Food & Drink

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Tempt Your Tastebuds in Tainan

A love of food is woven into the fabric of what makes Tainan, Taiwan’s original capital, the next foodie city to put on your bucket list.

HaiKo Seafood Restaurant

Courtesy of HaiKo Seafood Restaurant

Tainan City Government Advertorial

Mar 30, 2022

IN THIS DAY AND AGE, there are very few cities in the world which can perfectly balance the old world and the new. Preserving old architecture while striving for modernity with gleaming new buildings is tricky. And an even harder feat to achieve is maintaining traditions and keeping them relevant – both artistic and culinary. 

The tropical city of Tainan, in the southwest of Taiwan, has hit this harmonious balance perfectly. Ancient temples and modern art museums sit within sight of each other. And around them, on all sides and down every back alley sit restaurants, eateries, and food stalls. Big, small, famous, obscure (bar locals in the know), family-run for generations, or young people determined to follow their foodie passions from night market stalls no larger than a desk. 

A love of food is woven into the fabric of what makes Tainan, Taiwan’s original capital, and cuisine metropolis.

In August of 2021 Tainan was successfully selected as a 2022 Michelin-evaluated city. This catapults it into that heady foodie stratosphere occupied by top restaurants in Paris, Milan, San Francisco, Seoul, Tokyo, and other internationally revered foodie destinations.

Through to March 25, those who’ve eaten at a number of selected restaurants in Tainan can vote via tainanfood-carnival.com/en/index (no new consumption needed, as long as you’ve tasted it, you can vote), click “Vote to go” and browse the relevant restaurant dishes, click the “star” next to the dish you like, the evaluation is divided into 1-5 stars. You can also add tasting notes if you’d like.

There’s no shortage of top restaurants and eateries to choose from. And we’re talking regular places, not restaurants with velvet ropes and a 3-month waitlist – tastebuds trump decor.

If you’re wondering where’s worth checking out here are 3 of the best places (out of many) to celebrate the flavors, culture, and reverence the people of Tainan hold for quality cuisine.  

Chous Shimp Roll

Chous Shimp Roll
Courtesy of Chous Shimp Roll

The 50-year-old Tainan Chous Shrimp Roll adheres to the traditional flavor and is made from carefully selected fresh ingredients. The stuffing of the shrimp roll is made of about 100 freshly grilled shrimp per kilogram, mixed with the finest minced pork, fish paste, celery, green onion and other ingredients, and the outer skin is wrapped with pig peritoneum, and then wrapped A layer of special coating powder, deep-fried in the pan. Due to the large size of the grilled shrimp, the meat is crispy and juicy, and the bold ingredients used in the “Chous Shrimp Roll”, it is no wonder that the shrimp rolls produced here are guaranteed to allow gourmets to taste the happy taste of fresh and sweet shrimp in every bite. Chous shrimp rolls are currently taken over by the second generation. In order to improve the impression of ordinary people on traditional snacks, they operate in a more modern way. In addition to maintaining the traditional taste, modern kitchen equipment is fully used, and oil-water separation frying machines are introduced to replace traditional fast ovens. , There is no problem of re-cooking oil, so that customers can eat with peace of mind. In addition to shrimp rolls, Chous Shrimp Rolls also include fish soup, Danzai noodles, shrimp balls and milkfish ball soup, which are also popular among customers.

Milkfish Theme Museum

Milkfish Theme Museum
Courtesy of Milkfish Theme Museum

The Milkfish Theme Museum combines the “industrial culture education” and “beauty and experience interaction” of milkfish. In March 2019, it moved to Yuguang Island to change the business model, but it shows enthusiasm for milkfish remains undiminished. Milkfish Theme Museum hopes to combine the traditional farming industry of Yuguang Island and the small cultural trips in the community to share the good memory of milkfish among the common people. Arouse, share the value of milkfish through the stage. Through the stage of milkfish, the production and consumption ends of the industry are connected, so that the beautiful value of milkfish can be affirmed and recognized.

