Tainan Street Food 台南小吃

Would I revisit Tainan? Certainly. (1) For the Street Food and (2) Take the Tainan-Taitung scenic train ride.


At the railway station pick up a map (free) produced by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, and all the recommendations including locations are mentioned.

My personal favourites:
1. Mushroom Seafood rice 70NT
Where: 国华街

I was caught by the look of professionalism of this elderly gentleman hard at work. He told us that he doesn’t use any short-cut methods or ingredients, ie ajinomoto.

This shop is not mentioned in any guide but discovered by accident as I noticed the locals placing orders for takeover. I first tried his oyster omelette.

2. 蚵仔煎:(Oyster omelette) 60 NT

Big succulent oysters, fresh eggs and vegetables. Himself wanted to stay an extra day just to eat this again.


3. Mr Chou Prawn fritters
台南市中山路125之57號 (南方公園)
週一至周日 10:00-22:00


We had the braised pork over rice here and didn’t see the need to go elsewhere.

4. 洪祖師擔仔麵:台南市東區崇德路508巷12號,06- 0023 4001
Tainan noodles
Make your own: Danzai mian

Himself wasn’t impressed. I liked it but be warned that it’s now a franchise.

5. Beancurd:




My favourite. How different is bean curd? Not just the multi variationsof topping such as yam and yam balls. But the black sugar treacle caramel. Just can’t find this anywhere else in Taipei. My Taipei friends have nor tried it either. Maybe it’s a recent invention as my query on 黑糖 drew puzzled looks. A 60 year old man told me to go go Okinawa which is famous for black sugar.


Old peddlers straddle two buckets moving from village to village

6. Yam balls



7) 啊堂鹹粥 Ah Tang porridge



No. 728, Section 1, Ximen Rd, 中西區台南市 Taiwan 700

Simply the best. We missed it on our first morning and only discovered it on second day thanks to Google map and taxi. It’s closed by 11am. On the day of departure before going to the train station we came at 8am. The porridge is grainy rice like not the mushy HK style. This is what I like with 黑目鱼or grey mullet.

8. 碗粿:Savory rice pudding (Wa gui)




Himself liked it. I didn’t fancy it but agree that it’s way better than what you can get in Taipei. I saw some Taiwanese ladies have a bowl each.

Didn’t try but recommended by a few sites:

肉伯火雞肉飯:台南市中西區公園路12號之2,06-2283359 (Near Mitsukoshi)


滷肉飯 Braised pork over rice

台南浮水花枝羹:台南市中西區民族路二段216號,06-229 2975

珍珠奶茶:Bubble tea (Pearl milk tea)


豬腳飯:Pig’s trotter over rice

八寶冰:Eight treasure shaved ice
石精臼點心城:台南市民族路二段80-2號,06-223 2266


Elate pudding
(Creme caramel)

TEL: (06)226-1252
營業時間:24HR (公休另行公告)

Coffin bread:
Where: Anping street
Probably an invention by a Taiwanese who studied in the US for chowder in a soup bowl.
Make your own: DIY

Tainan Itinerary and Tainan/ Taitung train ride

Arrival in Taipei

Day 1
Airport Shuttle (5087) to Taoyuan HSR station to Tainan Station (1.5hr).
Walk to Shalun Station and take to Tainan Station (25min)
Shangrila Far Eastern Hotel
89 Section West, University Road
NB: Future just rest in Taipei as Taipei has a more vibrant night life.

Day 2
Xiao Bei Night Market (Xiǎo Běi Yèshì 小北夜市)
Tuesdays and Fridays; Ximen Road, Section 4, at the intersection of He Wei Rd., North District. One of the oldest night markets in the city

Day 3
Depart Tainan for Taitung
Our original intention was to leave about 5pm and enjoy the hotel, and more street food. However, our Minsu owner in Taitung advised us not to arrive Taitung too late. Glad we took her advice as the Tainan-Taitung train is so scenic.
We bought train tickets at 7am to catch the same day 1030am train (since our hotel is just across the train station) and had breakfast at the famous morning fish porridge shop.
One of the pleasant surprises as the ticketing person will not be able to tell you whether its the land route or the sea route. Subsequently, I realised that you can check the route on Google map (which got the infor from Taiwan Railway Association). Hurray for Wifi.

