Taipei’s food scene has been making the rounds of the magazines this year, even without the embarrassment of having voted ourselves into CNN’s top food poll. (Shrug – I suppose it would be scandalous if it weren’t true). We’ve gotten mentions in Conde Nast Traveller, as well as a few Hong Kong-based magazines (including one article written by yours truly). Although Taiwan has always had a hovering presence in the major travel publications, these articles are refreshing in that they actually acknowledge the presence of a foodie scene in Taiwan outside of the night markets, Din Tai Fung, and Yongkang Beef Noodles.
A few places stood out from the rest with multiple mentions – as a features writer that often gets tasked to write about Taipei, I find myself struggling not to automatically reach for these “foodie favorites”. There’s a reason they’re mentioned again and again though – they’re emblematic of the city’s foot forward onto the international stage; a re-focus on Taiwan’s home-town strengths: varied agricultural offerings and classical elements of traditional culture reinvented by a global design aesthetic.
• MUME: Helmed by the NOMA-trained Richie Lin (who I profiled for Spottly Insider Magazine), MUME aims to offer casual fine dining, creating minimalist dishes that have a definitive “sense of place” in Taiwan.
• RAW: Andre Chiang’s Taipei venture opened in December and is still the most coveted table in the city, combining classic French techniques with local Taiwanese ingredients and flavors.
• OUNCE: Staffed with world-class bartenders, this speak-easy style bar focuses on the enjoyment of classic cocktails as their first priority, but a menu-less system focused on customers’ palates ensures that local fruits and flavors are being served up nightly in creative concoctions.
Beautifully garnished dish at RAW
A few others that haven’t got as much love, but I would recommend:
• TUA CULTURE: With a recent opening in NYC’s West Village, TUA’s take on “nouveau Taiwanese” certainly doesn’t lack fans. Feast on steamed fish with green onion and pig knuckle – and top it all off with a cart of hand-made French pastries, made in-house (yes).
No. 15-1, Lane 44 SiWei Rd., Da’an Dist. Taipei City (106台北市大安區四維路44巷15-1號)
• Ephernite: I’ve been seeing the name pop up in articles besides MUME and RAW – and a quick glance at their mentions (most in local Chinese media) confirms that this French bistro is indeed a casual fine dining contender.
No. 233, Section 2, Anhe Rd, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan (台北市大安區安和路二段233號)
Looking for after-dinner drinks? Your Taipei Nightlife Guide, right here.