My Korean ex-colleague is taking his daughters to Taichung from Hong Kong to attend a tennis academy led by a French coach for two weeks. Look like Taichung is more internationalized, isn’t it? Definitely not. Other than not finding any way to call a cab by a non-Chinese speaking visitor, I cannot find much dining information in English either from a foodie’s perspective. The No.1 restaurant voted by Trip Advisor is two blocks away from where I live and it really sucks. Therefore I am writing this survival guide for my friends as well as other readers who are interested in where to get proper food in Taichung based on my endeavor of foods around the world.
To borrow Michelin’s definition, La Mout is one of the very few fine dining places in Taiwan worth your special visit and probably the only restaurant in Taiwan can attract international stagiaire chefs. Its modern and creative French cuisines use lots of local ingredients and you must leverage its world-champion sommelier for pairing.
Jia-Ping Wang, one of the best Italian chef in Taiwan, owns a few restaurant chains mainly in Taipei – Little Snail, Solo Pasta, Solo Trattoria…etc. but keeps his signature restaurant J-Ping Café in his home town. IMHO J-Ping has the best quality of menus among all his restaurants but not the most expensive due to its Taichung location.
A long time gem in Taipei but the chef/owner Max decided to shut it down in 2014 and pursue a better life. One year after his retirement he found the current location in Taichung and could not resist to reopen the restaurant. Forchetta focus on Mediterranean fusion and have a very good reasonable-priced winelist.
Famous for opening just three hours a day (now four hours after the founder’s son took over) since 40 years ago this noodle shop maintains consistent flavors as usual. It only sells two types of noodles – Yangchun and Beef – same noodle soup with or without beef. Unlike most braised beef noodle with dark and greasy soup its soup is clear and light but full of layers of flavors. The thin noodles are soft but chewy and mingled nicely with the soup. Do not forget to order their side dishes – if you dare do try the fatty intestine – it melts in your mouth like icecream.
If you are vegan/vegetarian don’t miss the ramen shop. Following his shifu’s way in Japan, the owner spent most of his working hours on hand-made noodle and just opened his shop two hours a day for lunch – last year he finally extended another two hours for dinner. Most veggie noodles have soup bases as boring as water but the veggie stock at Koaogiri bursts out humble but vivid and complex tastes and you can definitely tell how hand-made noodles differ from machine-made. Do try their cold noodles and side dishes.