Tanukigoden was the first robata-yaki restaurant in Taipei at the next door to Hizen Ya, the famous eel rice restaurant since 1985. After rezone of the original location in 2007, the Japanese owner moved this very busy and popular restaurant to Taichung in 2007 and rebuild his signature 2-ton wooden robata grill, which together with occasional ichiya-boshi (one-night dried fish) hanging around the open kitchen always address customers’ attentions.
Tainan Tan-Tsu-Mien (台南擔仔麵)
Many visitors asked me to recommend an authentic local foods restaurant in Taichung - though there is no classic Formosa cuisines in the city like Aoba or Golden Formosa in Taipei - my first pick would be this famous snake street seafood restaurant’s Taichung branch. It’s pretty hard for other Chinese restaurants to compete with its food, atmosphere and services, not even its Taipei sibling to compete with Taichung’s menu prices.
Having lived in Hong Kong for four years I still miss decent Cantonese seafood there and find it difficult to get a match locally - till recently I visited this place. My first trial was just out of curiosity why this place is difficult to make lunch reservation for dim sum. Followed by a separate seafood banquet I concurred that I cannot remember I have better Cantonese food elsewhere in Taiwan. Budget foodies can also visit their sister shop Yum Cha tea restaurant nearby People’s Park.
Chin Yueh Chun (沁園春)
Being at the same location for almost 70 years this heritage restaurant still offers the best Zhe cuisine in town with menu more affordable than Ding Tai Fung. The founder was said to be the royal chef of Chiang Kai-Shek’s second son. Though the buzz near its old town location has faded away the restaurant still stands out and shines.
Samwon Garden (三元花園餐廳)
A branch of popular BBQ restaurant in Seoul nearby Tunghai University is opened by a Korean lady married to a Taichungnese. Even before having your meal, it is not difficult to tell its authenticity by its all- Korean attendants and generous free side dishes even for a single customer. The restaurant uses traditional charcoal grill with attentive table services (grill wire replaced every few minutes) performed by well-trained wait staffs. Combined with top notch quality of meats and dedicated genuine tastes, no wonder customers still revisit no matter premium price tags.