Besides those awarded Michelin’s shining star, other street foods and hundred-year-old gourmet dishes honor Taipeiers with their presence. Before the Michelin Guide Taipei was released, Bib Gourmand had already recommended 36 affordably-priced Taipei eateries. Whenever and wherever you wander this city, you are sure to encounter something new to tempt your palate.
The Bib Gourmand Selection –
36 Establishments of High C/P Value
Article / Photos
Taipei Pictorial issue 603
The Michelin Guide, generally considered the “Gourmet Bible,” announced its Bib Gourmand selection this year in Taipei. Thirty-six affordable gourmet eateries were listed, including those offering such night market food as stinky tofu, pork rib medicinal herb soup, and sesame oil chicken soup. Eight local gourmet beef noodle places also made it to the list. Determined by Michelin’s regular rating system, the Bib Gourmand designation tries to satisfy all types of diners. Following local budgetary considerations, Michelin has selected quality meals at reasonable prices, so people can use the Guide, spend little, yet still enjoy gourmet food!
In 1997, the cute lip-licking image of Bib first appeared. Different from its guide to star-level sophisticated restaurants, the Bib Gourmand honor aims to recommend delicious meals at reasonable prices in the city. In Taipei, the price of any one dish ranges from $30 to $1,000 TWD. By comparison, in Paris, a typical Bib Gourmand meal costs around 36 Euros (about $1,300 TWD), while in New York it’s $40 USD (about $1,200 TWD), and 1,000 THB (about $930 TWD) in Bangkok.
Enjoy life, everyone! Grab a copy of the Michelin Guide and go on your around-the-world trip. Be it food, trip planning or accommodation – the Michelin Guide is meant to promote urban tourism. Whether you are on a personal driving tour or just biking around at a leisurely pace, the Guide can help. As the 30th city with a Michelin Guide, Taipei steps on to the international stage and shows its gourmet food and rich culture to the world.
Founded in 1971, this traditional Taiwanese restaurant is now run by the second generation, and its staff have all worked here for years. Customers can pick whatever seafood they want from the big tank. You can have your fish fried, steamed, made into soup, or you can select one fish to be cooked in several different ways. You don’t often find this old-fashioned way of serving in Taipei nowadays, but foreign customers always find it interesting. The signature dishes here are Oysters with Garlic (蒜泥鮮蚵), and Steamed Seasonal Fish with Preserved White Gourd (鹽冬瓜蒸時令魚).
185, Sec. 2, Changan E. Rd., Zhongshan Dist. 02-2752-8587
The owner of this restaurant is named Meili Hsu (徐美麗). Her Luchungguo (滷腸鍋; pork chitterlings braised in soy sauce) and the Fenggan (粉肝; velvety pork liver) are what customers keep coming back for. You’ll notice that the names of items appear on the menu but no prices. The owner will recommend dishes and portions according to the number of guests. The most special dish here is the soup, which is made by using an old secret method and simmered for hours. The Steamed Chicken (白斬雞) and Fenggan are two of the more simple dishes; which makes the choice of ingredients even more crucial.
146, Jinzhou St., Zhongshan Dist. 02-2521-0698
The interior design of this restaurant takes one back to the Taiwan of a half century ago. The owner, Chris opened this eatery because of his “special feeling for street food.” Only 60 bowls of his most popular dish, Braised Pork on Rice (滷肉飯), are served per day. To make this culinary delight, first, fresh pork neck is fried in lard; then broth is added and is simmered for nearly a day. The whole process – from preparing the ingredients to bringing it to table takes three days! This dish maintains a nice balance between salty and sweet, and it’s fatty but not greasy. The owner also recommends the Neritic Squid with Eggs (云蛋軟絲) and the Lightly-salted Dried Fish (一夜干). Chicken Roll (雞捲) and Braised Pork Knuckle (滷豬腳) are popular with the clientele too.
