Last Updated on November 27, 2020 by queenie mak
Anyone who is travelling to Taipei, Taiwan will have food on their mind. The capital city has the most delicious Taiwanese food. From affordable food stalls at a night market to Michelin star restaurants, there is something for everyone.
One of the best areas for food in Taipei is Ximending (西門町). The area is known for shopping and eating. From day to night, Ximending is always full of tourists and locals looking for the best deals and good food.
When it comes to food in Ximending, there are too many choices. In this post, I will show you exactly what you need to try in Ximending. If you are a foodie or you just enjoy new food experience, then keep reading!
Before you visit Ximending in Taipei
Before you go to Taipei, take a look at my post on learning all my best tips for travelling to Taiwan. I included a lot of information, including getting a Taiwan prepaid SIM card, transportation around the country and more. And check out more tips on my solo travel guide to Taipei and learn about other attractions in Taipei.
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Tips on eating in Ximending
I just want to quickly tell you a few tips on eating in Ximending that you might find useful.
- Ximending is a tourist area. Don’t be afraid that you cannot speak Mandarin and let that deter you from eating some of the best Taiwanese food. Many vendors speak a bit of English.
- Check the hours of operation for the restaurants before you go. Some Ximending restaurants only serve breakfast food and therefore, only open during the day.
- Look for long queues for any restaurants or food stalls. When there is a long queue, it means the food is excellent and worth the wait!
- If you like late-night snacks, there is always good food at the Ximending night market.
- If possible, try to eat in instead of taking the food in a doggie bag. It will eliminate a lot of single-use plastic (plastic bags, utensils, containers, etc).
- I tried to find the English restaurant name as many of them are only in Chinese.
- I always stay near the Ximending area whenever I am in Taipei because I want to be in close proximity to delicious food. No joke – that really is my intention! I included some of the places in my list of places to stay in Taipei.
What to eat in Ximending?
So without further ado, here is my recommendation for the best food in Ximending. I pinned all 18 places on the interactive map so you can find each location easily.
Take a look at the map below and click on each individual pin for more information.
1. 阿宗麵線 (Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle)
Address: No. 8-1, Emei Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 9:00 am to 11:00 pm
阿宗麵線 (Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle) only makes one thing: soup! It is a flavourful thick soup broth with flour rice noodles, soy-braised pig intestines and cilantro.
Typically, I don’t eat anything weird, including animal innards, organs, offals, etc. But I have to say, this soup was delicious and it does not taste “organ-y”. It tastes rather good!
Perhaps, it might be the chilli sauce and black vinegar they put on top? Or maybe it is cooked with secret seasonings? Who knows?! All I know is I want more!
There is always a long queue at Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle. But don’t be intimidated by all the people waiting; the queue removes quickly.
And if you don’t speak Mandarin, it is okay. They understand simple English. Besides, there are only two sizes (small costs NT$55 and large costs NT$70). And you can tell them to give you a lid for the bowl if you want to take away.
But if you want to drink the soup right away, you will have to follow everyone else: stand around the shop and drink the soup on the pedestrian street.
2. 西門金鋒魯肉飯 (XiMenGinfong)
Address: No. 89, Kunming Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm (closed on Tuesdays)
西門金鋒魯肉飯 (XiMenGinfong) has all the classic Taiwanese dishes like lurou fan (braised pork with rice), braised pork belly, turkey rice, braised tofu, stir-fried vegetables, dry noodles, homemade soup, etc. To me, these are all Taiwanese comfort foods.
And best of all, the food portions are quite small, which means you can try many things in one sitting. I ordered four dishes (pictured above) for dinner. I don’t usually eat that much, but I was able to finish all four plates comfortably.
XiMenGinfong is an excellent option for solo travellers and for any who wants to try all the classic Taiwanese dishes. Each dish costs between NT$33-90.
XiMenGinfong is a sit-down restaurant. First, ask for a table, and they will bring you a menu where you check off the items you want to order. The menu is in Chinese and English.
When you finish your meal, bring the bill up to the cashier and pay for your meal.
3. 牛店牛肉麵 (Niou Dien Beef Noodles)
Address: No. 91, Kunming Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm (closed on Mondays)
牛店牛肉麵 (Niou Dien Beef Noodles) specializes in beef noodles. The restaurant uses the best cuts of beef from Australia and New Zealand, where the beef shank is braised for many hours and served in a complex beef broth. No wonder the restaurant was highlighted in Michelin Bib Gourmand 2019.
Choose from various cuts of beef and customize the spiciness level. I had a small classic beef noodle (without green onions). The beef was really tender and soft, and the broth was super tasty! A small beef noodle costs NT$180 and a large costs NT$220.
