Whalen’s is a Canadian Poutinerie/Restaurant in Taipei, based on AnHe Road. I was very lucky to be invited here by one of the co-owners of this establishment, to taste the food and get a feel for the area. It’s been open for 3 1/2 years and is well-known around Taipei for it’s speciality: Poutine. Whilst Whalen’s has initially been known as a place for brunch, it has been expanding its Poutine menu to offer much more than just brunch.

From the outside, you can see to the left side that Whalen’s is open 24hours on Friday and Saturday. With bars such as Carnegies and Bobwundaye just around the corner, its an ideal way to start, or indeed, end your night.

From the outside, the decor looks clean and bright. It invites you to come in with a welcoming and friendly feel.The bar area is bright, offering a wide variety of beers, coffees and cocktails with specials running throughout the week.The inside is bright, with a specials board offering the soup of the day.

One of the good things about Whalen’s is that, even though it is quite bright, it does feel quite relaxed. Often in bright places you tend to feel a little more tense, but you don’t get this a lot with the atmosphere in here. Let’s have a walk through the menu – it’s well presented with Appetizers, Salads, Yogurt, Wraps, Breakfast Platters, Omeletes, Skillets, Sandwiches, Quiches, Burgers, Dinners and Desserts. It has pretty much anything you could want, really. 

In addition to the regular menu, there is a whole separate menu dedicated to the Canadian Poutine! Poutine is something, as a Brit, that I haven’t tried or even been exposed to. It was described by the co-owner as a mix between the British Fish and Chips, and the American Chili Fries. Whalens’ Poutine is structured from bottom to top as follows: 

1. Fries
2. Mozzarella cheese
3. Gravy
4. Your choice of topping
(for the mexican, bacon cheeseburger and also The Killer Whale, nacho cheese is used)

At the bottom of the menu, The Killer Whale caught my eye. The Killer Whale is as it reads: 5.5 pounds of Poutine. My guess is that it originally started out as a sharing bowl. However, it was further explained to us that there is also a Whalen’s food challenge that if you can devour The Killer Whale in less than 30 minutes, your meal is for free, you get your name and time on a wall plaque and also your name on their Facebook hall of fame, there’s something for the competitive eater in you to chomp your teeth into…

Here’s what we ordered:

1. Mexican poutine
2. Uneggspected omelet
3. Smokey’s pulled pork sandwich

With most dishes on the menu, 2 sides will accompany your meal. We ordered home fries and granola yogurt with the Uneggspected omelete, and salad with granola yogurt for the Smokey’s pulled pork sandwich.

1. Mexican poutine

The Mexican poutine comes with fried chicken, hot sauce, pickled peppers and jalapenos, in addition to the regular poutine ingredients mentioned before. The chicken tastes just like American hot wings, and is plentiful. They have a good level of spice that doesn’t linger on your tongue, they have a good acidity that carries the heat through your mouth and they’re remarkably juicy. There is a generous scattering of pickled jalapenos and a nice dollop of sour cream to top it all off. For my first poutine, I was very impressed! 

Here you can really see the layers of the poutine properly. The nacho cheese is allowed to drip down to coat the juicy fries underneath. Even though the fries are cut thinly, they’re still juicy and thick enough to have a good flavour. Nacho cheese is something I usually cannot stand, but in this dish it works quite well. I feel that if cheddar cheese was used then it would become to thick and rich. 

2. Uneggspected omelet

The omelete came with home fries and two slices of toast. Omelet is not something I would usually look to order in a restaurant but this came recommended. We weren’t disappointed. Omelet is difficult to get right – everyone likes it in a different style. Personally, I prefer the Spanish omelet style with the ingredients on top.

Inside the omelet lay all the goodies of the Uneggspected. We have bacon, salami, mushrooms, scallions, sun-dried tomatoes and jack cheese. You got a good taste for each ingredient within the omelet casing, and the omelet itself was very enjoyable. Sometimes, the omelet can be made too thick, but not so much with this omelet. The home fries that came with it were very nice: they were crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle and well seasoned. They were also fried up with onion and extra seasoning. 

 3. Smokey’s pulled pork sandwich 

Served with salad, and a home-made raspberry vinagerette, came the Smokey’s pulled pork sandwich: The sandwich was served on ciabatta, a huge helping of spicy pulled pork and also home-made coleslaw consisting of red and white cabbage. The salad was livened up with the raspberry vinagerette, which was delicious! It was acidic, fruity and overall a real triumph of a dressing!

The pulled pork itself had a nice smoked flavour and a spice which went all the way through. The ciabatta was fresh and the coleslaw just added a texture and a dimension that the sandwich needed. 

The Yogurt Granola is deserving of a post all by itself. It was awesome, really. And, the best part? The granola is home-made and can be bought by itself to take out and use at home!! Big pieces of sweet, honeyed granola were sat within this wonderful fresh German yogurt. The granola is made on-site twice a week using a mix of 15 different ingredients, and the yogurt is specially imported from Germany. I can’t recommend this bowl of loveliness enough! In fact, if you like the Granola as much as I did, then you can buy it directly from Whalen’s: 100g for $100NT.

Overall, I was really happy to have been asked to visit Whalen’s and I was more than pleasantly surprised by an otherwise unknown (to me) Canadian cuisine. Whalen’s comes with a strong recommendation, especially for the Yogurt Granola and the Poutine! 

We were lucky to have the opportunity to speak to one of the managers throughout the meal and understand the idea behind Whalen’s. Whalen’s is working hard, alongside other restaurants in the area around AnHe road to publicize and network their wonderful food. AnHe road area can often be missed within the vast roads, streets and alleyways around Taipei City. But definitely make the effort to give Whalen’s a shot! It won’t let you down! In addition, every 3rd Friday of each month, Whalen’s hosts a pub quiz, on which night there are food and drink specials, too!

Best dish: It’s too difficult to pick between the Poutine and the Granola, so my vote is for both! Both things that absolutely NEED to be ordered when coming here. 

Dish I wouldn’t order again: I’d certainly order all dishes again. However, if going by myself I would choose to order the Smokey’s pulled pork sandwich over the Uneggspected. Simply because I’m a sandwich eater more than an omelet eater! 


No. 145, section 2, AnHe Road, DaAn District, Taipei City

Happy Eating! 

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