If you are a Mandarin speaker, Taiwan is quite an exciting place for the backpackers. A local explained to me that tourism is probably one of the best means to make a living for those living in the remote parts of Taiwan. In recent years, the government has put in a lot of effort to make connections convenient for the backpackers and local tourists. Many of the sights are connected by train and public shuttles (just like in Japan).



We bought some red beans bread and a pork chop rice to lunch on train. In Japan, railway lunch boxes are spectacular displays of different cuisine from each state. Sadly not the case in Tainan and Taichung. So don’t count on the train station. Get yours in the city before you arrive at the train station.



My photos don’t do justice to the scenic route from Tainan to Taitung. You see mountains, sea coastal view, gorges, padi fields are fruit farm. Pack a picnic lunch, armed with your Taiwan Wifi and you’re set. Toilet is very clean. Most travellers are asleep. 4 hrs pass very fast.



Traveling in Taitung and nearby cities

While you can get around Taitung city with public transport, it’s highly advisable to rent a car to drive using Google map to navigate. Primarily because it’s so hot that you might want to sit in the comfort of your air conditioned car than wait for bus in the oven high temperature.

Car Rental Company in Taitung
We rented Hotai 和运 car rental 089224000 for less than NT$2000 from 8am to 8pm. But we returned car by 5pm. Parking is easy and usually free. Speed limit is low around 50-70km/hr and you are asked to surrender your credit card details in event of speeding fine. You need to produce your international driving licence and passport.

We paid for our car rental in cash. However rental company asked to keep credit card details in case of speeding etc. A month later we were charged for the same amount in our credit card statement, ie we paid twice for same amount. In dispute, we were told that the company only accepts credit card payment. So be warned. This is the first time I feel that we have been scamped in Taiwan. In countries where the bill is not written in your native language, be careful. In this case, nowhere is it written on the form that they only accept credit card. We were taken for a ride. I’m writing this so that we remember that the car rental company only accepts credit card. Be anal.


Taxi – Call a Cab in Taitung
0929434936 or 093266156 NT $3000 per day (8hrs) for a tour on the Eastern Coastal line or through the Western part – recommended by Echo Hsu of Midori Mini Hostel.

Travelling by taxi is very expensive in Taitung. A short cab ride from station of 2 minutes cost NT $100-NT$200. About $5. But mainly you’re so grateful to grab a taxi in the heat that you don’t complain. That and for the fact that the taxi driver knows the route. As back packing tourism only took off the last few years most travellers drive to Taitung. (Many HK and local Taiwanese tourists. Hardly any Caucasian or anyone with a different skin color. Be prepared that people here can only speak Mandarin and Minnanyu).

Taiwan Shuttle Bus
By Taitung/ Taiwan government – 50NT $ per hop on/hop off. Start at Taitung Train Station. Or at the 铁花村 Tiehuachun old train station or city centre in Zhongshan road 中山路. In major Taiwan cities, the train station signifies the centre of town and the main road emanating from the station is usually 中山路 in honour of the founding father SunYatsen .  Bus depots have tour buses plying many routes.  Two routes one to the city centre and another to the sightseeing destinations.


Within Taitung city – you can take regular shuttle buses. 50$NT one person. First shuttle at 1030am and Last shuttle at around 1130pm.



6/27 (Didn’t go)

Enroute to Dulan
(There’s only one road)

Very good Vetnam food by a Vietnamese who came 20 yrs ago. But shop is a bit dirty.


Bread and Chocolate
Stop for drink and coffee.


Stop for free WiFi and toilet break at Dong Hai 东河包子. Nothing to rave about but an excuse to make a stop for a rest.