During peak hours, you may have to wait for a seat at Niou Dien Beef Noodles. Give your name to the waitress at the door so she can put your name in the queue. When it is almost your turn, the waitress will bring you an English menu so you can choose your meal before you sit down.
A pretty efficient system, but the wait could be long (especially if you go during weekends). And it is cash only.
4. 老山東牛肉麵 (Lao Shandong Homemade Noodles)
Address: No. 70 B1 Room 15, 108 Xinxing Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 10:30 am to 9:30 pm
There is another beef noodle restaurant in Ximending that received a mention in Michelin Bib Gourmand 2019: 老山東牛肉麵 (Lao Shandong Homemade Noodles).
And rightfully so, the beef noodle is perfect! I especially love the handmade ribbon noodle. The noodle is so chewy and tasty. And the broth and beef were both spectacular as well. This is a must-eat food in Ximending!
A bowl of homemade beef noodle costs NT$180 for a small and NT$200 for a large.
Lao Shandong Homemade Noodles is a bit hard to find. When you arrive at the southwest corner of Xinxing Road and Emei Road, you will see a shopping plaza. Take the escalator down to the basement level and look for the noodle shop.
Similar to most Taiwanese restaurants, this is the order of events when eating at a Taiwanese restaurant: let the waiter lead you to your table, order your food by checking off your preferred items on the menu, eat and pay at the cashier.
The staff does not really know much English. But they have an English menu. Phew!
5. 永和豆漿 (Yong He Soy Milk)
Address: No. 30, Section 2, Hankou Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 5:30 am to 2:30 pm
There are many good breakfast places in Taipei but 永和豆漿 (Yong He Soy Milk) makes the best Taiwanese breakfast! The small restaurant serves traditional Taiwanese breakfast like rice dumpling (roll) with a fried egg and pork and sweet soy milk (pictured above). The restaurant is so popular that there are other locations in Taipei!
I tried almost everything on the breakfast menu. Ha! And I have to say, everything at Yong He Soy Milk is delicious! I’m pretty picky about food, but I would always go to Yong He Soy Milk for breakfast whenever I am in Ximending.
Have breakfast at Yong He Soy Milk during weekdays as the queue for breakfast on the weekends and holidays are incredibly long. If possible, go super early or have a late breakfast.
To make it easier for tourists to order food, the restaurant has an extensive breakfast menu in several languages and photos. You can simply point to the item you want.
6. 山文治 (The Shanwich Shop)
Address: No.189, Xining Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taipei 108
Hours of operation: 7:30 am to 2:00 pm
The most popular sandwich at 山文治 (The Shanwich Shop) is the double egg and meat sandwich with peanut sauce. It is a huge sandwich and all for NT$85!
I wasn’t quite hungry that morning, so I order the classic ham and egg sandwich for NT$50. And of course, I got a cold milk tea, my favourite!
Other patrons in the restaurant ordered french fries and chicken nuggets. Taiwanese people really like their fried food in the morning. It wasn’t my first time seeing french fries and chicken nuggets on the menu for breakfast.
Even though the entire menu is in Chinese and the staff speaks limited English, it is worthwhile to try these delicious breakfast sandwiches in Ximending. There are a few photos on the menu, so you can point to something you want to try.
Grab a seat, order and pay at the counter and wait for your food. The price is very reasonable, and you can enjoy a delicious breakfast at a nostalgic breakfast joint in Ximending.
7. 三味食堂 (Sunway Siokudo)
Address: No. 116, Section 2, Guiyang St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 11:20am to 2:30pm and 5:10pm to 9:30pm (closed on Mondays)
三味食堂 (Sunway Siokudo) is a very popular sushi restaurant in Ximending. It attracts many tourists. They are known for their giant salmon nigiri and big portions of salmon belly sashimi.
Don’t order too much because each sushi is quite big! One sushi could fit half of my palm (but I have small hands), but still. It is not your typical sushi size or portion. That’s for sure!
For dinner, I had one order of salmon sushi, nigiri sushi and a sea urchin handroll (pictured above). It was too much food for me! But I thoroughly enjoyed it!
GO EARLY! The restaurant opens at 11:20 am for lunch and 5:10 pm for dinner. Go at least half an hour before the opening times. There will already be a lot of people crowding the entrance.
Once you are there, put your name and number of people on the waiting list. If your name is on the first page of the waiting list, you will get in pretty quickly when the door opens. The restaurant has two floors and plenty of seating. Even if you have to wait, the wait won’t be too long.
Sunway Siokudo didn’t have an English menu, but now they do. It makes ordering that much easier!
