Taiwanese food sucks

This quote was from the Learning Chinese forum and referring to words for good food.

I really can’t stand the Taiwanese food now. I think its the bloody sauce. Ther e are not many clean tastes.

Its just all glug.


Other side of the coin is when we cook meat at home and my SO can’t stand the cooking smell when it is not masked by sauce and she refuses to eat it.


I can’t stand the white pasty sugary stuff. We got these magnificent little wholemeal buns from Costco that are covered in grains. When you toast them they have a doughy delightful centre. Different taste and textures from the grain, the wholemeal bread and the doughy centre combined with olive oil butter and a quality fruit spread and I’m in food heaven. Different taste between the fruit spread and the non sweetened bread is all part of that.

SO will eat the outside of the little buns but does not like the doughy centre. Interesting little turd like things end up lying around the kitchen.


No problem here. I tried buying Taiwanese chocolate for her and kept the Belgain stored away. We both love the Belgian chocolate and nobody eats the local stuff.

I disagree. There’s lots of good food here – you just haven’t found it.

Tonight I had grilled dove and glutinous rice cooked in a bamboo section, both absolutely delicious. About $130 total.

Often the really good food is to be found in very ordinary-looking little restaurants that look just like all the other little restaurants. The only way you find out about these places is by locals in the know. And locals usually means just that: people who live in the area.

I have been lucky enough to be taken to a few such places. I’d never have found them on my own.

Watch where the locals go. If you see a place that doesn’t look fancy, and has reasonable or even low prices, but it’s PACKED with customers, you should try it.

Or get recommendations from locals.

Perhaps you’ve been going to all the wrong places, with nicer decor and mediocre food. Those places are opened by businessmen, not by people who can really cook up a storm.

Most of my favorite places don’t look like much…

Does anyone know of any Taiwanese restaurants in Europe or the States? I don’t. Can’t say that I’m surprised either.
I echo I-man’s comment about meat: If you have good fresh chicken or good pork (and Taiwan does) what is wrong with plain old chicken or pork flavor? However, the real crime is the way fish is so often prepared. I love fish, and I have no problem with lying-on-it’s side-head-and-all fish, but I hate the over-flavored and seriously overcooked style that is popular here.
That being said, we have a very good noodle place here in our village, and I’ve even learned a bit of Taiwanese out of my enthusiasm for it. I also love Taiwanese breakfast and all the great locally-made sausages that I’ve been getting, so it ain’t all bad.

Did it have the head on it?

That has to be one of the best parts of dove.


I know of quite a few where I come from. It’s been my experience that many Taiwanese places did not call their restaurants “Taiwanese” in the past, prefering to offer the typical westernized Chinese food in order to be successful in their markets. Recently, though, perhaps because of larger immigrant communities along with the more adventurous palates of locals, there have been more and more restaurants deviating from the sweet and sour pork norm.

It’s a question of different tastes I guess. I understand that some simply do not develop a taste for local fare. Myself, overall, I’d say I like quite alot of what is on offer. I usually pass on the chicken bums and the pig’s blood cake, though.

traditional Taiwanese food has always focused on overcooked and overflavored…this is because Taiwanese were relatively poor farmers and couldn’t afford to have fancy meat, fish, veggies, and fruits on their table…they usually settle for the leftover animal innards, skinny ass fish with too much bone, and the usually nasty bits of veggies that cannot be sold…so they overcook and overflavor it so it can be more appealing to the palate…

I like my local goose restaurant for slices of goose and octopus with ginger and sauce; boiled shrimp with wasabe and soy sauce; noodles; some vegies; and a bottle of Taiwan beer.

I like another local place for rice with pork sauce on it (lu ro fan); chopped squid with ginger, cilantro and hot sauce over it; and fish belly soup (I wasn’t a fan of fish before taiwan, but that fish belly is tender, boneless and good).

I also like broiled fish head; pig feet and kong ro (fatty pork), but one can’t eat those too often without feeling a little guilty; dumplings; fried squid, chicken, etc. from a street stand; those great steamed buns at night market stuffed with shredded pork or beef, cilantro and peanut powder; and I even like oyster, intestine and noodle soup.

