Savour Taitung City’s Tantalizing Local Flavors 2017 台东市中心美食篇:品尝诱人的在地风味

One of the alluring factors for visitors to Taiwan is its mouth-watering street food selection, particularly at the numerous night markets in the country. Just in the vibrant capital – Taipei alone, there are at least 17 popular night markets, & we have not taken into account the multifarious local budget eateries, cafes & high-end restaurants all over Taiwan. While Taitung doesn’t have famous night markets to boast of like its northern sibling, there are plenty of good eats in the city too. After spending 3 nights in Taitung City, here’s a compilation of the food we tried & tasted through recommendations by locals!


1. Blue Dragonfly Fried Chicken Fast Food Restaurant 藍蜻蜓炸雞

Address/ 地址: No. 214, Datong Road, Taitung City, Taitung County/ 台東市大同路214號

Open/ 营业时间: Tuesday to Sunday 周二~星期日:10:30~23:00

Phone/ 电话: (+886-8) 931-0869 

Social Media/ 面簿: Facebook

If you love fried chicken / fast food, you cannot miss Blue Dragonfly Fried Chicken Fast Food Restaurant. Established over 20 years ago, there is only 1 outlet in Taitung City, as well as the entire Taiwan. Mr Wang recommended the fast food restaurant to us, saying the restaurant serves the best fried chicken in Taitung & long queues are often seen here, but its owner doesn’t want to open more outlets to reach out to more customers.


Blue Dragonfly has a simple shop decor, & is located in an inconspicuous corner facing the side of a building along Datong Road. So do keep your eyes open when searching for the shop, otherwise you may miss it. We were lucky when we found the shop around 7.30pm on a rainy Thursday night, there were just a handful of customers queuing in front of us. But after we paid for our order, the crowd started to stream in.


Although termed as “fast food”, the wait for our Fried Chicken Meal (115 TWD, ~S$5.35) took about 10 minutes or so, not exactly that fast eh… We decided to share a set as we wanted to try another highly recommended local restaurant nearby too. The Fried Chicken Meal consisted of drumstick, chicken wing, chicken tenders, fries & a soft drink (we picked Fanta Grape). Frankly, the meal didn’t look fantastic, in fact the fried chicken looked a bit burnt. However, 1 bite into the chicken meat, & we were immediately won over by its flavourful tenderness! The fries were also tasty, although the portion was quite miserable. Are potatoes that expensive in Taitung?  😅 I think if I get the chance to visit again, I will order 1 set meal for myself to enjoy!


2. Rong Shu Xia Rice Noodles 榕樹下米苔目

Address/ 地址: No. 176, Datong Road, Taitung City, Taitung County/ 台東市大同路176號

Open/ 营业时间: Daily except closed on alternate Wednesday & Thursday/ 每天,隔周三周四公休:9:30~15:00;17:00~20:00.

Phone/电话: (+886-9) 631-48519 

Social Media/ 面簿: Facebook

Just a few doors away from Blue Dragonfly on the same Datong Road, is the popular Rong Shu Xia Rice Noodle Restaurant. Before the trip, I had already read many online reviews raving about this restaurant serving the short rice noodles aka Mee Ta Mak in Singapore context. Mr Wang also highly recommended Rong Shu Xia to us. I also noticed that even the Taitung official tourism website has a page dedicated to this restaurant, it says a lot about Rong Shu Xia’s reputation!

就在藍蜻蜓的同一条路上,可以看到另一家著名的台东美食店 —— 榕樹下米苔目。还没去台东前,我已在网上读到许多榕樹下的好评。既然汪先生也强力推荐,台东旅游官方网站也有榕樹下米苔目的专页,我们怎么能不试一试呢?

Compared to Blue Dragonfly’s unassuming shop front, Rong Shu Xia’s decor appeared more classy with wooded decor. We ordered a large rice noodle soup (50 TWD, ~S$2.35) for takeaway as the restaurant was rather crowded. The service was quite prompt despite the crowd. Although mee ta mak is a common dish that can be found in Singapore, the Taitung version differs from the mee ta mak we know. The rice noodle itself was longer than what we have in Singapore, but still shorter than the usual rice noodles. There was also no curvy tail ends to each noodle, but it appeared somewhat like a shorter yet fatter version of the “you-mian” we know here. Minced pork, chives, bean sprouts & bonito slices were served in the soup, making it very flavourful. However, I found the soup a tad too salty, as it left an aftertaste in my mouth, long after I finished eating. I had to wash away the taste with lots of water thereafter. Not my style of mee ta mak I guess, maybe next time I will try the dry version.



