Tag Archives: taichung

What to eat in Taichung

What to Eat in Taichung, Taiwan – Markets, Milk Tea and More!

Previously I wrote about things to do in Taichung, so this time I want to share some info about the food I ate in Taichung, Taiwan. This time (as opposed to my Taipei food recommendations) the list of what to eat is a mixed bag — there is local food, snacks in the market and even a couple of modern cafes. Are you hungry?

If you’re travelling to Taiwan, all of my Taiwan posts are here:

http://www.sitdowndisco.com/taiwan/

1. Taichung Meatballs

I’m starting this list with what I think is the most traditional kind of food in Taichung. When I was researching food in Taichung, I found that meatballs seemed to be a typical dish in the city. Taichung meatballs are pieces of pork mince wrapped in a thick layer like mochi, then fried.Mao Chuan Taichung MeatballTaichung meatballs are served hot in a small bowl, sprinkled with spices which go brilliantly with the meatballs themselves. Some use a sweet spicy sauce, but there is also one with soy sauce, a little vinegar and minced garlic. Taichung meatballs are freshly fried to order and are always served fresh from the pan. Yum!Wonton mee Mao ChuanThere are a few places in Taichung which specialise Taichung meatball — I tried Mao Chuan Wonton & Taiwanese Meatball located near Second Market. Besides Taichung meatball they  also serve noodle dumplings which are equally as awesome!

Location: No. 225-1, Zhongzheng Rd, Central District, Taichung
Price: NT$ 100 for 1 meatball and 1 noodle dumpling

2. Three Generations Yee Mien

Located in Second Market, this noodle shop is always crowded. And that’s perhaps because it has been in the same family for the past 3 generations and gained a reputation which is widespread. Yee Mien is Mandarin for ‘dry noodles’. You could say this dish is the same as yamien which is sold in Bandung, Indonesia. They both use yellow noodles that are boiled, strained and then stirred with soy sauce and oil. Delicious simplicity.Three generation noodles TaichungThe topping is usually minced pork with a sprinkle of chopped shallots/spring onions. On the side you can either choose a plain broth or one with a few meatballs added. Interestingly, the meatballs are seafood rather than the more commonly seen beef. It’s located in the market itself, and even though there are actually two kiosks, tables are also placed in the corridor because it’s so popular. Finding this place is easy. Just visit Second Market and look for the busiest kiosk!

Location: No. 1-7, Sec 2, Sanmin Rd (Second Market)
Price: NT$110 for 1 plain yee mien & 1 yee mien plus meatball soupYee Mien Second Market Taichung

3. Ban Yue Shau (pancake)

This is one of the foods I tried at the Yizhong Street Night Market. Literally Ban Yue Shau means a half-moon shaped snack. It’s made from a kind of thin pancake (similar to roti canai but thicker and chewier) filled with 4 choices of meat: pork, tuna, chicken and beef, then folded in the middle so that it looks like a half-moon (ban yue).Ban Yue Shau Pancake TaichungAfter that, fried egg whites are added as well as green onions and soy sauce. For those wanting something even more special, you can even add some cheese. It’s so awesome because the texture is crispy from the skin and juicy from the stuffing. I reckon this is a must-try snack in Taichung! I loved it that much.

Location: Yizhong Street Night Market
Price: NT$40Ban Yue Shau Yizhong Street Taichung

4. Dao Xiao Mien (Knife Cut Noodles)

Because eating Bn Yue Shau was more of a snack than a full meal, I decided to try a more serious sit down meal. This time I went back and forth looking for the store called Shan Shi Dao Xiao Mien Shi Guan. So difficult to find! But the key is to look for noodles being cut with a knife.

It used to be called hand-sliced noodle because the knife is held by human hands, but now technology has taken over and a robot actually cuts the noodles. It’s ridiculous!Knife cut noodle TaichungThe noodles which have been cut and boiled are then drained and served according to your specific order (either stir-fried or in a broth). I ordered the fried noodles cooked with beef, but I found the noodles to but uber-thick and not like I’m used to. The dish was generally enjoyable, but not something I would rave about — mainly because of the weird texture of the thick noodles.

