I prefer to eat my way through new cultures and places. Perhaps it’s my indie side that drives me to seek out the smallest, unheard of, hole-in-the wall place to eat when I travel. I deserve a virtual high five for this one. My favorite spot in Taipei has no sign in English and is off one of the most crowded busy train stops.
Here are the directions I used to find this vegetarian oasis. Lonely Planet Xiangyi Vegetarian Heaven
It’s a vegetarian buffet! There were so many choices, it was a little overwhelming (in a great way). Besides it being vegetarian, my favorite part was the ease for me, as a foreigner who didn’t speak any of the native language, to order. I knew anything I chose wouldn’t have any meat. Paying wasn’t confusing either, they charge you a flat rate based on the weight of your food.
I visited this restaurant twice and loaded up my plate each time. Dumplings, taro cake, sushi… the food was fantastic
Next favorite part of Taipei wasn’t a specific place to eat but more of a style of places that were EVERYWHERE.
Fresh BAKERIES! I ate at different bakeries everyday and had a different pastry each time. The varieties of pastry reminded me of Paris but there definitely was a Taipei twist to some of the items. I saw treats that used Taro, corn and ever a soy milk/sesame pastry! (yes I tried all 3 of those)
Finally, fried STINKY TOFU.
The line to get this native treat was about 15 people deep but it was well worth the wait. The chef were used to having a crowd and put on quite an impressive show while we waited for a fresh batch.
Like most cart food, stinky tofu is served in a plastic bag.
Find a place to squat, or preferably sit, and chow down. Stinky tofu has a very distinct flavor/odor but I enjoyed it. You should note that I now am no longer offended by the smell of Durian either so my senses may be a lil different from yours.
I’m already planning what city I’m going to eat my way through next. It will have to be within the US so my top three picks are: Chicago, NYC or Portland. Hopefully I’ll see one of those this fall/winter.