Ximending Food Guide: What to Eat & Best Restaurants (2023 updated)

Dear reader: This article contains links to products and services that I may be compensated for, at no extra cost to you.

Wondering what to eat in Ximending, the funkiest neighborhood in Taipei? You’ve come to the right place!

While researching my article on weird things to do in Ximen, I found there were so many awesome Ximending restaurants, breakfast shops, street foods, and drinks that they deserve their own guide. Ximending is also considered one of the best night markets in Taipei, even though it’s not actually a night market – it’s more like a pedestrian shopping district with some random food stalls throughout it.

Below I’ll cover the best Ximending foods available, including restaurants and vendors serving some of the best street foods in Taiwan. I’ll also cover where to get breakfast and the best bars in Ximending, for both beer and cocktail lovers. Ready to get hungry? Let’s go!

Ximending is featured on my lists of Best Things to Do in Taipei and Best Places to Visit in Taiwan.

Sushi board and Lan Shan Shi Si Japanese restaurant in Ximending
Sushi rack at Arashimaya Restaurant (see Japanese food section below)

You’ll never run out of places to eat in Ximending, even if you spend weeks there. Many travelers choose to stay in Ximending for this reason; see the Ximending section of my Taipei accommodation guide for my recommended hostels and boutique hotels in Ximen.

You can easily reach Ximending by taking the Taipei MRT to Ximen station. Exit 6 feeds into the pedestrian shopping arear, where many of the below restaurants and food stalls are located, while exit 1 is better for the restaurants, bars and LGBTQ+ district afround Red House.

You can visit Ximending on the Taipei Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour. You can also tour the neighborhood with a local guide on this Ximending LGBT tour. Sign up for Klook with this link first to get a TWD 100 credit applied to either of these acticities.

Note that most Ximending shops and restaurants are closed during Lunar New Year.

Ximending Restaurant Map

Here’s a map showing all the breakfast shops, restaurants, food stalls, dessert shops, and bars in Ximending that I’ll be covering in this article. Many of them don’t have English names, so you’ll have to look and match the Mandarin names, all of which I’ll mention below.

I’ve totally updated the map following Taiwan’s reopening to tourists in late 2022, as some popular Ximending restaurants have closed during the pandemic (notably the Ximending branch of Modern Toilet, the poo-themed restaurant that was once very popular among visitors).

Ximending Breakfast

Let’s start our culinary tour with breakfast in Ximending (you can learn more about Taiwanese breakfast foods in my guide to Taiwanese cuisine!) Taiwan surely has one of the most interesting breakfast traditions from around the world, and Ximending is a great place to give it a try.

If you’ve only got one morning to find a good breakfast in Ximen, head straight to Hankou street section 2 (漢口街二段), the unofficial “breakfast street of Ximending.”

To get there from Ximen MRT exit 6, walk straight down the main pedestrian street (Hanzhong street 漢中街) about four blocks until you reach Hankou street.

Ximending Soy Milk

Ximending Soy Milk, one of the best places for breakfast in Ximending
Humble Ximending Soy Milk

Right at the corner of Ximending Breakfast Street, you’ll find your first option: Ximending Soy Milk (西門町豆漿). The street address is Hanzhong street #22 漢中街22號.

This legendary Taipei breakfast spot is nothing more than a humble cooking stall and fridge run by an elderly Taiwanese woman. A sign proudly displays that the stall has been serving breakfast in Ximending since 1978. She serves up Taiwanese breakfast from 4:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every day.

Breakfast specialty at Ximending Soy Milk
Tuna, egg, & sticky rice Chinese crepe

So what’s on the menu? Only a handful of things, and in Mandarin only. Besides the Taiwanese breakfast classics like scallion pancakes (蔥抓餅), dan bing or “Chinese crepes” (蛋餅), and sticky rice rolls (飯糰), there is one unique item that jumped out at me: tuna, egg & sticky rice Chinese crepes (鮪魚蛋香米卷). Please note, the laoban niang (female boss) informed me this item is only available before noon.

I’ve never seen sticky rice put on a dan bing in Taiwan! She lathered the rice-topped egg with black bean sauce, then topped it with dollops of creamy tuna, finally handing it to me as a wrap, rather than cutting it into bite-sized pieces like dan bing are usually served. It was super yummy and filling!  