HE-Yuan Japanese Cuisine

HE-Yuan Japanesea Cuisine
Courtesy of HE-Yuan Japanese Cuisine

“He” represents the Yamato nation, that is, Japan; “Yuan” is the fate between the boss and the Japanese chef. “He-Yuan Japanese Cuisine” located on Dongxing Road, Xinying, Tainan, the store is full of the owner’s passion and dreams, as well as the craftsmanship honed over the years, looking forward to sharing delicious Japanese cuisine with everyone.

BaBaBa Braised Beef Tendon and Meat Rice 

BaBaBa Braised Beef Tendon and Meat Rice
Courtesy of BaBaBa Braised Beef Tendon and Meat Rice

The hidden taste in memory, simple and full of emotions, good food will bring a good and happy life experience. It is this feeling that makes life richer and better. Food is a kind of sharing and a kind of life attitude. Food will make people feel happy and pleasing to the eye because of love.   Xinying BaBaBa Braised Beef Tendon and Meat Sellers insist on giving each dish a unique soul because of their love.  

A May Fish Belly Specialty Store

A May Fish Belly Specialty Store
Courtesy of A May Fish Belly Specialty Store

A May Fish Belly Specialty Store, an inconspicuous shop in Gueiren District, carries the temperature of traditional Tainan snacks.

Tainan Cigu fish fillet, paired with Spanish mackerel, Chiayi Dongshih District oysters and Tainan Guanmiao District bamboo shoots, form an ancient salty porridge, full of nutrition, representing 40 years of development in Tainan.  

Fodu Aiyn Jiali Flag shop

Fodu Aiyn
Courtesy of Fodu Aiyn

Fodu Aiyu is the first beverage shop in Tainan with the theme of Alishan wild Aiyu. It is made by hand washing and condensing. Aiyu jelly is paired with jams cooked with various local fruits to create a variety of flavors and layers of love.  Aiyu creative drinks are favored by consumers who demand natural ingredients and never add any chemical ingredients such as preservatives or flavors.  Starting from the customer’s psychology of “eating well and authentically”, the shop insists on providing consumers with natural products. Not only the selection of the Alishan wild variety Aiyu rich in gum, but also the matching jam is also purchased and boiled by the boss personally at the place of origin. For example, Guanmiao pineapples, Yujing mangoes, and Xiaying mulberries in Tainan; passion fruit in Puli, Nantou, and lemons in Jiuru, Pingtung, etc., have developed a variety of Aiyu drinks.

Bamboo Perfume roast chicken restaurant

Bamboo Perfume restaurant was founded in 2003 and originated from Guanziling, a hot spring resort in Tainan. The founder grew up in the mountains, and his childhood memories of being with his father among the bamboos and trees in the mountain forest. Bamboo has become the only tree style in the store. Combining local special ingredients and carefully selected black feather chickens, he studied The unique taste of Wenggang roast Chicken, coupled with the unique way of operation and management, has opened up branches one after another, creating the No. 1 brand of Wenggang roast chicken.  Bamboo Perfume Restaurant carefully selects black-feather native chicken, bakes it for 40 minutes, and bakes it with dried bamboo shoots and dried plums. The roasted chicken is presented in its original flavor.  There are also set menus for 2 people, 4 people, and table dishes for 8 to 10 people to choose from.  Unique in Taiwan, the first “hand-peeled Wenggang roast chicken”, the shop will debone the bones for you intimately.  You can taste the deliciousness of hand-peeled chicken without touching your hands.  With the signature chicken oil, it is full of aroma. Take the chicken rack to boil the bamboo shoot soup before serving it. 

When you go to the store, don’t rush with your hands, just taste the urn chicken while it’s hot, the crispy skin and tender meat are worth savoring now.

