Street Food Guide to Tainan, Taiwan 台南小吃懶人包

Tainan in Southwestern Taiwan is a historic city/county. Its where the Dutch set up their colony in Taiwan and where the Qing Dynasty established the island’s capital when they took it over from the Dutch. The city has many important historic sites from the Dutch Colonial Era, the Qing Dynasty and Japanese Colonial Era. It is most definitely an important place to visit to understand Taiwan’s history, culture and people. But Tainan is also famous island-wide for its food. Some say its the street food capital of Taiwan. 

With so many choices, it can be hard to pick and choose which spots to go to. Below are a list of places, most of which I’ve tried and tested but some of which come highly regarded online and by word of mouth. 

Most places are cash only. Increasingly more places have multi-language menus including English, almost all have pictures so if all else fails point! Some places have rebranded/renovated, others remain unchanged for decades. People in Southern Taiwan are known for being far friendlier and hospitable than the North and its true. While street food moves at a fast pace here, most owners are still genuinely friendly and welcoming. As always, go in with an open mind and discover the wonders of Tainan’s food scene. If you happen to arrive at a spot right at its opening time, be prepared to wait a while for their main item to be ready, as sometimes places open first thing in the morning but things can take a while to steam/cook/smoke until ready. 

Many folks do a day-trip to Tainan just to eat! But if its your first time, I highly recommend staying over night to not only explore the food (night markets and some stalls only open at night) but also the history and sites around town. One hotel that is popular is Silk Place Tainan. You should definitely go with a group of people to maximize trying as many dishes and spots as you can, easy to split dishes at each stop. My friend and I recently did a day-trip and we stopped at around 10-12 places. 

Getting to Tainan

The fastest and easiest way from Taipei is by Taiwan High Speed Rail. It takes around 1 hour and 50 minutes to 2 hours, depending on every stop local or key stop local train service. One-way standard tickets are NTD$1350 (USD$47), you can book online, on the app or at station kiosks, and English available all around. The THSR system is efficient, safe, comfortable and easy to navigate. The other options are of course local regular Taiwan rail or by car, which can take anywhere from 5-6 hours depending on traffic. Tianan also has an airport with seasonal international flights but it mainly is an airport for flights to outer islands like Penghu and Kinmen.

Getting Around Tainan

This part is a tad more tricky. If you’re driving to Tainan, not a problem. If taking train, then it can be a tad more difficult. One way is to definitely rent a car from the rail stations (THSR and Tainan station are separate and located in very different parts of town). Parking around downtown can be tricky, but once you are downtown the food stops are mostly walkable from each other, so I’d just find a spot and walk. However, most of the street food places below are more or less within walking distance from each other. I recommend taking a taxi or even booking an all-day driver to whisk you around. Once you get to your first stop though, things can be a tad trickier. Within inner-city Tainan, ubers are available. However once you get more outside such as to areas like AnPing Fort, there are basically none to be found, and taxis can become infrequent as well. There are buses that do run on time and on schedule and take Easy-Pass cards. So that is another option too. This is a long-winded way to say, be prepared to wait or spend a bit of time finding transportation if you do venture outside the main downtown area. 

The Food

Win Cang Beef Soup 文章牛肉湯

Probably the most famous spot in Tainan. Known for selling one of Tainan’s specialties, Beef Soup. And this spot is really quite good, they also have braised ground beef rice and many other dishes to choose from, however, arrive early to avoid long lines and limited items being sold out. 

No. 590號, Anping Road, Anping District, Tainan City, Taiwan 708

708台南市安平區安平路590號

10AM-2AM, for holidays and weekends head to their new store on No. 300 Anping Road.

阿財牛肉湯 Ah-Cai Beef Soup

Another place that came highly recommended for Tianan Beef Soup

No. 5 GuBao Street, Anping District, Tainan City, Taiwan, 708

708台南市安平區古堡街5號

11AM-1AM

同記安平豆花安平2店 TongJi An-Ping Tofu Pudding

They also have a downtown location now. A place for tasty homemade tofu pudding and shaved ice dessert. Including Charcoal tofu pudding.

No. 141-6號, Anbei Road, Anping District, Tainan City, Taiwan 708

10AM-10PM

德興鱔魚意麵 DeXing Eel Noodles

No. 112號, Section 1, Lin’an Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區臨安路一段112號

11AM-2PM

5-8PM, Closed Sundays

老正牌 • 阿堯師雞蛋糕

No. 522, Wenxian Road, North District, Tainan City, Taiwan 704

704台南市北區文賢路522號

Hours vary, check google or facebook

二哥炒鱔魚 Er-Ge Eel Noodles

No. 33之3號, Section 3, Hai’an Road, North District, Tainan City, Taiwan 704

704台南市北區海安路三段33之3號

4:30PM-12:30AM, closed Tues

阿公阿婆蛋餅 Ah Gong Ah Po breakfast crepe

701, Taiwan, Tainan City, East District, 小東路198巷10號

701台南市東區小東路198巷10號

5:30AM-:1230PM Closed mondays

無名米糕 No Name Sticky Rice

English menu available! May have to wait for the sticky rice to be ready if arriving right at 9:30AM.