3. Qi Li Xiang Restaurant 七里香·水煎包·滷味

Address/ 地址: No. 7, Lane 385, Zhenqi Road, Taitung City, Taitung County/ 台東市正氣路385巷7號

Open/ 营业时间: Tuesday to Sunday 周二~星期日:15:30~01:00

Phone/电话: (+886-8) 933-4615 

Located at the junction of Zhenqi Road & Nanjing Road, Qi Li Xiang Restaurant is loved by locals for its large pan-fried buns, & also its braised food. After bidding goodbye to Mr Wang, he dropped us off just outside the restaurant as he highly recommended us trying the buns here. The restaurant has been featured in many television foodie programs & often see with long queues, but fortunately, it was still early, just slightly after 5 pm when we reached so there was barely anyone else except us.


We could see quite a variety of braised food spread out at the counter for customers to take their pick from. But we asked for the pan-fried bun (25 TWD, ~S$1.15) without hesitation since it’s the signature dish here. After a short wait, our piping hot buns were ready. Wow the bun smelt great & was bigger than my fist! It was my first time eating the famous Taiwanese street snack & I was quite impressed by the crispy skin, while keeping its inside fluffy & juicy. Furthermore, it was generously filled with pork meat, sliced carrot, chives, cellophane noodles etc. Really a delicious filling bun that is truly worth the deal. 🙂


4. Sea Breeze Cafe 海風咖啡

Address/ 地址: No. 80, Datong Road, Taitung City, Taitung County/ 台東市大同路80號

Open/ 营业时间: Monday to Saturday 周一~周六:08:00~18:00

Phone/电话: (+886-8) 936-2032

Social Media/ 面簿: Facebook

Chanced upon Sea Breeze Cafe on our first day in Taitung City when we were roaming around to explore downtown Taitung. From its exterior, the cafe looked like a relaxing cottage for a pit-stop. It was certainly inviting especially after walking so much on a rainy afternoon.


Welcome to Sea Breeze Cafe

By the time we settled in the cafe, it was almost 5.30 pm & Sea Breeze would be closing soon. We didn’t order any main courses or food since we were going to have dinner at the hotel soon as well. As the cafe’s Chinese name suggested, most of the beverages are coffee-based. The friendly staff recommended their home brewed iced sour plum drink with basil leaves (95 TWD, ~S$4.45) to me upon hearing I couldn’t take any beverage with caffeine then. My drink tasted very sour on first few sips, but after a while, I got used to the taste & found it quite refreshing. My friend got her iced coffee fix (75 TWD, ~S$3.50) as well as a lemon tart (her favourite pastry). She commented the coffee was OK but not fantastic. I tried a bit of the lemon tart & it was alright, though didn’t wow us. Nonetheless, with usual cafe staples such as breakfast, brunch, pasta, sandwiches & baked rice, a cosy ambience & friendly service staff, Sea Breeze Cafe is still worth a try.

我们抵达时,海風咖啡只剩约半个小时就要打烊了。由于已接近晚餐时间,我们不想吃得太饱,所以只点了饮料与甜点。正如咖啡馆的名字,饮料多属咖啡类,我都不能喝。于是,亲切友善的店员向我推荐他们家自酿的冰酿紫苏梅 (台币95元)。喝了几口,感觉饮料真的好酸,但慢慢地习惯它的酸,也还不错,是个可清热解暑的选择。朋友点了冰拿铁(台币75元)和她最爱的柠檬塔。冰拿铁的味道还可以,但没有超赞。柠檬塔也是一样,没有让我们特别惊艳。不过,海風咖啡还有蛮多主食选择,如意大利面、三文治、焗饭等,馆内的设计很温馨,店员也很友善,下次还可以再到访。

5. Jin Fang Iced Shop 津芳冰城

Address/ 地址: No. 358, Zhenqi Road, Taitung City, Taitung County/ 台東市正氣路358號

Open/ 营业时间: Daily 每天:9:00~23:00

Phone/ 电话: (+886-8) 932-8023 

Website/ 网页: Taitung Tourism Website

From Qi Li Xiang, turn into Zhengqi Road & you will see Jin Fang Iced Shop shortly. Opened since 1963, Jin Fang has been one of the favourite iced shops in Taitung for locals for a long time. Taitung enjoys a tropical climate most of the time, & hence it’s a good idea to pop by Jin Fang for some shaved ice or ice pop to escape from the sweltering heat.


