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Yongkang Road (永康街) is properly generally known as one of the vital well-liked foodie streets in Taipei, Taiwan. Its claims to fame embrace the unique department of Din Tai Fung, the now world-famous chain, and the supposed birthplace of mango shaved ice. There’s even a Taiwanese restaurant in New York Metropolis named after it!
The road is only a few blocks west of Da’an Park, Taipei’s largest park. It stretches south from Dongmen MRT, with numerous glorious eating places alongside it and the small lanes branching off it. It will definitely results in a stupendous neighborhood of restored Japanese-era homes housing among the metropolis’s finest conventional teahouses round Qingtian Road, in addition to a various spiritual neighborhood.
Yongkang Road was as soon as a go-to place for vacationers visiting Taiwan. Nevertheless, with the shortage of vacationers attributable to COVID restrictions, a number of mango shaved ice and memento retailers on the road have closed. I visited a number of occasions throughout a really wet spring in Taiwan in 2022 to organize this up to date information to the most effective eating places, meals stalls, cafés, and teahouses nonetheless open on Yongkang Road, Taipei.
Easy methods to Get to Yongkang Road
Attending to Yongkang Road is a breeze. From Dongmen MRT station on the purple or orange line, take exit 5. You possibly can’t miss the MRT exit, because the partitions of it are emblazoned with ads for heaping mounds of mango shaved ice.
From the exit, stroll straight alongside Xinyi Street (within the course of Taipei 101) for 20 meters. The primary lane on the proper is Yongkang Road. My self-guided meals tour of Yongkang Road under will begin right here, with a number of eating choices on both aspect of Xinyi Street earlier than you really enter Yongkang Road.
A Foodie Tour of Yongkang Road
Earlier than you veer down Yongkang Road from the MRT exit on Xinyi Street, there are a number of noteworthy eating choices on both aspect of Xinyi Street itself.
Din Tai Fung Xinyi (泰豐信義店) is the unique department of Taiwan’s most well-known restaurant. The restaurant is known for its xiaolongbao and tangbao (soup dumplings), every completely ready on web site with precisely 18 folds.
The department is Michelin acknowledged (Bib Gourmand), whereas a Hong Kong location has even obtained a Michelin star (spectacular contemplating the restaurant’s affordability, so far as Michelin eating places go!) You possibly can lower your expenses by pre-ordering your set meal at Din Tai Fung right here on Klook.
The chain is now present in a number of international locations on the earth, however the Xinyi department, only a few steps previous the doorway to Yongkang Road, is the primary one. It’s really smaller than it was once and principally provides take-out now, whereas the newer Xinsheng department (鼎泰豐 新生店) throughout Xinyi Street and two blocks west) is far bigger.
Toasteria Café Yongkang (吐司利亞), on the entrance to the lane simply east of Yongkang Road, is the biggest and coziest department of probably the greatest Western eating places in Taipei.
Initially focusing primarily on toasted paninis, the menu has expanded to incorporate varied Mediterranean and Center Jap dishes, plus an honest vary of cocktails and sangria. There are a number of flooring of seating.
Xiaonanmen Conventional Bean Curd (小南門傳統豆花東門店) One more chain, Xiaonanmen is a go-to spot for douhua (dessert tofu) and different conventional Taiwanese savoury dishes like braised pork rice (滷肉飯 or luroufan) and sticky rice pudding (筒仔米糕 or tongzai migao). It’s immediately throughout Xinyi Street from Yongkang Road.
Getting into Yongkang Road, as you stroll south, the primary store in your proper will likely be Sunmerry Dongmen Store (聖瑪莉東門店), a bakery with an hooked up store promoting Taiwanese memento treats like pineapple cake. There was once different retailers on Yongkang Road promoting varied souvenirs aimed toward vacationers, however that is now the one one left.
Dangle a left on the primary lane to search out Chocoholic, which does desserts, drinks, and even savory meals all made with chocolate as an ingredient.
In the event you’re within the space at evening and on the lookout for an American-style craft brewery with welcoming employees, Zhang Males Brewing (掌門精釀Taproom Zhangmen) suits the invoice. It’s only a few steps to the proper off Yongkang Road, down Lane 4.
Tian Jin Onion Pancake (天津蔥抓餅) If I solely ate a single factor on Yongkang Road, it could be a inexperienced onion pancake (蔥抓餅 or cong zhua bing) from this stall, however I’m biased as a result of it’s actually my favourite meals on the earth.
Whereas these items are just about all the time good, regardless of the place you get there, this stall has positively obtained “well-known” standing, so there’s usually a line. She opens formally at 9 AM, however I’ve been served as early as 8:00, whereas she’s establishing. It’s on the entrance of a preferred Vietnamese restaurant known as Thanh Ky (誠記越南麵食館).
The choices on the menu are authentic (原味), with egg (加雞蛋), with egg and Asian basil (九層塔加蛋), with ham and egg (火腿加蛋), with cheese and egg (起司加蛋), every thing (總匯), corn (玉米), and corn with cheese (玉米起司蛋). I personally advocate asking for a custom-made egg, basil, and cheese (九層塔加蛋加起司). You’ll thank me later.
