From delicious dumplings to wildly offbeat cafés, Taiwan is a food adventure. Let's dig in.
Pakelang Boat House
Yes, it looks like a boat and owner chef Chan Lah is a true hunter/gatherer, taking his daily catch and supplementing it with produce from his garden and the local market. He creates a daily degustation menu entirely from local ingredients which tastes fabulous and is exquisitely presented as though styled for a photo shoot.
The restaurant is decorated with carvings created by the owner/chef and the large dishes, often featuring freshwater fish and wild vegetables, come to the table ready to share. The traditional Ami hot pot, brought to the boil with fire-heated stones, is a highlight. It’s a chance to try local foods such as fern tops, pigeon peas, pumpkin leaves, chayote, Chinese onion, miscanthus hearts and hyacinth beans.
First, wonder at the beauty and creativity of Taiwan’s national treasures in the National Palace Museum and then head next door to eat them! The chefs at Silks Palace spend hours painstakingly recreating imitations of the revered Meat Stone, Jadeite Cabbage and Ting Cauldron, with a curio cabinet full of sweet ‘ornaments’ for dessert. The eight-course lunch is a perfect way to finish a museum visit.
DinTaiFung Dumpling House
A meal of dumplings is a must in Taipei and there are several DinTaiFung Dumpling Houses in the city, but my pick is the one in the basement of Taipei 101. The queues are fierce and it’s best to book for an early or late meal on a week day, but tables turn over quickly. Watch the dumplings being made and cooked through large glass windows. Hygiene here is paramount – the toilets are cleaned after every visit and the cleaners use duct tape to clean the carpet.
This restaurant has a toilet/bathroom theme so you sit on toilet seats and eat off a glass-covered bathtub. The crockery is toilet-themed as well with curries and hot pots arriving in toilet bowl shaped porcelain containers. Drinks are served in variations of urinals and ice cream comes out looking like soft serve poo. The food selection is not so unusual – family-friendly pasta, chips, nuggets. Strangely there's not an upright western-style toilet in the actual bathroom, only Asian-style squat versions.