So this guide is a waaayy overdue. I lived in Chiayi for almost two years and while I was there I ate a LOT of good food. Here’s my guide to my best food and favorite restaurants in Chiayi City, Taiwan.
1. Dan Bing
Scallion pancakes are a Taiwanese breakfast stable, but my all-time favorite are located close to the train station across from an 85° coffee in Chiayi. Go buy your dan bing, loaded with whatever toppings you want at the small restaurant across the way. Then head back to the 85° to buy an iced coffee. Then sit back and enjoy.
This place is my favorite dumpling place in Chiayi. Seriously. So good you’ll cry.
3. Cold noodles
This place sells cold peanut and garlic covered noodles. It sounds disgusting, but is actually delicious. Just be sure to bring some breath mints for after. Also this place has some pretty good shaved iced for dessert.
4. Beef noodles
These are my favorite beef noodles in town. It’s a simple recipe. There are no crazy spices in the broth, but the noodles are thick and delicious and the meat is generous. This place only opens when Wenhua night market opens.
5. Noodles and steamed things in a bag
I’m sorry. I have no idea if this snack has a proper name, but I do know it’s delicious and quick. Pick your toppings, type of noodles, spices, and watch them boil it all super quick in their yummy broth. If you’re going to the movie theater next door, pick this up first, and enjoy a very filling snack while watching the movie.
6. Japanese curry
This place has some delicious curry recipes. I particularly like the fried shrimp with curry and rice. The restaurant itself is in a really lovely old home and has some great atmosphere.
7. Rice box
You don’t have to come over special for this dish since there are plenty of places to get a good rice box. I just happen to love this joint because it was close to my old apartment and I went there at least once a week when I lived in Chiayi.
If I had to pick one meal that I miss most from my time in Taiwan, it might be the rice box. Its so cheap, healthy, and got such variety. I miss walking into a buffet, loading up my bowl or tray and chowing down.
Hand on the Pizza is the best pizza in town. Enough said.
9. Hot pot and barbecue (all-you-can-eat)
There are lots of excellent all-you-can-eat hot pot restaurants in Taiwan. This one is my favorite in Chiayi.
10. Breakfast snacks
For more breakfast snacks in the afternoon and evening try this place on Wenhua road. I HIGHLY recommend the matcha toast. They also have some very delicious soy milks here.
11. Turkey (chicken) rice
Turkey rice is a simple cheap meal. There are a TON of restaurants to choose from next to the train station. They all serve the same thing, so you can’t go wrong. I recommend getting some of the side dishes if you’re feeling peckish, like the egg with mayonnaise or any of the steamed vegetables.
12. Fried rice, fried noodles, and noodle soup
When I said before that the meal I miss most is rice boxes, I had actually forgotten all about the noodle soup at this restaurant. I’m so hungry just thinking about it. My two favorite meals here are the fried rice with shrimp and also the seafood noodle soup. They’re both actually heavenly. This place may actually be my favorite restaurant in Chiayi.
13. Mexican food
One of my favorite cuisines in the world is Mexican food and it can be shockingly hard to find in some Asian countries. Can you believe that Chiayi actually has a super nice Mexican joint? It’s cheap and delicious.
14. Shaved ice
This is my favorite shaved ice in Chiayi. And it’s in such a cute building too!
There are actually a few Vietnamese restaurants in Chiayi, but my favorite is this one. The food is so flavorful.
In Carrefour nightmarket, my favorite food is this weird spaghetti, gravy, egg, and meat mixture. It’s delicious. I’m also partial to the soup with the biscuit on top if you can find that.
There are several vegetarian restaurants in Chiayi because of the large Buddhist community, but I love rice boxes, so this place was my go-to.
18. Pineapple cake
It’s more like a bar stuffed with pineapple than a cake, but it is delicious. It’s my favorite dessert in Chiayi. Pineapple Hill is located in Minxiong, but if you can’t get there, then just head to the Hinoki village. There’s a branch selling Pineapple Hill products there. There’s also another branch next to the baseball statue in the center of Chiayi.
There are loads of good places that I know I’ve missed, but these are just some of my top. If anyone has any other good suggestions, please tell me in the comments below. Thanks!