For breakfast, I like tsai bow (cabbage dumplings), fan twan, and other local stuff, though I would still be thrilled if a Denny’s would open in Taipei, with massive American style breakfasts 24/7.

Is there such a thing as “Taiwanese” food? Can somebody provide some examples of what might be considered uniquely “Taiwanese”? Just wondering…

I put Taiwese as opposed to Chinese because I go to a little restaurant in LongTan that does Western China food. It is most definitely a different style. They make Donna Kebabs. I know they are Donna Kebabs, they don’t know it and still do a good job of them. They just miss the taziki sauce and that is not a bad thing.

The fried oysters in egg with the sauce on top, that thick oyster soup that you see in the night market, ru3 rou4 fan4 (rice with the stewed sauce on top), stinky tofu, pig blood cake, and pearl milk tea…

[quote=“Dragonbones”]I disagree. There’s lots of good ____ here – you just haven’t found it.


This is the standard reply to anyone who dares complain about bad Taiwanese food, music, culture, insert _____. I’m sure if we were living in Inner Uzbekistan subsiding on congealed goat entrails the same people would pipe up, “There’s lots of good food here, you just haven’t found it. There are lots of goat herders into Stravinsky ballet and enjoy discussing the finer points of post-structuralist language aquisition theory, you just haven’t found them.” Look, if you have actually seek high and low for things you could find right outside your doorstep back home, that suggests to me that maybe Taiwan doesn’t have them in abundance.

That said, there is plenty of good Taiwanese food, just not in the shops. Go to the night markets. That’s where they hide all the decent Taiwanese food. The bread, vegetables, and meats in the stores are generally of low quality. That’s why smart people grab a hot pot at the corner vendor’s instead. It’s cheaper, too. Taiwanese eat out more than they cook in because it’s healthier, tastier, and cheaper.

I assume we’re talking taste and not nutritional value here. So I’d agree with Ironman, food sucks here. Saying “you haven’t found it yet” proves just that. It’s not difficult to find food that tastes good back home, you’d find it fast enough as the choices are endless if you simply walk into a grocery store. Here, you have to “find it”. There is good food here but the choices are so limited that if I look at the big picture, it simply sucks.


Yup. I’ve eaten at:

Taiwan Restaurant, 2071 University Ave., Berkeley, CA
168 Restaurant, 3288 Pierce Street, Richmond, CA
Formosa Restaurant, 2116 State Street, New Albany, IN

The first two are good; the third…bleh.

I dunno, I find the food at most Taiwanese restaurants to be of exactly the same mediocre but perfectly acceptable quality that 99.99 percent of restaurants back home are.

I’ve had gong bao ji ding a hundred or more times, and only once have I not enjoyed it. I’ve only not enjoyed dumplings once. Zui ji? Never not enjoyed it. San Bei Ji. Always fine, if a little heavy. Xian Dan Ku Gua. Well, here I have only had it done well once. Hot pot? Always fine.

Saying you can always find good food back home is like saying you can always find someone to chat with in English back home.

I was watching a program on Moroccon food last night. The host was raving about the quality and variety. Mostly all I saw was salty, sugary, oily. Breakfast in Morocco? I would feel ill for the rest of the day. :unamused:

That said, the really local tastes I don’t like and neither does my taiwanese wife. We both find them too heavy and oily. But I also find the food I was raised on too heavy and fatty. And though my mom is a good cook my wife can’t bear to eat her western meals for too many days in a row.

Really local restaurants are crap everywhere, including Oz. You think the pie you get in some little cafe isn’t shit? It is. So is the steak, and the bread, the soup, and the potatoes. Are you going to walk into any bakery back home for bagels? Bullshit. The majority would taste like shit if you were used to good bagels.

We just know where to go in our home countries to avoid the things we don’t like, just like we know what people to avoid.

Did it have the head on it?
That has to be one of the best parts of dove.