From the menu at the counter, we could see that there’s a wide array of iced desserts, drinks & fruit juices to choose from. I saw that many customers ordered the red bean milk with shaved ice, but too bad, my friend doesn’t like bean products & hence we ordered the fruit shaved ice (40 TWD, ~S$1.85) instead. Beneath the smooth shaved ice, we found an assortment of fruits such as papaya, watermelon & pineapple. Nothing too special to us, but even at about 6 pm, there were quite a number of customers. I should have ordered the savoury iced pop (20 TWD, ~S$0.95) to try instead, as I read that it’s the signature item in the shop (after the visit). Sob… hope there’s a chance next time!


6. Taitung Tourism Night Market 台東觀光夜市

Address/ 地址: Zhenqi Road, Taitung City, Taitung County/ 台東市正氣路

Open/ 营业时间: Thursday to Saturday 周四~周六:16:30~02:00

Phone/ 电话: (+886-8) 932-8023 

Website/ 网页: Taitung Tourism Website

Unlike well known night markets in Taipei, Taichung or Kaohsiung, Taitung did not have any night markets until July 2010. Located along Zhenqi Road, by day, it is a fruit & vegetable street, & at night, it is transformed into a night market so that tourists & locals alike have a place to shop around after dark. Taitung Tourism Night Market was setup after many travellers to the city feedback that there was nothing much to do at night, except some mobile food stalls along Siwei Road in front of Ren’ai Elementary School every Sunday night. However, do note that the night market is only open from Thursday to Saturday, & if it rains, most likely the stallholders will not be opened for business (as it happened on the rainy Thursday night when we were there).


台東觀光夜市 – 桂田喜来登酒店就在夜市旁

Compared to famous night markets such as Shilin, Fengjia or Ruifeng, Taitung Tourism Night Market is only 200 metres long. So it didn’t take us too long before we finished touring the entire market, with time to munch on some local street delights. We tried the fried chicken chop with soy milk paste (60 TWD, ~S$2.80), which was very flavourful but became too salty after a while.


fried chicken chop with soy milk paste

To quench our thirst, we also enjoyed the uniquely Taiwan “frog hits milk” beverage (35 TWD, ~S$1.65), prepared using premium Chulu Ranch fresh milk. The beverage name is a literal translation from its Chinese name, which is in fact just fresh milk with plenty of chewy tapioca pearls. Nice & aromatic!~



7. Chan Kee Mochi 陳記麻糬

Address/ 地址: No. 186, Bo’ai Road, Taitung City, Taitung County/ 台東市博爱路186號

Open/ 营业时间: Daily 每天:06:30~19:00

Phone/电话: (+886-8) 935-3286

Website/ 网站: Official website

We thought our foodie discovery in Taitung City would end at Taitung Night Market, but it was a pleasant surprise the next morning when we met our second driver, A-Wei, for the last day of the private tour. He presented us each with a welcome goodie bag – Chan Kee Mochi! I didn’t do much research about good food in Taitung prior to the trip, but he mentioned that Chan Kee’s mochi are very popular in the city, with customers heading there early every morning in order to lay their hands on the freshest mochi made that day.


Just like Blue Dragonfly, Chan Kee has only 1 outlet in the country, & it was first opened by the current boss’ maternal grandfather, after he picked up the skills from being an apprentice in a Japanese confectionery in 1934. Now into the third generation of management, Chan Kee is still going strong. I read that Chan Kee has a creative mochi flavour made from swordfish, interesting! Too bad A-Wei only treated us to the “safer” flavours – green tea (20 TWD, ~S$0.95), peanut & green bean (18 TWD, ~S$0.85 each). But they were all very chewy, & we love the generous tasty fillings in the mochi!


I hope I have more time for a foodie journey next time I visit Taitung. Definitely, I will want to return to some of the above shops again to try their signature items, can’t wait! 😉



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