Tainan City – A day in Tainan!

I was fortunate to be asked by a representative from the Tainan City Government to help promote restaurants in Tainan using English.
So, I decided to try and do it in 1 day – to check the feasibility.

It was a tiring day, but definitely do-able.
Here is what we did!
We paid $40 to get the HSR tickets printed at 7-11 on the ibon machine. It is worth doing if you have an early train to catch – just for those extra 5-10mins in bed!
Ready to go!
Let me tell you: the view gets so much better when you get out of Taipei!
We arrived at Tainan station, no less than 1hr30mins after departing Taipei Main Station! Unreal…
If you take exit 2 out of the HSR station in Tainan, you can get on the FREE shuttle bus from the HSR station to the city center!
In addition, if you do want to use buses throughout the day – just use your YoYo/Easy card like you would in Taipei.
 First up:
A great spread for our breakfast!
We were greeted by the very friendly manager here, who can speak English, Japanese (he is currently studying) and, naturally, Mandarin.
This was the spiciest – it was deliciously smokey, too.
This was perhaps a bit too salty for my liking, but still packed a spice kick.
1. 紅燒牛肉麵 Braised beef noodle soup (s)
2. 綜合小菜 Mix of 3 small plates
3. 牛肚 Beef stomach
4. 牛筋 Beef tendon
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1. 紅燒牛肉麵 Braised beef noodle soup (s)
I’ve not had a beef noodle soup like this one before – if you notice there are little flecks of garlic scattered throughout the broth giving it a wicked flavour and aroma.
We asked for less of the noodles (of which we chose the 拉麵 hand-pulled noodles) as we had a busy day ahead.
The tendon, beef and belly were plentiful in the soup, and they were all cooked to perfection. The beef used here is Australian beef and cooked for over 6hrs!
We spoke to the manager, and he asked us whether we thought the broth was sweet. We didn’t, but it is a common remark he gets from people visiting from Taipei. I guess food in Tainan tends to be sweeter than that of the Northern Capital.
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2. 綜合小菜 Mix of 3 small plates
Let me tell you: this tofu is delicious! Often when you eat tofu there is just a plain and boring flavour with a sedentary texture. Well, not here. Cooked for 4 hrs, this tofu is succulent, flavorful and as fresh as it comes.
The skin from the pigs head (toward the back of the plate) was alright, but it was lost in a vinegary sauce, to be honest. I thought the seaweed was delicious, of which they buy in a long sheet and cut it up.
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3. 牛肚 Beef stomach 
4. 牛筋 Beef tendon 
 
A must-eat at any beef noodle shop is the stomach and tendon, I feel. I love both!
Opening Times:

Mon-Sun 10:00-2:30 
(yes, in the morning!!!!!)
 
Tel:
06-2816453

台南市北區公園路595-4號

No. 595-4 GongYuan Road, North District, Tainan City

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We picked up our electric scooter for the day, from Oodo Bike Rental in the AnPing District.
I am 6ft1inches (185cm), and two of us managed to fit on this little thing. It could go 40kmh and was plenty powerful enough for us tootling around the city for the day – However, it doesn’t help with street cred…
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Next on the list: 
 
Mmmm Korean BBQ
As we sat down, we were greeted by a 柚子茶 Ice pomelo tea, and an array of side dishes to accompany our meal.
Also, you may notice the cube of pork fat? That’s for smothering onto the grill to stop the meat from sticking too much.
As the coals were brought to the table, we were ready to let the magic begin!
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甜不辣炒年糕 Tempura and spicy Korean rice cake
I have had 年糕 rice cakes at many Korean places before and I think the best ones in Taipei have been at WAYO. However, these ones are definitely their closest rivals!
Expect a sweet and spicy sauce with lots of chewy and delicious 年糕 alongside bits of 甜不辣 tempura fish. It looks as good as it tastes!
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大腹燒肉 Grilled Flank
Star of the show, for me. Make sure to squeeze that mini lime onto the beef before grilling it, as it helps to lift the flavour to the next level.
Don’t you just love watching the caramelisation of meat?

