Although I live only a short flight away from Taipei, Taiwan, I never actually visited it until recently. I was told by many of my friends that Taipei was a vegan paradise. And they were right!
Kaya Kaya Café
As a breakfast fanatic, I absolutely loved this place. Their non-breakfast menu looked great too. We tried the Breakfast Set Meal and the Wild Mushroom Scrambled Tofu Set Meal. As a tofu scramble connoisseur, let’s just say that I was BLOWN AWAY by their scrambled tofu, which was made from scrambled bean curd, corn, and a variety of savoury spices. Their vegan butter was fermented and super tasty, and every little bite of the meal, down to the crunchy almonds and tart apples on the salad, was divine. The Café au Lait was rich and frothy, and the Passionfruit Chocolate Mousse Cake was melt-in-your-mouth tart and sweet. They also have the famous Taiwanese Bubble Tea – vegan style! You must hit up this place.
Kaya Kaya Cafe, No. 6, Alley 19, Lane 216, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
This restaurant had a fusion of a variety of cuisines. We were absolutely blown away with the Assorted Vegetable Spaghetti in Alfredo Sauce, which was rich, creamy, and covered in vegan parmesan cheese. We ordered the set, which came with a cheese baguette and pumpkin soup. We also tried the Salty Waffles Sandwich, which was savoury veggie waffles served with french fries, salad, dijon mustard sauce, and ketchup. Reminding me a bit of a chip butty, you could build your own waffle/fries sandwich with this and go crazy. This best part of this place was the desserts. The German Pudding Tart didn’t look too impressive, but was one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten, with a sweet custard filling. The Whipped Cream Chocolate Cake had chocolate vegan whipped cream, and the restaurant manager was nice and brought us some extra desserts to try, on the house, including some sort of strawberry tofu panna cotta. With a beautiful interior, this is a place not to be missed.
Blossom Rena Vegan Café, No. 26-1, Section 3, Zhongshan N Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10491
Ooh Cha Cha
I had seen this restaurant before from its beautiful dishes featured on Instagram, and I was not disappointed. We travelled a long way before coming here on a rainy day and were absolutely famished, so the food here was warm, welcoming, and wholesome. I was keen on trying their vegan lox, made from marinated carrots, and the Lox Ricotta Sandwich did not disappoint. Made with organic wheat focaccia, cauliflower almond ricotta, carrot lox, and arugula, this sandwich hit the spot. We also tried the Mozzarella Pizza, choosing the gluten-free oat & brown rice crust, which was covered in house-made marinara, cashew mozzarella, and arugula. The cheese tasted amazingly like real mozzarella – any non-vegan would be fooled! The Ooch Bowl was warm, healthy, and filling. It was made with quinoa, baked pumpkin, roasted broccoli, tempeh sausage, carrot lox, and avocado sauce. We topped everything off with Pink Dream smoothies, made with strawberry, pineapple, apple, coconut milk, dates, and apple juice. A must-visit.
Ooh Cha Cha, No. 207 Nanchang Road, Section 2, ZhongZheng District, Taipei
When you think about Taiwan, you probably think about their famous Pineapple Cake. Every supermarket and souvenir shop has these, but sadly they’re not vegan…Unless you go to an all-vegan bakery, that is! This tiny café, with only 3 seats, located down a little alley, has a bakery case of treats you can enjoy with their soy coffees, as well as giant gift boxes of vegan macarons and pineapple cakes. We tried their Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart and their Apple Almond Cream Layer Tart. Both were rich, delicious, and not too sweet, and paired well with a hot coffee on a rainy day. I also bought a huge box of pineapple cakes (which are individually wrapped) to bring home to family and friends.
