As some of you may know, I’ve recently started a plant-based diet this year. A preemptive write up about my diet journey so far: Since February 2017, I’ve become committed to a vegetarian diet. I still consume some dairy and eggs with the exclusion of most dishes that contain cheese because I really dislike anything that tastes really cheesy and milky. The cheese part is more of a personal preference. Other than that, I really love my Starbucks Chocolate Crumble Muffin and any sort of chocolate cake.
I started this journey as part of a deal I brokered with the universe and my promise basically entailed me going meat free. I can still eat onion and garlic unlike typical Buddhists vegetarian which makes things much more convenient for me when I eat out.
I’ve always been more of a 80% veggie 20% meat kind of girl so making the transition was really easy for me diet wise. I have been struggling with some resistance on the social aspect when dining out with friends, having family dinners and general comments and stereotypes that I suddenly become aware of now that I’m part of this “community”.
I’m very thankful that I have a very supportive nerd who’s willing to introduce more plant based foods into his diet when he’s formerly a full on meat lover before he met me. 💕
Earlier in September I went on a trip with my girl friend Tiara (who by the way, runs a food blog that you should totally check out) to Taipei. This was my third foray overseas on a full-on bunny diet mode, and my first one as a veggie head with my friend instead of the nerd. I wasn’t too worried as I had been to Taiwan several times before and am quite familiar with the food scene / popular night markets. Taipei is very vegetarian friendly and I’m very happy to say that both of us got to enjoy tons of yummy food and loads of beautiful scenery!
Before I get started on the food photos and locations to help you fellow bunnies out, please take a moment to view the short travel vlog I made! It has tons of food footage so this gives you a irl good idea of the kind of food you can expect too:
*Do note that as I am not vegan, there is egg and dairy in my recommendations. However, I do have mostly vegan food items but most places are not strictly vegan/vegetarian to accommodate my friend who’s in Taipei for the first time! So, if you are looking for strictly plant-based prepared at a plant-based facility, you may want to look elsewhere as my dietary ethos is more flexible!
Had a 8.45 am flight so I grabbed a hot tea from Starbucks and of course my chocolate muffin which I devoured before going into the duty free area.
Sweet Potato Fries from Hot Star Fried Chicken, Ximending 西门町
As our apartment was in the Ximen (West Gate) district known for shopping, we decided to make it our first stop after checking into our Airbnb. However as the district is pretty much targeting tourists, the prices are a bit higher than night markets so we simply window shopped and soaked in the evening scene and street performances. Decided to share some plum powdered sweet potato fries as we were really hungry after our flight.
Next stop, we went to Gong Guan Night Market 公管夜市, that has sneakers at pretty affordable prices. There are many food shops and a stretch of night market food stalls. After that, we took the train down one station to Shi Da Night Market 师大夜市 which sells more youthful clothes that are reminiscent of Korean fashion and blogshops in Singapore.
Food we ate at Gong Guan:
1 – Vegan Buger
My first snack for dinner was at this vegetarian burger stall. I got the fourth option, which was the vegan pepper chicken burger. I found the patty to be delicious, but it was too small and the bun to patty ratio was unbalanced, resulting in it tasting a bit too drying. I would suggest asking for more sauce, or going for the second option which is their signature dish instead!
Pro tip: If you want vegan option, choose those that have the word “全素” on the menu. This means that there is no egg or dairy.
2 – Red Bean Cake
This Red Bean Cake is the bomb! The filling is really rich and not too sweet, and you can bite into the large chunks of red beans for some texture. Recommended! Psst. They also have another store at Danshui!
100, Taiwan, Taipei City, Da’an District, 汀洲路三段255號
My friend queued for the Chen San Ding Black Sugar Bubble Tea which was apparently very famous while I was waiting at Starbucks. I had a sip and it wasn’t fantastic or anything, don’t understand the hype.
3 – Yam Sponge Cake
Met up with my good friend Vivian who surprised me with this delicious yam sponge cake! Not overly sweet and the yam filling tasted fresh, and the sponge cake was really soft! This is from Xiang Shuai Cake Shop, that is pretty well known as well!
