The Michelin Guide announced in November 2017 that it plans to release its first ever Michelin guide for Taiwan in the spring of 2018. I believe that Taiwan has always been an amazing destination for food (its casual eateries and incredible night markets are second-to-none). It will be quite interesting to see the Michelin inspectors’ take on this island’s rich diversity of food, and how it tries to capture it all. I do hope they give it justice!
More recently, Taiwan’s fine dining restaurants have begun to receive global recognition. The reveal of this book will accelerate this, putting many Taiwanese restaurants squarely on the international map.
My experience with fine dining in Taiwan is limited, to say the least. In the past I’ve focused more on what Taiwan was best known for: casual eats like Taiwanese breakfast, famous noodle & dumpling shops, and the rich night market food scene. This past summer, however, my dad and I spontaneously decided to “go for it” and splurge on a fancy meal at Shin Yeh during one of our days out in Taipei. My dad, who has never had this type of Taiwanese fine dining in his life, even agreed to pay extra for access to a window table (totally worth it for the views!).
Shin Yeh is a well-known and established name in Taiwan. The original restaurant began forty years ago in a back alley where founder Madam Lee Xiu Ying started cooking traditional Taiwanese food for just eleven tables. Through the decades the restaurant has expanded to several locations, with the most upscale one located at the top of Taiwan’s tallest building, Taipei 101.
We came on a weekday at lunch and were surprised that the place was pretty empty. Perhaps very few Taiwanese people want to spend this kind of money for lunch on a weekday. I think I’m used to trying (and usually failing) to reserve Michelin-starred places at the last minute. It was weird how easy it was to make a reservation at such a well-established and famous restaurant.