On our first full day in Taipei, we slept in a little and took a cab from our hotels to meet Gary on Yong Kang Street for lunch. I’m not sure you would really call it lunch. It was more like a snack-lunch-dessert-snack session.
First stop was this pancake stand on a corner next to a restaurant called Thanh Ky. The lady was making and flipping scallion pancakes nonstop. These are my favorite type of pancakes in the world. I’m half Shanghainese and grew up eating my grandparents’ version which is a little thicker than the ones offered at this stand. The ones here were thin, crispy, chewy, and pretty much perfect.
You can order it plain, with egg, spicy, or not spicy. Kenny and I shared one with egg and not spicy. They were pretty big and we weren’t sure what else we were going to eat so we were trying to save our stomachs. We wanted to try everything and knew we would be in trouble if we were greedy and didn’t share. These were so delicious that looking at the picture right now makes me want one this instant!
Yong Kang Street has a lot of little shops and places to eat so we walked around a little bit before settling in on Kao Chi. We ordered chicken soup, cold chicken, Shanghainese steam fried dumplings, and braised pork belly buns. The chicken soup was delicious and so was the cold chicken, but lets talk about the Shanghainese steam fried dumplings. Most Shanghainese restaurants in the US (at least in NYC from my experience) only have the soup dumplings, or xiao long bao, on the menu. Not a lot of places offer the steam fried dumplings.
And if they do serve it, it usually isn’t very good. This place was really good. The dumplings were tasty and even though the skin was thick, it was chewy and I didn’t feel like I had a mouthful of bread. The bottom was nicely seared and crispy, which is what I like.
Then we had the braised pork belly bun! Wow. As Kenny put it, “this kicks Momofuku’s ass”. Those are some fighting words from the David Chang look-alike! While I have never tried the Momofuku version, I must say that these buns were amazing! I don’t normally eat fat, but I gobbled this up without hesitation. The fat is really where all the flavor is.
So after our sit-down meal, we decided to go for dessert. If you walk around Yong Kang Street, there are plenty of dessert places including two shaved ice spots right next to each other. One was loud and on the corner and the other was a little hidden hole in the wall. We went to the other one.
There were so many big bowls of toppings to choose from. There was fresh fruit, all different kinds of jellies, and mochi. The taro was highly recommended so everyone got that for one of their toppings. All of the bowls also come with condensed milk. The bowls were huge and somehow we managed to finish them!
We then walked around the street a little and took the subway, or MRT, to another location. Justine had a craving for a bowl of mian xian so we followed her on the MRT, which was really clean and well-lit.
Some of the bigger transfer stations had barriers between the platform and train tracks so people don’t fall onto the tracks. Smart. The subway token was a blue plastic coin which allows you to enter through the turnstiles. You have to keep it in a safe place until the end of your trip because you must drop the coin into the slot of the turnstile to exit.
Justine took us to this place that looked like only locals know. We ordered a couple bowls of mian xian. This is a bowl of thin noodles that have been cooking for a really long time in a brown broth and topped with oysters, intestines, and cilantro. I was too full to eat but wanted to try it so I had a few bites. It was really tasty.
After the bowl of mian xian, we went back to the hotel to rest and digest because later that night, we went to one of the night markets for dinner and shopping.
Scallion Pancake Stand
1 and 6, Lane 6
Yong Kang Street, Taipei
No. 1, Yong Kang Street
Daan District, Taipei