The chef, Cao Youqi (曹佑淇) specializes in Hunan, Sichuan, Jiangzhe and Taiwanese cuisine. When she was young, her family hired a cook from Sichuan, who let her help in the kitchen when she was just 5. By the age of 10, Cao was helping sun dry sausages and it was in these years that she learned her cooking skills. She doesn’t use sugar in any dishes, and knows about 40 ways to create spicy seasoning! Her warmest food memory is of a dish made of loofah, oyster and bean sprouts (絲瓜蚵仔豆簽) that her Taiwanese stepmother prepared. Cao uses only wild ocean fish, and her signature dishes are Stinky Tofu Fish (香臭魚), Sour and Spicy Fish (酸辣魚), and Dry-fried Fish (煎魚). People come all the way from Hong Kong just for her seafood.
115, Yanshou Street, Songshan Dist. 0966-558-669
Shuang Yue Food
The owner Mr. Lai used to live in England, but now is back in Taiwan helping to realize his mother’s dream. Their homemade dishes, such as medicinal herb chicken soup, satisfy many picky customers in the Legislative Yuan neighborhood. The Fleeceflower Root Chicken Vermicelli (何首烏雞麵線) is prepared using medicinal herbs, red and black dates, and fleeceflower roots, which add a mild and sweet taste. The chicken stock is rendered from freshly slaughtered free-range birds, and simmered for hours with extra chicken meat added before serving. This method keeps the soup fresh and the meat juicy and tender.
6-2, Qingdao E. Rd., Zhongzheng Dist. 02-3393-8953
Halal Chinese Beef Noodles
Located in a busy East District (東區) backstreet, Halal Chinese Beef Noodles (清真中國牛肉麵食館) stands out from other trendy restaurants because of its unique atmosphere. The owner, Zhong Zhiwei (鍾枝葳) explains that the secret to making great soup is never to turn off the stove. You can choose from two kinds of soup to go with your noodles here: clear stewed or braised. Another signature dish is Jinbing (斤餅; Chinese pancake), but unlike at other restaurants, it doesn’t come with roast duck, only sweet bean sauce (甜麵醬) and leek. This allows you to better discern the Jinbing’s original flavor, which foodies appreciate the most.
Open 24-7 because of the long hours required for preparation, Jian Hong Beef Noodles (建宏牛肉麵) is popular among night owls patrolling Ximending (西門町), taxi drivers and young people. The chief features of this place are its cheap prices and big portions; you can even ask for extra noodles and soup for free! The chef uses beef shank cut into big chunks and then well braised. Have a bowl of these beef noodles late at night, and you’ll feel revitalized in body and mind!
7, Xining S. Rd., Wanhua Dist. 02-2371-2747
Lao Shandong Homemade Noodles
Since the opening of this diner in 1949, its homemade knife-cut noodles and beef soup have conquered many a customer’s stomach. The noodles are freshly made, which is hard to find in Taipei nowadays. In addition to the chewy noodles, dumplings are a signature dish here as well. Order a small plate of appetizers – such as Jellied Pig’s Head Meat (豬頭肉凍) to go with your dumplings or hot beef noodles! And while the gelatinous concoction is melting in your mouth, have a sip of the soup, and savor the lingering aftertaste!
No. 15 Basement, 70, Xining S. Rd., Wanhua Dist. 02-2389-1216
Liao Beef Noodles
Founded a half century ago, Liao Beef Noodles (廖家牛肉麵) always gives its customers the best. It selects one of the leanest cuts – the fore shank, and simmers it in 30 kilos of beef fat and bones to make a delectable soup. Don’t forget to add one spoonful of sourkraut to your beef noodles and thus enhance the taste tremendously! But, since the boss lady loves to travel with her family, Liao’s is closed three times a year. Check to see if it’s open before you go!
98, Jinhua St., Daan Dist. 02-2351-7065
Lin Dong Fang Beef Noodles
This noodle shop has gained an international reputation. It’s the favorite of Hong Kong singer Eason Chan (陳奕迅), who simply must have a bowl of noodles every time he visits Taiwan! The soup here is between braised and clear stewed – very mild in taste. The stock is made from Taiwanese beef bones and medicinal herbs, simmered for 20 hours non-stop. It presents a subtle medicinal herb aroma followed by a rich, savory taste; but it’s not at all greasy. The meat is Australian beef shank. Add some store-made spicy oil to your noodles and you’ll see how perfectly it compliments the beef!