Yonghe Soy Milk Ximending

Yonghe Soymilk Ximending, the most popular place to eat breakfast in Ximending
Hugely popular Yonghe Soymilk Ximending

A few steps to the west down Hankou street and you’ll find the second hot spot for breakfast in Ximen: Yong He Soy Milk Ximending (永和豆漿西門町). The address is #30 Hankou street section 2, 漢口街二段30號. It’s open almost around the clock, only closing in the afternoon from around 2:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Not to be confused with the popular chain Yong He Soy Milk King found all over Taipei, this tiny shop only has a few tables, but it is extremely popular, so there is always a line, or more like a crowd of people around it. There’s a large menu of all the classic Taiwanese breakfast items plus some uncommon items, and even a menu with English and pictures.

It’s best to grab a paper menu, stand aside and think, then step up and order decisively once you’re ready. Otherwise, you might get shouted at or completely ignored by the frantic cooks.

A fan tuan, or sticky rice wrap, common in Taiwan for breakfast
Fantuan, a filling traditional Taiwanese breakfast item

The menu includes all the typical Taiwanese breakfast items like dan bing (breakfast crepes), steamed buns (饅頭) stuffed with various things, sticky rice rolls, scallion pancakes (蔥抓餅), radish cakes (蘿蔔糕), soup dumplings (湯包), warm salty tofu with fried dough sticks (先豆漿加油條), and rice omelets (蛋包飯).

Just past Yonghe Soy Milk Ximending, there’s also a beef noodle soup shop (果 烤肉飯牛肉麵水果汁) that is open from 10 am. There’s no shame in getting beef noodles as a late breakfast!

Check out the best food and cooking courses in Taipei here.

Golden Flower Toasted Breakfast Sandwiches

Insanely cheesy breakfast sandwiches at Golden Flower Ximen
Insanely cheesy toasted sandwiches at Golden Flower

For completely different breakfast option at the southern end of Ximending, Golden Flower Toasted Sandwiches Golden Flower Toasted Sandwiches (金花碳烤吐司專賣, Neijiang street #21, 內江街21號, 8:30am to 3pm, closed Mondays) specializes is enormous, multi-layer toasted breakfast sandwiches.

Cheese lovers rejoice – some of these sandwiches come dripping with copious amounts of melted cheese. You know you want this.

Golden Flower Ximending breakfast menu
Golden Flower menu

Wondering what that special ingredient accenting the cheese is? Yup, it’s peanut butter. Don’t knock it till you try it. The sandwiches are so big that they give customers plastic gloves to eat them. We insisted on not using one for environmental reasons, but ended up using half a pack of tissues instead…So that’s one thing to think about.

This is a popular spot, so expect to wait 10 minutes or more for your order. There are a few tables inside and outside. The breakfast shop is located on the Neijiang Street side of the Red House LGBT bar area, on a street lined with small restaurants.

Street Food in Ximending

There are plenty of options in Ximending for a quick bite while you stroll. In fact, many of the most famous Taiwanese street foods can be found in Ximending!

GoogleMaps incorrectly labels Ximending as a night market. Ximending is not a typical Taipei night market, as in, there is no one street that is lined with food stalls. There are a lot of food vendors in Ximending, but they tend to move around. Several of the don’t have proper licenses, so you may even see them suddenly packing up their stall and running away with it when the police show up – I’ve seen this happen several times.

These vendors often set up near Ximen MRT exit 6 and on spots along Hanzhong Street, the main pedestrian walking street that leads from Exit 6 into the Ximending shopping area. Some common ones include green onion cakes and deep fried ice cream.

Wuchang Street

Grilled mochi, a tasty street food in Ximending
Grilled mochi

The closest thing to a permanent night market in Ximending is on Wuchang street section 2 lane 50 (武昌街2段50巷), running for two blocks between Emei street and Wuchang street (aka Movie Theater Street), passing tattoo street in the middle (see my Ximending guide for more info on these special streets).