No, although this afternoon we passed an aboriginal food stand that was grilling them with the heads on. I don’t care for animal heads or innards, generally… :sick:

I don’t have to seek high and low. There’s great food next door, at the nearest restaurant, and next door to that, great beef noodles; and another fantastic one used to be nearby too, but recently moved 5 minutes away by bike. At each of my workplaces, one of the nearest restaurants has superb and inexpensive food. There are many crappy places nearby too, but I don’t eat there. I have enough good choices…

Now, I don’t care for tons of fried stuff, or gloppy cornstarch sauces Cantonese style, or overly oily dishes. I’m a bit picky. And yet I find there ARE very very good restaurants. I don’t mean each and every place. Many are crap, just like back home. But there are plenty of good ones.

And they’re so good, and so cheap, that I can’t believe anyone would be disappointed in the food here.

I feel the opposite. I can’t believe anyone would out and out say “The food here is great”.

It is so eneventful. Too much damn empty white rice. No complex carbohydrates.

Poor quality meats.

Lacking in sauces. I loooooooove sauces.

Most places I go (I do know of a couple of places that make boring Taiwanese food a bit better than others but it is still boring)

Most things take very little time to cook. Whip the meat on the grill, lather it in oil and then throw on some boring brown sauce. Roll out some dough, throw a bit of meat in, fold, throw into boiling water.

Relative to other regional cuisines there is no comparison IMO. The food in Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and India are soooo much better.

Back home (Toronto, Canada) I would always eat whole grain bread. If rice then it would be brown. If noodles it would be accompanied with a delicious sauce.

I think maybe I was spoiled. I lived within close walking distances of 3 Indian restaurants, 4 Middle Eastern, 3 Sushi joints and a variety of restaurants serving food from many different places around the world.

Poor quality meats. [/quote]

Real mountain chicken is amazing. Fish is fantastic. Pork tastes great though I don’t trust the slaughterhouses and farming.

Agreed. But these foods are all available here.

Yeah, and most people did the same, right. :unamused:

Yes, you were spoiled. :wink:


I like to think I have a highly developed palate and can appreciate the finer things in life like good food. I found plenty of places when I lived in Taiwan with good food. I can’t believe you all are so lame.

In Taoyuan, there’s a place that make outstanding beef and onion “cakes.” It is beef, marinated with spring onions and tortillas with their special house sauce - It’s AWESOME - and that’s their specialty.

There was a place that did ONLY duck - it was AWESOME stuff.

Lot’s of roadside stands sell EXCELLENT beef noodle. I think there’s a thread on Forumosa on that topic.

In Chungli, there is/was a Korean place that made hand made noodles, and seafood soup with it - VERY SPICY!! Excellent.

Back in Taoyuan again, there was a local restaurant that made great gong bao ji ding. Another restaurant that specialized in Hong Kong style dim sum. There was cool tea house where you could go and get traditional style tea service and finger foods.

Someone mentioned that fatty ass slab of pork/bacon - that’s good stuff.

Mongolian BBQ is fun occasionally, as well as the hot pot soup (can’t remember the correct name, but you know the one where you throw different stuff into boiling soup stock and make a witch’s brew).

As others as well as myself have suggested, you need to ask the locals where to go. Different places specialize in certain dishes. You should go to try the specialty.

In Taoyuan, this is more than a decade ago so I could be way outdated here, but near the gov’t center there was a place that specialized in Chinese medicinal soups and foods. Interesting flavors all together, but good.

Japanese restaurants are authentic and tasty - thanks to the 50 year occupation of Taiwan last century.

Yeah, night markets, and street vendors can cook up some good stuff - ask folks in the know which ones are good, and watch for the crowds.

You guys living there now are SOOOOOOOOO LUCKY!!! A decade or so ago, you couldn’t get ANY western style stuff unless you went to Tian Mu. Now it sounds like there’s a Costco and all kinds of western vendors there. So, if you’re craving REAL bread you can get it (rather than the sweet white stuff they THINK is bread).

Find a buddhist restaurant if you’re vegetarian. They make brown whole grain rice and well, they’re vegetarian.

I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree - but I think Taiwanese food is tasty and MORE healthy than the average American diet. Without changing anything except going from Western diet to the local diet when I was there, I was 15 pounds thinner.