What To Eat in Kaohsiung: Snacks, Snacks and More Snacks!

After hunting for good local food in di Taipei City and trying out the food in Taichung, I just had to get the low down on the eating situation in Kaohsiung. Because I was only in Kaohsiung for 2 nights, the following list is not everything you might want to try and it is heavy on market food, but it’s a good start. There are cafes, coffee shops and bakeries as well! Here’s what I tried!

1. Banana Roti

Banana Roti KaohsiungThis first one isn’t really taiwanese specialty food, but it’s worth trying anyway at the Liuhe Night Market. I waited in line with a bunch of other people who were also waiting for the Banana Roti. It looks like a tourist friendly cart because of the 4 languages which are on display: Chinese, Korean, Japanese and English. The ordering process is really simple as you’d expect and you’re allowed to choose a topping: caramel (syrup), condensed milk, chocolate (syrup), sliced almonds, cotton candy and raisins.

I chose the standard combination: chocolate and condensed milk. The roti was cruchy and the banana was super sweet and soft because it had already been pre-cooked. Simple yet awesome. Especially for those who love sweet foods and don’t fear diabetes!

Location: Liuhe Night Market
Price: NT$60

2. Blackpepper Bun

Blackpepper Bun KaohsiungI was curious about these blackpepper buns since seeing them at Raohe Night Market in Taipei. At that time there was a single counter with a massive line just to get these tiny blackpepper buns. Being someone who can’t stand waiting in long lines for food, I skipped the blackpepper buns at Raohe. So when I saw them for sale at Liuhe Night Market there was only one thing on my mind. MUST EAT BLACKPEPPER BUN!

The blackpepper buns are similar to bakpau with main difference being that one is baked and the other is steamed. It makes a massive difference mainly because there is no chance you’re going to get one of those over-steamed slimy bakpaus you often get in Asia *shudder*. In fact, this bun had distinct crispness about it that I really loved! The inside of the bun is filled with minced beef seasoned with black pepper and tastes similar to a black pepper beef you might get at a Chinese restaurant anywhere around the world — except much better!

Location: Liuhe Night Market
Price: NT$50

3. Rose Jelly Fig

Rose Jelly Fig KaohsiungI stumbled across this dessert accidentally when walking around the Pier 2 Arts Center and was impressed! From the front, the cafe itself looks really interesting and the fact that there is an English sign out the front invites you right inside. The cafe itself specialises in serving ice desserts containing fig jelly in the shape of roses — so weird! Who on earth comes up with these ideas?

The number of combinations of flavours is pretty staggering, so to save stressing about which flavour to get, I just got the standard recommended one. The bowl is filled with 4 jelly roses mixed with multi-coloured pearls, shaved ice and lemon syrup. It was a combination I’d never had before, but the flavour was fantastic and really refreshing. It’s definitely worth a stop if you’re in the area and it’s hot outside.

Location: Pier 2 Arts Center
Price: NT$90

4. Simtree Coffee

Cake Simtree Coffee KaohsiungI really love cakes and pastries and if I find a bakery or cake shop in a new country, I have to try it. Simtree Coffee isn’t just a coffee shop as the name might suggest, but also a cake and pastry shop — I’m in heaven! And the pastries on offer aren’t just sweet ones, they also have a range of savoury ones making it a decent spot for lunch.

I tried a cake and a quiche both of which looked interesting! The cake itself was quite complicated and really interesting to eat — I love a cake which takes a departure for the same old same old. The cafe itself is quite big spreading over 2 spacious floors and it’s quite empty if you get there at opening time. The concept of the cafe is quite interesting in that they have an environmental focus with lots of reusable cutlery and cakes provided with just a napkin instead of also being placed on a paper plate. It’s a small point, but something which I’d love to see a lot more of.

Location: No 73, Zhongheng 3rd Road.
Price: NT$485 for 2 drinks and 2 cakes/pastries

5. OH! Cafe

OH Coffee KaohsiungIf you’re searching the internet for coffee in Kaohsiung, you might run into OH! cafe. Unfortuntely, the cafe is more of a grab and go kind of place and not really built as a sit down place. The reason is that it’s right out the front of the ferry terminal leading to Cijin Island. So yeah, lots of people want to order a coffee in a paper cup and drink it on the ferry which is a shame as the coffee is really good!

If you hate drinking coffee from a paper cup (that’s me, I know it’s not a popular view), they do have one or two proper cups which they’ll gladly serve you your coffee in.

