When I first found out I would be visiting Taipei for business, I didn’t have any idea what the place was all about. I always thought of Taipei as just another asian city.
As a Filipino, I needed a tourist visa to enter Taiwan, and I’m happy to tell you guys it was pretty easy getting one. No fuss really, it took less than an hour and I just had to pay a visa fee, no interview necessary. It cost $60 (around Php 2,000) which isn’t bad.
Which means people can acquire one without much effort. And that’s a great thing, because although I didn’t expect much from Taipei, the city completely surprised me, and is now among the top three asian cities on my personal list.
There are various night markets in and around the city, and they are all massive. Rows upon rows of different stalls of street food, boutiques and small pop-up stores that sell everything from trinkets to magnets, sit-down restaurants that serve authentic Taiwanese fare.
There’s just so much to see, do and eat at Taipei’s night markets, you better make sure you eat very little during the day to make room for all the food available at night.
The best night market in Taipei in my opinion is the Shilin (Xilin) Night Market, because it’s so vast and has everything you would need or want to see, but they are all very good nonetheless.
And it’s not just food either, there are a lot of different stores that sell pretty much everything — Nike basketball shoes, tourist-y souvenirs, among others.
But back to the food.
The food is the highlight of this place. The famous stinky tofu. The crispy chicken. Ice cold pearl milk teas. Fried milk (yes, that’s right. Fried milk). They can all be found here.
There’s just so much to eat. If you love street food, Taipei is the place to be.
Make no mistake about it, Taipei is one of the best places to spend a weekend because of these night markets.
It’s just an amazing place to roam around and get lost in. And I leave you with more photos of glorious street fare.
My friend who works in Hong Kong took us to this “restaurant” near her place. While walking, she told us not to expect too much about the ambiance and cleanliness but she promised us that the food there was excellent. We’re not really picky when it comes to choosing where to eat, so long as the food is great!
Good thing we agreed to eat there because Anthony Bourdain (you know, the guy who has the best job in the world: travels all over and eats all the best food you can possibly imagine) happened to visit that same resto and featured this on his show.
Tung Po kitchen area
So we arrived at the place and yes, those are actual photos of the same exact place where the No Reservations host dined in. If cleanliness is your number one priority when choosing a restaurant, I’m not sure you’ll be too thrilled to eat here.
Tung Po is located above a wet market in Java Road. There are a lot of restaurants on this floor — it’s very well lit, with lots of tables and chairs, a lot of hungry people (both locals and tourists), busy staff, and steam from freshly cooked dishes! It’s quite chaotic and noisy but that’s the beauty of this place, it’s a go-to place for those who want to drink and eat authentic, delicious Hong Kong food!
There was a lot of interesting food on the menu but we only ended up ordering three dishes:
You can watch the No Reservations episode about Tung Po here.
The squid ink pasta was palatable, with the noodles al-dente and the sauce nice and flavorful, but squid ink isn’t really my thing. It’s a great discussion piece however, and I’m sure people will appreciate its adventurous quality.
The pork spare ribs however was my favorite dish among the three. The authentic preparation and burst of flavor did well to satisfy our late-night craving after a day on the road.
And of course, who could dislike buttered garlic shrimp? The prawns were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. And the garlic — oooh the garlic — absolutely yummy. Nothing can go wrong with these three ingredients.
Make sure you drop by Tung Po Seafood Restaurant when you’re in the North Point area. They’re open until late at night and you won’t regret the decision to eat there.