Friday, 11 August 2017

High Five! 5 Top Restaurants to Try in Taipei

5-Top-Restaurants--Taipei

Taipei is a global megapolis offering diverse dining experiences from international to ultra local, from exclusive fine dining to gritty street food. No visitor to Taipei should leave without experiencing the night markets. After checking out the night markets, here are five recommended Taipei restaurants to sample the wide range of culinary experiences the city can offer.

These five restaurants were chosen for their delicious food, interesting stories, and their long history intertwined with the story of Taipei/ Taiwan. Needless to say, these 5 are just a minute sampling of numerous fine restaurants in Taipei.

5-Top-Restaurants--Taipei

The first is Yin Yih Restaurant.

Yin Yih means Silver Wings. Yin Yih started life as the dining club of the Republic of China Airforce Academy in Nanjing in 1928, the exclusive preserve of ROCAF pilots and officers. Yin Yih restaurant came to Taiwan with the ROCAF in 1949, following the Kuomintang's retreat to the island. Yin Yih was opened to the general public in 1953.

5-Top-Restaurants--Taipei
Camphor smoked duck

Specialising in old school Huaiyang, Zhejiang and Sichuan cuisine, Yin Yih has preserved many of the traditional dishes prepared in the old way which required lots of manual work. So, many of Yin Yih's dishes cannot be found anywhere else in Taipei.

5-Top-Restaurants--Taipei

Yin Yih has a tofu dish from the Ming Dynasty where the 4 inch square cube of tofu is hand cut into 5,000 threads and served in chicken broth. It just tastes like tofu and chicken soup but the fine craftsmanship behind this dish is just amazing. Yin Yih has several of such historic dishes which are hard to find elsewhere.

5-Top-Restaurants--Taipei
One of Yin Yih's signature dishes is 鍋巴蝦仁 dating back to Emperor Quan Long.

Restaurant name: Yin Yih 銀翼餐廳 
Address: No. 18, Section 2, Jinshan South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 台北市大安區金山南路二段18號
Tel: (02) 2341 7799 
Hours: 10:00am - 2:00pm | 5:00pm - 9:00pm  

Read more about Yin Yih 👈 click

5-Top-Restaurants--Taipei

Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih is Taipei's oldest vegetarian restaurant.

Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih restaurant's founders were medical students in Tainan in the 1960s. When they were studying, they lived with a foster parent, an old lady who is vegetarian. So, the founders became vegetarians as they lived on vegetarian food throughout their student years.

When they graduated in the 1970s, the founders decided to start a little restaurant so that they could cook vegetarian meals for their foster parent. They also wanted to serve better quality vegetarian food with fresh ingredients as in those days, vegetarian food was mainly pickled and preserved.

The little restaurant was popular and expanded partly because the founders were getting married and needed to host vegetarian banquets. But, there was no vegetarian restaurants of such scale at the time, so they had to build one themselves. Nearly 60 years on, Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih restaurant is the oldest and still one of the top vegetarian restaurants in Taipei, if not Taiwan.

5-Top-Restaurants--Taipei

Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih restaurant serves the full spectrum of vegetarian cuisine from with gluten to gluten free, with egg, no eggs, with milk, no milk, vegan and so on.

The most memorable and delicious dish for me during our scrumptious dinner at Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih was this "soba" made with strands of nagaimo roots. The "noodles" were slimy smooth, crunchy and naturally sweet. The light soy sauce dip balances the sweet nagaimo with a mild savouriness. A pinch of wasabi added a touch of spiciness.

It's delicious!

Restaurant name: 觀世音素菜餐廳 Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih
Address: 29, Sec 2, Min Chuan East Road, Taipei, Taiwan 
GPS:  25°03'45.7"N 121°31'45.6"E | 25.062690, 121.529335 
Tel: +886 2 2596 3488 
Hours: 11:30am - 2:00pm | 5:00pm - 8:30pm

Read more about my visit to Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih restaurant 👈 click

5-Top-Restaurants--Taipei

Chiou Hwa Restaurant 九華樓 at Gloria Prince Hotel is one of the top places for Peking duck in Taipei.

5-Top-Restaurants--Taipei

The story of Chiou Hwa's famed Peking duck is the career story of Chef Fong. Chef came to Taipei from Hong Kong as the HK roasts specialist, initially for 1-2 years to help out his friend, the Executive Chef of Gloria Prince Hotel.

