This past October, I visited Taiwan for the first time on a business trip. We stayed at the Sheraton in Hsinchu City and it was a wonderful stay. I highly recommend the hotel as the rooms are beautiful and the staff are very helpful. Our room rate included a complimentary breakfast buffet and it was delicious and has a lot of variety. They also have a free shuttle to some sight seeing hot spots like the Big City mall (It’s BIG for sure) and Chenghuang Temple. Fair warning, I did not have much time for exploring so I wasn’t able to go to any night markets or street vendors for food (it’s a travesty, I know), but I do want to highlight some of the cafes and restaurants I tried. I can’t wait to go to Taiwan again and try all the street food and do a proper guide!
1.) Homebibi 風徐徐
No. 102, Minquan Road, East District, Hsinchu City, Taiwan 300
Homebibi was the first stop I made on my Hsinchu food adventure. It is a small cafe that serves food and drinks. I got the butterfly pea lemonade which has the butterfly pea drink come separately in a jar so that you can mix it with the lemonade yourself. Pretty fun! I also tried a drink with fruit jelly inside and topped with cotton candy. This cafe is super cutely decorated and very aesthetically pleasing.
Tip: Cash only! Only a few blocks away from Big City mall.
2.) 39A Café
No. 14, Lane 245, Shengli Road, North District, Hsinchu City, Taiwan 300
39A Cafe was a great stop for some western brunch food. My hotel offered an Asian style breakfast buffet so I thought I would switch it up. The decor inside the cafe is very hipster and a lot of younger groups hang out here. There is a cool neon light sign perfect for your Instagram needs. I ordered the french toast, avocado toast, and mixed berries smoothie. All great and nicely presented!
Tip: Cash only! Find a seat and then order at the counter.
3.) Paint Cafe 繪咖啡
300, Taiwan, Hsinchu City, East District, Xida Road, 356號
Paint Cafe is located across from a shopping mall and a few blocks away from Chenghuang Temple. It may be hard to find but it is located directly across from the mall and on the second floor of the building. Just look for the signs/pictures of the latte art. Once you make your way up top, the employees will help you find a seat. Due to the language barrier, I was able to pick which foam art I wanted from pictures on Instagram. Great service here and such detail on the latte art!
Tip: Cash only! If you want the 3D foam art latte, you’ll have to order it with a food combination.
4.) CookBeef! 新竹巨城店
No. 229, Zhongyang Road, East District, Hsinchu City, Taiwan 300
If you get the chance to visit Big City mall, do it! If you have a whole day to spare, you could literally spend it exploring this huge mall. It’s seriously the biggest mall I’ve seen in my life! It has a movie theater, bowling alley, huge cafeteria, and hundreds of shops! I walked around the whole food area and CookBeef! caught my eye. I saw many families and groups of friends trying it out so I gave it a shot. It has such a fun presentation. I ordered the #1 beef with egg on the side. Also comes with a yummy side soup.
Tip: They take American credit card here! Order at the counter first and then they’ll find you a seat.
5.) Simple 簡單吃
32 巷, No. 2, Dacheng St, East District, Hsinchu City, Taiwan 300
I basically went cafe hopping in Hsinchu, but I couldn’t resist this one! Simple is nestled in a tiny shopping street and also doubles as a clothing store. The clothing store is downstairs while the cafe is upstairs. When you walk in and let them know you want a table at the cafe, they will let you know when you can go up. The cafe only has 4 tables! Super cozy and the workers are friendly and helpful to non-Mandarin speakers like me! I got the iced matcha latte and a chocolate cake. Yum!
Tip: Cash only! Pay downstairs when you are done!
6.) Sigo Pot 囍鍋精緻鍋物
No. 29, Chenggong 2nd Street, Zhubei City, Hsinchu County, Taiwan 302
Sigo Pot was near the Sheraton hotel that I was staying at and so I decided to visit for dinner. They have a spacious location and many options to choose from on the menu. I ordered the #1 combination which came with premium beef, veggie platter, rice, side sauces, a grapefruit slushy, and of course a hot pot broth. Everything was delicious and had such great presentation! More props to the employee who helped me order and didn’t speak any English.
Tip: They take credit card but my U.S. credit card didn’t work. Only Taiwan credit cards!
7.) Duanchunzhen Beef Noodle Restaurant 段純貞牛肉麵
No. 95, Section 1, Jiafengliu Road, Zhubei City, Hsinchu County, Taiwan 302
I was recommended to try this famous beef noodle restaurant by a few locals. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk from my hotel but so worth it! I had a choice of going here or going to Din Tai Fung and I chose Duanchunzhen because we already have DTF in my hometown. I had a major clueless moment at this restaurant at first but, again, I found a super helpful employee that didn’t know any English but did her best to walk me through the steps on how to order. I wanted to try the big flat noodles that I’ve seen in a lot of Taiwanese noodle places, and I lucked out in guessing how to order it on the menu (hint: there’s two columns for each dish and the one on the left is for regular noodles and the right is for big flat noodles). I also ordered side dishes, which is a bit more complicated because you have to go to the bar downstairs and choose which ones you want. After, they bring them back to your table all chopped up and ready to eat. So good! Do yourself a favor and order the dumplings as well. Very addicting and I ate them all by myself! The beef noodles were great, but I think I prefer the regular noodles over the big flat ones as the big flat ones are very al dente and I find them tasteless.
Tip: They serve coffee and ice cream next door! I wish I got it! I paid my meal by cash, but it looks like they take credit card although I’m not sure if it’s only Taiwan credit cards. Better bring cash to be safe (a must for anywhere in Taiwan).
8.) Ching Shin Fu Chuan Tea Station 清心福全冷飲站
No. 255, E Section 1, Guangming 6th Rd, Zhubei City, Hsinchu County, Taiwan 302
Boba is a must when you’re in Taiwan! Afterall, it did originate from here! Luckily for me, there was one pretty much on any given street. Ching Shin Fu Chuan Tea Station is one block from my hotel so I visited it multiple times during my stay. They serve their drinks in super cute Hello Kitty cups. You can’t go wrong with any drink here.
Tip: You can adjust the sugar and ice levels.