I'm still thinking about the pan fried buns and dumplings I'd get every day before heading off for a day of travelling in an out of the city. There's a strip of food stalls and small eateries near the hotel I stayed in right across the Taipei Main Station. Each food stall offered their own unique Taiwanese food from pan fried buns to scallion pancakes. I'm still definitely reminiscing about all the food I had during this trip.
I'm very grateful to have visited my fair share of countries in my almost 22 years or existence and Taiwan so far is one of the most vegan-friendly places I've visited.
During this trip I didn't worry about where I could find vegan-friendly food because whether you were hiking up to some waterfalls or in one of their famous night markets, there was always something I could enjoy.
So let's first start off with the food.
Here are some vegan-friendly places I was able to visit and document. I really love what each place had to offer, most especially the very authentic Taiwanese food that I enjoyed.
1. Xiu Yuan SuShi
I went to this vegetarian restaurant three times, all in the morning, for a good and hearty breakfast. I wanted to try everything on their menu if I could! They have an english menu that you can ask for. The place is family run and it's a very authentic Taiwanese eatery without any air-conditioning and has very simple seating.
Their dishes are very good and come in generous servings for a really affordable price.
*Note: the menu states that they don't use eggs but actually do. I found out that their oyster omelet uses actual egg in it. It would be best to ask first before ordering.
Here's what I had during my three visits:
The vegetarian 'pork' is made of tempeh and it's REALLY GOOD. It was marinated and cooked really well. It's over some steamed rice and some veggies on the side.
The first thing I can say about these noodles is that they're good but challenging to eat because they're quite slippery so it's a bit difficult to eat with chopsticks. It came with the vegetarian pork made of tempeh on the side.
The other dish I ordered is the vegetarian fish with steamed rice with the same sides as the pork steamed rice one I ordered. The fish is made of textured protein and really tasty.
The vegetarian braised pork rice is really good despite it looking at bit plain. It pairs well with the soy tofu, which is quite bland. I just added some of the vinegar and soy sauce they had on the table.
2. Shang Ding Huang Jia - Main Station
I had at least 2 pan-fried buns everyday during this trip. This stall is almost right beside Xiu Yuan SuShi so after eating there I would buy some buns and dumplings to take with me to enjoy during the day.
They offer 5 different kinds of buns. From left to right (based on the photo above): Cabbage, Bamboo Shoots, Salted Mustard Greens, Bok Choy, and Pumpkin Rice Noodle all for 12 NTD each.
I've tried all flavours and they're all really food but I personally like the bamboo shoot one the most. It also comes with sauce that you can put on the bun after purchasing it but I also just enjoyed it as is.
3. Minder Vegetarian
I came across this vegetarian buffet concept wherein you choose what you want and pay for it based on its weight only a few hours before flying back to Manila. Sadly, I wasn't able to get a lot but really enjoyed the few items I managed to fit in the container.
4. Vege Creek
Vege Creek has a few branches across Taipei. I stumbled upon it in a department store food court and found its concept very interesting. You basically get a basket then choose what toppings and noodles you want to be cooked. The only downside in my opinion is that the toppings are individually packed in plastic since they're pre-portioned.
I chose a mix of vegetables, veggie meat, tofu, veggie fish tofu, beancurd rolls, mushrooms, and noodles that they cooked in a rich broth. You can watch them cook everything right in front of you and choose some additional sauces and seaweed to add on top of it afterwards.
5. Vegan Heaven Bakery
We visited this little vegan bakery called Vegan Heaven situated in a little side street. I sadly missed their vegan macarons since they sell out quick but I was able to try a few of their offerings.
I was able to try their Pineapple Cake, which is a very popular pastry in Taiwan. The saleslady was also kind enough to let us try a few of their cookies.
Other food I tried:
1. Grilled Kind Oyster Mushrooms
2. Really flaky green scallion bun at Shi Lin Night Market
3. Scallion Pancakes
We visited Jiofen, which was around 1 hour away from Taipei by car. We joined a Klook tour that took us around. The town is on top of a mountain so there were lots of stairs to climb, but it was worth it! The view was beautiful and the old town had a lot of different shops and restaurants.
2. Shifen Waterfalls
I love being in the outdoors so I really enjoyed Shifen waterfalls. There's some walking and quite a lot stairs involved to get there but the view was really worth it. There's a lot of different parts you can head to to see different angles of the waterfalls but I particularly liked the slightly angled view. The directly front view was pretty crowded and a lot of plants were covering the waterfalls.
3. ZhongShe Flower Garden
I've visited quite a number of flower farms in the past so ZhongShe was nothing too spectacular for me though of course I still enjoyed taking photos of the flowers and walking around. The flower garden has a schedule of when certain flowers bloom so it's best to check that out before visiting especially if you're after certain flowers.
4. Gaomei wetlands
We arrived at Gaomei wetlands a little before sunset. I enjoyed looking at the little crabs that were just walking around in the ground with little to no care for all the people. This is a protected area as well, which is great because wetlands are home to a lot of different species and not only house a lot of different animals but are also beneficial to us humans.
I hope you enjoyed looking through the food and sights that I shared! I really enjoyed this recent trip and I can't wait for future travels. Will definitely share more of my travels in the future.
I also received a lot o messages on tips for taking photos and what camera to use; This I can say: you can work with what camera you have (even if it's just a phone camera) since it's a learning process. I never took any formal photography lessons and just played around with the camera I have. It also helps to really practice an take a lot of shots until you figure out what works best for you.
You can also watch a lot of tutorials online such as in YouTube and SkillShare. You can get 2 months free of SkillShare here and access thousands of videos about photography and other topics.