Location: In front of the ferry terminal to Cijin Island
Price: NT$140 for 1 coffee and 1 iced tea

6. Local Din Tai Fung

Local Din Tai Fung KaohsiungThere are loads of restaurants in Taiwan that serve food which is similar to Din Tai Fung and they’re usually named something you can’t understand unless you can read Chinese characters. These “Local Din Tai Fungs” serve up delicious XLBs (pork dumplings with broth inside), dumplings in chili oil as well as lots of vege and meat dishes.

Prices at these places are almost always cheaper than the original Din Tai Fung and in my view, the taste is not all that different. If you love Din Tai Fung in your home country, look for these local versions all throughout Taiwan when you arrive. And don’t be afraid of the language barrier. Someone will always be willing to help you out. If all else fails, you can type what you want into google translate.

Location: everywhere
Price: NT$185 for 3 portions of dumplings and 1 sweet roti

7. Lu Rou Fan

Lu Rou Fan KaohsiungIf you’re looking for cheap food, Lu Rou Fan is Taiwanese budget fare which is super delicious! It’s a simple dish of steamed rice topped with soy sauce flavoured pork belly. Yum! I stumbled upon this particular place while on the way back from the ferry terminal to Cijin Island. Simply point to what you want on the menu and out it comes.

Location: Binhai 1st Road, next to Lane 88 Binhaiyi Road. Before the ferry terminal to Cijin Island.
Price: NT$65 for 1 portion of lu rou fan + 1 portion of noodles with minced meat

8. Souffle Pancake

Souffle Pancake Shiba Cafe KaohsiungI accidentally found this cafe while looking for something for breakfast around my hotel. From the name, I kind of expected that the cafe would have some sort of connection with Shiba Inu. And true to its name, the cafe is named Shiba Cafe because there is often a Shiba Inu dog hanging out in the corner.

But the main reason I visited this particular cafe was for the souffle pancake which I had read was awesome. And it was. Originally from Japan, the souffle pancake is a pancake made in a souffle style so that it rises and becomes super fluffy. Add some stewed fruit, a bit of cream and even some caramel sauce and you have sugar heaven.

Location: Shiba Cafe, intersection of Zhongzheng 4th Road Lane 63 and Nantai Road Lane 43.
Price: NT$330 for 1 souffle pancake & 2 drinks

9. Chicken Skewers

Chicken Skewer Ruifeng Market KaohsiungChopped chicken on a stick. What could be better as a quick snack? The chicken stick is covered with some herbs and spices and placed on a hot plate where it is slightly burnt/caramelised. The chicken comes off the grill piping hot and super juicy — not a dry piece of chicken to be found! Better still, those spices amp the flavour levels right up giving you a perfectly delicious chicken stick. Simple food done right.

Location: Ruifeng Night Market
Price: NT$45

10. Taro Milk

Taro Milk Ruifeng Night Market KaohsiungFor me, this was one my favourite food/drinks in Kaohsiung. Usually when you drink an ice taro latte or something of the sort, you’re usually drinking a coloured powder mixed with milk. But at this place they actually steam big chunks of taro and then blend them with milk to make a perfectly fresh and original taro milk — so awesome! Just to make sure you’re getting the freshest drink possible, they don’t make it in bulk in advance. They steam each piece of taro on the spot and blend it to order. Definitely something you need to seek out in Kaohsiung.

Location: Ruifeng Night Market
Price: NT$50

11. Fried Octopus

Fried Octopus KaohsiungWhen walking through Ruifeng Night Market, I had the sudden feeling of being pulled in by these gigantic tentacles, battered and deep fried. Because you rarely see octopus tentacles for sale like this, I just had to order a portion. They even weigh the portion to make sure you get the same amount for the same price every single time. The tentacles are then chopped up again and served with a squeeze of lemon of the top. Sweet, juicy, delicious!

Location: Ruifeng Night Market
Price: NT$100

12. Bubble-filled Toast & Earl Grey Tea Jam

Toast Bubble Earl Grey KaohsiungToast filled with egg, sausage or cheese is pretty standard these days around the world. But at one counter at Ruifeng Night Market you can get toast filled with bubble pearls mixed with earl grey tea jam. So weird, but so good! As weird as it seems, it actually tastes pretty normal as all the flavours really go together — almost like a bubble tea with a bit of crispy bread in it. The bubbles are hot because the bread is toasted in a sandwich press just like you’d make a toasted cheese sandwich. Definitely worth trying out if you’re into bubbles and are looking for something different.

Location: Ruifeng Night Market
Price: NT$60

Banana Roti Liuhe Night MarketThe food situation in Kaohsiung is really quite good as you’d expect. Enjoy your culinary journey in Kaohsiung!

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