Surrounded by mountains, the sea and a tribal vibe, Taitung offers a great many local specialities. You'll find indigenous dishes, like muntjac, cold boar skin, Puyuma Abai (traditional rice dumpling) and a variety of dishes featuring red quinoa, such as red quinoa chicken with chilli and stewed chicken, as well as creative tea-based dishes, including jade tea shrimp, green tea fried tofu and red oolong tea rice.

    Near the sea, Taitung also has a great many seafood specialities, such as seaweed anchovy thick soup, jellyfish omelette and fried mahi-mahi, all packed with authentic Taitung flavour. If you're fond of Japanese cuisine, head to the city centre and sample the seared bullet tuna nigiri sushi or yakiniku bento. Nearby, don't miss the well-known Sambo (beef, tripe and tendon) beef ramen, huge steamed dumplings and popular dishes such as fried pig intestines and Sansi Lapi (shredded chicken and bean thread sheets). Venturing deep into the mountains, you can find omakase dishes featuring quality Guanshan pork, local fruits and vegetables and freshly caught seafood.


    Seven Quinoa Taitung

    Seven Quinoa is located in Taitung city centre and has been an iconic restaurant here for decades. The restaurant promotes healthy eating, so 90% of its dishes feature red quinoa. Studies suggest that the nutritional value of red quinoa is higher than that of other grains, and its dietary fibre is seven times that of sweet potatoes. Seven Quinoa offers a wide selection of creative dishes, including red quinoa stew with chicken. The free-range Luye chicken is stewed with mushrooms and red quinoa stalks, giving it a distinctive flavour.

    Don't miss their daily special – thirteen-flavour stewed beef tendon noodle soup. Boiled for 12 hours with beef bones, vegetables and 13 unique spices and paired with beef tendon cooked for 48 hours at a low temperature, this dish is popular with foodies. In addition to local and seasonal ingredients, the restaurant uses the sous vide method to not only retain the original flavour of the ingredients, but also fulfil their aim of providing healthy, low-carb dishes for diners.

    Location: No. 203, Zhongzheng Rd., Taitung City, Taitung County, Taiwan 950006

    Open: From 11 am to 9 pm (closed on Wednesdays)


    Colourful Fruit Bubble Tea

    Colourful Fruit Bubble Tea is in Taitung city centre. While the decor may be simple, this nostalgic restaurant is a favourite with locals. The restaurant serves a variety of fruit drinks and dishes. Check out the menu written by the shop owner and choose from dishes like toast, salad, donburi, fried rice, noodles and many more. Everything is made to order with quality ingredients, and you can sample a variety of dishes without breaking the bank.

    While you're here, don't miss out on the chance to try their most popular dish, pork loin donburi. You'll get a huge bowl filled with a thick piece of tonkatsu, some cabbage, tomato salad, white radish kimchi and rice drenched in gravy. The golden and crispy pork chop is about one centimetre thick, and you'll be surprised at how tender and juicy it is. It's terrific value for money.

    Location: No. 146, Zhengqi N. Rd., Taitung City, Taitung County, Taiwan 950011

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 9 pm


    Song Ma Ma Xin Fa Seafood

    Don't miss out on the opportunity to savour some seafood when you visit Taitung. Song Ma Ma Xin Fa Seafood in Chenggong Township is about an hour’s drive from Taitung city centre. At mealtimes, you'll find crowds of diners lining up at the door. Take a closer look, and you'll see the walls and ceiling covered with signatures – proof that this restaurant is popular with travellers from afar and food-show TV crews.

    This restaurant serves freshly caught seafood, and since the catches vary by season, there's no menu for reference. However, there are still a few dishes on the fixed menu, such as seasonal sashimi, pickled cabbage with grouper belly, black pepper salt pork, seaweed and anchovy thick soup, blanched white shrimp and fish soup. The specials here include jellyfish omelette. The crystal-clear jellyfish and eggs are a perfect combination. Another featured dish is crispy, tender and juicy fried mahi-mahi.

