Ultimate Taichung Food Guide: Best Markets & Restaurants

Taiwan food

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I didn’t actually intend to put together a Taichung food guide. I planned to visit for 2 days and spend one exploring the Rainbow Village and one at Sun Moon Lake.

Read next: Visiting Taichung Rainbow Village + the story behind it

But due to some seriously bad weather, Sun Moon Lake was off the cards. Instead, I decided to spend a leisurely day wandering and finding the best food in Taichung. If I’m ever at a lose end in a new city, this is usually what I do.

I’d done some research already on where to eat in Taichung so, armed with my camera and the fact I’d only had a banana for breakfast, I headed out on a mission.

Quick facts:

  • Taichung is a city of 3 million on the west coast of Taiwan, just down the coast from Taipei.
  • It’s also an affordable city that won’t eat up your Taiwan budget. There are also a few bustling Taichung night markets I recommend you check out.
  • The city is famed for inventing the country’s beloved bubble tea, something I’m eternally grateful for!

The best food in Taichung

Wondering where to eat in Taichung? You won’t be short of options. Traditional wet markets sell popular dishes that have been served for generations, while vibey night markets serve modern Taiwanese food, and fashionable cafes serve world cuisine and speciality coffee.

Let’s dive in!

Read next: what to eat in Taiwan – 20 best Taiwanese dishes to try

Original bubble tea

Bubble tea at Chun Shui Tang Taichung
Bubble tea at Chun Shui Tang

Can we include drinks in a Taichung food guide? Yeah, we can.

Bubble tea is basically a dessert when you consider the amount of sugar it contains, as well as the chewy tapioca bubbles which I have grown to adore.

I’ve heard that Taiwanese people really love the different textures of food and, after visiting, that’s something I can totally understand. The texture of bean paste desserts is equally odd but strangely satisfying.

Original Chun Shui Tang

When I found out that Chun Shui Tang was the original purveyor of bubble tea in Taiwan, I knew I had to go. There are a couple of branches Taichung (as well as a million other bubble tea cafes) but this sit-down cafe is where it all began. It’s slightly away from the centre of town meaning the streets are sleepy and relaxed – perfect for sipping back with some iced boba.

There are a lot of flavours to try at Chun Shui Tang including jasmine pearl tea, matcha with red bean and fruit tea. I went for the original bubble tea with milk and it wasn’t the best I’ve had but that’s my own fault for ordering low sugar. Also it was also full of ice (despite only ordering the standard amount) meaning it was gone in a few sips.

I’d recommend ordering less ice here and, if you want it to be delicious, just treat yourself and go full sugar!

Prices at Chun Shui Tang are pretty inflated: 70 TWD for a small tea and 130 for a medium (which was giant to be fair). I guess you’re also paying for the experience of drinking boba in its birthplace.

Miyahara Ice Cream

Two scoops of ice cream with banana and a moon cake at Miyahara Taichung

While I love sampling authentic local foods served for generations, there’s nothing like an Instagrammable ice cream, amirite?

Dessert lovers wondering where to eat in Taichung should head to Miyahara, a Taichung institution known for its endless flavours of ice cream made with real fruit and cacao. The chocolate ice cream counter has 18 flavours from countries renowned for their beans, ranging from 100% to white chocolate.

Miyahara is also known for its seriously impressive interior, decked out with bookshelves and chandeliers. If you’re looking for holiday gifts, this is the place to find sweets, peanut brittle and mochi, all in gorgeous packaging.

It’s pretty expensive but that’s to be expected. I paid 180 TWD for two scoops of ice cream in a waffle cone with two toppings. The toppings alone are entire desserts ranging from flower and teddy bear-shaped biscuits, Taiwanese pineapple cakes and fresh fruit.

Multiple types of chocolate ice cream at Miyahara Taichung
Miyahara Taichung food
The impressive interior of Miyahara

If you’re after an authentic Taiwanese meal, Miyahara may not serve the best food in Taichung… But I personally think you should get down here for a well-deserved treat!

Traditional Taichung breakfast @ the Second Market

Fried breakfast at Second Market Taichung

Balancing out Instagrammable ice creams with some of the best local food in Taichung, enter the Second Market.

I really enjoyed visiting this place because it was different to the modern night markets I’d seen so far in Taiwan. The gritty feel and sights and smells of raw meat and fish felt more like the Asian markets I’m used to, even if they can be a little overwhelming.

Before wandering deeper into the Second Market, grab yourself a traditional Taichung breakfast at the front. I joined the back of a queue and came away with a glutinous plate of fried goodies.

A typical Taichung breakfast includes a giant slab of rice batter, topped with a fried egg and slathered in a rich sauce that tasted a little like barbeque.

