Ximending Food Guide: What to Eat & Best Restaurants (2024 updated)

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Wondering what to eat in Ximending, one of the coolest neighborhoods in Taipei? You’ve come to the right place!

Ximending is 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 that happens to have a lot of good food options – including some but not many food stalls.

While researching my article on weird things to do in Ximen, I found there were so many awesome Ximending restaurants, breakfast shops, street foods, dessert shops, and so on that they deserve their own guide.

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. Some Ximending restaurants are even open 24 hours! 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.

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

Ximending Restaurant Map

Here’s a map I made 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.

Beef Noodles

Why do I include beef noodles first? Well, it’s one of Taiwan’s most famous dishes, if not the single most famous one. And yes, there are several excellent beef noodle shops in Ximending!

Caihong, Fuhong, Jianhong, and Xiaowu Beef Noodles

Close up of a bowl of beef noodles, with chunks of beef, wide white noodles, spicy sauce, pickled greens, and green onions as garnish
Fuhong Beef Noodles

At the northern end of Ximending, there are four famous beef noodle shops on the same street. They are Caihong Beef Noodles (采宏牛肉麵), Fuhong Beef Noodles (富宏牛肉麵), Jianhong Beef Noodles (建宏牛肉麵), and Xiaowu Beef Noodles (小吳牛肉麵). Of the four, Fuhong stands out as the most famous one.

At most of these, you’ll have the choice of just soup or soup plus noodles. Some serve dumplings and/or vegetarian sesame sauce noodles (麻醬麵). These are very local shops with no English menus.

All four of these beef noodle shops are open 24 hours. Due to their location at the northern end of the neighborhood, they are also within easy reach of the Airport MRT station and Taipei Main Station.

Lao Shan Dong Homemade Noodles

Lao Shan Dong (老山東牛肉麺) another famous beef noodle shop but right in the heart of Ximending. This one is on the ground floor of Wan Nian Building, which is known for its many otaku (gaming, anime, etc) products and other cheap products. It’s on a main road (Xining Rd.) on the western side of the pedestrian shopping area.

This beef noodle shop has been going strong since 1949 – the early days when KMT soldiers first brought the dish over from China and began modifying it into the present Taiwanese version. In recent years, the shop has even won a Michelin Bib Gourmand award.

Ximending Breakfast

Besides beef noodles, which are indeed a popular breakfast choice for locals, there are also many typical Taiwanese breakfast shops in Ximending.

For even more ideas than I’ll provide here, see my guide to the best breakfast shops in Ximending and learn how to order Taiwanese breakfast.

Ximending Soy Milk

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

For the first two breakfast options in Ximending, head to Hankou street section 2 (漢口街二段). 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.

Right at the corner, 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 very small but long-running Ximen breakfast shop is little 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 7 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 many other breakfast shops in Taipei with the name “Yonghe Soy Milk”, this shop is extremely popular mainly due to its location. 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).

Many locals consider this breakfast shop overrated and mainly for tourists.

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

Shenye Wei Gui 24 hr Breakfast

Two plates of food on a table. Left side is a green plate with fried instant noodles and shrimps. Left side plate or orange and has a green onion cake doused in thick soy sauce
Fried instant noodles available 24 hrs

While it isn’t known for the highest quality foods, Shenye Wei Gui (深夜未歸) is the only 24-hour breakfast shop that I’m aware of in Ximending. It’d conveniently located one block west of Red House, the popular Ximending attraction, and the large collection of LGBTQ+ bars beside it.

If you’re coming home late from the clubs to Ximending and need to fill your tummy with greasy breakfast foods, here’s your spot. The ridiculously long menu includes almost every traditional and modern Taiwanese breakfast item you can think of, including tasty fried instant noodles.

Golden Flower Grilled Toast

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, Hanzhong St. #195, 8:30am to 4pm, 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.

The restaurant recently located down the street, just half a block south of Red Theater. GoogleMaps will get you there.