    Location: No. 195, Zhonghua Rd., Chenggong Township, Taitung County, Taiwan 961003

    Open: From 11 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 8 pm (closed on Thursdays)


    Gee Izakaya - Bar & Grills

    Gee Izakaya - Bar & Grills, a subsidiary of Da Che Lun Japanese Restaurant, is in Taitung city centre, near Taitung Story Museum. This Japanese-themed restaurant offers a wide range of dishes including stir-fries, skewers, hot pots, donburi and bento.

    While you're here, don't miss out on the chance to try their signature dish, yakiniku bento. Basted with rich sauce, the crispy and flavoursome grilled meat has the perfect fat-to-lean ratio and is sliced into the ideal shape and thickness. Coated with the special sauce, Gee's eel bento is also worth trying. The eel is quite dark in colour, soft and boneless, and the Japanese omelette on the side is sweet but not sugary. Gee Izakaya also offers a number of side dishes like preserved mizuna, pickled cabbage and radish. They're crunchy, salty and go perfectly with rice.

    Location: No. 91, Datong Rd., Taitung City, Taitung County, Taiwan 950004

    Open: Daily from 11.30 am to 1.30 pm and 5.30 pm to 11 pm


    Nan Bei Dumplings Shop

    Nan Bei Dumplings Shop is a highly recommended restaurant located in Taitung city centre. The restaurant serves set menus at reasonable prices. You'll often find this two-storey restaurant packed with diners at mealtimes. Nan Bei Dumplings Shop has a wide range of signature dishes, such as giant steamed dumplings, braised beef tendon platter, kung pao chicken and hot and sour soup.

    Don't miss the delicious Sansi Lapi (shredded chicken and bean thread sheets). After absorbing vinegar and sesame sauce, the chicken becomes tender and flavourful. You can spice things up by adding some homemade chilli peppers. Fried pig intestines are another foodie favourite. Topped with salt and pepper, the crispy skin and refreshing spring onion stuffed inside are mouthwatering. Add a piece of pickled radish to cleanse your palate, and you're ready for the next bite. The classic dish of beef aspic is also worth a try. Be sure to stop by and taste a bit of everything.

    Location: No. 117, Heping St., Taitung City, Taitung County, Taiwan 950004

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 8.30 pm


    Da Che Lun Japanese Restaurant

    Since its establishment, Da Che Lun has expanded from a small food stall in the Central Market to the big restaurant that it is today. To satisfy every diner, they insist on fresh, seasonal seafood and local ingredients, such as Chishang rice, fish from Fugang and Chenggong Fishing Port and freshly slaughtered pigs from Luye. Ingredients such as sea urchin and Hokkaido sanma are even imported directly from Japan.

    Here, you'll discover a decent range of signature dishes. Roast Luye pork with sauce that's been cooked for 12 hours is a must-try. Don't forget to order some seared bullet tuna nigiri sushi. Try one with a piece of perilla on top, and let the lingering taste of the fish, the inviting aroma of the leaf and the smell of the smoky skin tickle your taste buds. This restaurant also serves dishes made with mahi-mahi, which is rare in the West, including mahi-mahi, nigiri sushi and soup.,

    Location: No. 287, Zhongzheng Rd., Taitung City, Taitung County, Taiwan 950006

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 11 pm


    Aijiao Yi Dim Sum Restaurant

    Luye, Taitung is a tea-lovers' paradise. Surrounded by tea farms, the popular Aijiao Yi Dim Sum Restaurant is filled with the fragrance of tea. The owner is a skilful tea-maker, and his wife conjures up creative dishes using their own tea. At mealtimes, you'll see tourists from afar flocking to the restaurant, so booking in advance is recommended. Aijiao Yi Dim Sum Restaurant has developed dozens of tea-based recipes, such as green tea fried tofu, jade tea shrimp, green tea fried noodles and boiled chicken.