Location: 18 Yutsai South Street, Yizhong Street Night Market
Price: NT$70

5. Yizhong Fong Ran Ice

I love desserts, especially Asian desserts. So it was a no-brainer that I would search for one in Yizhong Street Night Market. I found one dessert stall in a rather quiet area away from the market crowd which looked like a standard garage with a cart out the front.Fong Ran Ice TaichungThey sell dessert called Fong Ran Ice. Fong Ran Ice is shaved ice topped with red beans and ice cream then sprinkled with plum sauce. On first taste, the sauce is weird! It’s a balance strong sweet plum combined with intense saltiness. After a while you get used to it and it becomes really enjoyable. Just strange!Fong Ran Ice Yizhong Street TaichungThere are 3 options: more red bean but only 2 scoops of ice cream (NT$35), 4 scoops of ice cream but a small amount of red bean (NT$35) or plain without red bean and ice cream (NT$25).

Location: 6 Yutsai Street, Yizhong Street Night Market
Price: NT$35

6. Caffaina Coffee Gallery

I think this is the most luxurious cafe I visited in Taiwan. Once I saw the front I immediately thought “Wow … expensive!” Entering the 2 floors of the building you’re immediately greeted with a magnificent room with luxurious interior. In one area there is a row of glass displays filled with many dozens of types of cake that look so delicious.Cakes at Caffaina Coffee GalleryMost people come here to drink coffee and eat cake while hanging out with friends. But if you want more heavy food there are also several options which should do the trick. Also, if you’re not into coffee, there are plenty of other hot and cold drinks to choose from.Food and drinks at Caffaina TaichungThe system of selecting food is to pay first at the cashier and then find a seat. You’ll be given a buzzer so that when you’re food is ready, you can go pick it up yourself. This is an expensive cafe and totally different to anything I would normally try in Taiwan. But it’s sometimes great to just escape with a coffee and cake and cool down in the AC — and this is a great place for that. FYI, Caffaina is not just in Taichung, but also other cities in Taiwan.

Location: No. 45, Section 2, Huizhong Road, Xitun District, Taichung City
Price: NT$430 for 2 drinks and 2 cakes

7. Haritts Donuts

Haritts Donuts is located in an area near Fantasy Story which seems like it’s the trendy place with the kids these days.

Although small, the shop is cute, with Japanese-style wooden door and window frames. I wanted a couple of donuts and I wanted to eat them in the air-conditioned shop. But the problem is, Haritts Donuts has this crappy rule which means you need to buy drinks if you want to sit inside at all. You can’t even sit on a bench inside. So in the end, I had to sit in the gutter out the front to eat my donut and that sucks bad.Haritts Donuts TaichungBuuuuuuut… the donuts were awesome! The donuts are more ball shaped than normal donuts and don’t have holes in the middle. The dough is soft, kind of chewy and the filling is also delicious. I tried the matcha and raspberry white choc and they were both crazy good.Haritts Donuts TaiwanInterestingly, the dough of each donut was different based on the filling I chose. These donuts are not expensive (about NT$45-50). I can’t wait to try these donuts in Japan soon.

Location: No. 6, Lane 128, Zhongxing Street, West District, Taichung City
Price: NT$95 for 2 donuts

8. Pearl Milk Tea at Chun Shui Tang

It is true that Pearl Milk Tea is all over Taiwan, in every city, whether it’s a small town or a big city. But if you’re in Taichung, stop by Chun Shui Tang, the birthplace of Pearl Milk Tea, the drink which eventually spread around the whole world. Although Chun Shui Tang has about 40 outlets all over Taiwan, it is certainly great to stop by the original location.Chun Shui Tang TaichungThe first location of Chun Shui Tang in Siwei Street opened in 1983. It originally just sold Pearl Milk Tea, but now they also sell food such as dimsum as well as some heavier meals. The pearls were tasty, chewy, soft and not overly sweet.Chun Shui Tang TaipeiI originally was just going to order the famous Pearl Milk Tea, but I was tempted by the brunch snacks and ordered some shrimp spring rolls, butter toast and a portion of fried mantau with condensed milk for dipping. Delicious!