Some of the food stalls you find here include grilled mochi (烤麻糬), Prince Cheese Potato‭ (‬王子起士馬鈴薯‭)‬‭, ‬aboriginal boar sausages (山豬肉香腸) rice sausage stuffed with meat sausage (大腸包小腸), Korean Tteokbokki (韓式年糕, or, as I like to call them, rice tubes in spicy sauce), and Blow torched Beef Cubes‭ (‬火焰骰子牛‭)‬‭.‬

A blow torch shooting flames at some cubes of beef on a grill
Blow torch beef cubes

Don Don Donki

Japanese street food stalls in front of Don Don Donki department store in Ximending
Japanese street food stalls in front of Don Don Donki department store

Also on Wuchang Street, but a block north of the main cluster of food stalls, there are some Japanese street foods to be enjoyed in front of Don Don Donki Ximen Store. This is a newly opened branch of the Japanese discount products store. Step inside and you’ll find multi levels of quirky products, included many snacks and drinks, imported from Japan.

A few street food stalls on the street in front of the stores entrance serve popular Japanese items like mitarashi dango (rice dumplings with sweet soy sauce) and okonomiyaki (Osaka-style seafood pancakes).

Taiwanese Food in Ximending

Some of the most famous local Taiwanese foods are readily available in Ximending. Here are some should seek out.

Ay Chung Flour Rice Noodles

Mee sua (mian xian) at Ay-Chung (A zong) Flour Rice Noodles Ximending
Famous mee sua at Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodles

Arguably the most popular restaurant in Ximending among visiting travelers is Ay-Chung (A‭ ‬Zong‭)‬‭ ‬Flour Rice Noodles‭ ‬(阿宗麵線‭) on #‬8-1‭ ‬Emei street‭, ‬峨眉街8號之1‭, It has been operating since 1975 and is ‬open daily from 9:30 am to 10:30‭ ‬pm).

The shop sells nothing but mian xian (麵線 or “mee sua” in the local language, Taiwanese), a classic Taiwanese street food.

The dish usually comes with oysters and or pork intestines in Taiwan, but here your only choice is intestines. A small bowl is NT 60 and large NT75, and you can add your own black vinegar, chili sauce, and garlic from a stand across from the counter.

There is pretty much always a crowd of tourists standing on the street eating the noodles here, and I remember they used to serve it is real bowls, but sadly switched to disposable ones now.

You can get a discount at Ay-Chung Noodles by ordering in advance on Klook.

W4 Taiwanese Hamburger

A vegetarian guabao, or Taiwanese hamburger, with gray colored sesame bun, in Ximending
Vegetarian Guabao from W4

W4 Taiwanese Hamburger (四方刈包, address: No. 29, Neijiang Street, 內江街29號), specializes at guabao, aka “Taiwanese hamburgers”. Traditionally, guabao are steamed buns stuffed with a slice of fatty pork and topped with peanut powder and cilantro.

W4 serves the traditional variety, but also modern takes like fish fillet version, kim chi with pork, and even a vegetarian guabao (see photo above), which is a rare find. The vegetarian one comes on a sesame-flavored steamed bun, with fresh tomatoes, cucumber, wood ear mushrooms, and peanut powder. They also serve fresh juices and teas.

The small shop has a few tables outside and is just down the street from Golden Flower Toasted Sandwiches (see breakfast section above).

J&G Fried Chicken

There’s a famous Taiwanese fried chicken shop right outside Ximen MRT exit 6 called J&G Fried Chicken (繼光香香雞-西門店), at #‬121-1‭ ‬Hanzhong street‭ (漢中街121-1號‭). This is a chain store that has been popular for decades and can be found around the country. ‬

Popcorn chicken is their signature dish, which they marinate in 10 spices and supposedly always use fresh oil. They’ve also got fried squid and king trumpet mushrooms (杏鮑菇). The shop is open 1 pm to 10 pm on weekdays and 12 pm to 11 pm on Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Other Taiwanese Restaurants

Exterior of a milkfish restaurant in Ximending, with a large fish statue hanging on the wall above the entrance
A milkfish restaurant in Ximending

Here are a few other local Taiwanese restaurants in Ximending that you can visit for a cheap meal:

