From Yilan, we moved on to Taichung – our second stop for food hunting in Taiwan. FengJia night market 逢甲夜市 is a must visit place for local street food. There are many good restaurants and cafes around in Taichung but we have to be selective with the limited time we have on our itinerary.
無為草堂 Wu Wei Tsao Tang
Wu Wei Tsao Tang is a traditional Chinese tea house with Japanese influences. Its ancient Chinese architecture framework was built on mainly timber and surrounded a huge fish pool that provides a natural habitat for the koi with aquatic plants and trees all around.
Individual small huts and private dining rooms are spread around the premises to cater to different patrons’ needs. Both “tatami” seating and standard table seatings are available.
Stepping into Wu Wei Tsao Tang will improve your mood instantly, it gives a nostalgic feeling of travelling back to the early 1900’s. We were amazed with its beautiful structural work and the surreal and tranquil environment.
We ordered a set menu and found the food was equally great. The salmon was perfectly pan-fried to a nice crisp outside and had a soft, juicy interior. The seasoning was spot-on and deserved a big thumb up from us.
We had indulged in too much of carnivorous food and opted for the veggie hot pot. A big pot of veggies, cabbage, mushroom, pumpkin, tofu and more, was served with pickles and sacha sauce. The freshness of the veggies are guaranteed and another satisfying set menu that left us very pleased.
Do try the dessert as well, especially the taro balls and sweet potatoes balls (on the menu it shown as two separate items but do ask for the mix so you can try both). For the taro balls, the filling is mashed sweet potatoes and the opposite for the sweet potatoes balls with Yam filling. Both the balls are deep fried to a chewy texture, real good dessert to end the meal.
Wu Wei Tsao Tang left us with a deep impression. We highly recommend it in your next trip to Taichung.
H：Daily 10.30am to 10.30pm
The building was once an ophthalmology clinic but transformed into a charming gorgeous Taiwanese dessert house. The spectacular space and structure resembles the old English library.
Traditional Taiwanese desserts are sold here like pineapple tarts, cakes, biscuits, chocolates, cookies and all types of local popular snacks. However, one of the main attractions of Miyahara is the ice cream. There are more than 50 flavours of house brand premium quality ice cream available here, many are specially created flavours that you will not be able to find anywhere else. The queue for the ice cream is not for the impatient.
There are too many flavours and we had only limited stomach capacity to experience some of them.
The ice cream was generally smooth and not too sweet, not extraordinary but overall acceptable.
Fengjia Night Market 逢甲夜市 — Xitun District, Taichung City, Taiwan 407
One of the biggest night markets in Taiwan, open from 5pm to midnight daily and a must visit place to hunt for local snacks.
Guan Zhi Lin官芝霖大腸包小腸40NT : 台中市西屯區逢甲路20巷16號(逢甲路和便當街的交叉路口)
Located directly at the main entrance to the night market, the shop sign literally translates to “small intestines wrapped in large intestines” or “small sausages in large sausages”. A local Taiwanese invention by wrapping the usually char-grilled pork sausage with sticky glutinous rice. The wrap is then topped with various condiments like pickled ginger, cucumber together with the various choices of sauce like original, black pepper, spicy or wasabi to complement the taste.
The combination was quite nice but could be a bit heavy with the glutinous rice. If we had not shared it, our stomachs would probably have already reached the limit.
Opens: 12pm to 1am
Minglun pancake NT40 明倫蛋餅: 福星路546號
The dough is flattened like roti prata and grilled on the hot plate, an egg and spring onions are added with your choice of sauce before being rolled up. You can taste the fragrance of the egg in the dough and the sweetness of the spring onion. Not too bad in our opinion.
Aniki potato NT120老大薯條: 台中市西屯區慶和街75號
Japanese mashed potatoes are shaped into 30cm french fries, quite possibly the world’s longest! You can choose different sauces for topping, the fries were deep-fried till crisp on the outside but retained the fluffy softness inside. You can enjoy the nice aroma of the potato in each bite and it is an interesting snack that is worth trying.
Tai Kuo yam dessert 大甲芋頭城: 大甲芋頭城 台中市西屯區福星路461巷2號之2
大甲 is famous for their fragrant and creamy textured taro or yam. Desserts made of yam are prevalent in Taichung.
大甲芋頭城, a shop specialising in taro desserts, is known for having the best around FengJia. There are many choices but just go for the signature 芋圓綜合 – NT45, an assorted dessert bowl with yam, tapioca pearls, red beans and flavored chewy balls. Hot and cold versions are available. Honestly, it is not spectacular and the flavour is fairly ordinary, but the yam is undeniably good.
Pig blood cake NT40 豬血糕: a stall right outside the main entrance of Fengjia university
A street food served on a stick in Taiwan, voted as number 1 most disgusting food in the world. It is a mixture of pig’s blood with glutinous rice sold as a 1cm thick rectangular cake. The cake is dabbed with peanut powder and brushed with sweet sauce and chili sauce before serving. Nice? We bravely tried a bite: it just taste bland even with all the accompaniment added, in the end, we could not even finish half before giving up.
Highly prevalent in Taiwan, wou will find this snack in every night market. Fresh cuttlefish deep fried and doused in your choice of sauce. We went for the Thai chili. The cuttlefish was fresh and chewy but will not make you crave for more.
Lazy people Prawns 小鬍子懒人虾: 台中市西屯區逢甲夜市文華路37號(懶人蝦)
Popular snack at Fengjia night market, don’t expect big and juicy tiger prawns, the grilled shrimps are about the size of your little finger and you eat it without de-shelling (hence “Lazy people prawns”). It has rave reviews but we were not sure if we agreed with them.
Dì jūn charcoal grilled peppery bun逢甲帝鈞碳烤胡椒餅: 台中市西屯區文華路12號之7(文華路與慶和街口)
These buns are on the Micheline guide list under Taiwan snacks. The filling is the traditional spring onion and diced pork with spices. The buns are stuck to the sides of a cylindrical oven fired with charcoal. Baking in this manner creates a crisp texture and charred flavour in the skin, while the filling is juicy with strong spices predominated by fragrant pepper. Overall a quality bun but not eye-poppingly good.
18號麵包 Bakery 18
: 40741西屯區福星北路18號,台中市, 407, 台灣星享道集團 Insky Hotel
Local baked bread and cakes are one of the things that you must eat when you’re visiting Taiwan. The baking industry is much inherited and influenced by the Japanese with its superior flour and fine ingredients used. Bread and cakes here are usually much better than our Singaporean selections and a highly recommended food that you must try.
H: 11am – 9pm
Taichung food review summary
Fengjia night market is a good place to explore Taiwanese street food and should always be part of the itinerary when visiting Taichung. For local restaurant cuisine, head to 無為草堂 Wu Wei Tsao Tang which was truly an unique experience for us in this trip.