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By Lauren Hill | October 23 2017
As one of Asia’s great food-obsessed cities, Taipei stands out in particular for its culinary offering. And while it’s long been known for its markets and casual restaurants, the city is now turning heads with its contemporary fine dining scene in which Taiwan’s seasonal produce is championed. From one of Taiwan’s most legendary dining spots to the city’s most exciting new venues, these are the five best restaurants in Taipei.
Having been set up by chef Andre Chiang of Restaurant Andre in Singapore, in partnership with chefs Zor Tan and Alain Huang, RAW was slated from the very beginning for culinary brilliance. While highlighting seasonal Taiwanese produce, the chefs here set out to offer a new interpretation of Taiwanese flavor. Within a contemporary space of sculptural wooden and stone surfaces and floor-to-ceiling windows, diners can tuck into dishes such as peas and sea urchin with peanut butter, which are all based on Taiwan’s 24 micro-seasons. The selection of French biodynamic wine is also curated by Chiang.
Sister restaurant to the award-winning Nihonryori RyuGin in Tokyo, RyuGin Taipei strives to offer diners the same cutting-edge Japanese cuisine as the Tokyo venue but here dishes embrace Taiwan’s diversity of ingredients. Using seasonal produce from both Taiwan and Japan, founder Seiji Yamamoto and chef de cuisine Ryohei Hieda come up with Japanese kaiseki-style menus of dishes incorporating sashimi, chargrilled fish and premium meat.
Dating back to 1972, this steamed dumpling and noodle specialist grew from its original dining spot in Taiwan to having restaurants dotted across the globe, including in Hong Kong where the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star. Now internationally renowned for its exceptional steamed dumplings, Din Tai Fung is considered one of Taiwan’s best restaurants. From the extensive menu of dim sum, noodles and soups, try the classic pork xiaolongbao, or more contemporary version combining pork and truffle.
Combining Taiwanese ingredients and the country’s cooking traditions with New Nordic culinary influence, MUME is currently one of the most exciting restaurants in Taipei. Here, the three chefs Kai Ward, Richie Lin and Long Xiong combine their diverse cultural background and experience—including time spent in the kitchen of Noma in Copenhagen—to create dishes such as white asparagus, uni and citrus, or Japanese lobster with wild pepper, dill and wasabi snow, which are all artistically presented on the plate.
Known for being one of the first restaurants to focus on farm-to-table dining in Taiwan, Ephernité bases its menu on the locally sourced ingredients brought to the restaurant by local farmers and seafood suppliers. With just one tasting menu and one seating each day, every meal here is made to feel special. Each menu of French-inspired fine dining plates is then offered with wine pairing, and while the menu changes monthly, weekly or even daily, previous dishes have included scallop with organic radish and passion fruit, and butternut cream with gingko nuts, Jerusalem artichoke chips and Bayonne ham.