4-3, Andong St., Zhongshan Dist. 02-2752-2556
Liu Shandong Beef Noodles
Originally from Shandong, China, this local restaurateur opened his diner to re-create the hometown flavor he remembered from his boyhood. His son, Liu Shaolin (劉少麟) used to be a wanderer who left home to see the world. Now he’s back to take over his father’s restaurant, and is the chef here. He gets up in the early morning to prepare the stock. The beef is sliced thin and chewy, and the noodles are thick. This eatery is situated in the Taipei Main Station (台北車站) neighborhood, and attracts many student customers. The Chinese Pancake Soaked in Beef Soup (牛肉泡餅) is an especially fulfilling dish!
2, Ln. 14, Sec. 1, Kaifeng St., Zhongzheng Dist. 02-2311-3581
Niu Dian Beef Noodles
The owner’s intention was to create an industrial-style, high-end beef noodle place. This store stands out in the Kunming Street (昆明街) neighborhood, and looks more like a trendy player situated in an old district of Taipei. Its signature Manchurian-Chinese beef noodles (滿漢牛肉麵) come in a fresh and sweet clear stewed soup. Each bowl combines beef shank, tendon and stomach, and meat lovers flock to enjoy it. A small plate of spicy soy sauce is provided, allowing customers to try two flavors at one time.
91, Kunming St., Wanhua Dist. 02-2389-5577
Yongkang Beef Noodle
For the last half century, the delicate aromas of Yongkang Beef Noodle (永康牛肉麵) have lingered around this neighborhood, emanating from their signature braised-beef noodles and soup with thin noodles. Whenever young students from south Taiwan first come to school in Taipei, they usually make a beeline for Yongkang Street (永康街), and for Yongkang Beef Noodle. Then they walk around Qingtian Street (青田街) enjoying their introduction to the big city. Yongkang Beef Noodle is famous for both its Sichuanese beef noodles and for its soup – richly flavored with heavy seasoning.
17, Ln. 31, Sec.2, Jinshan S. Rd., Daan Dist. 02-2351-1051
Fu Hang Soy Milk
There’s always a long lineup at Fu Hang Soy Milk (阜杭豆漿). What attracts diners most are the chewy and aromatic Youtiao(油條) and Shaobing (燒餅). The soymilk here is thick with a sweet soy bean flavor. Have some to wash down a piece of the fresh-from-the-oven Shaobing with Youtiao; it’s so delicious you’ll want to have it for every meal! Salty soy milk is a perfect match for Youtiao, so they’re usually sold out before noon. Come early if you want a taste!
108, Sec. 1, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Zhongzheng Dist. 02-2392-2175
Hang Zhou Xiao Long Bao (Daan)
The Huang brothers used to run a grill diner. Then, about 20 years ago, they met a Shanghai chef and became good friends with him. This Shanghai friend taught them everything about making xiaolongbao, which is how Hang Zhou Xiao Long Bao (杭州小籠湯包) got started. The juice of the Loofah Xiaolongbao bursts out with your first bite, so you’ll need to get a napkin ready to keep it off your clothes! The prices here are reasonable, and they sell dian xin, or light snacks, only.
19, Sec.2, Hangzhou S. Rd., Daan Dist. 02-2393-1757
Peng Family (彭家園) serves traditional Cantonese dishes, such as Crispy Taro Duck (芋泥香酥鴨) and Crispy Chicken (脆皮雞). Their method of preparing the ever-popular Crispy Taro Duck is to slice the meat and then top it with mashed taro before deep frying. When consumed, the diner first experiences the crunchiness of the exterior, followed by the firmness of the taro, and finally the tenderness of the duck inside. The rich taro flavor goes so well with the juicy duck that the more you chew it, the more flavor is released.