Location: No. 30, Siwei Street, West District, Taichung City
Price: NT$475 for 2 pearl milk tea + 3 servings of food

9. Chicken Sausage

I stumbled across this randomly in the streets of Feng Chia Night Market. The shape of these sausages is fat not uniform because they aren’t produced in a factory. The sausage is filled with finely chopped chicken and wrapped in a thin skin which I assume is some sort of intestines.Chicken Sausage TaichungThey grill that sucker hard until the skin shrinks and becomes crispy while the inside oozes with juices. Before serving, they sprinkle the sausage with some powder to amp up the flavour even more. So delicious!

Location: Feng Chia Night Market
Price: NT$40 per sausageChicken Sausage at Feng Chia Night Market

10. Specialty Coffee at Coffee Stopover

Finally, some info for coffee lovers. I was quite surprised to find good coffee in Taichung. At Coffee Stopover, not only do they serve world class coffee, they also conduct brewing classes.Bottom floor of Coffee Stopover TaichungThe bottom floor of Coffee Stopover is more for people interested in and wanting to know more about coffee. Scattered around are roasting machines, coffee beans and an assortment of coffee brewing tools. The 2nd floor is for sitting and relaxing and there is a big tall bench that can be used for small groups as well as a few tables & chairs for couples.Coffee stopover TaichungCoffee sold here has been specially formulated and divided into 5 different types: Dancer, Backpacker, Painter, Dauber & Professor. Each blend has a distinctive aroma and strength. If you like strong coffee, choose Professor. If you don’t like strong, choose Dancer. This is one of the best coffees I had in Taiwan. Simply sensational.

Coffee Stopover: No. 24, Lane 217, Minquan Road, West District, Taichung City
Price: NT$220 for 2 cappuccinos

Where to Stay in Taichung

Because Taichung is a little lower down the scale of modernity compared to Taipei, you generally find accommodation to be cheaper here. I stayed at the very respectable Fly Inn for $29.50 per night. Definitely recommended if you’re on a budget.

And that’s my recommendation of what to eat when in Taichung! If it’s a nifty little city and well worth a visit. Let me know if you have any favourites in the comments so I can keep this list up to date!

My other Taiwan posts:

Taipei
Best Cafes in Taipei: I Tried Them All!
What to eat in Taipei – Pork, Rice and more Pork!

Taichung
Things to do in Taichung, Taiwan
What to Eat in Taichung, Taiwan – Markets, Milk Tea and More!
Review: Fly Inn Hostel – Good, Cheap Rooms in Taichung

Kaohsiung
Review: Centre Hotel, Kaohsiung

Transport
How to Get From Taipei to Taichung
The Best Way to Get From Taichung to Kaohsiung
How to get from Taipei Airport to Taipei City Centre (incl. New Train!)

 

Things to do in Taichung

Things to do in Taichung, Taiwan

When I booked tickets to Taiwan, I had no idea about the country or how much time I’d need to explore it. In the end I just picked a figure of 3 weeks and started building an itinerary around that. I pulled out a map and looked for cities outside of Taipei and came up with Taichung, Khaosiung and Hualien. Taichung was the first city I visited after Taipei and was I surprised to find that there were lots of cool things to do.

I went to Taichung on a local train rather high speed rail (HSR) because last minute tickets on the HSR were expensive! The 4 hour journey is perfectly comfortable and not too slow for such a long trip — it’s that the HSR is so fast!Local train from Taipei to TaichungTaipei city is modern and sophisticated with everything  organised. In comparison, Taichung immediately feels more hectic, rustic and full of character. I spent 3 nights in Taichung and while there aren’t any headline tourist attractions like Taipei 101, it is an enjoyable city to wander around and take in the sights.Taichung City scene

1. Feng Chia Night Market

In almost every city in Taiwan, there are incredibly popular night markets and Taichung is no different. Feng Chia Night Market is a crowded and vibrant market due to its proximity to the nearby university. As with most Taiwanese night markets, an assortment of stalls, food carts and traditional shops combine to keep you occupied and your belly full. In addition to food, Feng Chia Night Market also has lots of clothes, shoes and trinkets.Feng Chia Night Market

2. Taichung Park

Taichung Park is just one of many public parks in Taichung. It’s a large clean park with a bunch of paths winding their way around a picturesque lake and at night, it really comes to life with a bunch of cool lighting features. It’s possible to rent a small boat and row yourself around the lake as many locals do, particularly on weekends, but it’s not something I tried.Taichung Park

3. Rainbow Village

Rainbow village is a small cluster of brightly coloured buildings famous for their murals and quirky residents selling various arty knick-knacks. Originally part of a military establishment, the buildings eventually fell into disrepair at which point large brightly colour murals were painted on their outside.Rainbow Village TaichungWhen I visited, some of the houses were being renovated so not all the alleys could be explored. The artist who painted the walls is still there and sits in the house selling souvenirs. Most people will come here, take a few photos and leave again within about half an hour. The best way to get her is by bus — directions available on google maps.

