Taiwan Eats II of V: Gaohsiung

Welcome to Part II of the Taiwan Eats series, where I documented good eats during our 2014 trip to Taiwan!  Click for Part IPart IIIa, Part IIIb, Part IV and Part V.


So then we left Taipei and took the high speed rail to Gaohsiung. If you make it through this post, you may be wondering..where are all the night markets at? Where’s Liuhe (六合) and Ruifeng (瑞豐)? There were two main reasons we didn’t go…1) We only spent two nights in Gaohsiung, and 2)One of my mom’s friends, who keeps a strict healthy diet, told us we shouldn’t go =(. We also didn’t have much room or time for it, because our time was mostly guided by my mom’s friends.

Fear not! With T (Mr. ABC Chef) in my company, there’s no way we would have left future nightmarkets undiscovered. We went to practically all the night markets possible, in the other cities we visited. Stay tuned..

興隆居
Xing Long Ju
高雄市六合二路184,186号
Gaohsiung City, Liuhe Er Road, #184-186C

xing long ju 興隆居

xing long ju 興隆居
xing long ju 興隆居

Yes, we were there at 6:50 AM!

xing long ju 興隆居

Making tang bao!

xing long ju 興隆居

 

湯包

xing long ju 興隆居

 

xing long ju 興隆居

xing long ju 興隆居

Overall comments: Soup dumplings meet baozi. The cabbage was so crunchy that I was seriously convinced that it was romaine lettuce for a while. The soup is piping hot and amazing, and the bun is fluffy and delicious. There is a great reason for the wait here. Other foods like the 燒餅 and 豆漿 are also good here, but the specialties are definitely the tang bao! This was a very solid meal- one of our favorites! I’d definitely choose 湯包 over 小籠包。。Come here for breakfast. Please! You will not regret it.

Favorites:  -Tang bao (湯包)- 15 NT each! That’s 50 cents each…! Knock yourselves out. -Salty soymilk. I felt that the soymilk was substantive (I read that soymilks at some breakfast places are powdered!), and had a good amount of ‘filling’ in it.


海港自助餐廳 Harbor Buffet Restaurant @ HiLai Hotel (漢來大飯店)

No. 266, Chenggong 1st Road, Qianjin District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 801+886 7 216 1766 

HiLai Hotel breakfast buffet

 

HiLai Hotel breakfast buffet

HiLai Hotel breakfast buffet

Unfortunately, this particular pineapple didn’t taste good to us..so we didn’t give pineapple another chance while in Taiwan. Maybe next time!

HiLai Hotel breakfast buffet

HiLai Hotel breakfast buffet rou zao

Rou zao fan! See the pork belly?! Next to hashbrowns. Hilarious!

HiLai Hotel breakfast buffet

Danzai noodle station

HiLai Hotel breakfast buffet

Rice vermicelli (米粉)

HiLai Hotel breakfast buffet

HiLai Hotel breakfast buffet

 

HiLai Hotel breakfast buffet

 

 

Overall comments: We had breakfast buffet here, (Thank you, Uncle Zheng!) This place has so many items to choose from, it’s crazy! This breakfast buffet does its best to cater to internationals, judging from the Engrish translations and assortment of multi-colored cereals. For later buffets, we saw a case of Haagen Dasz, and a sign that mentioned all you can drink beer and wine. Fancy..! If you are looking for the best deal breakfast buffet, I would send you to Taipei Hero House, where it’s something like $3-4 USD for AYCE breakfast. 

Our favorites: 
-擔仔麵(米粉)- Danzai noodles (rice noodles). Stock that tastes like it has been stewing all day, a tasty soy sauce-stewed egg, lu rou bits, perfectly cooked noodles, topped with crisp mung bean sprouts and Chinese chives. This was so good that we sacrificed stomach space for a second helping!
-鲁肉- LuRou. This is the real stuff, folks. Bits of fatty pork are sprinkled among the dark meat pork in a sticky fragrant sauce. Eat it up!
-Other than that, nothing stood out to me. I was not a fan of the pastries- there was variety but not much taste or filling. I remember trying a mini chocolate croissant- was not flaky, but just soft. Maybe it was a day old? But really, I would fill up on other stuff other than pastries, if you are at this buffet!


漢神百貨HanShin Department Store

No. 266-1, Chenggong 1st Road, Qianjin District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 801
+886 7 215 7266

 

The strategy for eating in Taiwan was not to get too full at any one meal- always save room in case you see something tasty en route to the next destination. Hence, the sparse plate. Noteworthy items were the lu rou, of course, the corn- tasted like real corn..and the salted mackeral (Gaohsiung is a port city of Taiwan)erneath. In the back-gouda cheese, poached egg, and fried eggEngrishThought this was cool; Parmesan! Kind of random to have at breakfast, but they also had salad, so go figure..Bottom right- salted plum powder- I ate this stuff on fruits like tomatoes and pineapple, growing up. It helps sweeten tart fruits, in my experienceOur accomplishment- 8 passionfruits! Could have done better, but these were not the ripest. Passionfruits are ripe when very wrinkly.Lunch buffet desserttaro filling

Overall comments: This place is huge. Tons of shopping and food (basement) reside in this multi-storied department store. There is a famous buffet here (with a long line), as well as the Cantonese restaurant we had lunch at. Downstairs, there is an extensive food court that includes stores such as Din Tai Fung, TenRen Tea, a small, posh Japanese supermarket, bakeries, and specialty snack shops.

