Tuesday, 25 December 2012

All you Can Eat Vegetarian Buffets in Taipei

2015: Newly Recommended Buffet: Fruitful Food

 Taiwan is famous for its luxury 'all-you-can-eat' buffets, and this page is my second most viewed (after iVegan supermarket and About Animals). However, over the last few years I've gone from recommending Evergreen as a must-visit restaurant in Taipei, to simply suggesting that it's the best option if you really must visit such a restaurant, but not really recommending any of them. This has changed when someone kindly added Fruitful Food (Chinese Website) to Happycow. Besides having better food and consistent vegan labelling, it's also much more convenient, being the only such buffet in Taipei to be close to an MRT stop.

Healthier Food
Fruitful Food has one of the best salad bars I've seen anywhere.

While buffets like Evergreen (previously best), Spring and Jen Dow (don't bother) serve food made with fresh ingredients, and especially good salads, it's still mostly been heavily fried food. Fruitful Food still serves many of the traditional fried foods, but compared to the others it's just much lighter and healthier, and even their fried feels less greasy. Like all buffets it has an amazing fruit and salad bar.

main courses - note the vegan Tempura

Honest, Consistent Vegan Labelling
While I always advise caution with fake meat, foods carrying the green vegan (全素) sign should be ok.
Fruitful Food is the only large buffet I know of which consistently labels everything as being vegan (which most of it is) or containing dairy or egg (or alcohol). Labels are in Chinese, but are colour-coded, and while it's not difficult to recognise the Chinese characters staff would be very willing to help.

I'm always mistrustful of fake meat, which was all labelled vegan. It may well be vegan, but given all the uncertainty and the fact that most fake meat in Taiwan is considered vegan when it isn't, I'd still recommend avoiding it. But that still leaves plenty of vegan options.

Vegan Desserts

While it was disappointing to see Evergreen give up on their vegan desserts, Fruitful Food have plenty of vegan desserts, carrying such labels as "vegan chocolate cake". They also have an ice cream machine which serves one vegan sorbet, and plenty of fresh fruit.

Meals to Order

Like most buffets of this type, it's possible to order meals, including hot pot, "angel's hair" (made of mushrooms) and spicy tofu. They will be delivered to your table.

12th Floor, Mingyue Department Store, Number 200, Zhongxiao East Road.
Zhongxiao Dunhua Station, Exit 3, walk out and around to the right, and take an elevator from the street.
Lunch: 11:30-15:00 (NT500), Dinner: 17:30 - 21:30 (NT600)

Weekends, Holidays
Lunch: 11:30-14:00 (NT500), Afternoon Tea (limited menu) 14:20-16:20, Dinner 17:30-21:30 (NT600)

Prices are rounded to the nearest hundred NT (prices shown on their website don't include "service charge" - something I hate as its only purpose is to deceive customers into thinking they're spending less). This is excellent value for such fine food. If you make it your main meal and coffee of the day it may not cost much more than a meal and coffee elsewhere.

This restaurant is VERY popular. Don't even think about turning up without a reservation during the weekend. I recommend visiting for a weekday lunch. It's important to leave by 15:00 so that the staff can prepare for the next sitting.


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  3. awesome blog man. Very helpful! Would be interested to see something on super markets stocking vegan stuff.

  4. Thanks Dean! When it comes to your local supermarket I would just look for the vegan label (see my post on food labelling under Living & Thriving) but my next post (when I'm next back in Taiwan) will be about this vegan supermarket - sure beats walking past animal products on the shelves to check labels...
    Hope this helps... Let me know if there is anything else I can help with.

  5. Hey Jesse! Thanks so much for your blog - it helped me so much when I was traveling in Taiwan. I'm writing a review on Evergreen, and when I went, one of the staff said that everything was vegan unless it was marked with a sign denoting lacto- or ovo-vegetarian. In this post you say that vegan items are clearly labelled, but I didn't see any labels for thing vegan. Did you mean more that the labels denoted if things WEREN'T vegan? I just want to make sure our experiences match up, I don't want to mislead anyone haha. Thanks!

  6. Hi Therrymonk
    Sorry for such a late reply. My notifications about comments went into my 'social' folder automatically, so I didn't see them. Thanks for bringing this to my attention! I went back there a few days ago and was disappointed to see that their labelling system has really gone downhill. They also told me the same, and while they did their best and tried to be helpful, they simply had no idea about dairy. They even offered to go and get the packet of mayonnaise to show me that it was vegan, and it was clearly labelled "egg-free mayonnaise" and "nai-su" (lacto-vegetarian). And many items which clearly contained dairy weren't labelled, including pizza (obvious) and fake meat and breads, which are very unlikely to be vegan. So I'll update this post and my own happycow review, but to answer your question NO, they're not labelling properly anymore. I guess it's because fewer vegans go now with so many other all-vegan options available.