4. Maple Garden

I actually stumbled upon Maple Garden by chance when changing bus on the way to the Rainbow Village and I’m really glad I found it! The garden is modern with futuristic roofs and bridges that curl and wind their way down to a lake surrounded by green grass and plenty of trees. There’s a cafe/restaurant within the park and it’s a pleasant place to spend a bit of time during the day.Maple Garden Taichung

5. Chun Shui Tang

Like bubble tea / pearl tea? Well it turns out pearl milk tea is originally from Taichung. In 1983 Chun Shui Tang started this worldwide phenomenon by adding pearls to their milk tea. Since then, bubble milk tea began throughout Taiwan and of course around the world.Chun Shui Tang Taichung Chun Shui Tang already has about 40 branches all over Taiwan, but if you want to visit the first location, you can stop by Chun Shui Tang in Siwei Street, Taichung. They not only serve bubble tea, they also dish up a range of food from snack to main meals — the snacks I had were tasty! It’s possible you’ll have to line up to get a seat, but it’s worth a visit anyway.

6. City Hall

Actually, City Hall is not a tourist attraction. But for those who like architecture, this building is quite interesting because it was built in the Japanese colonial period in a Fench colonial style. Weird! Looks straight out of Europe!Taichung Town Hall

7. Second Market

For those who like wandering around markets in Asia, Second Market is quite an interesting one. This undercover market houses the typical range of fresh meat, fruit and vegetables but also some awesome hole in the wall eateries. Most are open in the morning and close late in the afternoon, so it’s best to head here for breakfast. Knowing which eatery to visit is easy — just visit one with lots of customers. I highly recommend Three Generations Yee Mien.Second Market Taichung

8. Liuchuan River

If you’ve been to Seoul may know the name Cheonggyecheon Stream, it’s a river that flows through the middle of town with banks which are paved so that people can sit around hanging out with friends. Some areas along the Liuchuan River in Taichung are also made that way and in the afternoon many people bring children to play around on the edge of the clean and neat river. In addition to a pleasant walking path, there are plenty of trees and flowers and loads of grass.Liuchuan River Taichung

9. Yi Zhong Street Night Market

I actually visited this night market because it was within walking distance of my hotel (Fly Inn Hostel – great value –> check it out on booking.com) in Taichung and I’m really glad I checked it out. The main area of the market is on Yi Zhong Street, but also extends into some nearby side streets where there was quite a few good food options such as hand cut noodles. The main negative point about the market is that it’s open to through traffic so you’re constantly having to dodge cars and bikes!Fantasy Story Taichung

10. Fantasy Story

I did some browsing first before visiting Fantasy Story, but couldn’t quite figure out what it was. So I walked there to find out for myself and still could quite get it! What is certain is that there are lots of cool looking buildings which are instagrammable and a Haritts Donuts which I really liked. But other than that… I’m not really sure. To be honest, I’d like people reading this to go there and get the low down so I can update this section!Fantasy Story Taichung

Where to Stay in Taichung

Because Taichung is a little lower down the scale of modernity compared to Taipei, you generally find accommodation to be cheaper here. I stayed at the very respectable Fly Inn for $29.50 per night. Definitely recommended if you’re on a budget.

Not bad hey? Taichung is definitely worth spinning around for a few days. It’s not going to be your Taiwan highlight, but if you’re in Taiwan for a week of more, add Taichung into your itinerary.

My other Taiwan posts:

Taipei
Best Cafes in Taipei: I Tried Them All!
What to eat in Taipei – Pork, Rice and more Pork!