4 – Beancurd with Peanut
This seemingly unassuming shop front is actually home to Long Tan Dou Hua, which serves really good beancurd! We had the Cold version, and the Warm version (no ice). I like the beancurd as it was very smooth and it has a slightly charcoal taste to it, which makes it more savoury rather than sweet. Perfect for those who prefer more savoury desserts. 10/10 recommend! (does my recommendation count for anything since I’m not a food blogger hahaha)
No. 239, Section 3, Tingzhou Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
6 – Veggie Salad & Fruit Juice
Right below our apartment, there is a 7-eleven convenience store, and it’s perfect to grab that late night snack if you’re still hungry after all the night market food! As I’m someone who tries to eat a lot of vegetables daily, I bought a veggie salad (they have chicken options) and a fruit juice to help me make up for the lack of vegetables at the night market.
Found this at the supermarket Wellcome near the Shi Da Night Market – vegetarian/vegan instant noodles! I bought this home back to Singapore as I think it’s much more interesting than what we have here but I think this is the lighter ba kut teh soup and not the more herbal one that I was so looking forward to. BUT the chicken cutlet one was really good!
1 – Yong He Soy Milk
Yong He Soy Milk is a chain breakfast place, and serves pretty decent Taiwanese breakfast. We got the warm and cold soy milk, egg omelette, dough fritter and scallion pancake. (Dou Jiang 豆浆, Dan Bing 蛋饼, You Tiao 油条, Cong Zhua Bing 葱抓饼)
You can find plenty of Yong He around Taipei, so it’s a reliable bet for breakfast.
No. 5-3, Shaoxing South Street, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
2 – Peanut Mochi Balls
Got this as my lunch – peanut mochi balls that are pretty good! The inside is peanut paste and the outside is coated in ground peanut powder. They do have other fillings like sesame and red bean but I super love peanut mochi so I got that instead! This is located right beside the popular Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice, so it’s perfect as a lunch option if your friend wants to try the pork rice!
西螺祖傳麻糬 | 程文照工坊
No. 12, Section 1, Roosevelt Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
3 – Winter Melon Black Sugar “Bubble Tea”
As the Mochi balls were quite drying I decided to try the bubble tea shop next to it as there was a steady queue. I think this is my favourite bubble tea out of the stores I have tried (even my all time favourite Share Tea). I normally hate talking to sales people / staff so it was a double whammy for me to order by myself and in Mandarin – Tiara was queuing for the rice. Not that my mandarin is bad, it’s just pretty rusty and I’m not used to how the Taiwanese like to “bite” their words and have a lot of cute slangs that makes it harder for me to understand them. I stopped watching Taiwan dramas long ago, sorry.
But anyhow, this is really good! They seem to be into black sugar drinks more than I remember from my last trip.
4 – Plum Juice
After lunch, we took the train all the way to the terminal stop, Danshui. It’s famous for the gorgeous sunset there and there’s plenty of colonial architecture and street food along the way. This stretch of our trip involved a lot of walking though; we clocked 25 k steps that day!
So after all that walking we were pretty thirsty and chanced onto this refreshing plum juice – what I love about their drinks and desserts is that they are all not so sweet so you can drink / eat more without feeling too sick. Super yummy! This is located beside the famous Ah Gei store, which serves beancurd with glass noodles inside and sealed with fish paste.
No. 135-1, Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 251
The super pretty sunset that made it look like a Mac photobooth back drop hahaha. This was after the river ride after the sun had first set at the pier so the view is less spectacular but still beautiful!
5 – Clear Heart Bubble Tea
Feeling thirsty after watching the sunset and another bout of walking we decided to drink some bubble tea and this chain is pretty good, I prefer it to Koi. I got the dairy free melon tea again!
Then we went back to Rao He Night Market 饶河夜市. It is a famous night market for food although the area is pretty small.
