How to eat healthy and cheap?


I’m an exchange student and I will stay in Taipei for a year, my focuses are: improve my mandarin, pass my semester, do a lot of sport.
I arrived a week ago, and after couchsurfing for 5 days, I finally found a cheap but basic room for summer (I will move out end of august to the BOT dorms that are fully furnished)

In this summer room I don’t have a kitchen, or a fridge. What is my best option to eat a lot and healthy without ruining myself? I’m trying to create good habits, and I don’t think my current noodle/baozi every meal is that good…

Everyone says food is cheap in Taiwan. However back at home I spent less than here because I was cooking (I spend at least 400 per day here, less than 150 per day back in france)

I do 2 hours of sport per day so I need easily 3500 calories daily…I feel like I eat twice as much as my taiwanese friends

Look for a zi4zhu4can1 self-serve cafeteria near where you live; good ones have a wide variety of vegetables and wu3gu3 (five grain) rice, and aren’t expensive. But you’re not going to get 3500 healthy calories for 150 NT. Perhaps for 500NT.

If you can, I’d encourage you to get a small fridge for your place. Then you can supplement your meals with decent milk (such as 4 Ways, available at organic shops such as Santa Cruz and others) and Taiwan’s excellent fruits.

If you’re near NTU, you might also consider the small but excellent organic market held on Saturdays starting at 1:00. You can find it next to the Gongguan Water Park and directly across from NTU’s Shuiyuan BOT complex on Siyuan Street.

I hope this helps!


Cross-posted here: … and_cheap/

Alot of good info in this thread. If you are looking for protein that is (mostly) clean it is hard to beat the double cheese burger from Mcdonalds for 38nt. You can throw away the bun and get it with no sauce if you want it a bit cleaner. Based on arithmetic I did on their menu, it seems each patty is about 100 calories and the cheese is 50 calories per slice.

You could also go for mega eggs here and there, but clean meat is tricky to find out and about without spending a fortune.

3x 38nt for 3/4 lbs of beef (precocked weight) + 3x mystery cheese is a pretty good deal. Thats about 750 calories of non carbs- you can beat it with a lot of looking around, but this is a viable alternative. You can get 750 calories of carbs all over the place for next to nothing!

As much as folks say good things about the buffets at NTU, I can confirm (as of a few years ago) protein is hard to come by from the line. It is usually picked over pretty quickly!

Good luck finding your way around. A new dorm is generally a pretty good thing. I had an old dorm at NTU that was a genuine health hazard.


I have no idea where the “BOT dorms” are, but if the OP feels like a trip to Danshui, I can offer two suggestions:

  1. The RegaLees Hotel does an awesome buffet for the bargain price of NT$380. It’s not what you’d get at the Hyatt, but it’s good quality if a bit limited. From the OP’s point of view, there’s all the meat and calories you can eat, including roast duck and smoked salmon.

  2. Just around the corner (couple of doors down from the water company office) is a Korean all-you-can-eat BBQ. $320 on weekdays, again with all the meat, rice, veg and wiggly things you can manage.

Finley: this is NTU talk for the two massive “build operate transfer” residential complexes constructed on NTU property (i.e. public land) in Gongguan but built and operated by Prince Corporation (i.e. a private company). I believe NCKU in Tainan has followed this scheme too.


Speaking of self-serve cafeteria, I really like this one:

It’s vegetarian. There is one near the Taipei Public Library on Jianguo S. Rd, but there are a few other locations around Taipei. It never costs me more than NT$120, and I eat enough. Delicious and very healthy.

Most are mediocre, but there’s a good one on Donghu Rd., in Donghu (Neihu) on the north side, near the 7-11 nearest to Kangning Rd.

“minder” is one of the better ones - they don’t drench everything in sugar and grease. I get the impression the OP is looking for a serious protein intake though, which would be hard to achieve on a Taiwan-style vegetarian diet (no eggs, dairy etc).