  • Thank You Squid Stew (謝謝魷魚羹) A 40+ year-old squid stew restaurant at #1, lane 32, Hanzhong street (漢中街32巷1號). It’s at the end of Hanzhong Street (the main walking street), near Ximen Breakfast Street
  • 365 Taiwan Snacks (365台灣小吃): A small restaurant next door with Taiwanese classics like oyster omelets (蚵仔煎), the oyster version of mee sua, and braised pork rice (滷肉飯).
  • A Cai Milkfish Belly (阿財虱目魚肚) A local shop specializing in fried milkfish belly (a Tainan specialty) at 53 Neijiang street (內江街53號). Nearby, 滿塘台南虱目魚-西門店 is another restaurant (pictured above) specializing in the same thing.
  • Malading Spicy Hot Pot (馬辣頂級麻辣鴛鴦火鍋) For excellent hot pot in Ximending, try this classic all-you-eat spot, complete with Haagen Dazs ice cream. It’s at #30 Xining street (西寧南路30號). Reserving is a good idea.
  • Lao Tian Lu (老天祿滷味) A super popular luwei (braised foods) shop in the core Ximending pedestrian area.
Luwei (braised foods) for sale at Lao Tian Lu restaurant in Ximending
Luwei foods at Lao Tian Lu

For other eating experiences in Taipei, see my food tour of Little Burma, mango ice and teahouse tour of Yongkang Street, and traditional Taiwanese foods on Dihua Street just north of Ximending!

Modern Toilet Ximending – CLOSED

Two kids pointing at ice cream that looks like poo in Modern Toilet Restaurant, Ximending
So appetizing…

Modern Toilet is a Taiwanese chain restaurant that first started in Kaohsiung. As the name suggests, it is a toilet and poo-themed restaurant. The Ximen branch was especially popular among tourists in the past, but unfortunately it closed down due to lack of visitors during COVID.

You can make a pilgrimage to the Modern Toilet former site (#7, lane 50, Xining South Rd. 西寧南路50巷7號), where you can still see a huge toilet hanging on the outer wall of the building. The Modern Toilet branch in Shilin, near Shilin Night Market, is still open.

Japanese Restaurants in Ximending

There are tons of Japanese restaurants in Ximending, which seems suitable as the district was first developed by the Japanese and has a distinctly Japanese vibe.

Because Ximending and greater Wanhua district around it are quite old, and much of it was developed during the Japanese colonial period in Taiwan (1895 to 1945), a lot of the Japanese restaurants here are quite a bit older. Thus they would better be described as Taiwanese-Japanese food rather than pure Japanese.

So if you are a Japanese food purist, you might not like them. But for the older generation in Taipei, these are some of the most nostalgic eateries in the city (for example, my elder Taiwanese father in law almost never goes into the city, but the few times he has joined us, we went to some of these restaurants).

Da Che Lun Sushi Train Restaurant

Train sushi, Ximending
Choo Choo Train conveyor belt sushi at Da Che Lun

Beginning in the heart of Ximending, Da Che Lun (大車輪火車壽司, #53 Emei street, 峨眉街53號) was supposedly the first conveyor belt sushi shop in all of Taiwan. On top of that, the sushi and other small dishes come around on a mini choo-choo train!

I put this in the Japanese food section, but it is very much Taiwanese-style sushi. To be totally honest, we found it a little overpriced, and there are countless far better sushi restaurants in Taipei. But the main appeal here is the train, so it can be fun for anyone visiting Taipei with kids.

Mei Guan Yuan Taiwanese-Japanese Restaurant

Baked rice and cheese papaya at Mei Guan Yuan, one of the oldest and best restaurants in Ximending
Rice & cheese stuffed papaya at Mei Guan Yuan

Speaking of Taiwanese-meets-Japanese food, Mei Guan Yuan (台北城老舖 美觀園) is a good example right across the street from Da Che Lun. This is a classic Ximending institution that has been running since 1946, though older people are more likely to know about it than the younger generation (I was taken there by my elderly father in law).

The restaurant features an expansive menu include huge sashimi and sushi slices, rice omelets, Japanese curry with rice, donburi (sashimi or eel on rice), and some unusual items like the above papaya baked with rice and cheese. There are also huge bugs of draft beer (the largest size is 1.8 litres).

The address is #36 Emei street (峨眉街36號) and there is a dining room both at street level and up on the second floor.

Wuming (No-Name) Restaurant

Oden, specialty at Wuming Japanese Restaurant, Ximending
Oden (關東煮) at street level at the old location of Wuming Japanese restaurant

Another iconic Taiwanese-Japanese restaurant in Ximending is Wuming Japanese Restaurant (無名日本料理店 (literally “nameless Japanese restaurant”). It does seem to have a name now, though: 喬遷昆明街198, with the number “198” written in large letters on their sign.

