In the most popular restaurants in Tainan, you can enjoy traditional local snacks as well as more exotic dishes. MAOFUN is known for using high-quality, healthy ingredients as well as its unique ‒ and addictive ‒ spring onion and pomelo sauce. Noah's Ark Yakitori is a great place for a drink and a chat with friends. Corner Steak House offers top-quality Parisian and California-style cuisine. Jade Buffet Restaurant prepares its dishes using the popular sous vide technique, which retains maximum tenderness and flavour. Diners flock to A Yu Fresh Beef Shabu Shabu for its deliciously fresh and tender beef. Fu Sheng Hao Restaurant serves a delicious savoury rice pudding that you won't find anywhere else. The top-class Kumamoto Wagyu served at ROBIN's Grill & Teppan Silks Place is the centrepiece of a superb dining experience. The rice noodles at Yeh Jia Squid Vermicelli Shop are nostalgic delicacies that have earned high praise from director Ang Lee. At Isabati, you can enjoy food prepared by a Michelin chef. If you want to give your skin a treat, try the collagen-rich milkfish skin soup at Wang Shi Fish Skin.

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    MAOFUN

    MAOFUN is located at the intersection of Fudong Street and Qingdong Street in Tainan. Rebuilt from an old house, it retains the classic beauty of the original building, while at the same time adding modern design elements and decorative details. The unique space has helped the restaurant win two interior design competitions. As for the food, the restaurant has won a one-star rating in the A.A. Taste Awards, attracting many new diners to come and have a taste. MAOFUN focuses on eating a healthy and safe diet. In addition to carefully selecting local natural ingredients, it chooses high-quality frozen meat to ensure an enjoyable dining experience. The sauce used here is not the shacha sauce familiar to the Taiwanese, but a refreshing spring onion and pomelo sauce made from grapefruit vinegar, grated radish, bonito and spring onions. This unique sauce brings out unexpected flavours in the food it's served with, whether it's beef short ribs with tantalising marbling, chewy Matsusaka pork or tender free-range chicken.

    Location: No. 148, Fudong St., East District, Tainan City, Taiwan 701

    Open: Daily from 11.30 am to 2 pm and from 5.30 pm to 9 pm

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    2

    Noah's Ark Yakitori

    Noah's Ark Yakitori is located on Linsen North Road in Tainan, next to Chang Jung Senior High School. The restaurant's appearance resembles that of a Japanese-style izakaya with a slightly industrial feel, creating a laid-back atmosphere where you can relax and chat with friends. The owner advertises the use of high-quality fresh ingredients and Japanese binchotan, which is less smoky than other charcoal. The meals prepared here are therefore delicious and healthy. The must-try dish recommended by the owner is liver pate saury. The saury is prepared with exquisite knife skills, so there's no need to worry about fish bones. The grilled liver pate takes this dish to the next level. The Mentaiko dish highly recommended by netizens is delicious, especially with a bottle of dark beer. Once you take your first mouthful you won't want to stop eating. Exquisite ingredients and cooking inevitably mean high costs. However, while the food may be a little expensive here, the fact that the restaurant is always crowded with diners is testament to its quality. This restaurant is a great choice for night owls who are obsessed with meat and like to have a few drinks. It's also an ideal venue for you and your friends to enjoy a fun get-together.

    Location: No. 59, Sec. 2, Linsen Rd., East District, Tainan City, Taiwan 701

    Open: Weekdays: 5 pm to 1 am; holidays: 5 pm to 2 am

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    photo by Blowing Puffer Fish (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    Corner Steak House

    Corner Steak House is located in a secluded alley near National Cheng Kung University. Its exterior is bright white and orange, and the interior is elegantly decorated in a European style. It specialises in Parisian and California-style steak and lobster dishes. The main dishes are grilled California-style using hot lava rocks to completely lock in the juiciness and flavour of the meat and seafood. The starters and desserts are inspired by classic French cuisine. You can therefore enjoy the best of both worlds ‒ the generosity of American cooking and the elegance of French food ‒ prepared using fresh local ingredients carefully selected by the owner of the restaurant. Corner Steak House has a wine cellar larger than that of any other Western-style restaurant in Tainan, and attentive service provided by professional sommeliers. Everything here is designed to ensure your satisfaction. Professors at National Cheng Kung University bring important guests here for the top-quality rib-eye steak that melts in the mouth and the chewy Canadian wild lobster, all beautifully prepared thanks to the owner's attention to detail.

