Taipei Ximending – Introduction
Ximending is no doubt one of the MUST VISIT places in Taipei. This is a huge shopping district in the center of Taipei and also the source of trending fashion, delicious food and entertainment. Ximending is also known as the Harajuku/Shibuya of Taipei. It’s not difficult to notice the traces of Japanese culture in this district.
If you’re like us, wanting to try as many food items as we can rather than having a full meal in just one restaurant, here’s a list of street food to try in Ximending.
Ximending – Ah Zong Mian Xian (阿宗麵線)
Given the popularity of Ah Zong Mian Xian, I’m sure most of you have heard about this famous stall in Taipei. Ah Zong Mian Xian is one of the most famous food places in Taiwan, and by consensus the best mee sua/mian xian (vermicelli) here. This is definitely a MUST EAT in Taipei! No tables, no seats, but full of patrons standing in front of the stall digging into bowls of mee sua. Taiwan is famous for their mee sua, mostly cooked with oysters and pig intestines. Here at Ah Zong Mian Xian, you can only find soft and chewy pig intestines in the fragrant bowls of mee sua. A small bowl of mee sua costs TWD$50 and a big one costs TWD$65. Besides the original branch here at Ximending, they have opened two other branches at Zhong Xiao Fu xing station (with seating) and Shilin Night Market.
Ximending – Japanese Style Grilled Muah Chee/Mochi (日式碳烤麻糬)
We have a lot of Muah Chee in Singapore and Malaysia. But not the Japanese style grilled Muah Chee! The traditional Muah Chee was made by tossing warm and soft glutinous rice balls with peanut/sesame and sugar. It is simple and tastes heavenly. Imagine the soft Muah Chee being grilled and with various sauces and toppings added later. The fragrance from the grilling and the layer of crispy surface really rocks when you eat it while it’s hot. There are various types of sweet or salty flavours to choose from. We chose the three most popular flavours – Japanese soy sauce (salty), peanut (sweet) and cheese (sweet). If you can only try one, go for the peanut! The toppings are very generous so be prepared for the flavours to overwhelm your tastebuds. The stall is located in a small alley in the bustling area of Ximending. But with the eye-catching red lanterns and a long line of patrons queuing in front of the stall, it is difficult to miss. The price for the Muah Chee is quite pocket-friendly, each at TWD$30.
Ximending – Dream Colour/Dream Cool (梦之饮)
The Taiwanese have brought their drinks to the next level. Introducing Dream Color, or more widely known as Dream Cool previously. In Taiwan, it’s not too uncommon to see all these colourful mix drinks in shopping districts or night markets. Dream Colour appears to be one of the most famous drink stores that stands out in the bustling area of Ximending. Not only do they look good, they taste good too! There are many different flavours for you to choose from. There are many drinks available, from mixed fruits juices, pearl milk tea, smoothies to latte. You name it, they have it. Most of the drinks here cost around TWD$65 to TWD$80. Move over traditional colouring, there is now this new trend in Taiwan – the butterfly pea. The natural colouring agent adds mesmerizing colours to the drinks making them so photogenic. The drinks were presented with impressive layers of colours and they are absolutely Instagram-worthy. Take as many photos to your heart’s content and shake them before drinking. We literally fell in love with the drinks here! Besides the store at Ximending, recently they have just opened a new branch at Jinhua St, Zhongzheng District. Someone please kindly let us know if you find these drinks in Singapore, please?
Ximending – Prince Cheese Potato (王子起士馬鈴薯)
Super cheesy deep fried potato with various toppings for you to choose from, how does that sound? Snapshots of this delicious treats appearing in popular tv programs like “食尚玩家” can be seen at their storefront. You get to customize your order with more than 10 toppings available. Or, order straight from their menu. For the signature Club & Cheese at the price of TWD$80, you get to choose your toppings from bacon, ham, smoked chicken slices, tuna, egg, pineapple, corn and broccoli. Or, get ALL OF THEM. Prince Cheese Potato is so generous with their hot cheese sauce for each serving, that every mouthful of the potato will be covered by the thick cheese sauce. The hot and soft potato was wrapped with a crispy layer of skin and the cheese sauce is just so addictive. Cheese and potato are just a match made in heaven. We were sold from the first bite. The burst of flavour from the cheese potato will really make you go ‘Oomph’…
Ximending – Ji Guang Fried Chicken (繼光香香雞)
Savoury fried chicken is definitely one of the famous food in Taiwan. Some say Ji Guang Fried Chicken/Ji Guang Xiang Xiang Ji (xiang xiang ji = fragrance chicken) has the best fried chicken here. Despite many outlets opening both in Taiwan and overseas, this is still one of the MUST EAT food when you visit Taiwan. Ji Guang Xiang Xiang Ji was founded in Tai Chung in 1973. With more than 40 years of history, Ji Guang has already became a well known brand around Taiwan. Ji Guang Xiang Xiang Ji is also known as J&G Fried Chicken overseas. There used to be an outlet here in Singapore few years back but too bad, it has closed down. The chicken at Ji Guang Xiang Xiang Ji is marinated with more than 10 spices and deep fried on the spot. Patrons are also assured that they don’t double fry the chicken and use only fresh oil. The bite-size popcorn chicken was deep fried extremely well. The bites were so tender and juicy inside yet crispy and flavourful outside! You can get them at TWD$75 for small and TWD$110 for large. Crispy deep fried squid, King Trumpet Mushroom and drinks are also available here. Ji Guang Xiang Xiang Ji is strategically located right outside of Ximen station and only steps away from the landmark building – The Red House in Ximending. With the huge signboard in red, you won’t be able to miss it.
Ximending – Blow torched Beef Cubes (火焰骰子牛)
Having beef as a street food, seriously? I’m not kidding. This is a pretty popular street food in Taiwan. The blow torched beef cubes stall is conveniently situated just in between of the grilled muah chee and Prince Cheese Potato stalls. This wasn’t in our list initially but we couldn’t resist the temptation. The beef cubes blow torching just looked so appealing! There were six different flavours to choose from. We chose their signature Rose Rock Salt which doesn’t overpower the natural beef taste. The steak was cut into cubes and grilled. They were then blow torched to medium wellness and sprinkled with seasoning spices. The beef cubes were flavourful, juicy and succulent. They used a nice box for the beef cubes and it’s so convenient that you can eat while walking around. That’s the best idea I like about Taiwan’s street food. Each serving goes for TWD$100. They are pretty generous with the seasoning. So if you don’t like the steak being too salty, remember to tell them as we found it too salty for our tastebuds. Besides the stall at Ximending, blow torched beef cubes can be found at some night markets as well. It’s really worth trying if you’re a beef lover like us!