One to two years became nearly 30 years as Chef Fong fell in love with Taipei and the city loves the Chef's HK roasts, especially his Peking duck.

5-Top-Restaurants--Taipei

Chiou Hwa's Peking ducks are made with huge Yilan Cherry ducks weighing at least 3.5 kg. Chef Fong insists on an elaborate tedious preparation process for his signature Peking ducks. The fat duck is marinated with secret spices, air dried, roasted and then bathed by splashing it with hot oil to crisp it's golden brown skin. Finally, the golden brown bird is expertly carved so diners can enjoy the special texture and flavour of Chef Fong's Peking duck.

Restaurant name: Chiou Hwa 九華樓 
Address: 369 Linsen North Road, Taipei, Taiwan 台北市中山區林森北路369號2F 
GPS:   25°03'28.3"N 121°31'31.9"E | 25.057864, 121.525532 
Tel:  +886 2 7721 6619 
Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm | 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Read more about Chiou Hwa Restaurant 👈 click

5-Top-Restaurants--Taipei

Kanpai Yakiniku's founders opened this little restaurant when they were in university because they wanted a place where they can enjoy premium BBQ, drink and have fun meeting people.

5-Top-Restaurants--Taipei

Running the little restaurant on the principles of:

👉 It's great to be alive 活著真好 
👉 It's great to be with friends 有彼此真好 
👉 Fate works in mysterious ways 緣份真奇妙

Kanpai Yakiniku was a big hit and quickly grew to branches all over Taiwan, in China and soon in London as well.

The spirit of the founders' life loving, cheerful style is still felt in the fun filled, happy, cosy intimate space at the original shop in Taipei's Daan District.

5-Top-Restaurants--Taipei

Customers have plenty of fun at Kanpai Yakiniku and enjoy the best premium Wagyu beef and Iberico de Bellota pork in Taipei. There is also a good range of beers, stout, sake and spirits to kanpai (toast) to at Kanpai Yakiniku.

Restaurant name: Kanpai Yakiniku (Founding Shop) 乾杯本店 
Address: 17, Lane 236, Section 1, Dūnhuà South Rd, Daan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 臺灣臺北市大安區敦化南路一段236巷17號 (Nearest MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing / slightly further alternative Zhongxiao Dunhua) 
GPS: 25°02'26.1"N 121°32'49.6"E | 25.040577, 121.547112 
Tel: (+886) 2-8773-1150 Hours: 5:00pm to 11:00pm

Read more about Kanpai Yakiniku 👈 click

5-Top-Restaurants--Taipei

Chen Family Restaurant founded 31 years ago by Ms Chen in 1986 is a family friendly little casual eatery serving Northeastern China style hotpot with signature appetising sourish stock made with pickled cabbage. It has three outlets in Taipei. We visited their humble parent stall and love it 😄

5-Top-Restaurants--Taipei

Besides their signature hotpot, Chen Family restaurant is also famous for several unique dishes. They have a famous "must try" crab dish - the favourite of the Qing Dynasty's Empress Dowager which has no crab at all 😄 They also have one of the best Dong Po Rou or braised pork belly that I have tasted so far. They have many more delicious dishes including a crispy fried pancake with house made red bean paste which you must try.

If you are looking for a casual restaurant for hearty traditional Chinese dishes in Taipei, I would highly recommend Chen Family 

Restaurant name: Chen Family Restaurant 成家小館
Address: #154 Section 3, Muxin Road, Wenshan District 文山區木新路三段154號 Taipei, Taiwan 
GPS:   24°58'54.8"N 121°33'40.8"E | 24.981877, 121.561323 
Tel: +886 2937 4611 
Hours: 11:30am to 1:30pm | 5:00pm to 9:30pm

Read more about Chen Family Restaurant 👈 click

Disclosure: My thanks to China Productively Center for this opportunity.



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I firmly believe that taste is subjective and so, warmly welcome differing viewpoints :-D But, I disapprove negative comments that are anonymous or hide behind fake identities. I feel that that is unethical in the same way as speaking ill of others behind their backs. I look forward to all your comments :-D Thank you. (Date: 18 Dec 2015)

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