Rent a car for a day trip and look out for various sites including water going upstream 水往上流.

Xiao Ye Liu


Pineapple fields




My favourite stopover in Cheng gong 成功for bean curd.

Taiwan 101 – Getting to Tainan

Taiwan Tourism Having worked in Taipei some 20 years ago, friends still consult me about  Taiwan. But I realised that with cheap air tickets, many Singaporeans know Taiwan travel better than I do.

This blog post sserves to remind me of what to do to plan for a visit to  Taiwan after purchasing  air tickets.

1. Check TripAdvisor for hotel bookings. If you want to  around Taiwan, staying near the Taipei Train Station is helpful to hop on and off the Taiwan Railway or of you’re taking the High Speed Rail (HSR).

2. Taoyuan International Airport has a HSR station, so it’s not necessary to come into Taipei city. Especially if you’re travelling south west into Taichung.

3. In the other Taiwanese cities. differentiate between staying near HSR station vs the Railway station.

4. After booking your air tickets and hotel accommodation, check out the Taiwan Tourism  Bureau. This is a helpful website on how to get there and what to do.

5. Visit the Taiwan Tourism bureau where you’d be asked to show your booking reference for airticket and hotel (electronic is fine). At the office I was given a free entry pass to the National Palace Museum. But the freebie is not the most important. What’s useful are the maps and the advice from the officer on where to visit. I was surprised to find very informative maps on visiting Tainan, Taitung and Yilan which were on my agenda.

6. Before you reach the immigration checkpoint, there’ll be a few booths where you can buy a WiFi and phone card. Choose the plan that fits you. Some have data but no phone call. I chose a 7 day with NT$120 phone call for NT $450. Kiasu. Just in case I need to call a cab. Otherwise unlimited data is only NT $300. I got T-Star 台湾之星. It’s quite good and I could even share hotspot with a friend. Having phone call plan allows you to call a cab/taxi, the B&B Hostel to confirm or even call the hostel if you need to locate it upon arrival. Which happened to us. So it was a blessing that we had a call+data plan. You can even top up at any 7-11 or local convenience stall.

7. I chose not to get into Taipei but go to Tainan immediately. So after exiting immigration, I took a bus shuttle to High Speed Rail. NT $30. The same area has bus services going into Taipei as well. The bus booth is just beside the ticket counter. After about 15 mins, the bus arrived at Taoyuan HSR High Speed Rail station. Ticket to Tainan is about NT $1305 = S $57 (runs every 30 mins). Buy a drink at 7-11 or a burger at MOS Burger or Burger King. Enjoy on the train as the journey takes 1.5hrs. Remember that the time stated on your ticket is train departure and the train departs promptly unlike in France where it’s arrival time and train lingers for about 5 mins. Himself nearly missed the train thinking he can dash to 7-11. There’s no drink or food service on the HSR. But you can consume food and drink. Take note of your seat number and car number.

How to check the timing of the trains? Google Map is the best option. Although it takes information from the Taiwan Railway Administration, it presents the information in an easily digestible format.

8. The Tainan HSR station at Shalun is 25 min train from the City Centre. Take the TRA (Taiwan Railway Authority) train to Tainan Station. Ticket cost NT$50 and runs every 30 mins.


Shalun Station at Tainan

9. If you’re going to Taipei, the Airport bus to your hotel or a taxi is a better option. Taxis from Taoyuan airport to Taipei city is about NT900 to NT $1000 (flat fee). If there’re 2-3 of you then taxi is better option as it goes straight to your hotel. HSR is more for travel from Taoyuan to Western Taiwan rather than to Taipei as the Taoyuan HSR station is at least 15mins away. Even then from Taipei HSR station is another distance to your hotel. So it’s better to take a airport bus shuttle which drop at major hotels. Train station may not have lifts or escalator which means you’ve to carry your luggage up and down several flights of steps.


Taiwan is environmentally friendly. Some shops such as 7-11 do not provide plastic bags. Bring your own.