Our favorites: 
-We liked the imagawayaki(車輪餅)stand called 關北 (GuanBei), next to / in the Japanese supermarket, Matsusei, in the basement. The Chinese translation for this is ‘car tire bread’- does it look similar? Anyway , at this particular vendor, there are multiple flavors to choose from, such as custard, taro, and red bean, and more.
-TenRen’s always makes a nice boba tea!


鼎泰豐

Din Tai Fung @ HanShin

高雄市左營區博愛二路777號B1樓

Bo Ai 2nd Road, #777, Floor B1

Zuoying District, GaoHsiung City

din tai fung

Overall comments: I hope I don’t get crazy backlash for writing this, but even though I like Din Tai Fung (in the States as well as in Taiwan), I don’t fawn over it nor have a burning desire to return anytime soon. Their xiao long bao are tasty to me. I appreciate and notice the fine work they did with wrapping lots of delicate folds in all their wrapped foods. But, I think that there is only so much you can do with xiao long bao. They had nice attempts to diversify, with crab, chicken filling, or si gua and shrimp (which we also tried), but I still think pork belongs in xiao long bao. I often also judge a restaurant by even the small things such as the side dishes / appetizers, and they seemed a bit mamahuhu (馬馬虎虎), which means so-so/mediocre. I think they could have been a bit more careful with the seasoning- I remember one of the cold marinated dishes was too sweet for me! I felt that many of the side dishes were things I could make at home , and with more care. On top of all that, for what we ate, I felt that the prices were very expensive..they could have rivaled prices in the US.

din tai fung gaohsiung

Side dishes and xiaolongbao (pork)

din tai fung gaohsiung

Xiaolongbao with dried shrimp and si gua (a type of melon)

din tai fung gaohsiung

Potstickers!- cute little icons

din tai fung

Crab and pork

din tai fung

Vegetarian steamed dumplings


翠園

Jade Garden Restaurant @ HanShin, 9F

jade garden hanshin 翠園

Soup dumplings; they tasted pretty good to me (see notes on Din Tai Fung)

jade garden hanshin 翠園

Radish cake- good- not greasy and also clean tasting

jade garden hanshin 翠園

Salted fish and chicken fried rice (鹹魚粒炒饭)

Overall comments: My mom’s elementary school friend (thanks Dr. Zheng!) and his wife took us here. It is a Cantonese-style restaurant, complete with dim sum that you can order (no carts here- it is too elegant for that =/), as well as delicious entrees. One aspect of food in Taiwan that impressed me was that none of the food left you feeling greasy or oily, even if the food itself was higher in fat. The service was great, but we were also sitting with frequent customers who knew all the staff and kept their tea at the restaurant so they could drink it when they came. Even though the food was really tasty, I don’t know that we would come back here, just because it was definitely more formal of an atmosphere, and the type of place you might go for an important business lunch or a date. Obviously, if you have money, you might come here as your normal eating spot.

jade garden hanshin 翠園

Siu Mai– pork, shiitake mushroom, shrimp, in an egg wrapper

jade garden hanshin 翠園

Fish soup from the fish that was steamed

jade garden hanshin 翠園

Steamed fish from Penghu islands, on top of soft tofu. So good!

jade garden hanshin 翠園

Homemade soymilk pudding, served with brown sugar syrup and sweetened red bean

Hello Kitty is pretty big in Taiwan, apparently. This was an ad to have a Hello Kitty themed wedding..

Our favorites: (A note- we liked pretty much everything here, with few exceptions)
-豆花 – Soybean milk pudding, served from a cute wooden basket. I am not certain, but this may have been 1) on the house or 2) an off-menu item reserved for VIPs like Mrs. and Mr. Zheng.
-點心- We enjoyed all the dim sum, which probably played to Gaohsiung’s seafoodiness strengths. I remember that the 萝卜糕 (radish cake) was not as radishy as I’ve had and enjoyed elsewhere.
-鹹魚雞粒炒飯- Salted fish and chicken fried rice. I’m a sucker for this dish, and this won me over because of the amazing rice that is Taiwanese rice, in addition to the little bits of squash, which I thought were a great addition to an already tasty dish!
蒸魚- Steamed fish  from Penghu Islands, atop soft, silky tofu. They later took the carcass of the fish to make a nice soup for us, which was nice.