60, Dongfeng St., Daan Dist. 02-2704-5152
Zui Feng Yuan
Zui Feng Yuan (醉楓園) serves authentic Cantonese dishes renowned for their unforgettable flavors and affordable prices. Chef Peng (彭) still follows recipes he learned from his great uncle. The specialty here is Crispy Taro Duck (芋泥香酥鴨) and Qiong Shan Tofu (瓊山豆腐). The Lamb Hotpot (羊肉火鍋) is made with Australian grass-fed lamb, cooked with sugarcane root, aged ginger and fermented red bean curd (南乳). Their Fish Head Hotpot (魚頭火鍋) has a traditional flavor for a base, but pairs it with a miso-like soup, which is different from the shacha sauce used by other restaurants. This dish is fresh and delicious with a lingering aftertaste.
5, Ln. 8, Sec. 3, Bade Rd., Songshan Dist. 02-2577-9528
Din Tai Fung (Xinyi Road)
Din Tai Fung’s (鼎泰豐) delicate snacks are famous in Taiwan and overseas. Wonton (餛飩), zongzi (粽子), and other snacks on the menu are made the authentic Shanghai way. The pork chop fried rice (排骨蛋炒飯) takes traditional Taiwanese fried rice with egg and gives it a Shanghainese twist! You’ll want to have one mouthful after another. Their cold bamboo salad is only served in Taiwan, and the pickled cabbage is only found at the Taipei 101 and the Xinyi Road (信義路) branches.
194, Sec. 2, Xinyi Rd., Daan Dist. 02-2321-8928
Hao Gong Dao Jin Ji Yuan
You’ll discover snack plates and bamboo steamers piled all over the place in this little bistro. It’ll bring to mind scenes from old Hong Kong movies. This business has been here for over forty years, providing mainly Shanghai appetizers and treats for budget-conscious diners. Each item is handmade, and the puff pastry (酥餅) is unique with its many mashed fillings, such as Chinese dates, taro, and red beans with egg yolk, or salt and pepper. The signature dish here is their xiaolongbao, which sports an amazing 18 pleats on each bun!
28-1, Yongkang St., Daan Dist. 02-2341-6980
Song Kitchen (宋廚菜館) is packed all year round. The Braised Pork Intestine (九轉肥腸) is an authentic Pekingese dish with a touch of the Taiwanese in it. But, the Peking Duck (北平烤鴨) is the headliner here, with ducks from Yilan (宜蘭) farms chargrilled in a traditional oven. To ensure an optimal taste experience, you must preorder this dish two days ahead. The duck is served with the chef’s “Duck Slicing Show” as a warmup act!
14, Ln. 15, Sec. 5, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Xinyi Dist. 02-2764-4788
Tao Luan Ting Roast Peking Duck Palace
Tao Luan Ting (陶然亭) is famous for its Peking duck. These Muscovies are from Yilan bird farms, and each weighs about 3 kilos with no offensive smell. The fowl are kept on their home farms 100 days longer than Cherry Valley ducks are. The meat is chargrilled in a special oven, sliced into 36 pieces with meat and skin separated, and then served with fresh Chinese pancake. The Sliced Peking Duck (片皮鴨) can be used in the preparation of six different dishes, such as the silky and tasty Liu Huang Cai (溜黃菜), which is eggs fried in duck fat. In addition to Peking duck, Tao Luan Ting’s snacks are delicious too.
2F, 86, Fuxing N. Rd., Songshan Dist. 02-2778-7805
The owner/chef, Joseph once worked as a chef at a 5-star hotel. His cuisine combines the elegance of classic French cuisine with the spices of India. He has even been inspired by Taiwan’s night market food, such as stinky tofu, and has many gustatory inventions to tantalize your taste buds! Inspired by the Wanluan Trotter Bento (萬巒豬腳便當), he has designed Pork Vindaloo (黑豚咖哩) using the fore feet of a black pig cooked in spices such as vanilla seed and cumin. To this he adds three different chilly powders – one to enhance aroma, another for spiciness and a third for color.
