One of Tainan’s unofficial nicknames is “the city of snacks” (小吃城). A walk along Haian Road or through the Huayuan Night Market offers a cornucopia of opportunities to sample local specialties like tender milkfish belly, savory shrimp rice or danzai noodles (擔仔麵, often romanized “tantsai noodles”) topped with minced pork and lots of garlic. The following is a small sampling of what Tainan has to offer gourmands.
Tu Hsiao Yueh (度小月)
Established in 1895, Tu Hsiao Yueh is one of Tainan’s best-known restaurants. It is famous for danzai noodles, topped with savory minced pork, shrimp and a big heap of garlic. Tu Hsiao Yueh’s flagship location on Jhongjheng Road is home to a small museum that proudly showcases the restaurant’s “century-old pot,” or the very worn wrought iron vessel that its founders used over a hundred years ago. The fried shrimp rolls (蝦捲) are excellent.
Address: 16 Jhongjheng Road, West Central Dist, Greater Tainan (台南市中西區中正路16號)
Phone: (06) 225-9554
Hours: 11am to 10:30pm
On the Net: www.iddi.com.tw
Haian Road (海安路)
Haian Road between Mincyuan Road (民權路) and Fucian Road (府前路) is lined with cafes, restaurants and stalls serving some of Tainan’s most delectable food. The signature dish of Ai Zai Cheng Shrimp Rice (矮仔成蝦仁飯) at 66, Haian Rd Sec 1 (海安路一段66號, tel: (06) 220-1897) features plump shrimp caught daily from Singda (興達) and Anping harbors. Fusheng (福生) at 100, Haian Rd Sec 1 (海安路一段100號), tel: (06) 228-2998, is known for its sweet, tender milkfish. The best part of the fish is its belly fillet, which is served whole in a mellow broth. After eating, work off the calories with a stroll down the road: Many of the street’s nightclubs feature live outdoor performances on weekend nights.
Huayuan Night Market (花園夜市)
Tainan’s largest night market operates on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Hundreds of stalls sell everything from eyeglasses and pet chinchillas to mijian (蜜餞), or candied fruit. Other edibles include roast meats, almost anything that you serve on a bamboo skewer and sweets like small cakes made with glutinous rice and stuffed with sweet black sesame powder. Wash everything down with a cold cup of freshly pressed sugarcane juice.
Address: The corner of Hewei Road and Haian Road, North Dist, Greater Tainan (台南市北區和緯路海安路口)
Located near historic Anping Harbor (安平港), this popular establishment sells seafood by weight. Chingping’s signature dish is rice vermicelli soup made with large chunks of grouper (鮢過米粉).
Address: 462 Anyi Rd, Anping Dist, Greater Tainan (台南市安平區安億路462號)
Phone: (06) 297-1985
Hours: 10:30am to 10:30pm
The sleek, modern interior of Japanese restaurant Uehara (上原) near Tainan City Hall is just as lovely as its artfully plated fresh sashimi and cooked seafood dishes. The space may look posh, but Uehara’s prices are reasonable and the service is excellent.
Address: 39 Yiping Rd, Anping Dist, Greater Tainan（台南市安平區怡平路39號）
Phone: (06) 299-6226, reservations suggested.
Hours: 11am to 2pm, 5:30pm to 9:30pm
Tongji Anping Bean Jelly (同記安平豆花)
Tongji Anping Bean Jelly is famous for its bowls of fresh, fragrant douhua (豆花), a silky pudding made from soy beans that soaks up the flavors of toppings such as brown sugar syrup or mung or azuki beans.
Address: 433 Anbei Rd, Anping District, Greater Tainan (台南市安平區安北路433號)