    Location: No. 12, Ln. 22, Daxue Rd., East District, Tainan City, Taiwan 701

    Open: Daily from 11.30 am to 2 pm and from 5.30 pm to 9 pm

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    4

    Jade Buffet Restaurant

    Located in front of Tainan Railway Station, Jade Buffet Restaurant is a convenient choice for travellers. The Jade Room is the oldest European-style buffet in Tainan, and has been the first choice among local people for holding birthday parties and gatherings for decades. Many dishes are prepared to order and delivered to the table, guaranteeing that they are both fresh and delicious. The restaurant prepares tasty steaks, which are a staple of European buffets, along with Japanese cuisine and dim sum. There's also a huge variety of seafood. In the busy seafood area you'll find steamed whole fish, along with freshly grilled oysters, scallops and other premium seafood. This buffet is a haven for seafood lovers. At certain times it also offers dishes prepared using the sous vide method, which are well worth going out of your way for. There are promotional activities during festivals and people who come here on their birthday will receive a special discount. New dishes are frequently added to the menu, making this restaurant a place that local people can keep coming back to without ever getting bored.

    Location: No. 1, Chenggong Rd., West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

    Open: Weekdays (Monday to Friday): breakfast from 6.30 am to 10 am; lunch from 12 pm to 2 pm; dinner from 6 pm to 8.40 pm Weekends and public holidays: breakfast from 6.30 am to 10 am; lunch from 11.30 am to 2 pm; afternoon tea from 2.30 pm to 5 pm (available on Saturdays and Sundays); dinner from 6 pm to 9 pm

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    5

    A Yu Fresh Beef Shabu Shabu

    A Yu Fresh Beef Shabu Shabu is located in Rende district, Tainan. It has a long-standing reputation as one of the best beef soup restaurants in the area. It's a popular restaurant recommended by many netizens and famous for its long queues. There were once 20 Ferraris parked outside the restaurant while their owners were eating inside. Its signature dish is fresh beef, which you select yourself. The professional chefs then carefully prepare different cuts of the meat, so that you can enjoy a variety of textures and flavours. You cook the beef yourself in a Japanese-style hot pot. To get maximum flavour from the fresh and tender beef, the owner recommends cooking it for 5 seconds and eating it when the meat is still pink. The soup contains lots of vegetables and is sweet and tasty. If you run out of ingredients, you can help yourself to more from a fridge. The all-you-can-eat minced beef rice that used to be available has now been replaced by minced pork rice, but you can still eat as much as you want. If you're a fan of beef, this restaurant is a must-visit.

    Location: No. 525, Sec. 1, Zhongzheng Rd., Rende District, Tainan City, Taiwan 717

    Open: Wednesday to Sunday: 8 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 12 am Monday: 8 am to 2 pm Tuesday: 5 pm to 12 am

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    6

    Fu Sheng Hao Restaurant

    Fu Sheng Hao Restaurant is located in Yongle Market in Tainan. It's been known for its excellent food for more than 70 years and the queues here are always long. It's one of the most popular restaurants in Tainan. The restaurant has two branches. The one in Guohua Street serves takeaway, while the other on Minzu Road is a dine-in restaurant. The restaurant serves just two dishes: savoury rice pudding and thick fish soup. Unlike the plain white rice pudding sold on the market, this version has a host of other ingredients added, including meat, mushrooms and shrimp. The fragrant minced meat paired with the restaurant's own soy sauce produces a dish that isn't too salty and with a hint of sweetness, just like most snacks in Tainan. The delicate flavour and chewy texture of this pudding is addictive, and it's no wonder that both locals and foreign tourists become regular customers once they've tried it. If you like bold flavours, you can add some of the restaurant's special garlic sauce or chilli sauce.

    Location: No. 11, Sec. 3, Minzu Rd., West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

    Open: From 7 am to 5.30 pm (closed on Thursdays)

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    7

    ROBIN's Grill & Teppan Silks Place

    ROBIN's Grill & Teppan Silks Place is located on the first floor of Silks Place Tainan. The steak house and teppanyaki areas are cleverly separated by a wine cabinet, but share the same salad bar. The exquisite salad buffet offers a wide selection of dishes, making you wish that you had more than one stomach so that you can try all of them at once. The attentive teppanyaki chef will decide when to serve dishes according to the pace at which diners are eating, so you can enjoy fresh and delicious dishes as soon as they are cooked. The rich lobster soup with minced lobster meat is a gorgeous prelude. There's even premium Kumamoto Wagyu, which has been certified as top-quality beef in Japan. Once you've experienced the flavour imparted by its amazing marbling, you'll likely never want to eat anything else again. There are also a few gourmet treats that are typically hard to come by, such as mangalica pork, which does not need to be served well done. You can get freshly made chocolate fondant that oozes fragrant chocolate sauce, and a luxurious gold leaf éclair made using cocoa beans from several countries. There's plenty of choice here for dessert lovers.

