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Tempting Taipei

Published: 02/09/2014 - Filed under: Home » Archive » 2014 » September 2014 » LifeStyles »

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Din Tai Fung

This international chain of restaurants began life as a humble little cooking oil retailer. But as factory-produced oil became the norm, this family shop began selling xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings) in the 1980s and it quickly became the mainstay. Din Tai Fung became a fully-fledged restaurant by the decade’s end and there are currently nine locations in Taiwan, plus overseas operations in Hong Kong and Mainland China as well as eight other countries including Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and the US. But loyalists still swear by the flagship in Xinyi district, where a queue is constantly seen as it has been for decades. The xiao long bao (NT200/$6.70 for 10 pieces) is, of course, a must, but there are plenty other dishes to choose from, ranging from house steamed chicken soup, sautéed shrimp and various types of steamed buns to fried rice and soup noodles. The Taiwanese beef noodles (NT220/$7.40) here are so good we lick the bowl clean every time.

Open Mon-Fri 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Sat & holidays 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM, closed Sun. No 194, Section 2, Xinyi Road, Taipei; tel +886 2 2321 8928;




Located in the Neihu Technology Park, about 20 minutes’ taxi ride from Taipei 101, international tapas bar Nuage was founded by a young entrepreneur and Sex and the City fan. Like the four main characters in the famous TV series and movie franchise, she and her friends love hanging out at trendy restaurants and that passion has resulted in this three-story eatery. Thirty-something head chef Maxine Lo may be young, but she has had solid experience in Continental cooking, including a stint at L’Institut Paul Bocuse. Since Taiwan has restrictions regarding food importation, she uses a lot of local produce. We tried the deep-fried green peppers with garnished peppercorns (NT150/$5.00), sautéed assorted mushrooms (NT220/$6.70) and crispy Italian bread with homemade sun-dried tomato (NT160/$5.40), with every dish simply perfect in texture and seasoning. On the drink side, there is everything from beer and Japanese sake to wine and single-malt whiskies. You can also sample special cocktails such as gin and tonic with Earl Grey tea (NT250/$8.40), a combination we never thought would go down so well. 

Open Mon-Thu 11:30 AM – midnight, Fri & Sat until 1:00 AM, closed Sun. 78 Zhouzi Street, Neihu District, Taipei; tel +886 2 8751 5889;


L’atelier de Joël Robuchon a Taipei

If there is a restaurant by Robuchon in town, you know there’s a culinary treat in store. Located on the fifth floor of upscale shopping center Bellavita, this L’atelier branch is helmed by Xavier Boyer, who has worked for the legendary chef for 12 years. The look and feel of the restaurant is consistent with its sister venues globally, and the food adheres to the French technique Robuchon is famous for, although local vegetables and fish are sometimes incorporated. An experience here starts from NT1,380 ($46.50) for amuse-bouche, appetizer, main of your choice and dessert with tea or coffee. Dishes such as le melon with Parma ham, honeydew and figs, and le boeuf (beef cheeks braised in red wine) cost extra. There is also a Salon de Thé de Joël Robuchon on the third floor of the mall for high tea and pastries.  

Open daily 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM and 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM. 28 Songren Road, Xinyi District; tel +886 2 8729 2628;


Shin Yeh @ Taipei 101 

A branch of one of the most established dining groups of Taiwan, this restaurant has something that its sister outlets don’t have: a covetable location on the 85th floor of Taipei 101. From its address, one would presume it can be accessed via the building’s mall, but you have to enter the office tower lobby, take an escalator to reach the reception desk, where – after confirming your booking with the maitre d’ – you take an elevator to the 60th floor to change to another elevator for the restaurant. There are several eateries on the same floor, too, so be ready to encounter crowds of diners on your way up. All is forgiven on arrival, as the interior of the restaurant is very elegant, and the view is spectacular. Our deep-fried baby oysters with basil (NT320/$10.70) were perfectly crusty on the outside and full of flavor inside, while the wok-seared chicken with basil and ginger in claypot (NT680/$22.90) was hearty and with very tender meat. The minimum charge per head is rather high, however, at NT880 ($29.60) for lunch, NT1,280 ($43.10) for dinner and NT1,800 ($60.60) for a window-side table. 

Open daily 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM; 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM. 85F-1, No 7, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District; tel +886 2 8101 0185;

By Reggie Ho

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