Header images courtesy of FoodieTeller and Ximen Ginfong (Facebook)
As one of the busiest districts in Taipei, Ximending is not only the centre of fashion, subculture, and Japanese culture but also a heaven for foodies. Aside from the famous Hua Xi Street Night Market, there is a myriad of cafés, eateries, and restaurants that serves a wide range of local and international specialities, which can fully take care of your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We highlight the best places to dine in the busy district of Ximending, from braised pork rice bowls to the quintessential Taiwanese beef noodles.
Established in 1956, Fong Da Coffee is one of the most famous traditional cafés in Taiwan and the pioneer of iced coffee in the country. Despite the growing number of upscale and hip cafés, Fong Da has stayed true to its roots by keeping its old-school décor and vintage equipment and making iced coffee with the syphon method, which can take up to 10 hours!
Aside from the usual cakes, sandwiches and set breakfast menu, you can enjoy your morning brew with Chinese pastries, such as abalone crisp (鮑魚酥), walnut cookies (合桃酥), and mung bean cake (綠豆糕). The café also operates a roastery and retail store, where you can buy raw and roasted coffee beans at wholesale prices and get your favourite Chinese pastries on the go. Fong Da is a popular hangout for the older generation of locals, so it is strongly recommended that you wake up early to beat the queue and get your morning fix.
Fong Da Coffee, 42 Chengdu Road, Wanhua District, Taipei | (+886) 02 2371 9577
Guru House Ximen is a tavern-style eatery that offers American-Taiwanese fusion food. Its signature dish is Taiwanese Egg Omelette Roll, which is served on an iron griddle and offers a variety of fillings, such as three kinds of cheese, beer-marinated bacon, and chicken breast.
Unless you have lactose intolerance, try the cheese variety—no foodie can resist the great satisfaction of biting into a crispy exterior with melted mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and cheddar cheese gushing out of your mouth. If you are not looking for anything too filling, you can settle with brunch, a grilled panini, or a range of side dishes, plus almost 90-plus types of beverages!
Guru House Ximen, No. 10, Lane 27, Chengdu Road, Wanhua District, Taipei | (+886) 02 2361 2522
Porkchop has always been a staple food for Taiwanese people and one can easily find restaurants serving the dish but the flavour can vary greatly. Tucked away in a small alley, K.M.Y. has been in business since 1973. Its porkchop is prepared by complementing its secret recipe with black pepper and tapioca starch to produce a sizzling taste. The crispy and meaty dish is served with either rice or noodles and comes with pickled vegetables. Other popular set meals include chicken drumstick and pork leg.
K.M.Y., No. 1, Alley 3, Lane 82, Section 2, Wuchang Street, Wanhua District, Taipei | (+886) 02 2331 5194
Everybody has eaten wonton before, right? So why are so many foodies raving about Zhao Kee Wonton King Cornish? First of all, the eatery offers two types of wontons—Pork & Vegetable and All-Pork—and each of them is much larger than the average Chinese dumpling.
For the Pork & Vegetable Wontons, the wrappers are much thicker than usual to increase their chewiness and the broth is clear and garnished with seaweed and egg strips to enhance the overall flavour. As for the Pork Wontons, the approach is completely the opposite; wrappers used are much thinner and the broth includes a dash of minced pork and leaves of Chinese cabbage. No wonder Zhao Kee Wonton King Cornish has such a huge following in the country!
Zhao Kee Wonton King Cornish, No. 5, Taoyuan Street, Zhongzheng District, Taipei | (+886) 02 2381 1007
Even though its menu only offers a few main dishes, Ximen Ginfong is definitely a good place to visit for cheap and delicious Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice Bowl, a.k.a Lou Rou Fan. Available in two sizes, a small bowl of Lou Rou Fan (starting from NT$30) can be had for a steal. While waiting for your order to arrive, you can warm up your belly with an order of heartwarming soup or side dishes such as Stewed Eggs, Deep-fried Tofu, and Marinated Bamboo Shoots.
Ximen Ginfong, No. 89, Kunming Street, Wanhua District, Taipei | (+886) 02 2381 2561
Set within industrial-style décor with cement walls and red bricks, A.K.12 is an American restaurant that serves large-portion, economical, and delicious American burgers, Mexico food, and Italian pasta, along with an array of milkshakes, mocktails, and alcoholic beverages.
Perfect for family and large gatherings, A.K.12 has an amazing selection of salads, appetisers, and main courses that can cater to everyone’s taste and preferences. In addition, the restaurant provides diners with a relaxing and comfortable environment to spend the day. On a side note, A.K.12 is a pet-friendly restaurant and offers specialised meals for fur-babies.
A.K. 12 American Kitchen, Emei Street, Wanhua District, Taipei | (+886) 02 2361 0136
New Mala Hot Pot currently has three shops in Ximending. Despite the fact that all outlets have the same food choices, the New Mala Hot Pot restaurants have an expanded offering of unlimited meat and seafood without additional fees. For example, there is an unlimited supply of Argentine red shrimps and tiger shrimps on all days and Australian M9+ Wagyu and Danish A-Grade Matsusaka pork will be available during dinner time and the holidays without any extra charge. However, the New Mala shops don’t offer fruits and desserts and the only alcoholic beverage available is beer.
If you have a sudden food craving in the middle of the night, you are going to like Fuhong Beef Noodles because it is open around the clock! Even though this restaurant is a bit far from Ximen MRT Station, it is definitely worth the trip.
Don’t judge it by its no-frills appearance—Fuhong Beef Noodles offers a really good deal. With three sizes of beef noodles to choose from, each comes with one free noodle refill and unlimited refill of broth, plus a beverage! If you like your noodles spicy, try out the two jars of spicy sauce from the condiments caddy, which are quite amazing. Interesting fact: There is a similar eatery called Jianhong Beef Noodles on the same street as Fuhong Beef Noodles, and the two owners are brothers!
Fuhong Beef Noodles, No. 67–69, Luoyang Street, Wanhua District, Taipei | (+886) 02 2371 3028