Header image courtesy of @skeatravelife (via Instagram)
With Taiwan being Hongkongers’ go-to foodie destination, there’s no question that we are positively seduced by the punchy, umami aromas and inventive flavour harmonies that lie at the heart of its cuisine. While it’s still some time away before we can jet off to our eastern island neighbour for an epic food crawl, there is no shortage of authentic and tasty Taiwanese eateries in Hong Kong that can instantly transport your tastebuds, if not your soul, back to the bustling night markets of Taipei. Whether it’s hand-pulled beef noodles, sizzling oyster pancakes, or juicy dumplings, here are the top Taiwanese restaurants to venture to when the cravings strike!
An unassuming little restaurant located in an equally unassuming industrial building in Lai Chi Kok, you would never guess at the authentic trip through Taiwanese cuisine that’s offered inside. Founded and helmed by the eponymous chef “Captain Cheng,” who hails from Taipei and boasts over 30 years of culinary experience, this humble spot has all your classic Taiwanese dishes down to a science.
With a lengthy menu encompassing breakfast foods like Taiwanese egg crêpes ($36) and scallion pancakes ($30), lunchtime staples like beef soup dumplings ($45) and pork belly gua bao (刈包) ($34), as well as dessert favourites like taro ball soup ($30), diners are guaranteed to leave with their cravings satisfied!
Cheng Banzhang Taiwan Delicacy, Flat 02, 1/F, Elite Industrial Centre, 883 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Lai Chi Kok | (+852) 2576 1199
This hip, neon-lit bar and restaurant breaks the mould of tradition and promises to tantalise your palate with its exciting menu of Taiwanese dishes re-invented with a contemporary flair. Known for combining trendy flavours with time-honoured techniques, Check-In Taipei doles out some pretty unique creations like salted egg york taro egg crêpes ($85), crabmeat mapo tofu noodles ($158), and Oreo homemade milk mochi ($85).
That said, they’ve also got the classics like crispy fried chicken ($88), Taiwanese sausages ($68), and beef noodles ($108) mastered to perfection. If booze is your bent, then washing down your meal with one of their tea-infused cocktails ($98) is a must!
Check-In Taipei, 27 Hollywood Road, Soho, Central | (+852) 2351 2622
Yuan is Here and he’s brought along a beloved piece of the night market with him! Decked out in glowing red lanterns, a food-stall-like kitchen set-up, and charmingly cluttered signage, the look of this down-to-earth eatery pays proper homage to Taiwan’s street food heritage, and the food lives up to the promise of its décor.
The menu selection is wide and varied, but the compulsory orders are Ah Yuan’s signature braised pork rice and pork floss and cheese egg crêpes ($35), which go down exceptionally well with their refreshing winter melon green tea ($24).
If you grew up watching Taiwanese movies and drama series, then you’ll fall in love with this vintage classroom-themed restaurant in Kwun Tong. Serving up a hearty dose of nostalgia alongside tasty Taiwanese comfort food, Scoool Café is the perfect hangout spot for you and your Instagram-loving pals. No detail is too fine here when it comes to taking care of your photo needs—not only are the interiors complete with book-lined shelves, chalkboards, and school tables, even the food is served in cafeteria-style trays and adorable crockery!
You can’t go wrong with their best-selling crispy chicken leg with rice ($58) or the Tainan-style duck egg noodles ($58), but don’t sleep on their impressive drinks menu either! They’ve got over 40 different beverages to choose from, ranging from your standard coffees and teas to unique options like black sugar ginger latte ($38) and longan red date goji berry tea ($40).
Scoool Café, Flat C, 1/F, Mai Hing Industrial Building Block A, 18 Hing Yip Street, Kwun Tong | (+852) 3188 2380
Not to be confused with one closely named, yet unrelated bubble tea chain, Alley Food & Tea is a laid-back, homestyle Taiwanese diner tucked down a narrow lane in Cheung Sha Wan. This hidden gem will lure you in with its warm and cosy ambience, but you’ll definitely be returning for their high quality and lovingly prepared food.
Their signature pork cartilage, served either over rice ($68) or noodles ($72), is slow-cooked for 12 hours to ensure maximum flavour and a melt-in-your-mouth texture while the braised beef noodle soup ($72) is made from a rich broth that‘s simmered with beef bones and spices for 10 hours before serving. Coupling time and effort with a sprinkle of culinary finesse, we think they've truly nailed the recipe for success.
Alley Food & Tea, Shop 4, Hong Fook Building, 26–36 Shun Ning Road, Cheung Sha Wan | (+852) 3619 4748
The self-proclaimed pioneer of bubble tea, this Taiwanese teahouse may be most famous for its novel boba-studded drinks, but you’d be seriously missing out if you overlooked their food section. Set in a brightly lit, clean-lined space, Chun Shui Tang offers a sophisticated yet comfortable environment to tuck into elevated Taiwanese fare.
Popular dishes include the Kung Fu noodles ($53), deep-fried chicken ($48), and sweet potato fries ($33), but they’ve also got some creative dishes for the adventurous eaters out there, such as oolong bean curd and rice cake ($58)! Before you go ham with the savoury stuff, do remember to save room for dessert—their Tieguanyin pearl milk tea ice cream French toast ($58) is as indulgent as it sounds and worth every single calorie!
Come lunch or dinner, zealous customers throng to this well-established Taiwanese franchise for their famous beef noodle soup, the ultimate cure-all for ailments of the mind, body, and soul. Beef noodles are served a dozen ways here, differing in cuts of beef, spice levels, and additional ingredients.
The most popular option is the classic beef noodles with shank, tripe & tendon ($92), but you can roll the dice on any variation and it’ll be a good bet, thanks to their aromatic soup base that’s made from hours of simmering beef bones and 23 medicinal herbs to extract every last bit of flavour. There‘s also an option to choose either thin noodles or handmade shaved noodles, but we’d go with the latter if you’re a fan of that bouncy “QQ” texture!
This Taiwanese concept is surprisingly affordable, especially for where it’s located. Their weekday lunch menu includes traditional Taiwanese favourites such as Taiwanese braised pork rice ($68), crispy popcorn chicken ($78), and Japanese-style fish fillet ($78). You can also order from their à la carte menu; we’ll likely go for the pork floss egg roll ($45) and the braised beef noodles ($82).
What To Eat, Carfield Commercial Building, 75–77 Wyndham Street, Central | (+852) 2810 9278