You’ll even have to point whether or not you need spicy sauce. Yongkang Park, simply down the way in which, is the right spot to take pleasure in your inexperienced onion pancake, with trash cans and washroom for laundry your greasy palms after.
You might wish to take a stroll to the proper down Lane 6 for a number of blocks to Dongmen Dumplings (東門餃子館), a preferred dumpling, pot sticker, and scorching and bitter soup store.
One other half block previous it’s Yongkang Beef Noodles (永康牛肉麵). Some say that is one in every of Taipei’s finest, however opinions on this can fluctuate wildly. I can’t communicate for it, as I don’t eat beef, however it’s been attraction devotees of one in every of Taiwan’s quintessential dishes since 1963.
Whereas Yongkang Road was once lined with dessert retailers specializing in mangao shaved ice, there are solely two left ever since COVID stole away all of the vacationers. Smoothie Home (思慕昔本館) is the primary and most evident one, particularly since they’ve put up huge provides lining the partitions of Dongmen MRT Exit 6, displaying their vary of mountain-sized shaved ice desserts.
Personally, I nonetheless advocate the unique basic, Mango Snowflake Ice with Sorbet (芒果). “Snowflake Ice” refers to xuehuabing (雪花冰), a scrumptious sorbet-like base fabricated from a number of skinny layers of shavings from flavored ice. The mound is then topped with actual mango chunks, mango ice cream, mango syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. It’s TWD 250 for one, which is definitely shared amongst 3-4 folks (don’t attempt to deal with one by yourself!)
Smoothie Home has different variations of the mango dessert that include varied QQ (chewy) balls, in addition to strawberry raspberry, matcha, oolong tea, and tiramisu variations. It generally opens a number of hours later than indicated on GoogleMaps, particularly in first few days of the week or on wet days.
Tucked into an alcove proper behind Smoothie Home, Taro King (芋頭大王) provides an identical (however not fairly as massive and over-the-top) vary of ice desserts and has been operating since 1976. Their Mango Sorbet Snowflake Ice is just a little easier and cheaper (TWD 190) than the one at Smoothie Home (really, I choose it), however you’ll nonetheless want at the least 2-3 folks to complete one.
In addition to the snowflake ice desserts, Taro King additionally has a full menu of extra conventional Taiwanese desserts like seasame tangyuan (芝麻湯圓), purple bean soup 紅豆湯, baked mochi (紅燒麻糬), and ginger douhua (薑豆花).
Throughout the road from the 2 dessert retailers, Yongkang Road Xiaolongbao (永康街小籠包) is a slim, hole-in-the-wall stall providing scrumptious soup dumplings. Look ahead to the steaming baskets.
Yongkang Park (永康公園) is a small triangular park operating alongside Yongkang Road. With a number of benches and different locations to take a seat, it’s ideally located for having fun with your take-away treats. There are additionally trash bins and a rest room. Additionally be aware the Chiang Kai-shek head statue, as soon as current at each park within the nation.
Fucheng Tainan Restaurant (府城台南美食) proper in the beginning of the park makes a speciality of, because the title suggests, meals from Tainan in Southern Taiwan. It’s low cost, genuine, and understandably well-liked amongst locals.
Juluo Shan Hai Teahouse and Douhua Store (聚落山海) provides a wonderful and comparatively reasonably priced conventional teahouse expertise behind Yongkang Park.
The standard picket seating is extremely photogenic, and an enormous collection of Taiwanese oolong teas, Alishan teas, black teas, aboriginal-grown teas, lao cha (aged teas), and sheng pu-er teas are on supply. Costs begin at TWD 320 per pot (add 180 for second individual), with tea snacks and dessert tofu (douhua) on the aspect.
Whichever tea you order, it comes with all of the gear wanted, a information for brewing that tea (Mandarin solely, they will help if wanted). You may get dozens of particular person brews out of the quantity of tea supplied, so you possibly can simply cross a day doing so.
For extra data, see my information to Taiwanese teas.
Down lane 10 from the park, Rakumenya YongKang Restaurant (樂麵屋永康店) is the most effective spot for Japanese-style ramen on Yongkang Road. You order your ramen on an iPad (in addition to the dish itself, you’ll want to decide on the noodle thickness, how cooked you need the noodles, and soup depth.
I actually preferred the fried shrimp wontons that my selection was topped with. Be aware that the signal solely says 樂麵, and it simply moved to the road nook closest to the park (GoogleMaps continues to be displaying the previous location additional down the road).
A couple of doorways down from the ramen store, Yong Kang Sliced Noodles (永康刀削麵) makes their very own sliced noodles (刀削麵 or dao xiao mian) in home. They’re the right degree of chewiness, and will be ordered in a wide range of soups or sauces, together with beef soup, tomato soup, scorching and bitter soup, and sesame sauce (麻醬麵). The latter choice is vegetarian/vegan.
Sin Yuan Teahouse (沁園茶莊) on Yongkang Road throughout from Yongkang Park is a high-end teashop promoting tealeaves and a few attractive teaware. There are cheaper locations to purchase tea in Taiwan, however you possibly can anticipate nothing however prime quality and repair right here.