6 – BBQ Grilled Corn
The Taiwanese grilled corn is coated in this delicious brown seasoning sauce and it’s so addictive! I prefer this one to the one I ate the third night (scroll down). It’s so yummy omg I was like * heart eyes *! I forgot to ask if the seasoning is vegan but you can definitely ask for the plain one, they simply won’t butter on the sauce. The street was really crowded and we had to stand at the side to eat. Tiara got the famous Pepper Pork Bun which is a must-try if you eat meat.
7 – Matcha Belgium Waffle
Tried this matcha belgium waffle and it’s pretty good, not too hard and the matcha element is easily detectable. Would have preferred it to be warm though.
8 – Grilled mushrooms
Got super excited when I saw the cute mushroom mascot. There will be usually one grilled mushroom stall at most night markets, so this is a good bet if you’re vegan/vegetarian. You get to choose two seasoning powders.
9 – Fried Taro Ball
This fried yam ball was sooo delicious! The stall vendor will fry it on the spot for you so it’s pipping hot and really fresh! We got the yam-in-yam yam-ception ball and I love the fact that it’s not so sweet (you likely are getting sick of this comment already haha). The ball is bite-size so it’s a perfect snack “break” in between the meaty stuff so this is perfect to share with your omni and flexi friends too!
I also drank a large cup of watermelon juice but the photo was too blurry so it’s not making it into the blog.
Andddd check! that concludes my Rao He round up!
10 – Tea Leaf Egg
This is the “tea leaf egg” available at all convenience stores and I was dying to have some so I got it for supper on the second night in addition to my salad!
1 – Egg Omelette & Cappuccino
Had brunch at this hipster joint Guru House at XMD and the egg roll is super super good! Tiara opted for the three cheese egg roll while I ate the original one. It was super fluffy and really delicious!
No. 10, Lane 27, Chengdu Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
2 – Sweet Potato Fries & Tea
Then we went to Yang Ming Shan via train and bus that didn’t involve too much walking as we were super tired from yersterday.
Had some tea using the homegrown tea leaves on the tea fields and also some super super awesome sweet potato fries that were lightly fried but still very crispy and not oily at all. The seasoning powder was well mixed as well. RECOMMEND 10/10 for the view, food and friendly aunties and uncles! This is at the 大梯田 area that’s easily accessible by bus 129 from Beitou MRT.
MUST-VISIT place it’s so gorgeous!
112, Taiwan, Taipei City, Beitou District, 竹子湖路33-7號Yangmingshan National Park
Then we went down to Shilin Night Market 士林夜市 for our dinner:
3 – Yam Porridge & BBQ Corn
The food stretch in the middle of Shilin is always my go-to before the shopping! At the entrance near the road, there are two stores side by side that are vegetarian friendly. The porridge stall and the bbq corn stall. Perfect! The vegetarian store has other carb options as well such as noodles and rice!
4 – Sweet Potato Balls
5 – Fried Milk Balls
Recommend for a small bite of something sweet!
7 – Mango Strawberry Shaved Ice
Friendly uncle at the basement food level of Shilin that gave us a generous amount of fruits for our shaved ice! We opted for no condensed milk heh.
8 – Peanut Ice Cream Roll
Peanut Ice Cream Roll that had coriander in it which was interesting.
9 – Grilled Mushroom
Grill mushroom that had a long queue! I waited for about ten minutes. This is on the street of the Temple within Shilin that you can easily located on Google Maps.
1 – Vegetarian Meat Floss Sandwich
OMG I love it!!! I love the crispy cucumber hahaha. The meat floss isn’t overly drying due to the mix of veggies and egg they put in the sandwich as well, and the toast is just slightly toasted so that it has some bite to it. Delicious!
They have a few vegetarian food options highlighted in orange on the menu.
2 – Veggie Stew with Rice Set
Very filling typical vegetarian chinese meal wth mock meat and all, nice end at the airport to our trip!
That’s all on my food journey in Taipei!
I will be blogging about the travel itinerary soon!