This restaurant has for decades occupied a spot at the intersection of Niejiang and Kunming streets southwest of Ximending pedestrian area. The ageing building featured an old food elevator for transporting the food from the kotchen to the second floor dining area. During COVID, this location closed and moved to a new location a block to the south (#27 Kunming St., 昆明街127號). The menu remains the same.

So what do they serve? This classic restaurant is known for its huge sushi and sashimi slices, Japanese oden (關東煮), items in light soy sauce based soup and herbs, which you probably know from every 7-11 in Taiwan), udon noodles and rice omelets cooked with ketchup (yup, really). These dishes will be nostalgic to many Taiwanese, but if you’re a younger person who loves traditional Japanese food, there’s a chance you won’t love it. Also, don’t have high hopes about the service.

Rice omelet, specialty at Wuming Restaurant, Ximending
Rice stuffed ketchup omelet at Wuming Japanese restaurant

Sun Way Sushi

A white take-away food tray containing massive salmon sushis from Sun Way restaurant Ximending
This biggest sushi you’ll find in Ximending

Remember above when I said that Mei Guan Yuan and Wuming restaurants have huge sushi and sashimi? Well they can’t even compare to the enormous hunks or sushi and sashimi slices dished out at Sun Way (三味食堂‭).

Somehow Taiwanese developed a taste for ridiculously large sushi, something that few foreigners can understand. The ones at Sun Way are so big that you can just barely fit one into your mouth. But if you are a salmon sashimi lover, this might just be heaven for you. A large order of salmon belly sashimi is TWD 490, while a large order of salmon sushi is TWD 430 (definitely big enough to share). There are several other items on the menu, too.

The restaurant is a 10-minute walk away from Ximending pedestrian district, at #‬116‭ ‬Guiyang St‭. ‬Sect‭. ‬2‭ (貴陽街二段116號‭). The hours are limited and change often, so check GoogleMaps before you go, and expect a line or wait.

Other Japanese Restaurants

Sushi Express sushi restaurant in Ximen
Sushi Express in Ximending

There are several other Japanese restaurants in Ximending. Here are a few you might want to visit:

  • Sushi Express Ximen (爭鮮迴轉壽司-西門店) There’s a branch of Taiwan’s most common and famous conveyor sushi restaurant Sushi Express. This is modern sushi, by no means the best in Taipei, but it’s always fun.
  • Gou Yi Xia (狗一下居食酒屋) An izakaya (Japanese-style pub) with an intriguing menu of Japanese fare, including fully loaded, over-the-top sushi rolls and fried rice served in the shape of Taiwan.
  • Arashimaya Restaurant (嵐山食肆, #123 Chengdu road, 成都路123號). The long sushi board picture at the top of this article was shot here, as well as the eel bowl below. Try to reserve one of the few spots at the atmospheric sushi bar on the main floor, because the second floor overflow area feels like a cafeteria.  
One of the most common Ximending foods is Japanese. This is an eel bowl at Lan Shan Shi Si restaurant.
Eel bowl at Arashimaya Restaurant

For the best seafood in Taipei, don’t miss Addiction Aquatic Development, a luxury seafood market

Thai Food in Ximending

While Ximending’s food scene mainly revolves around Taiwanese and Japanese-influenced fare, there are a few international restaurants in the area worth noting.

Red House Thai

One of the first patio spots in the Red House LGBT bar district is Red House Thai (西門紅樓泰風味). It’s the second bar in when you’re approaching, as most people do, from Ximen MRT exit 1.

We love this small Thai restaurant for the great patio atmosphere and people watching opportunies (this is Taipei’s largest gay district after all), but also for the simple yet authentic Thai fare cooked up by the friendly ayi (autie), not to mention the fridge full of Thai beers that you can help yourself to.

