Salad in Taipei restaurants usually means a side dish served with a set meal, but Saladay aims to offer vegetable lovers an alternative to those tiny bowls of iceberg lettuce topped with corn and raisins.
The chain’s newest location in the food court of Eslite Dunnan (誠品敦南) offers an American-style salad bar, with an assortment of toppings that customers can mix-and-match to create their own meals. Salad bowls are made with a mix of greens, including romaine and radicchio, a boon for people who are sick of iceberg lettuce. Need a dose of carbs to get you through your day? Other options include a rice or pasta bowl, sandwiches and wraps.
Saladay’s first location opened last year near the Taipei Gymnasium (台北小巨蛋體育館) adjacent to the Taipei Arena (台北小巨蛋). With takeout salads featuring low-calorie ingredients like konjac (蒟蒻), the first Saladay’s menu was geared toward attracting health-conscious customers. The new salad bar features a wider assortment of toppings (including steamed pumpkin, potato, savory cooked mushrooms, sliced okra, bell peppers, hard-boiled eggs and fresh vegetables) without a single konjac item in sight. Dressings range from a classic Italian dressing to more adventurous creations, like a decadently creamy pesto Caesar sauce and a deliciously tangy topping made with passion fruit.
The menu is very simple: salads are available in medium (served with four toppings, NT$140) and large (five toppings, NT$160) sizes, while the pasta/rice bowl is NT$180 and served with four toppings. The selection of toppings and sauces changes every day and Saladay’s helpful staff is quick to offer suggestions for good-tasting combos. While picking one order, I asked for the passion fruit dressing, but the staffer mixing my salad told me that since the steamed pumpkin chunks I had chosen were already flavored, the pesto Caesar sauce would offer a better complement. He was right — the combination was fantastic. Another one of my favorite toppings was a perfectly poached egg. Premium toppings like avocado are also available and cost an extra NT$10, a fair price considering the portion size (and relative rarity of avocados in Taiwan). Both the medium and large salads are big enough to serve as an entree.
Address: B1, 245, Dunhua S Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市敦化南路一段245號 B1)
Telephone: (02) 2578-3286 (Saladay’s main number)
Open: 11am to 10:30 pm
Average meal: NT$200
Details: Chinese menu only (customers select ingredients from a salad bar); credit cards accepted
For takeout orders, salads are packed with lettuce, toppings and dressing in separate containers so your meal doesn’t turn into a soggy mess. More portable options include Saladay’s wraps (NT$80), which come in three flavors. My favorite was the Mexican-inspired wrap, which was surprisingly piquant. Drinks available include a large selection of fruity iced teas and smoothies made with soymilk, all of which are freshly prepared.
My only disappointment at Saladay was its pasta/rice bowl, which I ordered with a mix of the two main ingredients. The fragrant rice was fine, but some of the pasta had begun to dry out. This was a shame, because the curry sauce it was topped with was satisfyingly rich and spicy, with plenty of clove to add a kick of flavor. Aside from that single misstep, Saladay is an excellent addition to Eslite Dunnan’s food court and its crispy salads are especially welcome on hot summer days.