港式海鲜火鍋

Hong Kong Style Seafood Hot Pot @ HiLai Hotel, 10F

 

HUGE scallops! Sashimi grade.

Chunky ice again 🙁 But, I loved the taro because it was smooth, creamy, and tasty. The candied beans were also nice.

I liked this one overall better- it is called “song gao” or 鬆糕, and a quick search tells me it’s made of two types of rice flours. It is fluffy but also has a slight bite at the same time, so texturally it is quite nice! This one is filled with both red beans and red bean paste



Overall comments: Quality seafood. Ambiance. We got sushi grade scallops, 桂花蚌(osmanthus mussels), crab, humungous shrimp, and other luxurious items. If we had gone on our own (we wouldn’t have) without my mom’s friends, we would not be eating like kings. On the flyer it says that a “simple” hot pot starts at 800 NT (27 USD) per person, and the cost for BYOB is 300 NT (10 USD) per bottle..

Our favorites: 
-Sadly, we were too full from lunch, imagawayaki, and boba tea (see above) to properly enjoy this feast. I really enjoyed everyone though, even from the little bit I had. Needless to say, there would be almost no seafood item you would not be able to find here.
-Even the wontons and meatballs that came with our orders were not your typical run-of-the-mill stuff. T, who is Cantonese and has had plenty of wontons in his day, kept eating them!


 五保春麵店

Wu Bao Chun Bakery

No.19 Siwei 3rd Rd., Lingya Dist., Kaohsiung, Taiwan

五保春麵店 wu bao chun

One of my favorite moments: I asked some dude [in Chinese] in line..” Wow, umm, is this place really that popular?” because I was so surprised people would be waiting in line 30 minutes before the place opened. Guy: “Uh…yes..aren’t you from Taiwan?”

wu bao chun

What times what breads come out

五保春麵店 wu bao chun 
五保春麵店 wu bao chun
五保春麵店 wu bao chun

 

Clearly, people flock from all over to come here. Sadly, we ended up putting some of these back when we realized we would be hindering other good eats opportunities if we tried to eat all these. @ the left is the maple sugar toast, and back is almond croissant.

Overall comments: This eponymous bakery is super crowded, even for a Tuesday morning. People were lined up at 9:30 AM for the 10AMopening! When we went, the hot item was Pannetone- with imported flour, butter, raisins, and candied orange. I believe Mr. Wu won a baking competition (international? not sure) where he made a winning pannetone. This bakery sells both Asian and Western style breads, and it seemed that I wanted to get more Asian style breads, but the bakery seemed to favor Asian twists on Western baked goods such as bagels and artisan crusty bread. There is also a board outside which shows the different times at which baked goods come out of the oven. Sorry, Chinese only! T was disappointed with the custard bun because it lacked custard. I wish we had had more time and appetite to explore…

Our favorites: 

-I liked the pineapple cake’s buttery tender crust, but it was stingy with the pineapple filling.
-The 奶酥麵包 had really soft, tender, and fluffy bread, and a filling that tasted less processed. However, I prefer JJ Bakery’s filling because they are more generous with it ;d Ideally, I’d be eating Wu Bao Chun bread filled with JJ Bakery filling. I really wanted to get the thousand layer maple sugar bread, but we definitely would not have had any time or stomach to eat it, so we passed on it. .


董師傅手工麻糬
Master Dong Handmade Mochi
3 places to get them: http://www.gomaji.com/store-detail.php?store_id=11575

Overall comments: Regrettably, have no pictures of the mochi itself, but my mom’s friend who is a tea lover, treated us to tea and mochi after lunch. (Moar food!) This mochi was unbelievable..they were 手工 (handmade) and had fillings like black sesame, matcha, peanut, and red bean. The fillings were just the right sweetness and amount, and the mochi outside was on the softer side with a tiny bit of chew. They were clearly very fresh, and changed my perspective of what a good mochi is! If mini-unfilled-mochi that they sell as toppings for frozen yogurt is junk food, then this GaoHsiung mochi is foie gras and lobsters.

Our favorites: Our problem was not having enough stomach, since we had just finished a huge lunch at Din Tai Fung. And, we had to save room for dinner in a few hours! I would have eaten all of them, had I not had to worry about saving room. All of the flavors were delectable.

2 Comments

  1. I am not a huge fan of 鼎泰豐 either haha. I feel like when I say that, people automatically think I don\’t know anything about food. It\’s not even because it\’s bad, I just feel that Taiwan has so many other things to offer. And, I totally agree that pork is the best filling 🙂

    There aren\’t many posts in English about Taiwan, so it\’s always fun to find a new one to read. Have you gone back since this post?

    • Hi Christina,
      Thanks for stopping by! Glad to find another person who can appreciate all the other foods in Taiwan, other than just 鼎泰豐 :D. I have gone back since this post , but it was so much work to upload all these pictures and such, that I didn’t feel like doing it for subsequent visits…Might go back this year, too!! =)

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