8. 賽門甜不辣 (Simon Tian Bu La)
Address: No. 95, Xining Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 6:30 am to 11:00 pm
賽門甜不辣 (Simon Tian Bu La) is one of the oldest restaurants in Ximending, and they serve tianbula (Taiwanese tempura). Tianbula is a typical Taiwanese snack derived from the Japanese’s one-pot dish called Oden. Basically, tianbula is a bowl full of deep-fried fish paste folded into various shapes served with a homemade tangy-sweet sauce.
When you are at Tian Bu La, order 甜不辣 (tianbula) for NT$65 which is a small bowl of tianbula. Make sure to drink the soup too! It is so good!
If you really want tianbula and want a quick fix, 7-Eleven’s in Taiwan sells really good tianbula.
There is a menu on the wall near the entrance and I ordered by pointing to 甜不辣. I made the mistake of paying right away where most locals pay after they finish. Either way is fine.
If you want to see Taiwan with a tour, check out some of these tour ideas:
9. 繼光香香雞 (J&G Fried Chicken)
Address: No. 121, Section 1, Hanzhong Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 11:30 am to 11:00 pm
Who doesn’t like fried chicken? And in Taiwan, it is no exception that fried chicken is a great snack or meal.
At 繼光香香雞 (J&G Fried Chicken), they serve the best bite-size crispy boneless fried chicken! Order a signature popcorn chicken. Taste the tender and juicy pieces of chicken breast meat flavoured and fried to perfection.
The popcorn chicken is made to order. A small bag of popcorn chicken costs NT$75 and a large costs NT$120.
Like most food places in Taiwan, there is always a queue. But it is worth the short wait for the popcorn chicken.
The restaurant is just a food counter; there is no seating. But you can eat and walk around Ximending at the same time.
10. 艋舺ㄟ雞排 (Monga Fried Chicken)
Address: No. 118, Section 1, Zhonghua Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 2:00 pm to 10:30 pm
艋舺ㄟ雞排 (Monga Fried Chicken) specializes in fried chicken filet where a piece of the chicken filet is flattened into a 2cm thick steak and deep-fried. It is thick enough to keep the chicken moist but also thin enough for it to fry without drying the inside.
If you have never had fried chicken in Taiwan, order the original flavour chicken filet. But if you feel adventurous, try the seaweed flavour chicken fillet or the chilli flavour chicken filet. They all cost NT$75.
It takes a few minutes for Manga Fried Chicken to make fry the chicken filet. If there is a long queue, the wait might be longer. They will call your number when your food is ready. There are a few plastic stools in front of the restaurant, and that’s the only seating they have.
11. 豪大大雞排 (Hot-Star)
Address: No. 104, Hanzhong Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Okay, I know I already mentioned two places in Ximending that make delicious fried chicken. Still, I have to include 豪大大雞排 (Hot-Star) because it is the original restaurant selling deep-fried chicken filet.
Originated in Taichung, Taiwan in 1992, Hot-Star is known for the giant deep-fried chicken filet. It can be up to 30cm – that is massive! Order the Hot-Star large fried chicken and see for yourself.
Like most good food outlets in Ximending, there is always a long queue for Hot-Star. (Taiwanese people don’t mind queuing). But it is worth your time. While you wait, maybe you can browse around the area and pick up a bubble tea next door?
And the chicken filet is so big that it might be a complete meal on its own. So bring an empty stomach!
12. 火焰骰子牛 (Torched Beef Dice)
Address: No. 13-2, Lane 50, Hanzhong Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 1:30 pm to 11:00 pm
Ximending Night Market has many food stalls that are only open at night. When the sun goes down, food vendors set up their stalls to serve delicious food to patrons. And 火焰骰子牛 (Torched Beef Dice) is one of them.
They only sell one thing: beef cubes cooked with a torch. High-grade wagyu beef is cut into cubes. The chef turns on the large torch and sears the beef cube to perfection. Lastly, choose the seasonings you want to add to the beef.
Order a small portion for NT$200 or a large portion for NT$300.
If you like beef with a bit of fat, then you must try the torched beef. I thought it was tasty and great as a snack. Order a small and give it a try!
If you didn’t get to try the torched beef in Ximending, they have other locations. Look out for the same vendor at different night markets across Taipei.
13. 蜂大咖啡 (Fong Da Coffee)
Address: No. 42, Chengdu Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 8:00 am to 10:00 pm
蜂大咖啡 (Fong Da Coffee) is one of the original coffee shops in Ximending. Opened in 1956, the cafe didn’t change much. It still has the vintage interior and retro coffee roaster (which they still use to roast coffee beans).