Jolly Brewery & Restaurant

Delicious food at Jolly Brewery and Restaurant near Ximending
Awesome Thai food + craft beer brewed on site at Jolly Brewery and Restaurant

Jolly Brewery and Restaurant (Jolly 手工釀啤 酒泰食餐廳-衡陽店) is not technically in Ximending, but it’s close enough and I have to mention it because it’s so good. More upscale (and expensive) than the Red House Thai place, the food here is nevertheless excellent (though please don’t expect 100% authentic Thai). It’s also worth mentioning that this is one of Taipei’s first (and only) legitimate brewhouses, meaning the beer is brewed on site.

There are only five standard beers plus a rotating seasonal one, but it is still enough to get me excited, and they’ve got some giant glass options and taster flights of beers.

Vegetarian Restaurant in Ximending

For the best vegetarian food in Ximending, try Vegetarian Restaurant
Vegetarian Restaurant near Ximending

While vegetarian restaurants can be found all over Taipei, one of my favorites is located just outside of Ximending, actually a couple blocks south of Taipei Main Station. It is listed on GoogleMaps as Sun Like Vegetarian Restaurant (三來素食館). This definitely the best place to sample traditional Taiwanese vegetarian food in Ximending. What makes it stand out is the sheer variety of foods on offer, and you may even share a table with a monk or nun!

At this type of traditional vegetarian restaurant, load up your a plate from the buffet table, then take in the counter to pay by weight; a ful plate will cost around 90-140 TWD. Let the clerk know whether or not you want rice, and he or she will give you a bowl to help yourself from the large rice cookers. Usually white rice and multi-grain rice are available. At the end, you can also fill your bowl up with soup.

This is a must-have food experience in Ximending and Taipei, so don’t miss, whether you are vegetarian or not!

Drinking in Ximending

Whether you’re looking for bubble tea, a traditional teahouse experience, interesting cafes, cocktails, or craft beer, Ximeding has got your covered.

Bubble Tea

Pink bubble tea in Ximen, Taipei
Strawberry milk tea at Xingfu Tang

You can find bubble tea (珍珠奶茶, also called pearl milk tea or boba) everywhere in Taipei, and Ximending is no exception.

One reliable spot in Ximending is Xingfu Tang (幸福堂, #29 Chengdu road, 成都路29號), where I shot the above photo of an unusual pink strawberry iced tea. You can’t go wrong with their traditional pearl milk tea with brown sugar syrup.

Another good bubble tea spot in Ximending is Goldfish Bubbletea (老派 • 金魚). Read this article to find out where bubble tea was invented in Taiwan!

Traditional Taiwanese Teahouse

A Taiwanese tea set with tea pot, cup, and snacks, at a teahouse in Ximending
Traditional Taiwanese tea set Eighty-Eightea Rinbansyo

If you’re interested in real Taiwanese tea (Taiwan has some of the best oolong teas in the world!), you can enjoy a traditional tea experience in a wooden Japanese era teahouse at Eighty-Eightea Rinbansyo (八拾捌茶輪番所).

This teahouse is housed in a 1924 wooden Japanese-built home overlooking the Nishi Honganji Relics, some ruins of an old Japanese temple in Ximending. The priest who maintained the temple once lived in this house.

Tea sets go for TWD 350 and up, including multiple pots of your choice of high quality Taiwanese tea plus two snacks. You get to sit on tatami mats overlooking a small zen garden. The address is Zhonghua Rd., Sect. 1, #174 (中華路一段174號) and it’s open from 11:30am to 6pm.

Cat Cafe

A teenage girl in school uniform holding a cat in Fufu Cat Cafe in Ximen, Taipei
Fufu Cat Cafe mainly attracts teens

It will come as no surprise that you can find a cat cafe in trendy Ximen. It also may not surprise you that this one is mainly frequented by local teens and youths.

FuFu Cat Cafe is located in the heart of Ximen and has well over a dozen fluffy felines, including some rare breeds. What makes this one stand out from other cat cafes in Taipei is that you can pay only TWD 40 for a short, 10-minute visit, and you don’t even have to buy a drink.

Cocktail Bars

Ximending LGBT Bar District
Ximen’s LGBT Bar District

For outdoor cocktails & beers, head to Ximen Red House LGBT bar area. The menus are mostly similar, so you can choose based on which has the best vibes when you visit. Be warned that the “all-you-can-drink” cocktail deals at some of them use low quality, hangover-inducing alcohols (speaking from experience!)

Whether you identify as LGBT or not, the Ximen patios are super welcoming. They are the best collection of patios in Taipei, a city where patios are hard to come by.