Dian Shui Lou (點水樓) initially declined to have a Michelin rating, but eventually was recommended by Bib Gourmand anyway. It’s simply hard to say no to its delicate dishes. This south-China-style restaurant is named Dian Shui Lou, because they’re confident you’ll love their dian xin and tea. This eatery uses mainly local ingredients and designs its menu according to what’s in season. In addition to the high-quality south-Chinese snacks, their Jiangzhe dishes are popular too, such as the Xihu Fish in Sweet-vinegar Glaze (西湖醋魚), and the classical Braised Streaky Pork (點水烤方).
61, Sec. 4, Nanjing E. Rd., Songshan Dist. 02-8712-6689
Hamamatsuya (濱松屋) knows eels. They have many ways of serving them – for example, their signature eel rice can be enjoyed three different ways: by adding seaweed combined with sesame seeds; served with Onsen Tamago (溫泉蛋; Japanese style soft-boiled egg), or with broth added to make Ochazuke (茶泡飯; cooked rice drowned with green tea or water). The eels here are farm raised in Taiwan for export to Japan. The size of each eel is kept small, so that the meat is tender without the muddy odor common to so many large types. This place also offers barbecued eel.
12, Ln. 119, Linsen N. Rd., Zhongshan Dist. 02-2567-5705
When a vegetarian chef met a Sichuan chef, they got together to open Taiwan’s first Sichuan-style veggie restaurant. Their signature dish, Vegetarian Crisp Tripe with Basil (塔香脆腸) is famous; it is a time-consuming dish that has king oyster mushrooms as its main ingredient. Other specialties include Steamed Stinky Tofu (清蒸臭豆腐), Crispy Salted King Oyster Mushroom (鹽酥杏鮑菇), and Gong Bao Vegetarian Chicken (宮保素雞丁). All dishes are prepared without any spring onions or green garlic, as these are not considered strictly vegetarian ingredients in traditional culture.
Starting its life as an old rice barn in 1944, this building has carried on its founding purpose, i.e. food, and lives on as a diner that brings exotic gourmet components together. It specializes in set meals, such as curry and pork chop rice; both of which are popular among office workers. The chefs use only locally-grown ingredients, and signature dishes include (dinner-only) grilled whole Guik Ding Chicken (桂丁雞), Beef Short Ribs with Noodles (牛小排麵), and Japanese curry. Pre-ordering these special dishes is highly recommended.
The twenty-something-year-old Chen Dong Pork Ribs Medicinal Herbs Soup (陳董藥燉排骨) is famous in Raohe Street Tourist Night Market (饒河街觀光夜市). Its pork rib medicinal herb soup is simmered with lots of pork ribs and Chinese medicinal herbs. The soup is light in color; it has a fresh yet rich flavor, and a sweet aftertaste. Even with all those medicinal herbs in it, you can still taste the lovely flavor of the pork itself – a perfect choice for people who are not so into the medicinal herb taste.
In the middle of the market area in front of 160, Raohe St., Songshan Dist. 0910-901-933
Fuzhou Black Pepper Bun
At Raohe Street Tourist Night Market, there’s always a long lineup in front of Fuzhou Black Pepper Bun (福州世祖胡椒餅). The buns are freshly-baked; the pastry is thin and crispy; and the meat stuffing is juicy. Bite into the crispy exterior and the peppery meat juice just explodes into your mouth. And you won’t find the stuffing too greasy either, though it is a bit fatty. All these flavors just work together perfectly!
In the middle of the market area in front of 249, Raohe St., Songshan Dist. 0958-126-223
Shi Boss Spicy Tofu
At the super-popular Shi Boss Spicy Tofu (施老闆麻辣臭豆腐), the must-try dish is the Spicy Stinky Tofu Soup (麻辣臭豆腐湯) with silky duck’s blood. Fried stinky tofu with pickled cabbage is another crowd favorite that one just can’t stop eating. Shi Boss Spicy Tofu is one of the more famous food stands at Raohe Street Tourist Night Market. For people who have never tried duck’s blood – don’t be put off! Have a bite and you’ll see how tender and juicy it is with no blood odor or taste at all. This authentic Taiwanese street food is perfect for foreign visitors looking for a new culinary experience.