Gan Mei Alley

I have yet to try this highly reviewed non-traditional Ximending breakfast shop, but it’s on my radar. Unlike the others, Gan Mei Alley (甘妹弄堂) is not only a breakfast shop but an all-day restaurant with table service. They have both typical breakfast items and some non-breakfast items.

Some of the more interesting items featured on the menu here include steamed bun with pork and peanut butter, steamed bun with thick cheese, rice rolls with various fillings, dumplings with crispy skin connecting them, and fried orange tofu, and noodle soups with chicken.

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, fried ice cream, and steamed chestnuts (栗子).

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), and Blow torched Beef Cubes‭‬‭.‬

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.

Modern Toilet

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 then it closed for over 3 years due to COVID. As of early 2024, it’s finally open again!

The food isn’t great at Modern Toilet, but let’s be honest – your mainly here for the silliness of it. Dishes come in either bowl or squat toilets, while certain drinks even come in urinals. The chairs are toilets, sinks in the bathroom are toilets – you get the picture.

There’s also a branch of Modern Toilet in Shilin Night Market.

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.

Hot Star Fried Chicken Fillets

Close up of a breaded, deep fried chicken fillet in a white and blue back held by a hand
Giant chicken fillet at Hot Star (“image” by clara-maya is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Towards the northern end of the main pedestrian street (Hanzhong Street), Hot Star is another super popular fried chicken place. In this case, instead of smaller pieces, they serve the classic massive fried chicken fillets (雞排 or jipai).

Hot Star is famous for their Shilin Night Market branch, but this Ximending branch serves the same thing. The huge cutlets come in plain or spicy, with tons of flavor powder added for both.

Ximen Noodle

The outside of a small Taiwanese restaurant with cooks working out on the street
Classic 24-hour restaurant in Ximending

One of the most classic 24-hour restaurants in Ximending is Ximen Noodle (西門麵店). This hole-in-the-wall restaurant with cooking station right on the street is practically a must for anyone our drinking late in Ximending.

Conveniently, Ximen Noodle is just steps away from the Red House LGBTQ+ bar district, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself sharing a table with a drag queen or some very hunky gay men. The menu revolves around simple but classic noodles, soups, steamed greens, tofu, and so on.

Don’t be surprised if there’s a wait, even in the middle of the night.

Three dishes on a table, including a soup with greens and meat balls, noodles with greens, and tofu slices with sauce
My midnight snack at Ximen Noodle

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.
  • Haidilao (海底撈火鍋 西門店): Another popular hot pot option at the southern end of Ximending
  • 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!

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.

198 Japanese 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 198 Japanese Restaurant (), which was formerly called Wuming Japanese Restaurant (無名日本料理店 (literally “nameless Japanese restaurant”).

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

Vegetarian Restaurants in Ximending

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

While vegetarian restaurants can be found all over (see my guide to the best vegetarian restaurants in 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 Three to Vegetarian Restaurtant (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!

Other Vegetarian Restaurants in Ximending

Here are a few other vegetarian restaurants in and around Ximending. For a more comprehensive list, see my guide to the best vegetarian restaurants in Taipei and my vegetarian guide to night markets in Taipei.

  • Vegetarian Hot Pot and Teppanyaki (全真素食火鍋鐵板燒) As the name suggests, at the northern end of Ximending
  • 鑫鑫一元堂素餅之家 and 吉祥素食: two simple and very local vegetarian restaurants at the southern end of Ximending
  • Round Vegetarian (修圓素食) closer to Taipei Main Station and not in Ximending (so it’s not on my map), but it’s walking distance and worth mentioning for their vegetarian versions of oyster omelets, tube rice pudding, and other traditional Taiwanese dishes. Mandarin menu only.

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 Flagship Store, 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-themed 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.

Snow King

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 Shops

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

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!

9 thoughts on “Ximending Food Guide: What to Eat & Best Restaurants (2024 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.


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