Taichung
Things to do in Taichung, Taiwan
What to Eat in Taichung, Taiwan – Markets, Milk Tea and More!
Review: Fly Inn Hostel – Good, Cheap Rooms in Taichung

Kaohsiung
Review: Centre Hotel, Kaohsiung

Transport
How to Get From Taipei to Taichung
The Best Way to Get From Taichung to Kaohsiung
How to get from Taipei Airport to Taipei City Centre (incl. New Train!)

 

Best way to get from Taichung to Kaohsiung

The Best Way to Get From Taichung to Kaohsiung

Endless rice paddies, small villages and an imposing mountain range all flash by as you speed between the two western Taiwanese cities of Taichung and Kaohsiung. There’s no better way to get between the two cities than by train.

There are basically 2 types of trains from Taichung to Kaohsiung. A fast one and a slow one. The slow one is cheaper than the fast one. The fast train takes about 1 hour for the 200km journey and the slow train takes over 3 hours.Inside Taiwan High Speed Rail Train Carriage

But when you consider how cheap the fast one is, it sort of seems mad to choose the slow one! I got my ticket on the high speed rail for NT$630 (US$20) and that was a discount from the full price because I bought it a few days in advance and I recommend you do that if you want to get a good price.

Taiwan fast train

Tickets for the high speed rail can be bought at the Taichung main train station or even Taipei main station if you want to buy even earlier. It’s also possible to buy tickets on the day of departure, but you aren’t guaranteed to be seated next your travel partner and you’re going to pay more.

High Speed Rail trains depart from the outskirts of Taichung at a dedicated High Speed Rail station. You’ll need to catch a local train from Taichung main station to Xinwuri which takes less than 10 minutes. Xinwuri is connected directly to Taichung HSR station by a walkway. Check the High Speed Rail timetable here and enter Taichung and Zuoying as the start and end points.phone showing speed of taiwain high speed rail between Taichung and Kaohsiung

Trains going to Kaohsiung terminate at Zuoying which again is on the outskirts of Kaohsiung. From here, you have to catch the subway to where you want to go. I caught the subway to Formosa Boulevard because my hotel was right next to it.

Where to Stay in Kaohsiung

Your main consideration for where to stay in Kaohsiung should be location because the subway system doesn’t reach all corners of the city. If you stay too far from the subway, you’ll be doing lots of walking. I paid US$17 per night at the very centrally located Centre Hotel and was happy with it. The subway is 30m from the front door.

So there you have it. The best way to get from Taichung to Kaohsiung is by High Speed Rail! I hope you find this useful… hit me up in the comments if you have questions.

PS Slow trains depart from Taichung Main Station and arrive at Kaohsiung Main Station and cost between $2 and $5 less than the high speed train. Check here for details.

My other Taiwan posts:

Taipei
Best Cafes in Taipei: I Tried Them All!
What to eat in Taipei – Pork, Rice and more Pork!

Taichung
Things to do in Taichung, Taiwan
What to Eat in Taichung, Taiwan – Markets, Milk Tea and More!
Review: Fly Inn Hostel – Good, Cheap Rooms in Taichung

Kaohsiung
Review: Centre Hotel, Kaohsiung

Transport
How to Get From Taipei to Taichung
The Best Way to Get From Taichung to Kaohsiung
How to get from Taipei Airport to Taipei City Centre (incl. New Train!)

Taichung Fly Inn Hostel Double Deluxe Room

Review: Fly Inn Hostel – Good, Cheap Rooms in Taichung

After a disappointing experience with an AirBnB in Taipei, I thought I’d switch things up a bit and choose a regular hotel for my trip to Taichung. And I am so glad I did because Fly Inn Hostel was great value for money.

Because I usually like to stay in private rooms rather than dorms, it’s always going to cost me more than a traditional backpacker for accommodation. But Taiwan isn’t as cheap as many parts of Asia, so I was so happy to find this room for under US$30 per night!Facilities Fly Inn Hostel TaichungLocated a 10 minute walk from the main Taichung train station, this hotel is in a great location. It’s also close to Taichung Park and Yizhong Street Night Market. There was no sign out the front and it didn’t really look like a hotel, but I asked a passing local and they pointed me in the right direction.Bathroom Fly Inn HostelAs of March 2017, it felt new! Fittings were clean and not broken, paint was quite fresh and the bathroom sparkling.Facilities included a private hot water bathroom, air-conditioner, wardrobe, table and chair, relatively fast wifi, a couple of cups, a hairdryer, small toiletries set and a TV with international channels. Everything you need really.Toiletries Fly Inn Hostel TaichungThe room is small, but it sort of doesn’t matter because it’s comfortable.