189, Raohe St., Songshan Dist. 0910-163-404
A Nan Sesame Chicken
Located in Nanjichang Night Market (南機場夜市), A Nan Sesame Chicken (阿男麻油雞) seasons their soup to a lighter flavor. It warms you up in wintertime, and is great in other seasons too. And, if you eat at the stand, you can have extra soup for free! The broth is rich and gives off a tantalizing aroma of sesame oil. The perfect proportioning of oil and chicken soup is what won over the Michelin inspectors’ hearts and stomachs.
Ln. 311, Sec. 2, Zhonghua Rd., Zhongzheng Dist. 0955-572-506
Stinky Tofu Boss
Located in Nanjichang Night Market, Stinky Tofu Boss (臭老闆現蒸臭豆腐) has been operating for 22 years. Stinky Tofu Boss steams their tofu rather than fries it like other places do. Steaming keeps it fresh and juicy. The tofu here is strictly vegetarian and served without adding any MSG. It has a solid, dense texture that soaks up the sauce. With the stinky name spread out all over this diner, you’d think that’s all they serve, but their Red Vinegar Noodles (紅醋麵) are also popular.
6, Ln. 313, Sec. 2, Zhonghua Rd., Zhongzheng Dist. 02-2305-2078
Rong’s Pork Liver
Rong’s Pork Liver (豬肝榮仔) sells only soups – pork liver and pork strip. The broth is rich with a meaty flavor; the liver is perfectly cooked; and the strip is tender and succulent. Have a bite of the silky, slightly chewy liver with grated ginger. You won’t notice the classic “liver taste” that many people dislike. This is one yummy soup, with a gourmet taste you won’t soon forget!
In front of 68, Ningxia Rd., Datong Dist. 02-2553-9710
Liu Yu Zi
Liu Yu Zi (劉芋仔) sells only two items: Egg Yolk Taro Cake (蛋黃芋餅) and Taro Balls (香酥芋丸). The balls are made of taro from Jiashian District of Kaohsiung City (高雄市甲仙區), steamed into a mash and then deep fried. The ingredients that go into the Egg Yolk Taro Cake’s filling are displayed on the food stand. These include round, yellow duck egg yolks and fibrous pork floss. You’ll notice these piled up next to the deep fryer. When you bite into the cake, you’ll taste the taro mash first, then the pork floss, and finally the egg yolk. It’s really a satisfying little foodstuff!
In front of 34, Ningxia Rd., Datong Dist. (Stand No. 091, Ningxia Night Market)
Liang Ji Lou Wei
The Cantonese sauce here has Sichuan peppercorns and chili oil in it. It doesn’t have the usual Sichuanese spiciness but rather a sweeter flavor. This shop’s dried tofu is so tasty that many celebrities from the entertainment world can be seen lining up for it. Located in the middle section of Linjiang Street Night Market (臨江街觀光夜市), this busy stall has a small rectangular cupboard filled with more than 20 types of luwei (滷味; foods braised in soy sauce), such as dried tofu, chicken offal, kelp, and duck wings.
The owner of Luo Ji Xiao Chao (駱記小炒) certainly knows how to “fry.” This place doesn’t serve fried rice or fried noodles, just plain rice with a choice of one of five fried dishes. So, the chef’s seasoning skills are crucial. The mouth-watering aromas attract customers from all over. The dishes are salty but not heavily so, and go perfectly with the plain rice. The fried lamb and fried clams are both full of umami and worth trying, but the most popular item among locals is surely the fried top shells. The European and American Michelin inspectors seemed to prefer the fried beef, and considered this place a well-hidden gem that is definitely worth visiting.
Hai You Pork Ribs (海友十全排骨) has been open for 40-plus years, using fifteen Chinese medicinal herbs, such as licorice and goji, to season its soup made with pork, lamb, and walking catfish. Their soup doesn’t have much of an herbal taste, but combined with the sweetness of the pork, it sure smells delectable! Have a sip and let it slide down your throat; it will warm up your whole body. One special thing about this soup is that it’s also perfect for summertime!