Updated February 2021Located 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 and sunnier, the air is cleaner (all things being relative) and its MRT (subway) system is due to open any day now.
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 overall: Bluesomeone’s Veganday Cuisine
Best and most authentic international cuisine: Little Prince
Best home-style meal: Vegan Project
Veganday Cuisine ($$, Fusion)
Bluesomeone’s new restaurant serves far more creative food, and while it’s just opened, from my visit as a customer and when I recently attended her opening party, I can say that she seems certain to serve some of the best Western and fusion food in Taiwan. If you have time when you pass through Taichung, I highly recommend a visit. It also has a small bench along a wall where customers can do PC work.
Happy Mom Kitchen (阿娘葳快樂蔬食廚房, $$, Vegan, Taiwanese)
|This is among my favourite Ma Po Tofu in Taiwan, and I've eaten a lot.|
Happy Mom Kitchen is the go-to restaurant among resident vegans for a delicious, healthy, inexpensive meal in Taichung, and it's quickly become one of my favourites. If your Mom was happy, vegan and Taiwanese, and a very good chef, then you'd probably be lucky enough to eat this food every day.
|Happy Mom also does some of the best dumplings in Taiwan|
A gentle word of warning: in Taiwan expectations for burgers are quite different to those in the West, and these burgers are very Taiwanese in style. Westerners might be more likely to enjoy the rice dishes (especially the Ma Po Tofu shown above) and side dishes more than the burgers. The fried dumplings (which are similar to and as good as gyoza from Japan) immediately above are another one of my favourites here.
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.
Veg Farm (無國界蔬食餐廳, $$$, International, Currently Not Recommended)
|Mon-Tue, Thu-Fri: 11:30-21:30, Sat-Sun: 11:00-21:30, closed Wednesday. |
|These tortillas were great on my first visit, but (as explained below) quality appears to have gone downhill from these times. |
When Veg Farm opened a few years ago it served what I an other vegans considered to be some of the best international cuisine, including burgers and Mexican dishes. I especially appreciated their baked apples - a taste from my childhood I'd never seen in Taiwan before.
The owners of Veg Farm have opened two new vegan restaurants in Taipei (including Baganhood), and are major importers of vegan cheese ad other plant-based alternatives to animal foods. In my understanding, as of early 2021, the Taichung restaurant (Veg Farm) has been somewhat neglected after the focus of the business has moved to Taipei. If you have a positive experience please feel free to let me know (see the About Me section), but, until I hear otherwise, I don't recommend it to others, especially when there are such better vegan alternatives in Taichung. The most similar food and dining experience can be had at Le Jardin du Petit Prince (see immediately above).