Updated March 2020
Located in the centre of Taiwan, Taichung has few sights or attractions, and I don’t recommend that visitors to Taiwan spend more than an afternoon in the city, mostly for a couple of good meals, as Taichung boasts some of the country's best vegan restaurants. Taichung is, however, considered a great place to live, for vegans and non-vegans, Taiwanese and foreigners. Compared with Taipei weather is milder, air is cleaner (all things being relative) and it now has an excellent - and free - bus system, with an MRT (subway) in the works.
The Taichung vegan scene is led by Bluesomeone, who was and still is Taiwan’s most famous vegan blogger. She has inevitably needed to turn down her blogging now that she and her engineer-gone-chef run a busy café and a new restaurant, and she now writes little in English, but here is her blog (Chinese only) and her Facebook Page, with some English.
I am working on a Taichung chapter for my travel guide to Taiwan for vegans, but am posting this in the meantime, for readers of my books or (as always) for anyone looking for information on vegan food in Taiwan.
SummaryBest restaurants overall: Bluesomeone’s Veganday Cuisine and Veg Farm.
Best home-style meal: Vegan Project
A nice place to chill, with a drink, snack or light meal: Bluesomeone’s Vegan Café
Veganday Cuisine ($$, Fusion)
Bluesomeone’s new restaurant serves far more creative food, and while it’s just opened, from my visit as a customer and when I recently attended her opening party, I can say that she seems certain to serve some of the best Western and fusion food in Taiwan. If you have time when you pass through Taichung, I highly recommend a visit. It also has a small bench along a wall where customers can do PC work.
Veg Farm (無國界蔬食餐廳, $$$, International)
|Mon-Tue, Thu-Fri: 11:30-21:30, Sat-Sun: 11:00-21:30, closed Wednesday. |
|Delicious, healthy tortillas from VegFarm. The only place which does comparable vegan mexican food in Taiwan is Tofunia in Taipei.|
I believe I have eaten at every vegan restaurant in Taiwan, and I think I can safely say that Veg Farm has the best vegan international cuisine in Taiwan, including some very authentic Mexican dishes. If you're craving a tortilla, fresh hummus, or a healthy salad then this is the place to come. They also serve some great desserts, including matcha (real matcha!) cake, and baked apples - a taste from my childhood I've never seen in Taiwan before.
Food is fresh and healthy, and service is excellent. Emphasis, however, is clearly on the food more than the atmosphere, and the restaurant can become crowded at busy times due to its popularity. This is probably Taichung's most expensive restaurant, so expect to spend around NT500 (or more) per person, but this is excellent value for what will almost certainly be one of your best meals in Taiwan.
Veganday Café (瑪登布魯, Western, $$)
It’s not easy to find a British-style pub in Taiwan, much less a vegan one. Someone who must have really loved or missed their local café/pub in England must have somehow imported all this old furniture and set this up many years ago. It was then taken over and run as a quiet, quirky vegan cafe by a semi-retired vegan man. When he retired (from that) it was taken over by Bluesomeone, who kept the decor and also introduced some main meals, mostly rice and casserole dishes, and also a lentil-based shepherd's pie. The cafe is most famous, however, for its unique atmosphere, its drinks and its desserts, which include waffles and ice cream. While these come together for a very enjoyable and memorable dining experience, for Bluesomeone's cuisine at its best I recommend her new sister restaurant Veganday Cuisine (below). Set meals cost around NT$400.
This is a busy café with large, wooden dining tables. As such, it’s not somewhere to work (and take up a table) for a long time. Veganday Cuisine (below) has a bench along the wall suitable for reading or doing PC work. This is a place for a meal, a drink and conversation, and is perfect for spending that hour before your train, since it’s only a few minutes’ walk from the Taichung Station.
Vegan Project ($$, Italian)
|You can't get a healthier, more colourful, or tastier burger than this, at least in Taichung.|
This later addition to the scene started with one passionate Taiwanese vegan chef who was determined to promote veganism through food. Trained in Italy, he's also passionate about whole food, and it shows. While this restaurant had everything against it, especially its location, on my last visit I took the last seat at the bar, while all the many tables were full. Compared with Veg Farm and Bluesomeone's restaurants, food here feels more home-style, like a talented chef whipped up your meal in his kitchen. Because that's basically what happens. There is also a more-limited menu, with a more extensive dinner than lunch menu, but easily enough to choose from for several visits.I recommend trying the pasta, since it's the chef's specialty.
Le Jardin du Petit Prince (小王子的花園, Western, Vegan)
|Le Jardin serve the best pizzas in Taichung, and some of the best in Taiwan.|
This restaurant is a little difficult to get to, but I want to include it because there's many reasons to make the special effort to go there. First, its owners are passionate about promoting veganism, and also about providing international cuisine in Taiwan. I consider its menu on par with Veg Farm for the offering the most authentic Western food in all of Taiwan.
The specialty of Le Jardin is pastry. It serves the best Western-style pastry dishes I have ever eaten in Taiwan (see below). On my visit the chef was experimenting with Indian food, and made a delicious samosa, complete with a unique loquat chutney.
While it's quite a long way from the city centre, if you are going to Taichung by train it's worth staying on for two more stops to Taiyuan Station, from which it's a short bus or taxi ride to Le Jardin. Please note that Taiyuan Station is not on the Tze-Chiang (express) trains, so if coming from the north it's best to change to a local train at Fengyuan, or continue to Taichung Station and then go back to stops north on the local train.