 

Make sure to wrap it in a fresh lettuce leaf and savour the flavour – don’t add anything to this beef, just let it sing in your mouth.

The meat needs no more than 5 minutes to cook through, but I would say take it off after around 1min30 on each side and leave it to rest for a few minutes to deepen the flavour. The beef is delicious on every level. It is tender, juicy, the beef flavour is strong but not overpowering and it is something I could just eat and eat and eat.
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韓燒豬肉 Korean style marinated pork
A great thing about this place is that each time you have finished barbecuing for a length of time, they will replace your grill for you. They will also replace your grill if you’re changing the meats.

– New grill, please! –

Yeeeaaahhhhh! We cut our pork up into pieces that could easily fit onto the lettuce leaves, dipping it into the sweet and spicy chilli sauce as it went. These were delicious mouthfuls that get better after each one.
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雪濃湯 Korean soup with beef
I’ve never had this before, so you can believe my excitement when I lifted the spoon to find all sorts of beef lurking in this delicious ginseng soup.

I am all about liver, kidney, heart, intestines, stomach, tendon, ear etc etc. So, this was right up my street. However, if you aren’t that into it, I would say this is a good place to start as the meat is just that tender.

Belly, tendon and other parts of beef were generously lining the bottom of the soup bowl. Dig in and serve it up! The soup had a healthy feel to it, packing such a variety of flavours all finished with a milk-like after taste.
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 They’ve won some good awards, too!
Opening Times:
Monday – Sunday
11:30 – 14:00 and 17:00 – 21:00

Tel:
06-2935118

台南市安平區永華路二段131號

No. 131 YongHua Road, Section 2, AnPing District, Tainan City

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Restaurant no.3:
This is their current special, and my does it look good (and expensive, too, so we passed on this one).
Whilst the menu is in English, too, it doesn’t really explain a lot.
So, check out the menu below with some pictures to offer up a bit of an insight:
This rice is from a very prestigious rice growing region, and they even sell it uncooked for you to take home and cook it yourself.
I loved the atmosphere in here: it was energetic but still weirdly relaxing.
They also have daily specials, too.
This is their 2nd room just off the main room, with another 4 big tables for bigger parties of customers.
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Here is what we really came for:
毛丼 Mao Don special sushi bowl
Simply the array of fish on offer and the quality right here is very, very difficult to beat. I definitely feel like I got a slice of Japan, right here. My personal favourites were the fatty salmon, scallop, crab and also the fish eggs. In fact, I could have just done with a big bowl of their fish eggs on top of their incredibly delicious rice, for my Monday breakfast.
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海膽手捲 Sea Urchin (Uni) sushi roll
It’s not going down as one of the nicest sushi rolls I have had. It was just OK.
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星鰻干貝丼 Conger eel and scallop
I must say, this can’t have been much of a conger eel? The last one I saw (coincidentally caught, too) was around 5KG and a meter long…
I digress, it was delicious! The scallops were unreal and the eel was pretty good. Overall, I would choose to have the Mao Don over this, but it is still worth trying for the variation.
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This place closes at 14:30 until 17:00, so there’s a little bit of a down time in between services. My suggestion is to get there (like we did) at around 13:30 – when the lunch time rush is finished and it gets a little more quiet so you can enjoy it without feeling rushed.

Opening Times:
Monday – Sunday
11:30 – 14:30 and 17:30 – 21:30

Tel:
06-2092499

台南市東區東榮街105號

No. 105, DongRong Street, Eastern Area, Tainan City

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The selection of sandwiches here was great. Sometimes I find it difficult to find a decent sandwich I can just pick up and walk with. No, I don’t mean one of those sweet offerings from Happy Corner or 85 or anything like that. I mean just a classic BLT or a Ploughmans (ploughmans is asking a lot, I admit).

We arrived around 15:45 – obviously the waffles are popular, here!

How good does this bread look, though?

That chocolate one in the middle is awesome! I ate half of it before leaving the store…

This is expensive, but a must-buy! Boba tea filled sweet bread. Yes, it is sweet, but it is oh so good.

