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Food Budget for a Veggie in Taiwan
Posted July 19th, 2012 - 3:20 am by from Northfield, United States (Permalink)
Hi all,

I'm currently working out my budget for a brief trip to Taiwan in late September - early October. I've been reading people's recommendations for restaurants in Taipei which have been really helpful.

Lonely Planet recommends 200-300TWD a day for food for a backpacker. I'm not familiar with Taiwan but I know when I travel around Korea a veggie-friendly meal costs a bit more than the typical cheap eats available (unless you live off of bibimbap and kimbap - which I don't).

I was thinking about budgeting 750TWD a day for food - it's a lot higher than LP's recommendation but I'd rather over budget than under. Also, if there's a lot left over I can splurge on a nice dinner in Taipei before I leave.

Do you think this is enough?

Also, can anyone recommend good veggie restaurants in Hualien? I'll be there for 2 nights and would like a few ideas in case I have difficulty finding something there.

Thank you! ^^

Posted July 21st, 2012 - 2:53 am by from Dongshi, Taiwan (Permalink)
Whereas you are blowing your NT$ at restaurants, I am there at early morning markets and grocery stores... plenty of stuff that doesn't require cooking.

Jim Varney 1987

Posted July 21st, 2012 - 7:38 am by from Northfield, United States (Permalink)
Thank you, I'll keep markets and grocery stores in mind :) I don't view eating out at a restaurant as "blowing" money. I think food offers an interesting perspective into a culture and I save carefully for these trips so I can enjoy eating out (something I rarely get to do in my small town in Korea).

I'll probably stop by markets for a bite to eat in the mornings and maybe grab something for lunch but I would enjoy eating at sit down restaurants at dinner - preferably ones that are vegetarian since I don't have the language skills to explain my dietary restrictions.

Posted July 24th, 2012 - 9:46 am by from Taipei, Taiwan (Permalink)
I'm pleased to tell you that, after India, Taiwan is the vegetarian paradise!
just need to learn one: 素 (su) which means vegetarian, outside the restaurants you will find 素食 (Sushi): vegetarian food.
In my normal life, I never spend more than 300 NT a day. There are a lot of small vegetarian restaurants from food average (NT 30~120). There are some very good and cheap ones. Then, if you go to the expensive ones, you can easily spend NT700 on meal.
I'd been in Korean and know how difficult it is there. Taiwan is another world. Welcome!

Posted July 24th, 2012 - 1:17 pm by from Northfield, United States (Permalink)
It's wonderful to discover that Taiwan is a veggie friendly place! I'm so excited to know that I will be able to eat out easily (especially since I know my upcoming trip to Japan will be similar to Korea when it comes to finding veggie food). Also, it sounds like food is pretty inexpensive there - I think I'll keep my budget the same so I can treat myself to a great meal in Taiwan ... and anything left over can be put towards my next trip.

Thank you so much for your advice and tips!

Posted October 8th, 2012 - 9:53 pm by from Bristol, England (Permalink)
Wow that's pretty strong saying that after India, Taiwan is the next best veg paradise! In 2010 I went from India - pure vegan heaven, to mainland China - utter veg hell. Hoping Taiwan lives up to what you say!

Posted October 9th, 2012 - 12:29 am by from Northfield, United States (Permalink)
I just came back from Taiwan and while the country is definitely more vegetarian friendly than Korea where I live (and I'm sure China) I still had difficulties at times.

I only visited 2 cities, Hualien and Taipei and found a few restaurants in each. However, some of the food at the vegetarian restaurants had a "fishy" flavor. I tried to buy a lunch box at one cafe which was promoted as "vegetarian and gourmet" and they opened the box to show me the contents and there were anchovies or some other small fish in it. Vegetarianism in Korea sometimes incorporates fish (I've seen it served at temples) so I wasn't surprised.

It was relatively easy to find veggie friendly restaurants though - my hostel recommended a few in Hualien and in Taipei I just happened upon them. I typically looked for a swastika or poster of the Buddha or a Bodhisattva hanging on the wall near the door. I stuck with stir-fried vegetables, rice and tofu and avoided soups and other food where meat might pop up.

Loving Hut - the chain of vegan restaurants are associated with a Taiwanese sect of Buddhism so my guess is they're prevalent (I saw one in Hualien and know there are a few in Taipei).

So, it's nowhere near as veggie friendly as India but you can find food and at least you don't have to worry about hidden ghee!