    Of the restaurant's many classic dishes, the refreshing black tea braised pork made with pork belly and simmered in a black tea marinade is a must-try. Don't forget to order some red oolong tea rice to elevate your dining experience. Treat yourself a bowl of chicken soup with tea oil and peeled chilli peppers, and savour every morsel of the delectable stewed chicken. If you're looking to taste something truly unique, the award-winning oolong tea stuffed bitter melon is well worth a try.

    Location: No. 9, Aly. 32, Ln. 109, Gaotai Rd., Luye Township, Taitung County, Taiwan 955001

    Open: Daily from 11.30 am to 1.40 pm and 5.30 pm to 7.40 pm


    Dungding beef noodle soup

    Beef noodle soup is one of Taiwan's specialities, and Dungding in the city centre is a very popular beef noodle soup restaurant among Taitung locals. The owner started a noodle factory after retiring from his job as a civil servant. Dungding creates a wide range of noodles without the use of preservatives or borax as a food additive, so many noodle restaurants in Taitung also buy noodles from them. Dungding serves beef noodle soup, dumplings and other main courses as well as sides and braised dishes.

    Don't miss their popular braised beef noodle soup. The selected US beef rib fingers with the perfect fat-to-lean ratio are perfectly braised until deliciously soft and tender. The noodles have a pleasantly chewy texture and are served with a soup that's been cooked with Chinese medicinal herbs for 24 hours. Another popular signature dish are the three-colour assorted dumplings. These delectably chewy dumplings are made with carrots, green tea and whole wheat. Be sure to order the Sambo (beef, tripe and tendon) beef ramen, a must-try for foodies.

    Location: No. 107, Guangming Rd., Taitung City, Taitung County, Taiwan 950002

    Open: Monday–Friday from 11.30 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 8.30 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 11.30 am to 8.30 pm (closed on Tuesdays)


    Night Moon

    If you fancy a nighttime drive in the mountains and a delicious meal, Night Moon is a wonderful place to visit. Though the restaurant is 90 minutes from Taitung city centre by car, the food is well worth the journey. Surrounded by the mountain breeze and moonlight, reservation required and no menu, this humble mountain hut sits in Changbin Township.

    This izakaya serves freshly caught seafood and ingredients, so the dishes vary every day. Start by trying their sake-marinated pumpkin before moving on to the next dish. Carefully selected Guanshan pork served with fresh lettuce and sea salt make the cured ham salad a popular choice. The sea-flavoured steam egg is a must-try. It may look no different from other steamed eggs, but the perfect egg-to-water ratio makes it fluffier. The enticing aroma and umami of the eggs and clams make this a truly exceptional dish. Next, try some Changbin rice, quality sashimi and fish broth, followed by some dessert to round off a satisfying dinner.

    Location: No. 47-13, Zhenbing, Changbin Township, Taitung County, Taiwan 962003

    Open: Daily from 6 pm to 9 pm


    Xiang Luo Lei Restaurant

    After making your way along a winding trail, you'll reach Xiang Luo Lei Restaurant in Likavung, Beinan Township. Since its opening, this restaurant has become a popular destination for indigenous cuisine in Taitung County. Constructed from bamboo, wood and thatch, the restaurant is housed in a tribal-style structure. In the middle of the plaza is a swing, which young couples use to express their love for each other during festival celebrations. The plaza hosts performances during holiday times.

    The dining area is divided into an outdoor section and private rooms, where you'll find symbols of every tribe on each door. Xiang Luo Lei Restaurant serves a wide selection of dishes, including salted fish rice, fried muntjac, cold wild boar skin, Puyuma Abai (traditional rice dumpling) and signature dishes like grilled fish and urn-roasted chicken. Succulent, crispy and golden, the urn-roasted chicken is moist and tender. Take a bite with some salt and pepper sprinkled on top or dip it into the chicken stock. In addition to mouthwatering cuisine, the restaurant offers gorgeous evening views.

    Location: No. 19, Ln. 689, Lijia Rd., Beinan Township, Taitung County, Taiwan 954027

    Open: Daily from 4.30 pm to 11 pm


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