Vegan Heaven, Lane 473, Guangfu South Rd, Xinyi District, Taipei
When my friend suggested I eat a bowl of udon noodles, I thought, “meh…I guess.” I should have known then that she was talking about famous, fresh, vegan udon at Hoshina, which is a trendy Japanese restaurant. The udon was fresh, flavourful, and full of yummy toppings – I particularly enjoyed the Hoshina’s Special Cold Udon (which comes with hot soup) and the Udon in Broth. We also tried a few of their appetizers, including the Miso Paste Vegetable Roll and the Tofu Sheet with Needle Mushroom Roll and Nori. The tofu sheet was fantastic – filled with enoki mushrooms, fried in seaweed, and dipped in ginger sauce. Next to this restaurant is the vegan bakery Yiihotang (the only vegan location), where you can buy desserts and bring them into the restaurant. I recommend the Mango Fraisier, the Lemon Vanilla Tart, and the Caramel Apple Crumble. You can also grab a Pineapple Bun or Cheese Bagel for the road.
Hoshina / Yiihotang , No. 323, Fuxing North Road, Songshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 105
Zhen de Café
Since Taiwan is prone to typhoons, it’s essential to have a go-to café to seek shelter from the rain. Zhen de Café is a good choice. An artsy café, this place has a variety of desserts, drinks, and a few savoury items. The Matcha Tart was smooth with a strong matcha taste, yet not too bitter or sweet. For a cold drink, try the Tropical Fruits Tea, which had lots of fresh passionfruit. And for a savoury snack, try the Tofu Salad Sandwich, which is similar to an egg salad sandwich. You can choose the flavour, and I chose sesame (which reminded me too much of peanut butter) so I would try the the garlic or spicy flavour next time.
Zhen de Café, No. 1, Lane 19, Wanlong Street, Wenshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 116
This place had so many delicious-looking options, so it’s a shame I could only enjoyed one visit here. I tried the Vegan Bowl, which was amazing! It was a salad bowl topped with tempeh, purple mashed potato, crunchy veggies, almonds, and sesame sauce. I ordered the set which came with brown rice, a small glass of kombucha, fermeted veggies, miso soup, pumpkin, and burdock. The Seasonal Vege Tofu Donburi was delicious and filling, with fresh veggies and braised beancurd. This place also brews their own kombucha in-house (you can even see the giant vats of fermented tea brewing from your table!) and they had a variety of flavours. I tried the Rose Kombucha and the Passionfruit Kombucha. I’m a big kombucha fan, be but warned: these are extremely sour and fermented! I think I prefer the plain kombucha that came with the set meal. And if you’re looking for something sweet, you can try their Tiramisu, which was light, creamy, slightly sweet, with a nutty coconut taste.
Flourish, No. 32, Lane 233, Section 1, Dunhua South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
This hipster bakery/café was a dream for me, as a vegan who had never been to a fully-vegan bakery. They had such a huge selection of savoury and sweet treats, such as cookies, buns, pizzas, and cakes. I came back twice to this place just to stock up on pastries for the road. The Cinnamon Roll – something that’s nostalgic for me, and so hard to find as a vegan! – was large, chewy, and full of cinnamon. The Bacon Corn Baked Cheese Bun was also a yummy savoury breakfast choice, with large pieces of vegan bacon wrapped inside. You can sit on one of their small tables and enjoy a vegan milk tea or coffee, or buy some of their amazing and super-cheap pastries to go.
Hip Pun, No. 7, Siping Street, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10491
This restaurant had newly relocated, so there wasn’t an extensive menu and they were sold out of most of the items, but we enjoyed their veggie burgers nonetheless. We tried the Tartar Sauce Burger and the Kimchi Burger, which both were made with a crispy, delicious, homemade patty. Tartar sauce is something I’ve rarely found in restaurants as a vegan option, so I was pleasantly surprised to have this on a burger. The kimchi was super spicy, but complimented the mild thousand island dressing nicely. This restaurant is also a LGBT-friendly establishment with decorations and merchandize supporting the LGBT community. The staff were super friendly – and since they were out of so many things, they brought us some vegan nut fudge on the house.
About Animals, No. 25, Lane 228, Section 3, Heping East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
I call this post “A Taste of Taipei” not only because I got to taste some delicious food, but mostly because I only was there for a short time. I can’t wait to come back and seek out vegan versions of Taiwanese Dumplings and try Taiwanese Shaved Ice. If you have any suggestions for great places to eat in Taipei, let us know in the comments!