As beer lovers, we usually head to Sol Bistro at the end, which has a range of Fullers beers and some other good choices.

Hankou 60 cocktail bar, Ximending
Cocktail hidden in popcorn at Hankou 60, a movie-theater speakeasy in Ximending

For a very “Ximending” cocktail experience, seek out Hanko 60, a hidden movie theater-style speakeasy bar. Expect ultra creative cocktails, and some drinks even come hidden inside a box of popcorn, the movie theater equivalent of “paper bagging it.”

The bar is located near Ximending Theater Street, a street with several movie theaters on it. It is also an ode to Ximending’s history, as the neighborhood has been a theater and cinema district for nearly a century.

Check out details and photos on this Hanko 60 review by my friends from Local Nomads.  

Craft Beer

Craft beer in Ximen at Driftwood, the best craft beer in Taipei
Excellent local craft beer at Driftwood

Driftwood (#46 Kunming st., 昆明街46號, Mon-Thurs 5-11:30, Fri 5-1:30am, Sat 3-1:30am, Sun 3-11:30pm) is the best craft beer spot in Taipei. It is operated by Taihu, which is probably the most well-known Taiwanese craft beer brand today.

Little goblets of mostly local and Asia craft beers cost around NT200, but you will not be disappointed. The atmospheric setting features wooden floors, low sofas, and log tables.

There’s another little craft beer pub surrounded by cinemas on Movie Theater Street (Wuchang St) called Ximen Beer Bar (酒肆西門, 83-2, Wuchang St. Sect. 2, 武昌街二段83-2號, Sun-Thurs 6pm-1am, Fri/Sat 5pm-2:30am ).

Another small beer bar worth checking out is 58 Bar (台灣自釀啤酒專賣, #58, Kaifeng Street Sect. 2, 開封街2段58號, 6:30pm-1am).

Maid Cafes

Me and a cosplay waitress in a maid cafe in Ximending
Me in a Ximending maid cafe several years ago

Not as naughty as it may sound, maid cafes (女僕咖啡廳‭) are a cosplay thing. Basically it’s a cafe or small restaurant where the waitresses are dressed up like female anime stars. They appeal to young Taiwanese otaku or anyone interested in manga/anime.

There are at least three maid cafes in Ximending:

  • Мое Ніmе Маіd Саfé (萌姬女僕咖啡館‭) ‬оn thе 6th flооr оf thе buіldіng rіght оutѕіdе Ximen MRT ехіt 6‭
  • Коkоrоlіа (心物語) Маіd Саfé
  • Lіlіth іn Wоndеrlаnd – LІW Маіd Саfе (月讀女僕咖啡 – 台北西門店)

Starbucks Hanzhong Shop

Interior of Starbucks Hanzhong shop in Ximending

Ѕtаrbuсkѕ іn Таіwаn іѕ knоwn fоr establishing shops in some really unіquе оr hіѕtоrісаl buіldіngѕ across the country. Неrе іѕ а full lіѕt оf ѕресіаl brаnсhеѕ оf Ѕtаrbuсkѕ in Таіwаn.

Оnе оf thеѕе сооl brаnсhеѕ іѕ іn Хіmеndіng, rіght оn thе mаіn реdеѕtrіаn walking ѕtrееt. Іt іѕ саllеd Ѕtаrbuсkѕ Наnzhоng Ѕhop. This is one of the coolest and most atmospheric Starbucks in Taiwan. It has a beautiful wooden, multi-level interior with old time vibes. Although it dates to the early 80s, it feels much older.

Dessert Shops in Ximending

We couldn’t finish this article without covering dessert in Ximending, right? Below, you’ll find choices include traditional (and weird) ice cream, shaved ice, and other Taiwanese desserts.

Ice Cream

Finally we get to the ice cream, perfect if you’re visiting Taiwan in summer!

Snow King weird flavors

Snow King Ximen basil flavored ice cream
My favorite at Snow King was the Asian basil ice cream. The pork knuckle and Taiwan beer…not so much

Let’s start with the most unusual option: Snow King (雪王冰淇淋‭, ‬2F‭ ‬#65‭ ‬Wuchang‭ ‬St. Sect. 1, 武昌街1段65號2樓, 12-8pm). Located a block east of the Ximending pedestrian area and facing Zhongshan Hall, family-run Snow King has been serving weird and tasty ice cream since 1947.