The only negative was that when I was there it was really cold outside and the room doesn’t have heating. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it wasn’t ideal either.Fly Inn Hostel Taichung recommended budget accommodationAll in all, I thought this hotel was fantastic for the price. I paid about US$30, but you can check the price on booking.com here.

Fly Inn Hostel
10 Lianwu Road, East District, Taichung, Taiwan
+886 985 603 099
Deluxe Double: US$29.50

My other Taiwan posts:

Taipei
Best Cafes in Taipei: I Tried Them All!
What to eat in Taipei – Pork, Rice and more Pork!

Taichung
Things to do in Taichung, Taiwan
What to Eat in Taichung, Taiwan – Markets, Milk Tea and More!
Review: Fly Inn Hostel – Good, Cheap Rooms in Taichung

Kaohsiung
Review: Centre Hotel, Kaohsiung

Transport
How to Get From Taipei to Taichung
The Best Way to Get From Taichung to Kaohsiung
How to get from Taipei Airport to Taipei City Centre (incl. New Train!)

how to get from Taipei to Taichung

How to Get From Taipei to Taichung

There are a number of different ways to get from Taipei to Taichung and the most popular way to undertake the 170km journey is by train. But which train you catch largely depends on how much time you’ve got and what your budget is.

food in taichung
Fantastic Food Awaits in Taichung

There are 3 types of trains servicing this route:

  • High-speed rail departing from Taipei Main Station and arriving at Taichung HSR Station (which is a short local train ride outside the centre) (timetable);
  • Express train departing from Taipei Main Station and arriving at Taichung Main Station (timetable); and
  • Local train departing from Taipei Main Station and arriving at Taichung Main Station (timetable).

Costs of these trains varies greatly, but at the time of writing, the tickets were as follows:

  • High-speed Rail = NT$700 (US$23) (possible to get a 35% discount if booked in advance)
  • Express = NT$375 (US$12.50)
  • Local = NT$241 (US$8)

Travel time for each train between Taipei and Taichung is:

  • High-speed Rail = 47 minutes
  • Express = 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Local = up to 4 hours depending on how many stops

I chose to take the local train and it was perfectly OK and modern. It actually goes quite fast, but it stops at a lot of stations making the journey drag a bit. But if you have time and you want to save money, the local train is the way to go.

I’ve also used the high-speed rail for my journey from Taichung to Kaohsiung and I highly recommend taking a fast train at some point in your journey in Taiwan. It’s awesome, fast and still cheap by world standards!

Tickets for all services can be bought on the spot before departure, but be aware that weekends and public holidays can be busy, so I would always try and buy my train tickets in advance from the station if possible. You can either do this at a vending machine or a person at the counter. Almost all stations had a good enough level of English to service my needs, so don’t worry about the language barrier.

great coffee in Taichung
They even have great coffee in Taichung – definitely worth going there from Taipei

Travelling by train in Taiwan is a wonderful way to get around and it’s definitely the way to go when travelling between Taipei and Taichung. Any questions, let me know in the comments!

Where I stayed in Taichung

Because I was travelling on a budget, I chose a cheap place to stay called Fly Inn. Cheap, clean, private bathroom, central. It certainly did the job for me. I paid US$29.50 per night — check current prices here!

My other Taiwan posts:

Taipei
Best Cafes in Taipei: I Tried Them All!
What to eat in Taipei – Pork, Rice and more Pork!

Taichung
Things to do in Taichung, Taiwan
What to Eat in Taichung, Taiwan – Markets, Milk Tea and More!
Review: Fly Inn Hostel – Good, Cheap Rooms in Taichung

Kaohsiung
Review: Centre Hotel, Kaohsiung

Transport
How to Get From Taipei to Taichung
The Best Way to Get From Taichung to Kaohsiung
How to get from Taipei Airport to Taipei City Centre (incl. New Train!)