House Bao (宇宙生煎), additionally on Yongkang Road going through Yongkang Park, is a brand new and really cool all vegan pan-fried bun (生煎包 or sheng jian bao) store. You order the buns on a big touchscreen, pay with EasyCard or CreditCard, then choose up from the window.
There are two major varieties: veggie pork and the orange-colored Thai taste. The latter is just a little spicy, and each include an unimaginable dipping sauce. I bought flavors of lemongrass with a touch of mala (mouth-numbing spiciness). Go for the combined pack, as they’re each scrumptious, with a crispy exterior, and explosion of juiciness on the within. I might return many occasions!
Simply previous House Bao however nonetheless going through the park, Yi Pin Ramen and Sliced Noodles (台灣一品 拉麵與刀削麵) is one other sliced noodles store, whereas Lu Sang Restaurant (呂桑食堂) is well-liked amongst locals, serving conventional Taiwanese fare.
On the southern finish of the park, in the event you dangle a proper on Lane 14 and stroll two blocks, you’ll attain Taipei Taiwan Temple, a Mormon Temple, however one of many extra distinctive temples in Taipei.
Persevering with south alongside Yongkang Road previous the park, you’ll attain Jin Ji Yuan (好公道金雞園). Like Din Tai Fung however far lesser identified, this store can be Michelin accepted and makes a speciality of xiaolongbao/soup dumplings and different dim sum dishes. You would think about this a less expensive and extra down-to-earth various to Din Tai Fung. In keeping with one reader of this text, additionally they have among the finest fried hen in Taipei.
On the nook the place Yongkang Road reaches Jinhua Road (金華街), Soypresso (二吉軒豆乳 永康店) is a dairy-free store with scrumptious contemporary soy milk made on web site (you possibly can see the big machine within the window, soy yogurts, and soy smooth serve ice cream (TWD 55). The smooth serve is divine, in the event you benefit from the style of standard soy milk (it tastes precisely prefer it).
After I first arrived in Taiwan in 2008, Lonely Planet Taiwan listed James Kitchen (大隱酒食) as probably the greatest Taiwanese eating places in Taipei. There it nonetheless stands, with its atmospheric old-time inside, and serving up basic gadgets like century eggs, bamboo, stuffed tofu pores and skin, deep fried oysters, clams with loofah, and braised pork rice. There are additionally a number of sakes on supply.
Do you like to take pleasure in your espresso within the presence of a furry feline? Then CAT.jpg (貓圖咖啡) is a cat café simply off Yongkang Road on Chaozhou Road (潮州街). There’s just one cat in home, usually sleeping on the bar by the espresso machine. So if you’d like the total cat café expertise, you’ll wish to strive one in every of these different cat cafes in Taipei (article coming). This café could be very quiet, as most individuals go there to check, so it’s not appropriate for teenagers.
Yong Kang Road lifeless ends at Lane 33 Lishui St., however the neighborhood to the south is atmospheric and price exploring, with massive timber forming a cover over the streets, a rarity in Taipei.
A number of lanes (2-12) veering east and west off Qingtian Road (青田街) comprise among the most fantastically preserved Japanese-era homes in Taipei, a number of of which housed Japanese professors on the time. A couple of have been transformed to beautiful conventional teahouses.
Qingtian Teahouse (青田茶館) is one such teahouse, with a small artwork gallery (Caves Gallery 敦煌畫廊) on web site. You’ll have to pay for the attractive setting, although. A pot of tea begins at TWD 450.
Proper subsequent door and each bit as beautiful, He He Qingtian Teahouse (和合青田) provides a tour of the premise and guided tea brewing in a tatami mat room for TWD 600 per individual (advance reservation required, name 0223210055).
Qingtian 76 (青田七六) is one other related choice, providing meals in an previous and fantastically renovated Japanese-era residence.
The realm round Qingtian Road can be residence to quite a few spiritual buildings of assorted faiths, together with Taipei Grand Mosque, Taipei Peace Presbyterian Church, and the Mongolian and Tibetan Cultural Heart.
For vegetarians on the lookout for a feast, you possibly can enterprise just a little additional south to Spring Vegetarian Restaurant (春天素食餐廳–台北大安店), a big and well-liked vegetarian buffet restaurant. Go additional south, and you’ll attain Shida Evening Market, as soon as one of many hottest evening markets in Taipei.
To complete your tour, take a stroll to Da’An Park, the biggest park in Taipei, or make your method again to Dongmen MRT station alongside the street one block east of (and parallel to) Yongkang Road. Alongside it, there are a number of good espresso retailers, together with Café Kuroshio (咖啡黑潮), Saturn Touchdown Turkish Espresso, Caffè Libero (咖啡小自由), and Roaster Household Espresso (烘焙者咖啡).
There’s additionally a Mongolian Scorching Pot restaurant (原風蒙古火鍋永康店) and a small, pleasant sushi joint known as Tsukiji Sushi (築地壽司) on the identical street, which you’ll most likely have to avoid wasting for subsequent time.