On the side was served what looked like a meat sausage but was actually made of rice. These are quite popular in Taiwan and you’ll often find them served at night markets, cut open with a real sausage inside. Sometimes these are translated as ‘little sausage in big sausage’!.

Long sue for food in Taichung Second Market

Many people were eating their Taichung breakfast with a clear soup full of herbs and what looked like fish balls and pig’s blood cubes. You’ll find all over Asia, they’re basically like English black pudding. My meal was already enormous and very rice heavy so I definitely didn’t need soup, too!

When you visit Taichung Second Market, you will need to do a bit of pointing and miming as there’s no much English spoken. However, the breakfast plate is a simple meal and there aren’t many combinations available so it’s pretty easy. I paid 60 TWD for my meal.

Sushi fans: I spied a fresh fish stand near the back that served generous cuts of tuna with soy sauce and wasabi. It looked fantastic: go, go, go.

Yizhong Street Night Market

10 dumplings at Yizhong Street Night Market Taichung
Dumplings at Taichung Night Market
Busy crowds at Yizhong Street Night Market Taichung

Next in my Taichung food guide, markets! My top Taiwan tip is to eat at night markets wherever possible.

Yizhong Street was just down the road from my hostel so I ate there both nights. It reminded me of Taipei’s Shilin Market because the stands merged with the permanent takeaway cafes and bubble tea shops with lots of them playing loud music. It was hard to know where the high street ended and the market began.

Yizhong is a busy Taichung night market with a party atmosphere and people of all ages out enjoying themselves. I really like that about Taiwan – it feels so safe and relaxed to be out and about at night.

Fluffy dog at Yizhong Street Night Market
Not relevant to this food blog but look at this cutie I met at the night market!

Some of the best food in Taichung is served at Yizhong Night Market including Taiwanese favourites as well as Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese and Thai food. Things I tried were:

  • Steamed dumplings (10 for 30 TWD bargain!)
  • Fresh sushi (10 TWD per piece) – make sure to try the fish with teriyaki sauce
  • Stinky tofu! I decided to finally give it a go and, although it wasn’t that bad, it also wasn’t especially tasty. Best to save your money and stomach room for bubble waffles, fried chicken and the like!

Japanese food in Taichung

Chicken cats curry with rice in Taichung
Chicken cutlet curry

Where to eat in Taichung if you want a break from Taiwanese food? I can’t imagine ever having enough but I was also excited to eat some authentic Japanese food in Taichung.

Also around the Yizhong area is a multitude of Japanese restaurants. I’m not sure why they’re so condensed in this area but I’m not complaining. They’re a great place to try cutlet curries and ramen without the price tag of flying to Japan. Or the price tag of eating them back home for that matter.

For 150 TWD (less than £4) you’ll get a giant meal that will keep you full all day. I would recommend the following two Taichung restaurants for some of the best food in Taichung, however I’m going to have to pin their locations and describe them because their names are in Chinese!

  • Cutlet curry (above) – this modest cafe is run by the sweetest old man who tried his best to explain everything to me in English. There are loads of combinations to choose from including pork and chicken cutlets served with rich curry sauce flavoured with ginger. It’s 150 TWD for a large serving of meat or 130 for a small one – I went with the latter. The Taichung restaurant is pinned here (find it next door to Bridge Cafe).
  • Ramen (below) – there are loads of different types of ramen at this authentic Japanese restaurant in Taichung. I went with a spicy one that wasn’t particularly spicy but that says more about Taiwanese food as a whole. For 180 TWD it came with a sweet iced tea. Find it pinned here next door to Boba House.
Bowl of ramen with boiled egg and seaweed
Japanese food in Taichung

International food in Taichung

I decided to include some home comforts in my Taichung food guide, even though they’re not what I usually seek out in Asia.

For international food, I can’t recommend anywhere better than Getcha Hostel and Bistro. I stayed overnight here but you can visit the bistro just for food and drinks. They serve spaghetti carbonara which is as tasty as any I’ve had in Europe and excellent cocktails and flat whites.

Spaghetti carbonara in plush lounge Getcha Hostel & Bistro Taichung
Spaghetti carbonara
Pink cocktail at Getcha Hostel & Bistro Taichung
Glamorous cocktails

I hope you have a better idea of where to eat and drink in Taichung and these options have made you hungry. Until next time, Taichung!

Thanks for reading my Taichung food guide

Ps. I was hosted by Getcha Hostel and Bistro during my trip to Taichung but all opinions are my own.

Check out some of my other Taiwan posts:

See you next time for more adventures,

Rose

Ps. Want to try the best foods in Taichung? Pin this blog for later!

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