TAIPEI – Taiwan is known for its amazing hospitality — the people are friendly and it is well-equipped with excellent amenities too.
Over the years, the modern city has seen an increase in Muslim tourists and currently has a Muslim population of 300,000.
To accommodate more Muslim travelers to visit, Taiwan has started to provide facilities such as musollah (prayer rooms), and in 2017 established the Taiwan Halal Centre to help businesses attain halal certification.
The Scoop recently explored various parts of Taiwan to experience the island’s charm, Muslim-friendly tourist options and the large number of halal eateries.
With over 80 Muslim-friendly restaurants in Taiwan, visitors can find a range of affordable halal food, from beef noodles to fried chicken, teppanyaki to sweet treats such as shaved ice desserts.
Here’s a list of our most recommended:
1. Ali Baba’s Indian Kitchen
Arguably one of the best Indian restaurants in Taipei’s Zhongshan district, diners can feast on Indian and Arabic cuisine at this halal eatery.
With tender and succulent meats, we thoroughly enjoyed our briyani and also tried the korma, tandoori and samosa. However, the dishes are not as spicy as the ones in Brunei.
Here, you have a choice to order a la carte or go for the weekend buffet which is very popular, so be sure to make reservations to avoid disappointment.
Price range: $16 – $27
2. Da Antonio
Located in the same building as Taiwan’s iconic landmark Taipei 101, this Italian restaurant has Muslim-friendly options that are guaranteed to tickle your tastebuds.
We were served a three-course meal: mushroom cream soup, garlic bread, and the risotto with porcini mushrooms and shaved parmesan.
The servings are generous but it’s not just the food that will impress, diners will also enjoy the interiors and ambience.
Price range: $22 – $45
3. Ice Monster
For those who love desserts, Ice Monster is a must!
With stores in Taiwan, China, Japan and more recently, Hawaii, its popularity sky-rocketed when it introduced the world’s first mango shaved ice.
Served in generous portions of flavoured ice that immediately melts in your mouth along with fresh fruits, it is no wonder that CNN ranked Ice Monster as one of the top 10 dessert spots around the world.
Other popular flavours include guava and milk tea. Those who prefer warm desserts can enjoy their hot soup: top picks are red bean, peanut and ginger.
Price range: $8 – $15
4. Rainbow Cloud Restaurant at Fleur-de Chine Hotel
Located at the north peninsula of the captivating Sun Moon Lake, the Fleur-de Chine Hotel offers guests six restaurants serving a wide range of cuisines.
We had the opportunity to try the hotel’s Rainbow Cloud restaurant which serves food Teppanyaki style.
Our lunch menu consisted of steamed egg, chicken corn soup with popcorn, Peng-Hu Kuruma prawn, cod fish tart with plum and ginger side dish, crispy chicken, Australian lamb, Australian M8 wagyu ribeye, special vinegar drinks, and the chef’s special dessert pancake with red bean.
This being the priciest restaurant we dined at, everything was immaculately cooked and prepared. The dishes were delectable and the presented with care, down to the finest detail.
The best part is that patrons will be treated to amazing views of the lake — making their dining experience that much better.
Price range: $28 – $90
5. Safranbolu Turkish Restaurant
Dubbed one of the best Turkish restaurants in Taipei, Safranbolu is vibrant and decorated in a way that will make you feel like you’re in Istanbul.
We were welcomed with a warm bowl of red lentil soup followed by chicken with rice, vegetable pita and shish kebabs.
The dishes are well-seasoned and definitely worth a try. It’s recommended to come in groups, that way you’ll definitely be able to try everything on the menu!
If you’re a fan of lemonade, try theirs — It’s refreshing and isn’t like the usual lemonade drinks that are sour and drowned in sugar.
Price range: $6 – $30
6. Flying Cow Ranch — LOHAS Kitchen
This ranch is known for its unique hotpot menu where guests are given a choice of two broths — a milk soup base or a fresh kombu soup base — however, only the milk soup base is halal.
Since our meals were pre-ordered, we had the hotpot set with a milk soup base which I found odd at first but tasted amazingly good with the usual hotpot staples – fresh vegetables, sliced meat, white rice, dessert and drinks.
Our order also included fried fish, chicken, shrimp and cold redbean soup for dessert. For an extra kick, guests can ask for spicy chili paste to have with the soup or any additional orders.
If you get a chance, try their huge fried mantou (Chinese bun) that’s served with condensed milk — pillowy soft and best eaten warm.
Price range: $5 – $25
7. Yunus Halal Restaurant
This modest restaurant provides halal Thai food that homes some of our top favourites: Tom Yam, kangkong belacan, Thai basil beef, steamed and fried fish.
While the food wasn’t as spicy as expected, it was very close to authentic. Other local favourites include the beef in bamboo, fried chicken, sweet and sour chicken and omelette.
The owner, Yunus has received famous guests from around the world and can speak in Malay so it really made us feel welcomed.
Price range: $10 – $30