    Location: 1F., No. 1, Heyi Rd., West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

    Open: Breakfast: 6.30 am to 10.30 am (buffet breakfast); lunch: 12 pm to 3 pm (last orders at 2 pm); dinner: 6 pm to 10 pm (last orders at 9.30 pm)

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    8

    Isabati

    Isabati is located on Dongqiao 1st Road, Yongkang District, Tainan. The restaurant is housed in an impressive European-style building with a tastefully styled interior. Customer parking is provided. The Japanese chief chef ITABASHI (Japanese pinyin is ITABASI, which gives the name of the restaurant when reversed) insists on top-quality, fresh ingredients in order to introduce his favourite Italian cuisine to Tainan, his wife's hometown. The menu consists mainly of steaks and classic Italian dishes such as risotto and pizza. You can also order premium Boston lobster in advance. Considering that some Taiwanese may not be accustomed to eating risotto, traditional rice is also available as an option. An attentive waiter will ask about the diners' preferences in advance. The restaurant has also invited several internationally renowned Michelin chefs to serve as guest chefs. In addition to generating excitement, this also makes guests feel special and justifies the premium prices. It also proves that in Tainan, which is famous for its traditional snacks, you can also eat Italian food that's worth coming back for again and again.

    Location: 2F., No. 26, Dongqiao 1st Rd., Yongkang District, Tainan City, Taiwan 710

    Open: Lunch: 11.30 am to 2 pm; afternoon tea: 2.30 pm to 5 pm; dinner: 5.30 pm to 9.30 pm

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    9

    Wang Shi Fish Skin

    Wang Shi Fish Skin is located in Anping District, Tainan, next to a well-known beef soup restaurant. As soon as the restaurant opens at 4 am, the air is filled with the aroma of food. There's ample seating and it's easy to find parking nearby. This restaurant is highly recommended by the locals for its delicious food and reasonable prices. Many people like to come here for breakfast. Wang Shi Fish Skin started from milkfish farming. Unsurprisingly, the restaurant's most famous dish is the signature milkfish skin soup. There are also other dishes made using different types of fish, such as bass or grouper. A variety of dishes are carefully prepared using different parts of the fish, including heads, intestines ‒ much loved by locals and netizens ‒ skin and belly. There's also a wide choice of side dishes. Fish bones have been carefully removed. Diners love the fresh, sweet flavour of the fish and soup. The minced pork rice recommended by diners is rich, but not greasy, and a must-eat delicacy in Anping District, Tainan. This is an excellent restaurant for anyone wishing to retain their youthful looks, as the fish skin is a valuable source of collagen.

    Location: No. 612, Anping Rd., Anping District, Tainan City, Taiwan 708

    Open: Daily from 4 am to 2 pm

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    10

    Yeh Jia Squid Vermicelli Shop

    Yeh Jia Squid Vermicelli Shop is located on Guohua Street in West Central District, Tainan. It's a famous local pioneer of rice noodles with squid. This well-known restaurant has featured in many media interviews and is frequented by celebrities including Lin Chi-Ling, the no. 1 model in Taiwan. Even Ang Lee, the famous international director, has said that this is where he has to come for a meal every time he's back in Tainan. The restaurant serves only rice noodles with squid, squid soup and delicious squid roe (only available at certain times). The fresh squid is first frozen and then boiled. Its thick and chewy flesh is paired with coarse rice noodles, which retain their texture even after being left in the sweet broth for a long time. Once you've tasted this dish, you won't be able to stop singing its praises. Yeh Jia Squid Vermicelli Shop, which always attracts a long queue of people, has a high turnover rate. So even if you have to wait in line, it won't be for too long. This traditional local snack diner is definitely worth a visit during your stay in Tainan.

    Location: No. 142, Sec. 2, Guohua St., West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700

    Open: From 8 am to 3.30 pm (closes earlier if sold out, closed on Mondays)

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