I read somewhere that Fong Da Coffee introduced iced coffee to Taipei back in the day. It doesn’t seem like anything to us today, but it was a huge deal back then. Try their iced coffee made from the special iced coffee maker and see what the fuss is all about.
They also sell coffee beans and other coffee-related products.
The breakfast seems fine (but I would rather eat breakfast in other places in Ximending like Yong He Soy Milk). But the Taiwanese cookies in the big jars are really good! It goes really well with a cappuccino!
14. 兩粒車輪餅 (Two Wheeled Cake)
Address: No. 144-1, Section 1, Zhonghua Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm
兩粒車輪餅 (Two Wheeled Cake) makes sweet and savoury Japanese wheel cakes.
A wheel cake is a Japanese dessert where it is a layered cake shaped in a round disc with azuki bean (red bean) paste inside. Take a look at the photo above.
But as you can see, this particular food vendor making wheel cakes also make other sweet flavours AND savoury flavours too.
I tried a cheese and tomato sauce wheel cake and a traditional red bean wheel cake. Surprisingly, the cheese and tomato wheel cake was really good! And you can’t go wrong with the classic red bean.
A wheel cake costs between NT$15-35 depending on the flavour you choose. If they don’t have it in the display case, they will make it for you right away.
15. 永富冰淇淋 (Yongfu Ice Cream)
Address: No. 68, Section 2, Guiyang St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
永富冰淇淋 (Yongfu Ice Cream) has been serving homemade ice-cream for 70 years. The retro ice-cream shop makes traditional Taiwanese flavours like red bean, peanut, taro, longan, passion fruit and many more.
I tried the recommended picks: peanut, limei (preserved plum) and red bean. The ice-cream texture is light and flavourful. It is a cross between ice-cream and sorbet, not too creamy but not too icy either.
I thought a single order has only one scoop of ice-cream. But it actually has three scoops, AND you can pick three different flavours! All for only NT$40!
16. 三兄妹雪花冰 (3 Siblings)
Address: No. 23, Hanzhong Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 10:00 am to 11:00 pm
One of the most delightful desserts is the shaved ice mountain. It is literally what it is – a shaved ice mountain. You can get different flavours in a giant bowl of fluffy shaved ice and with various toppings like ice-cream, fruits, tapioca, etc.
At 三兄妹雪花冰 (3 Siblings), the most popular options include mango, strawberry and ice-cream. And prices start at NT65.
The shaved ice mountain might look really big, but honestly, it’s just fluffy shaved ice. During warmer months, the shaved ice mountain melts pretty quickly. So even if you are eating solo, you can finish the whole thing! I did! Ha!
17. 成都楊桃冰 (Chengdu Star Fruit Ice)
Address: No. 3, Chengdu Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 1:00 pm to 10:30 pm
I mentioned a few vintage restaurants in Ximending already, and I’m going to add another: 成都楊桃冰 (Chengdu Star Fruit Ice).
Operating since 1966, the retro drink shop only sells pineapple ice and starfruit ice. Locals love this place and the shaved-ice treats! And I can see why – the drink is so refreshing and thirst-quenching.
I ordered the pineapple ice in a cup. It has chunks of sweet pineapple inside. If you like a sweet and sour flavour, try the starfruit ice!
It was super helpful that the person behind the counter speaks English because I had no idea what I was going to try. The drink comes in either a bowl or a cup, and I ordered the pineapple ice based on his suggestions.
Address: No. 116, Section 1, Zhonghua Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Hours of operation: 1:00pm to 11:00pm
Since 1878, 巫記青蛙下蛋 has been serving the traditional citrus drink. The drink is not too sweet and very refreshing.
And you can get “frog eggs” in the drink. The “frog eggs” are the tapioca balls inside the drink, which resemble frog eggs! Very similar to bubble tea.
If you don’t want the “frog eggs,” get aiyu jelly (citrus jelly made from aiyu seeds) with your drink.
No frogs were hurt in the process of making the drink. Ha! The drink is really refreshing and great for a hot summer day.
If you like citrus-y type of beverage, make sure to give it a try!
However, there isn’t an English menu. I pretty much pointed to the giant bowl of citrus juice, and that’s it! Ha!
Which food in Ximending will you try?
These are my top 18 food you must try in Ximending. I hope you like my selection and will give it a try the next time you are in Taipei. You can easily try any of these in Taipei on your own. Or you can join a food tour in Taipei and try new food with a tour guide.
When I return to Taipei (hopefully soon), I will try new things and add more to the list. So bookmark this blog post and pin the graphic below to your Pinterest board!
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