Today they claim to have 73 kinds, though some are seasonal. My personal favorites were honey, cinnamon, custard apple, mulberry, and especially Asian basil.

Taiwan beer and kaohliang were straight up disgusting, while my vegetarianism was my excuse for not trying the weirder meaty ones like pork floss, sesame chicken, or pork knuckle. Prices range from NT80-150 for a large scoop.

Yongfu Traditional Ice Cream

Yongfu ice cream Taipei
Lavender’s favorite at Yongfu Ice Cream was the strawberry

If you want to try very traditional Taiwanese style ice cream, head to Yongfu Ice Cream (永富冰淇淋, No. 68, Section 2, Guiyang St, 貴陽街2段68號, 10am to 10 pm or 11pm on Sat/Sun). The shops serves old-time ice cream that is typically sold from little pushcarts and around Taiwan.

The ice cream is smooth and creamy but much lighter and a little less sweet than Western ice cream, almost like sorbet. The flavors on offer when we visited were lemon, strawberry, passionfruit, egg, plum, longan, peanut, and taro. For only Nt40 you can try three kinds, in a cup or on a cone.

Shaved Ice

Strawberry xuehuabing shaved ice
Strawberry xuehuabing from an shaved ice shop in Ximending

Ximending is also a great place to try Taiwanese shaved ice, including a special variety called xuehuabing (雪花冰).

To make xuehuabing, sweetened condensed milk is added to the ice, and it is shaved in layers, giving it a kind of smooth consistency that lacks the crunchiness or regular shaved ice and melts instantly in your mouth. It comes in all different flavors and may be topped with fruits, beans, pudding, or normal ice cream.

Here are a few good shaved ice and xuehuabing shops in Ximending:

  • Yi Zhu Mai Ice Shop (一支麥冰品店) A popular iced desserts shop just off Hanzhong street.
  • Three Brothers and Sisters Xuehuabing (三兄妹雪花冰) at the end of Hanzhong st. and near the Taiwanese restaurants and breakfast street mentioned above, has a pretty typical xuehuabing menu.
  • TAKAO1972 Kunming Restaurant (打狗霸 TAKAO1972 昆明店), in the same building as Papa Whale Hotel and Driftwood craft beer (see craft beer section above). The strawberry xue hua bing picture above was shot there.  
A mango shaved ice sign in Ximeding
Three Brothers Shaved Ice

Other Taiwanese Desserts

Perhaps you’re visiting Taiwan in winter and don’t want ice cream or shaved ice? Then here are a few other traditional Taiwanese dessert shops in Ximen that also have warm options.

Origin Tofu Pudding

A famous douhua shop in Ximending

Taiwanese tofu pudding (豆花 or douhua) is a sweet tofu dessert consisting of pieces of soft tofu is a sugary soup. It is often served with boiled peanuts, red beans, green beans, or other toppings, and you can get it warm or iced.

One of the most famous douhua shops in Ximending is Origin Tofu Pudding (本願豆花店). There’s an English menu posted at the front. Also note the cute puppy door on the yellow door above! It’s a block south of Nishi Honganji Relics.

To save a little money, you can pre-order here on Klook.

Naughty Lady

Naughty Lady (淘汽小姐) is not as naughty as it sounds. It’s just a cute Taiwanese dessert shop appealing to teenage girls. Expect Instagram-friendly desserts like shaved ice, soufflé, pancakes, and vibrantly colored teas.

A 7-Eleven with a cute sign in Ximending
Even the 7-Eleven in Ximending looks cute! (this one is just south of Ximen MRT exit 1)

I must say that I truly enjoyed researching this article! If you find any treasures for drinking or eating in Ximending that I missed, or one of these places has closed, please let me know! Also see my guides to the best food at night markets in Taichung, Tainan, Keelung, and Kaohsiung!

5 thoughts on “Ximending Food Guide: What to Eat & Best Restaurants (2023 updated)”

  1. I would love a few sticky rice rolls for breakfast Nick, at that old woman’s place. Sounds like a fabulous experience. I love visiting old school places serving only a few things. Best eats there. Super post buddy.

    Reply

Leave a Comment