We got the boba tea bread, chocolate bread, brown sugar mochi pastry, sweet butter roll and also a black tea bun, too. They were all delicious. Basically, Angel Bake is worth going to if you’re in Tainan. Their ingredients are clearly fresh and their bread and pastry are really on point.

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At this point, it’s time for a drink! And where better to come than:
 Brian’s Black Tea

We went for their classic black tea offering – it was sweet, bitter and very refreshing on a scorching hot day!

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Right next to Brian’s Black Tea, there is this place:
蜷尾家

Get a ticket, and wait for your number,,,

Make sure you’re ready when you arrive at the counter, as this place will rush you. You only have two offerings each time. This time, it was: Seasoned Millet Mush (disgusting name) or Oolong Tea.

Since we had just had a black tea, we decided to go with the revoltingly named Seasoned Millet Mush.

It neither looks nor tastes as bad as the name suggests. And, to be fair, if they named it: Roasted Barley tea, then it would seem more appealing, right? Because that is, essentially, what it is.

The ice cream was thick, creamy, well-flavoured, and delicious. Coupled with the salty bread stick they popped in the top and you have a wicked offering, here.
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As the sun was setting in Tainan…

…we had just a little more time before our train departed…
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The last stop on our culinary journey…
Critically acclaimed!
As you can see by the tables, you should be coming here in a large party to take full advantage of the food they offer, here.
A lot of the food is very traditionally Taiwanese, which is exciting!
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三色拼盤 Mixed Platter
Here there is some sausage, imitation crab balls and also shrimp balls. The shrimp balls, here, are particularly good. As they use a specific kind of shrimp famous in Tainan. They all tasted good, but didn’t set my world on fire.
The squid was really packed into this ball!
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肉米蝦 Shrimp and minced pork soup
This was a delicious offering of soup right here. The soup, itself, is like a sweet and sour soup. The shrimp balls have been deep fried and then added into the soup – which means the texture is a soggy deep fried shrimp. Whilst I know this sounds a bit disgusting, trust me, it isn’t! Quite the opposite, it is delicious!
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麻油鱔魚 Stir-fried swamp eel with sesame oil
This was a very interesting order. Not anything I would go out of my way to order, but certainly interesting to try whilst we are here. And it comes highly recommended by the manager.
The eel is chewy, spongy and meaty. It is really quite a unique texture, and flavour. The sesame oil is sticky and sweet, whilst the eel has an earthy fish flavour to it. It was good, but I wouldn’t rush back to order it.
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This dessert cannot be seen on the menu, but just shout the word “pudding” and they will know!
– words not needed –
Thick, creamy, delicious, moreish, sweet, bitter (the caramel sauce) and generally just something I want to eat again and again…
 
… thanks to the fact that we could take out what we didn’t eat, I now can eat that pudding again!

Opening Times:
Monday – Sunday
11:30 – 21:00

Tel:
06-2222848

台南市中西區民權路二段138號

No. 138, MinQuan Road, Section 2, ZhongXi District, Tainan City

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The Tourism Department at Tainan City Government are working hard to raise the awareness of just a handful of Tainan’s delicious restaurants.

If you do go down there, or even live there now, then make sure to slowly tick these off your list of things to eat and places to go.
Here’s info for a select few places you could check out:
1.
 
 
 
Opening Times: 
Monday – Sunday
11:00 – 14:30 and 17:30 – 21:30 
 
Tel: 
06 290 9345
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2.
 
 
Opening Times:
Monday – Friday
11:30 – 14:30 and 17:00 – 21:30
Saturday and Sunday
11:00 – 14:30 and 17:00 – 21:30
Tel:
06 222 1010
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Opening Times:
Tuesday – Sunday
11:00 – 14:00 and 17:00 – 21:00

Tel:
06 222 4420

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Here’s a map of English-friendly places to go. But, it doesn’t stop here. These are the places where people are likely to be able to speak a little English. But, if you can speak a little bit of Chinese then you are likely to be able to open a bunch more doors than just these few.
Tainan, I can tell, has a lot to offer – definitely give it a try!

Happy Eating!

臺南市政府經濟發展局廣告
Advertisement from Bureau of Economic Development, Tainan City Government
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