Despite the loud signage that is telling you to get shaved ice and boba as you exit the MRT station and ascend to Yong Kang Street, this touristy neighborhood still has some longstanding local mainstays serving up homestyle Taiwanese food. Chifan is one of them. The name is straightforward, chi fan as in “dine,” shi tang as in restaurant or eatery. From the outside, it looks extremely unremarkable. Worn signage in Chinese with faded backlit photos which, combined with the old school font choice, feel dated. But that’s a green flag. Inside, the ambience is homey, the wood furnishing simple, lived in. Another green flag.
Chifan serves classic Taiwanese dishes, and some regional Yilan specialties. Menu items are written on wooden panels atop a counterdisplay of the fresh ingredients of the day while you order. The food is simple: stir fry, soups, braises. You order sides of rice or noodles to go with the dishes (pork oil doused rice and sesame oil thin noodles are favorites). It’s the closest thing you can get to a home cooked meal without lifting a finger.
Go here for: a casual family lunch or dinner
Order this: a cold dish (the “white” poached chicken is a popular choice), a couple stir fry dishes (sacha beef, sesame oil pork, basil egg), a veg (whatever is recommended for the day), a seafood (their clam dishes are popular), an obligatory soup to complete the table
Amount of time to spend: an hour is plenty, service is fast
When to come: lunch tends to be more chill than dinner, but truly any time works, there usually isn’t much of a wait
Getting here: take the red or orange line to Dongmen and use exit 5, walk a couple blocks down Yongkang St
Other things to note:
Last visited: October 2019
Last updated: October 2022