Exploring Taipei’s Meat-Focused Culinary Secrets

TEXT / Ash Boden
PHOTOS / Ray Chang, Vision

Taipei is a meat lover’s paradise. From sizzling stir-fries to steamy hot pots and tender braised dishes, the city’s culinary culture revolves around meat at every turn. This article highlights some of the best options for visitors exploring Taipei’s diverse and delectable meat-centered options.

Taipei has it all, whether you’re seeking a humble mom-and-pop restaurant serving traditional Taiwanese slow-braised pork over rice, a comforting bowl of rich beef noodle soup, or a communal hot-pot experience. Gastronomy is at the heart of this bustling, seemingly always hungry metropolis.


Standing outside and peering into the immaculate and expansive glass-fronted restaurant (2F) and exquisite deli operation (1F) of RÒU by T-HAM, you can tell that something special is happening inside. Upon entering you are greeted by a pristine sharp-lined interior that is minimalist, classy, and yet still feels comfortable. Soft ambient light breaks up the intensity of the spotlights over the dining tables in this modern space, the operation’s team prized for its attention to detail and dedication to preparing each plate to the highest of standards, using only the best ingredients.

Outside RÒU by T-HAM
1F deli operation
Quality beef
2F dining area

When you arrive, you will receive an English menu and will be able to marvel at all the mouthwatering cuts of top-quality meat on display. Expect to be amazed by the outstanding selection of artisanal cold cuts, lamb chops, and unbelievable bone-in beef ribs. RÒU by T-HAM sources only the best cuts of meat from all over the world.

An iconic dish you shouldn’t miss is the RÒU’s Signature bacon chop with black pepper corns 12 oz., which simply melts in your mouth. The pop of fragrant peppercorns blends perfectly with the delicate meat and silky smooth fat to create a flavor explosion sure to impress. With a focus on pork, the Spicy Taiwanese mini sausages are bite-sized delicacies best eaten with a chunk of garlic. The pop of deeply rich pork, with a subtly spiced chili kick, is perfectly balanced. If you’re a party of 6~8, the Roasted honey-glazed ham is an outstanding option and the specialty T-HAM Artisan Handmade ham platter containing three artisanal cold cuts will certainly bring a level of decadence to your meal that everyone will be amazed by.

RÒU’s Signature bacon chop with black pepper corns 12 oz.
Taiwanese mini sausages
Handmade ham platter
Braised pork rice

RÒU by T-HAM is located between MRT Xinyi Anhe and Daan stations on Dunhua South Road. For the restaurant, a reservation is required.

Xuan Beef

Simmering quietly, amidst a décor setting of exposed wood and understated lighting, is a beef hot pot that will put a smile on your face. Xuan Beef is a modern hot-pot restaurant that promises to impress gourmets and gourmands alike. Expect outstanding service, beautifully presented dishes, and a lively space filled with an excited buzz as you enjoy this restaurant’s famed specialty – Fresh beef hot pot.

Outside Xuan Beef
Dining space

All of the food at Xuan Beef is prepared in an open kitchen, providing you with a full view of the process, especially the skilled chefs cutting fresh pieces of beef. Unlike other hot-pot eateries that use machine-cut frozen beef, Xuan Beef provides the same precision cutting by expert chefs using beef that has never been frozen. This results in beautifully marbled and deeply flavorful pieces of textured meat.

Meat is cut in an open kitchen

Navigating the bilingual menu is a breeze, and as each delicately presented dish of cooking ingredients arrives at your table, you’ll be reminded that the beef requires only 3~5 seconds in the hot pot to reach perfection. This short cooking time ensures ultimate freshness, allowing the natural flavors to star while absorbing the delicate flavors of the broth.

Hot-pot ingredients

In addition to the hot-pot options, other dishes of particular note are the Sichuan boiled beef with chili oil, featuring tender beef and Sichuan-style spicy fragrance, and the Beef tongue with salt and scallion. If you’ve never had beef tongue before, rest assured you’ve been missing out on one of the most underrated beef cuts. Characterized by tenderness and a velvety texture, the beef tongue à la Xuan Beef is a great option.

Sichuan boiled beef with chili oil
Beef tongue with salt and scallion

Xuan Beef has one branch on Guangfu South Road next to MRT Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall Station’s Exit 2 and one on Fuxing North Road south of MRT Zhongshan Junior High School Station. Both branches are popular, so reservations are recommended.


Walking into Shiyu is like walking back in time to a friend’s house in Taipei 50 years ago. Set inside an old apartment building, you walk up a flight of stairs to the restaurant on the second floor. As you open the door you’ll be greeted by traditional Taiwanese elements, including an old medicine cabinet repurposed as the bar and walls adorned with antique clocks and other interesting relics from Taiwan’s past.

