What we ate: “The Diner” Taipei.

Happy Thanksgiving! Sometimes an all-American meal with classics like mashed potatoes and stuffing is exactly what will hit the spot, so enjoy today with family and friends! In honor of this food-centric holiday, I’m sharing one of my favorite breakfast experiences in Taipei:

I know this sounds crazy, but it is possible for me to hit an Asian food limit. A week into our trip, I was craving some American breakfast. “The Diner” wasn’t hard to find, as it tops many “best breakfast” lists of bloggers who either live or have traveled to Taipei. We ordered fairly quintessential breakfast dishes (an omelet for me and a scramble for David), and they were prepared true to form with the exception of two local improvements in my opinion: Asian toast vs. your drier American toast, and softer cooked eggs (I’m not sure how else to describe it, but the eggs dishes here just taste “smoother”). My omelet was cooked perfectly. The outside was firm, but the inside had the consistency of slow and buttery scrambled eggs. I’m not an omelet lover to begin with, and this was the best I’ve ever had. In addition to serving great food, the owners also executed the diner vibe perfectly. Their coffee mugs were thick with heavy bottoms, and the restaurant wall was lined with deep and cozy booths. Kudos to The Diner because these details stand out among local breakfast vendors. Most offer limited seats that barely fit a person comfortably (you’re lucky if the seat has a back, too) and the dishware provided is typically too dainty or disposable. 

The Diner was a refreshing and much needed pit stop during our trip. 

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 Omelet with spinach and avocado.

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 Smoked salmon scramble.

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What we ate: Pingxi.

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Pingxi is a great place to try traditional Taiwanese snacks.

Puffed biscuit in warm peanut/sesame soup. As the biscuit melts into the soup, the consistency becomes smooth like pudding and is actually very easy and enjoyable to eat.

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Cold black sugar tea/soup with ice cubs and gelatin morsels. Can you tell each one apart?

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Sauteed Pea Vines.

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Intestines with ginger and oyster sauce (for the adventurous eaters).

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Lu Rou Fan (Braised Pork rice), a Taiwanese CLASSIC found at most traditional restaurants and stalls.

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Fried pork cutlet with ginger.

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Dry noodles in braised pork sauce with Chinese lettuce (A Cai).

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Taiwanese braised plate with tofu, seaweed, boiled egg and fried tofu.

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Meatballs in clear soup.

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Wide rice noodles with Water Spinach (Kong Xin Cai) in Sha Cha sauce, a popular Chinese sauce.

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Shaved ice with sweet peanuts, mung beans, red beans and yam/taro balls.

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Cold sweet tofu with red bean and yam/taro balls.

David and I fulfilled our dessert cravings in Taiwan with this dessert (Dou Hua). It’s a lighter and healthier alternative to Western sweets like ice cream.

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Taiwanese crepe-ice cream dessert with peanut brittle and cilantro. The combination just works, and there’s no better improvement to ice cream than being able to eat it like a burrito.

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Fried calamari with nori seasoning.

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This street food snack was insanely delicious. It’s a chicken leg stuffed with fried rice. Let that sink in.

Man, I miss Taiwan.

Pingxi Taiwan.

Spend some time in the old mining district of Pingxi for a day of traditional eats, beautiful views and wishes by way of sky lanterns.

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The easiest way to and around Pingxi is via train. Take the train from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang, and board the Pingxi Line train from there.

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There are many Sky Lantern vendors to help you personalize and set off a lantern. We waited until night time for ours.

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Lover’s wishes and messages.

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Fresh grapefruit and kumquat tea.

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Long lines for their Taiwanese style sausages.

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Our tour guide and my sweet friend Sting :)

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Cave of the Eight Immortals.

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David’s picture from inside the cave.

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Lanterns from afar.

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Our lantern. Can you guess what I wished for?

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Courtesy of David.

Taipei 101.

Check out the view from our airbnb.com stay, which was simply awesome. The loft was in a buzzing neighborhood with excellent local restaurants as well as trendy cafes and Western-style spots, too. One of Taipei’s central MRT stations (Zhongxiao Fuxing Station) was only a seven minute walk away and getting around the city could not have been easier. Our host was attentive and generous, and the space was a very comfortable size for two with modern amenities (washer, cable TV, internet, kitchenette, etc.) Needless to stay, I will definitely try to stay here again.  

Let me know if you would like my recommendation!

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