Disclaimer: I’m not a foodie. Like, at all. But I’m a picky restaurant eater. I’m also a creature of habit, a diner usually on a budget unless it’s a special event. Most importantly, I’m a lazy person who doesn’t want to line up unless absolutely necessary or bored. Without sounding too morose, these are the places I’d eat if I was in Taipei for the final week of my life…

fu hang dou jiang

Let’s start with traditional Taiwanese-style breakfast at Fu Hang Dou Jiang. I don’t go often, but when I have a craving for cold soy milk and youtiao, this is the only place I’ll eat. I will line up for this — and yes, I’ll complain about it. Price: $

hot wheel cake taipei

For a lazy afternoon, take a bus or taxi to Minsheng Community to visit the SunnyHills shop and also pick up hot wheel cakes two doors over at Sometimes Red Bean. Order everything on the menu for less than 100NT. Go across the street to the park and enjoy. Price: $

acheng smoked goose taipei

Definitely go nuts with Taiwan Beer and eat lots of Taiwanese-style roast goose at A-Cheng Roast Goose. It’ll be rowdy, delicious and disturbingly cheap. Order the bamboo, the garlic-stuffed sausage, the smoked goose, vegetables and goose-fat rice. Sometimes there’s a line, in which case I always wait. Price: $$

addiction aquatic development

For Taipei’s very own Tsukiji-style fish market experience, go to Addiction Aquatic Development at any time of day. Above is the salmon bowl with rice underneath. It comes with a huge bowl of seafood miso soup. I can never finish both. Price: $$


If you don’t feel like jostling in the market area, have dinner at Tresors de la Mer. It’s the best seafood platter in Taipei. You’ll grate your own fresh wasabi and watch your hand-rolls get made table-side. Price: $$$

best pizza taipei solo napoletana

Sick of Chinese food and want pizza instead? Head to Solo Napoletana in the Zhongshan area for a Japanese take on Italian-style pizza. Eat in-store or take your pizzas to the park across the street. You know what that means? BYO beer. Price: $

mango ice taipei

One of the best ways to enjoy fruit in Taiwan is on top of shaved ice. There’s a store in Yong Kang Street called Smoothie House that has prime real estate and the long lines to match. But I prefer to walk 50 meters to the equally famous King Mango instead (map link). Price: $

yu chocolatier

Afternoon tea is a big deal in Taipei. I avoid the likes of Hello Kitty and Barbie, instead opting for the calm, intimate interior at Yu Chocolatier. There’s no coffee, and there are only eight seats.

If there’s a wait for a table it might be because Yu recently won two awards at the 2016 International Chocolate Awards: silver for the yu truffle in the dark chocolate ganache category, and bronze for the sherry longan ganache in the flavored dark chocolate ganache category. Price: $$

champion beef noodle taipei

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I’m not a huge fan of the taste of Yong Kang Beef Noodles. Too traditional for me maybe. So above is a bowl from Champion Beef Noodles. It’s a stand-alone noodle joint opened by Regent Hotel on the 4th floor Breeze Xinyi food court. The presentation is ramen-style with a soft-boiled egg, youtiao and vegetables. If you’re a hardcore carnivore, they have a 36-hour sous vide short rib noodle set. Price: $$

vegetarian dim sum taipei

There are dimsum places with lots of hype and long lines — I’m looking at you, TimHoWan and Dimdimsum — but if I was going to go all-out for my final dimsum meal in Taipei, I would go to Ya Ge at the Mandarin Oriental. You pay a little more, of course, but every bite is worth it. And when the meal is made up of like 10 bites, the math makes sense, no? Price: $$$

kurume izakaya

Now we’re getting personal. I’m at Kurume Izakaya near Taipei Main Station at least once a month. The black sesame tofu salad is fantastic. So is anything with chicken. Price: $$$

nomura sushi omakase taipei

If you feel like a prix-fixe, sushi omasake, I recommend lunch at Nomura. Sit at the bar and soak in the atmosphere. For these types of places, lunch is always more affordable than dinner. Price: $$$$

yakiniku muteki taipei

I’m married to someone who considers yakiniku a hobby, which means gloriously long yakiniku meals are sort of mandatory in my life. For Friday night yakiniku we usually go to Kanpai Bar (map link) behind the Dunhua Eslite, but for “oh, what the hell” yakiniku we go to Yakiniku Muteki. Price: $$$

ruths chris taipei

Eat enough Chinese and Japanese food and you’ll end up craving a steak. It’s like a fact of life. Sure, there are a lot of shiny new steakhouses in Taipei — Alexander’s and Morton’s for example — but I’d rather not risk a pricey meal at a new place when I know I’ll have a hugely satisfying meal at Ruth’s Chris. The baked potato is heavenly. The housemade cheesecake is so yum. Price: $$$$

kinsui taipei

Finally, I’d splurge on a Japanese kaiseki dinner at Kinsui Taipei in Dazhi for my final meal with my parents. At Kinsui, you can see tempura fried to order and watch a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. We’ll be heading back there with my parents later this summer. Price: $$$$$

And for nostalgia’s sake, I’d also pay my respects at Circle Pasta for their signature meat sauce, Din Tai Fung for chicken soup and dumplings, Woolloomooloo for the banana cream pie, and Mazendo for sesame sauce noodles.