Restaurant sign
Dining space
Old medicine cabinet

Choose your dishes from a bilingual menu. Beef noodle soup is the famed dish here. It comes in three varieties: spicy, plain, and tomato-flavored. Once you have decided what variant you’d like, also consider ordering the signature plate of braised foods, which includes egg, seaweed, pig’s ear, tofu, king oyster mushrooms, broccoli, and slices of cold-cut beef. To wash that all down, Shiyu has an extensive drinks selection, with a wide variety of whiskies from all around the world, some special craft beers worth sampling, as well as fruit wine that is produced on-site. Shiyu is a special slice of old-meets-new in Taipei, and is a great place to visit with friends.

Beef noodle soup
Plate of braised foods

The restaurant is located on Jianguo North Road, an 8-minute walk from MRT Songjiang Nanjing Station’s Exit 5.

Taiwan Bistro

This enterprise’s mission is to bring renowned meat cold cuts to a comfortable atmosphere perfect for casual dinners. The braised cuts of meat on offer here are outstanding, starring beef stomach, slices of beef, and beef tendon. Served with a refreshing mixed-leaf salad, the fragrant flavors from the braising liquor come through in each bite. Elsewhere on the menu, in addition to a great bowl of beef noodles and succulent chicken wings, Taiwan Bistro also offers a delicious Taiwanese classic – Pig blood cake. This dish is steamed to perfection, topped with peanut powder and cilantro, and lashed with a house-special sauce.

Outside Taiwan Bistro
Inside the bistro

This cozy spot is a place to share humble yet delicious food and drinks with friends in a traditional-style Taiwanese atmosphere. Be sure to order a cold draft beer and a big plate of their chef’s combo platter. You won’t regret it!

Cold draft beer
Cold drinks

Taiwan Bistro has a number of branches dotted around the city, including near MRT Zhongshan Station, MRT Taipei Arena Station, and MRT Guting Station.

Xie Xie Barbecue

This barbecue eatery is run by the son of a couple that has been operating the Nanmen Chang BBQ stall at Yuanlin First Market in Changhua County’s Yuanlin City since 1990. Since opening Xie Xie Barbecue, he has carved a name for himself by serving up a hearty variety of barbecue skewers, including Kaoliang liquor-infused sausage, chicken wings, scallion wrapped in bacon, pig blood cake, and chicken skin, to name but a few.

Outside Xie Xie Barbecue
Small but stylish dining space

Barbecue skewers diners can choose
Skewers on the grill

Customers love the barbecue sauce, which is still made in Yuanlin and shipped to Taipei. It’s slightly sweet and brings a distinct umami flavor to each bite. The space inside the eatery is modest but tastefully arranged, expressing a modern take on old decor. The food here packs a punch of smoky barbecue flavor that will keep you coming back for more.

Barbecue sauce from Yuanlin

You can find Xie Xie Barbecue a short walk from MRT Neihu Station in Neihu District.

Xuzai Pork Trotters

Underneath the branches of a majestic old tree near Dadaocheng Cisheng Temple in Datong District, the Xuzai Pork Trotters stall has been serving up iconic pork trotter rice noodle soup for over 50 years. The continued dedication over five decades to serving pork trotters with a deeply flavorful broth has earned the proprietors a loyal following of elderly regulars who crave this unadulterated and iconic dish.

Xuzai Pork Trotters
Preparing the meat

When you arrive at this simple eatery you will be greeted with a warm smile and served a bowl of rich soup with more than enough chunks of flavorful pork to sate you, whatever your appetite. If rice noodles aren’t your thing, you can order a bowl of pork trotters without noodles as well.

A bowl of pork trotters

Xuzai Pork Trotters is one in a row of several stalls just outside the grounds of Dadaocheng Cisheng Temple, a 10-min. walk southwest of MRT Daqiaotou Station’s Exit 2.

Cabbage Rice and Pork Rib Soup

This family-run restaurant, located on Yanping North Road, specializes in pork rib soup and cabbage rice. Although these dishes might be simple, the flavors are anything but. Slowly cooked, the pork falls off the bone easily. The cabbage imparts a fresh sweetness to the fragrant rice that pairs perfectly with the steaming-hot pork rib soup.

Cabbage Rice and Pork Rib Soup

You’ll only find a handful of main dishes on the menu, of which the cabbage rice and the pork rib soup are the bestsellers. Order one of each, and add the delicately fried tofu and home-cooked peanuts for a classic Taiwanese repast. This restaurant was included in the latest edition of the Michelin Guide Taipei.


Cabbage Rice and Pork Rib Soup is a 5-min. walk from MRT Daqiaotou Station’s Exit 1.