Eating 食

Chinese Food

Must-try Places


Ethnic Food


Depending how you look at it, the May '92 opening of McDonald's on the corner of FengChia Road and Fuxing Road is either a blessing or an evil enticement. But admit it, it would be a tremendous shame to limit your eating experiences to this and other Western-oriented establishments. Taiwan is renowned for its outstanding Chinese cuisine, both local and imported from the Mainland mainly after 1949. If you start sampling here in Taichung, you can find excellent food from all over China — Sichuan, Yunnan, Hakka, Shanxi, Beijing, Guangdong, even Mongolia (we won’t start a historico-political discussion here) — and most for very reasonable prices.

If you’re in for something special, try the duck noodles (dry or with soup) on the first alley to the right of Wenhua Road, past Fuxing Road (right side, third shop). It opens around 17:00. And if you fall for it, take a side dish of duck liver to go with the noodles!

It's not easy to avoid meat in Taiwanese/Chinese foods, but it may be possible for those with firm determination and diligence. Everybody has his own ideas about what he will and will not eat (meat, meat products, dairy, whatever). Meat is considered a delicious part of Chinese food, so even vegetable dishes often contain meat for flavoring. For vegans, there is, however, a whole variety of soy milks and other supplements. Compared to the West, there is actually more opportunity for a creative, cheap and well-balanced vegetarian diet. The main problem is that the language keeps most people who have just arrived from discerning what food is safe.

The safest bets are Buddhist restaurants; although some of the food may look like meat, it's all made from beans and vegetables. These shops or stands are often marked with a reversed swastika (this symbol may also be found on safe, \"Buddhist' packaged food in grocery stores). The drawback is that these places may use MSG or sweeteners to enhance flavor.

Authentic Taiwanese Cuisine

With the growing awareness of Taiwan's identity as being different from Mainland China's, there is also a true renaissance of traditional Taiwanese cuisine. Two establishments have an extremely typical atmosphere and are certainly worth a visit, though you’d better go with a minimum of four people to split the bill and sample the food.

International Cuisine

International cuisine may be one of Taichung’s fastest expanding businesses; more and more places cater for a Taiwanese and foreign clientele that wants to try different ethnic food. So far Taichung has Caribbean, French, German, Italian, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mexican, Pakistani, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Swiss and Vietnamese restaurants. Giving details about all the restaurants in town, would be a full-time job, since the scene changes so fast. For a fairly complete listing of the latest in ethnic food, log on to the Compass website and check out their restaurant reviews. The site lists all the restaurants and eateries that have been reviewed since January 1999. For a thematic listing of restaurants according to their ethnicity, browse through the Dining Listings of the Compass Magazine.

For our Korean students who want to cook their own Korean food, ingredients can be bought at the Da Han Restaurant, #296, Dadun 12th Street (2319.1852), behind the Dadun Carrefour outlet.

For Thai food ingredients your best bet is Kon Thai, the Thai goods supermarket in the First Square Complex, 3rd floor, unit 258 (2292.6484). Another option is the Thai Restaurant at #139, Section 3, Zhongshan Road in Tanzi, Taichung County (2532.3331).