with the cane shavings and squeezed out stalks, which should provide a bit of sugar residue.

That pork belly looked very delicious. I was salivating mentally preparing it braised, stir fried, in soup, clay pot rice, etc…

The same stand also had these fish roe sacks looking prepped same way.

As well as some nicely fried items.

We’d just finished breakfast, but my wife couldn’t resist. Bought a couple of pieces to munch for dessert.


First time in Yuanlin City, on the west coast of Taiwan. Relatively small town, population of 100,000, give or take. Yuanlin has the rustic feel that Taipei has lost, and is rapidly slipping away from Kaohsiung.

We are not the only tourist in town, but all the other sightseers are Taiwanese visitors. People are bemused by me. Apparently, an Aisian looking person who doesn’t speak Mandarin/Taiwanese is unusual to the locals. It’s actually kinda fun being a novelty. The Yuanliners are smiles and hospitable to this foreigner, after a few short moments of reservation and hesitation.

First bite in Yuanlin was fried chicken. A drumstick and a skewer of chicken butt. This tiny stand had every part found on a bird, including the ne neck.

We had some duck and duck parts at another store. Then Taiwanese teppanyaki for dinner. No fancy showmanship. Just fast good food, about USD $10 for two.

  • Soup, some kind of corn chowder, help yourself to all you need.
  • rice, of course.

  • veggies, Taiwanese cabbage and ong Choy.
  • proteins: squid, beef, tofu and over easy egg.

Not very pretty, but quite delicious. Squid had a nice snap. Fried eggs always good. Tofu was the egg tofu variety, nice crust with custardy inside. One of my favorites.

There are fruit stands and huge fruit emporiums everywhere. More ubiquitous than 7/11, family marts, if one can imagine that possible.

When you buy papaya, watermelon, durian, pineapple, whatever, the venders will transform your fruit selection to serving size pieces as part of their service. Nice touch.

We chose a beautiful papaya as a back in hotel treat. Our hotel, The Kindness Hotel, offers ice cream, hot brewed beverages and juice 24 hours a day in the lobby. A nice treat to relax with these complimentary amenities after hard hours of touristing.

More on The Kindness later.


Where is your next stop?

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In a couple of days, our final stop in Jhongli in Taoyuan county. We are doing day trips out of these last two smaller city stops.

Looks like day trips from Yuanlin to Zhonghua and final day to Lukang.

Make sure you get some Taiwanese meat balls in Zhonghua.

Good suggestion. I’d enjoyed ba wan various times before, love the soft pillowy casing. My wife reminds me I’ve had the fried version before, but this seems new to me all over again.

She’d already had a spot earmarked for our first stop. We were hoping the queue would not be too extreme. Luckily, the dozen or so in line were for takeaway. We were directed to a table right away and order taken immediately.

Our bone marrow soup came within a minute. So good, we had to order a second bowl.

Then one large and one small meatball. Besides the size, the large was stuffed with a bit of scallop in addition to the pork, mushroom and salted egg. For me, the star was the casing. This version had a slightly crispy crust, complementing the soft yielding dough. The sauce didn’t do much for me, a minor quibble.

Another shop two blocks away was serving the same style meatball. This place was larger and even more packed. The folks at both places know their business, no wasted motion. Everything in place to turn’em and burn’em.

Nice relaxing town, with plenty of little restaurants and lots of beverage shops. We filled our tourist card by hiking up the hill and paying homage to the giant Buddha.

It was 90 f(‘n) degrees, so we earned an air conditioned seat with a shaved ice and papaya milk.

Back on the bus to Yuanlin. Night market food tonight!!!