Eating on a budget in Taipei seems pretty easy considering how spoilt for choice we are when it comes to eateries. In between dealing, learning, loving and surviving a girl must eat. And eating out that does not include sandwiches from the local 7-11. When I do go out, I must always make sure that I have enough left to ride the MRT/bus/cab , pay rent/bills and have a little bit left for emergency care until I crawl onto the next pay date. Also, I noticed that we celebrate birthdays in group settings and finding a good but affordable place for everyone can turn into a headache.
Once in a while I like to treat myself, a nice little nail manicure or a shared bill with friends plus minus potential baes at a hangout that we can down affordable drinks that don’t leave you feeling cheap and my hair still feels like mine. Or just know places I can recommend to my squad when birthday celebs are looming.
There are a few places in Taipei that I have come to work with and keep an eye out for amazing foodie deals. Even the little stalls at the night market do count for eating out when you are like me and eating on a budget.
My current food love is a mexican joint called Pachuco 青春墨西哥餐酒館 on civic boulevard. What I liked the most is that the food is definitely sharable, the ambience is funky, it’s super casual and the music is great. They have a 2 TV monitors playing sports and the sangrias are to die for. We had fish tacos, a smothered burrito (must try) which we couldn’t finish because it’s huge and delicious nanchos. Plus, the manager is freaking handsome so it’s worth the eye candy. They also have a Cinco De Mayo event coming up.
Ps Tapas is an all around good place to hang. I admit that their prices are a bit over my budget when I’m by myself (yea, I’m that odd ball that always gets the looks coz i’m eating on my ace). But it is perfect when the bill is equally shared because their food can go around and their drinks are great. It is mostly spanish tapas style of serving, another place to consider for a fun birthday outing- do call in adance, they are packed on weekends.
杭州小籠湯包 Hangzhou Xiaolong Bao has the best dumplings in town, better than Din tai fu and much cheaper, in my opinion. It is right across from one side of chiang kai shek memerial Hall. This place is tasty yet cheap..I don’t get it.
I am starting to believe that chinese style dining was never meant to be done alone. I advice that you take a chinese speaking friend here so you can atleast order (menu is in Mandarin). I also take my cutlery out with me to this place because they only have chopsticks and my chopstick skills are a bit rusty for public use.
Shao Shao Ke 勺勺客 , this is a chinese speaking restaurant that serves Shan Xi cuisine, again the servings are very sharable so very “let’s spilt the bill” type hting here. The menu has images and the staff can speak some english (enough for me to get good food). It is a hole in the wall covered in graffiti “fan” messages inside…so take your marker to leave your mark on their wall. This is another inexpensive eatery and if you are looking for a friendly Chinese food experience, try this and have endless Taiwan beer coming to your table. Please make sure you get their famous dessert because you will not find it anywhere else in Taipei.
I accidentally tried Baires Ice Cream cafe (don’t let the name fool you, they serve more than just ice cream) in Tianmu. I generally like to avoid anything Tianmu because I have it in my head that Tianmu prices are slighlty higher than most places in Taipei. Anyway, we shared two meals and drinks and wayless than we expected plus got to take some home for another day,lol. I had their Baires caesar salad, yummy!The place is really cute and the service is just as good. I did try one of their ice creams but I was not taken…I’m not a big ice cream lover and I do not know what came over me.
樂子 the Diner is worth a try, I have been to their location near ATT 4 Fun area several times and it’s budget friendly. It is also right outside a few lounges/clubs. Their service and food taste is slightly inconsistent but in Taipei, one should just learn to accept this and get on with food. It’s not the best burgers in Town but I certainly would call it the worst either.
I am big fan Texas Roadhouse here, but I do not go so often because it can be a bit pricy for me without slotting it into a budget situation. However, this is great for anyday, birthday or not. Their food beats TGIF and Chillies put together.
Thai food is ok with me, I think I had way too much of it when I first arrived and I quickly got over it. Thai Town is definitely group eating worthy. There are several Thai places to eat in town but I would say try Thai Town first. Their service isn’t always tip top but the price point beats most other Thai restuarants in town AND the catch is, all thai food is pretty much the same in Taipei unless it is Thai Fusion.