No. 5號, Lane 8, Zhongshan Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區中山路8巷5號

9:30AM-3PM; 5-8PM, Closed Sundays

Chun taste Job’s tear Soup Shop 椿之味薏仁湯

No. 68號, Qingnian Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區青年路68號

9:30AM-9:30PM

老黃陽春麵 Lao Huang Noodles

No. 38, Section 1, Fuqian Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區府前路一段38號

6AM-3PM, Closed Sun

進福炒鱔魚專家 Jin Fu Eel Noodles

No. 46號, Section 1, Fuqian Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區府前路一段46號

10:30AM-12AM

阿龍意麵 Ah-Long Noodles

No. 60號, Section 1, Fuqian Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區府前路一段60號

10:30AM-9PM, Closed Thurs

圓環頂肉粽菜粽 Yuan-Huan Rice Dumplings

No. 40, Section 1, Fuqian Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區府前路一段40號

5:30AM-2PM

双生綠豆沙牛奶 Shuànsên beverages  

Mung bean (green bean) milkshake. English menu available.

No. 281號, Section 2, Minzu Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區民族路二段281號

11AM-6PM, closed Mon/Tues

金得春捲 JinDe Taiwanese Spring Rolls

No. 19號, Section 3, Minzu Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區民族路三段19號

7AM-5PM, Closed Tuesday

台南一味品碗粿魚羹 Tianan YiWeiPing Rice Cake

No. 177號, Section 3, Guohua St, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區國華街三段177號

5AM-5PM, Closed Tues

富盛號碗粿 FuShengHao Rice Cake

Supposedly the place listed above is even better, but I thought this place wasnt half bad at all. English menu available

No. 11號, Section 3, Minzu Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 70004

70004台南市中西區民族路三段11號

7AM-5:30PM, Closed Thurs.

小公園擔仔麵 Little Park Noodles

No. 321號, Section 2, Ximen Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區西門路二段321號

4:30PM-11PM, Closed Wed

邱家小卷米粉 Qiu Family Squid Rice Noodles

Squid rice noodles

No. 5號, Section 3, Guohua St, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區國華街三段5號

11AM-5PM, Closed Wed

鄭記蔥肉餅-西門店 ZhengJi Meat Pies

Scallion meat cakes/pies

No. 119號, Section 2, Ximen Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區西門路二段119號

1PM-7PM, Closed Sun

林家白糖粿番薯椪 Lin Family Fried Mochi

Fried sweet potato/ mochi

700, Taiwan, Tainan City, West Central District, Section 2, Guohua St, 174號號

700台南市中西區國華街二段174號號

11:30AM-8PM

泉記米行 狀元糕 QuanJi Rice Depot Steamed Rice Flour Cake

Old school steamed rice flour cake dessert. Two flavors peanut 花生 (the better one) and sesame 芝麻, big box (10) or small box (6). Definitely stay and watch the craft in making these, using very traditional equipment and methods that are barely found anymore.

No. 31號, Section 2, Yongfu Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區永福路二段31號

9AM-9PM

糯夫米糕 NuoFuLiu Sticky Rice

Insta famous sticky rice

No. 22號, Lane 359, Section 1, Fuqian Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區府前路一段359巷22號

12pm-3:30PM, or until sold out, hours vary, check instagram

阿龍香腸熟肉 Ah-Long Smoked Taiwanese Sausage

No. 34號, Bao’an Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區保安路34號

10:30AM-8PM, Closed mon

鼎富發豬油拌飯 DingFuFa Pork Oil Rice

Pig oil rice

No. 38號, Dade Street, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區大德街38號

10:30AM-7:30PM

阿明豬心冬粉 Ah-Ming Pig’s Heart Noodles

Pig heart rice noodle

No. 72號, Bao’an Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

700台南市中西區保安路72號

5pm-12:30AM

Concluding Thoughts

I hope this guide is somewhat helpful for you to navigate the wonders and tastes of Tainan’s food scene. It truly is a spectacular place to go eat. It is also a lot cheaper than Taipei and for some dishes they also taste a lot better. Most of these flavors and family recipes are unique to Tainan and truly have not been replicated well outside.

If you happen to know of spots I missed on this list, happy to hear/ expand my own knowledge as well!

Bon Apetit!

TheGastronomicTraveler

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