Tainan My Chef Nabeyaki Egg Noodles

Located 100 meters in front of Longtian Railway Station in Guantian District, My Chef Negeyaki Egg Noodles, near Wusanto Reservoir, Siraya-nsa Guantian Visitor Center, Guantian Hulubei Ecological Park, Longtian Winery.  Longtian Station is also a must for domestic and foreign tourists to take trains to buses and taxis.  My Chef Nebeyaki Egg Noodles is boiled with chicken bones, vegetables and fruits for 4 and a half hours every day, you can eat the original taste of Tainan Nebeyaki egg noodles, in addition to the original style Nebeyaki egg noodles, they also develop a variety of flavors.  There are 14 kinds of flavors and nine different noodles to choose from.  There are also 5-6 classic side dishes handmade by the boss, which is also one of the must-orders.

Madou Zhu Wagui

In the eighth year of Taisho, Mr. Li Zhu was eight years old at the time. His father (Mr. Li You) was crushed by an ox cart and could not walk. The bowls cooked by his mother (Mrs. Li Chen Dai) are sold all over the streets and alleys. In 1950, after the establishment of the Central Market, it was officially listed to sell Wagui (Savory rice pudding). Therefore, a group of children grew up with a small shop. The delicious Wagui from the first century have been passed down to the fourth generation. Breaking the stereotype of traditional snack bars in the past and improving a clean and comfortable dining environment.  The integrity of the home delivery package is only for the sake of giving guests the most authentic and warm ancient snacks, and also extends a number of Taiwanese dishes through rice.  Authentic products, let the delicious taste of the time-honored brand continue to be fragrant.

HAIKO Seafood Restaurant

HAIKO Seafood Restaurant
Courtesy of HAIKO Seafood Restaurant

Starting from a roadside stall, the original intention is to provide fresh and fresh seafood, and the main focus of cooking is to carefully select local seasonal agricultural products.  It has been deeply cultivated in the land for more than 30 years, providing the villagers with a dining experience of fresh and affordable seafood.

The shop’s signature crab cabbage pot is full of seafood ingredients, and the crag is cooked with Chinese cabbage. The sweet soup combines the essence of seafood, and it is matched with meringues to add the finishing touch.

Fu Lou – Handmade Shrimp Rolls

Courtesy of Where magazine (2)

From a roadside barbecue stall, started in 1992, to a renowned restaurant, Fu Lou’s is a foodie haven for those seeking a meal with fresh ingredients, and delicious food at a reasonable price.

These homemade rolls are made with fresh shrimp, and coriander, to enhance the seafood flavor of the shrimp, before being wrapped with tofu skin.

In 2005, due to the increasing number of customers, Fu Lou expanded their business. The restaurant has become synonymous with Tainan cuisine by combining barbecue and Japanese cuisine – Japan occupied Taiwan from 1895 to 1945 and their culinary influence resonates throughout the country, particularly in Tainan. Fu Lou’s is recommended by the French Michelin Green Guide.

YI GE Beef Soup Restaurant 

Tainan Food : YI GE Beef Soup Restaurant
Courtesy of YI GE Beef Soup Restaurant

YI GE Beef Soup Restaurant uses fresh, never-frozen Taiwan beef. For “still-warm” beef soup, maintaining freshness from abattoir to restaurant is paramount. The meat is immediately sent to the restaurant for butchering and cooking. 

The owner reminds each customer that after pouring the hot soup over the sliced beef, they must eat the beef within 10 seconds to optimally experience the fresh, flavor. The soup is accompanied by a small dish of sweet soy sauce, ginger strips, and a little spicy bean paste. Dip a piece of beef in the sauce and pop it in your mouth to enjoy the sweet-salty flavor. A bowl of white rice, a serving of tender fried Taiwanese cabbage, and a hot beef soup. The simplicity is in the details.

A Sha Restaurant

Courtesy of Where magazine (2)

Founded in 1940 and passed down through three food-centric generations, A Sha Restaurant is as much a cultural institution as it is an icon of Tainan cuisine.

Starting from a humble dim sum stall selling assorted noodles, the family grew their passion into the A Sha Restaurant, where they have countless signature dishes. Among them, and quite possibly the ruby in the crown, is the Crab Miago, a sticky rice topped with minced pork and crab. Fragrant but not greasy, and frankly, while this dish looks humble, it’ll make your taste buds wonder what they’ve been doing their whole lives. 

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