It’s been a while, hasn’t it? More than half a semester of college has passed and summer is a distant, distant memory. But remember all that time ago when I posted about restaurants in Taipei? Let’s jump straight back in and talk about street food and dessert restaurants.
Ay-Chung Rice-Flour Noodles (阿宗麵線 a zong mian xian)
Various locations; we went to the main branch at
No. 8-1, Emei Street, Wanhua District, Taipei
台北市萬華區峨嵋街8號之1 tai bei shi wan hua qu e mei jie ba hao zhi yi
No trip to Ximending, the ‘hip and trendy’ area of Taipei (my mom’s words, not mine) where we stayed, is complete without a bowl of rice-flour noodles from Ay-Chung. Be warned, however, that these contain bits of pig intestines, which I didn’t know until I commented on the delicious chewy stuff in my bowl. After I found out I was put off for about 30 seconds…but damn, those intestines are really good, as you can see from how much Alex and Marsha are enjoying their noodles.
A small bowl is NT$40 and a large bowl is NT$50. You can’t get any better than this.
Mochi on a Stick (I have no idea what this is actually called)
No. 49, Emei Street, Wanhua District, Taipei
台北市萬華區峨嵋街49號 tai bei shi wan hua qu e mei jie si shi jiu hao
Another less-well-known Ximending attraction is a little stall that sells grilled mochi on a stick. It probably wasn’t the best summer food, but would probably be the best snack ever on a chilly day.
The mochi comes with a variety of sauces, sweet and savory – I got the “cheese” sauce, which was categorized under sweet and was really more of a condensed milk concoction. It was good in any case!
Taipei Zoo (台北市立動物園 tai bei shi li dong wu yuan)
No. 30, Section 2 Xinguang Road, Wunshan District, Taipei
台北市文山區新光路二段30號 (tai bei shi wen shan qu xin guang lu er duan san shi hao)
So this isn’t exactly street food, but you have to eat when you go to the zoo. Probably the most crowded eating area is the McDonald’s near the entrance, which has a large seating area that will inevitably be filled to the brim with frustrated parents and whining children, so just watch your step.
There’s also a little area with some vending machines and a kiosk around the middle of the zoo, where we bought corn dogs and ice cream cones. The corn dogs were a little small, but decent for Asia, where they’re still not really a mainstream food. (And Marsha had a little incident with her ice cream that I won’t mention explicitly. Let’s just say it was hilarious for us and not so much for her.)
Zoos, theme parks and all other captive-market establishments usually have seriously jacked-up prices, but since prices in Taiwan are so reasonable anyway, we didn’t have a problem with the food prices at the Taipei Zoo at all.
Maokong (貓空 mao kong)
Remember Maokong, where the Yaoyue Teahouse was? Right when you get off the cable car from the zoo, there’s a whole slew of street stands where you can get food: savory and sweet, hot and cold, solid and liquid. I got some freshly made soy milk, while Steph and Marsha got a taro-flavored popsicle.
Eastern Ice Store (東區粉圓 dong qu fen yuan)
No. 38, Alley 216, Section 4 Zhongxiao East Road, Daan District, Taipei
台北市大安區忠孝東路4段216巷38號 tai bei shi da an qu zhong xiao dong lu si duan er bai shi liu xiang san shi ba hao
This is another one of those institutions that my entire family has to visit at least once every time we visit Taiwan. Despite the name, this store doesn’t only sell shaved ice – hot grass jelly (燒仙草 shao xian cao, pictured below), tofu pudding (豆花 dou hua) and mung bean soup (綠豆湯 lü dou tang) are also available as bases to your dessert, to which you can add a huge variety of traditional Chinese and Taiwanese dessert toppings ranging from multicolored glutinous rice balls (圓子 yuan zi, also referred to by their Japanese name, dango, here) to pineapples (鳳梨 feng li, as opposed to the term used in China - 菠蘿 bo lo).
These definitely aren’t the most beautiful desserts ever, but they sure are cheap and so, so good.
Multiple branches named after the color of their decor; we went to Dazzling Café Mint, located at
No. 3, Lane 248, Section 4 Zhongxiao East Road, Daan District, Taipei
台北市大安區忠孝東路4段248巷3號 tai bei shi da an qu zhong xiao dong lu si duan er bai si shi ba xiang san hao
Okay, so now let’s talk about desserts that are easier on the eyes. The prices here are a little heftier and the wait is ridiculously long (be prepared to go in, put your name down for a table, and walk around the area for a good hour or more).
None of that matters.
Plan your entire day around this place, guys.
So this hot chocolate was decent and was presented amazingly well, but the main event? The honey toast.
Oh yeah. This is no ordinary toast.
We polished that up fast. (There were four of us and we nearly exploded – don’t go alone!)