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Non-Chinese Food Reviews in Taipei

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Non-Chinese Food Reviews in Taipei

JT | Aug 4, 2005 09:02 PM

I left Tapei in July 2005. Here are some non-Chinese food reviews:

I have to use the DC area as my measuring stick, because that's where I'm from.

Generally, don't eat Thai food in Taipei. It's not that good. By way of comparison, Ruan Thai in Washington, DC is better. One exception is Home's Restaurant, on FuXing North Road, across from the Breeze Center [a giant, and pretty cool shopping mall]. Home's Chinese name is Taishi Liaoli, which translates to "Thai-Style Restaurant." The seafood salad and lemongrass prawns were both good. If you go to Taizhong, the Thai Grandmother's Restaurant was good. I heard that the Thai food in Taizhong is better because of a larger local population. Maybe we just got lucky the one time we tried. Dunno.

Don't eat Vietnamese food in Taipei. It sucks. There are no exceptions. I've tried all the Vietnamese shops on Yongkang Jie, another one on Xinsheng, just south of Heping, a small restaurant/grocery somewhere in the north, near the red subway line. They were uniformly awful.

In Taizhong, if you go to Koh-I-Noor Kings of Food, don't eat the butter curries. They have this overwhelming butter aroma so it's like eating a stick of butter. Which some people may like. Just not me.

In Taipei, Kunming Restaurant is awesome. FuXing N. Road, Lane 81, #26, tel02 2773 2540. 11:30-14:00, 17:30-21:30. Also near the Breeze Center. They have Burmese/Yunnan and Indian/Pakistani food. The menu is in Chinese, English & [Arabic? Maybe Sanskrit. I think Arabic]. The cold tea salad is really spicy and really good. The samosas and curries also tasted better than the samosas or curries at the Indian restaurants we've been to in Taipei. Maybe because they added cilantro. One caution: the short guy who works there is a little high strung. Or was having a bad night when I was there. An Indian guy asked him some question about what was in the samosas -- in a friendly sort of way -- and the little guy looked like he wanted to fight before a Chinese speaker explained that the Indian guy was just curious, not complaining. Not learning from this, I tried to tell the little guy [in Chinese] that his food was really tasty. Again, he looked like he wanted to punch me before I got the tones sort of right on my third try. The Chinese folks at a nearby table laughed uproariously. The tall guy who works here is much friendlier and will actually bring you the things you order. If it seems like the little guy forgot your food, he probably did. Also, I only ate at the Burmese place in Chinatown, which cannot be compared. It's that much worse. Maybe the Burmese places in VA & MD are just as good as Kunming -- I heard they're better than the one in Chinatown. But that cold tea salad is truly amazing.

Indonesian food is worthwhile. There's a place called Sate House on LeiLi Road, just off AnHe Road, behind the Far Eastern Hotel, that's good. Particularly the Ikan Goreng [fried fish], Sapi Rendang [spicy beef curry], Resoles [some sort of meat filling wrapped in mashed potatoes & fried], eggplant [eggplant], Tahu Telor, Sate [get the traditional kind with peanut sauce]. They also have this chicken dish that's like deep fried chicken pieces served with a sticky sweet black sauce, Ayam Goreng Mentega. The people who run the place are friendly, but the waiters sometimes forget your food, so if something hasn't shown up after a bit, tell them.

There's another Indonesian place on FuXing North Road, it has a Ming or a Yue in it's name. I think it's sort of well known. It sucks. Portions are small, flavors are weak. Don't go there.

Finally, there's a small Indonesian place, [called Toko Indojaya?], about 5 doors up from the corner of HePing East Road & XinSheng South Road, across the street from Daan Forest Park. You can tell because it has a red & white sign. It's north of the Really Good Seafood Restaurant and south of the Mosque. They have maybe 3-4 tables & half the space sells Indonesian beauty products & kareoke CDs. They sell rice & noodle plates, so if you order Sapi Rendang, you get a plate of rice with some Rendang & some hot sauce & some vegetable. Next to the cash register they stack up carry out boxes of small snacks. There's also a table next to the cash register that has a big plate where they put all sorts of deep fried things [i.e. tofu stuffed with beansprouts & deep fried]. You just take what you want and pay at the end. It's a good place to eat.

The little place and the Sate House are both better than anything in Washington, MD or VA.

Finally, for American restaurant food, check out Mesa Grill, a California-American style restaurant run by a Taiwanese woman who used to cook at the Ritz Carlton in Costa Mesa, CA. She's now living the Taiwanese dream of being her own boss. It's about a block west of Yongkang Jie, maybe half a block south of XinYi Lu, near the Alleycat Pizza. The food's good, if you're looking for upscale American restaurant food, and uncontaminated by Taiwanese influence, i.e. they don't put five spice in everything. The cook & the staff are all very nice and speak excellent English.

Also, City Supermarket at Far Eastern Plaza and a good Welcome [i.e. the An He Lu location] can pretty much cover your southeast-Asian ingredient needs.

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