Hidden Vietnamese restaurant

I have been on the hunt for a good Vietnamese restaurant ever since I arrived in Taipei last year.  The fresh, tangy flavours at my local cheap and cheerful Vietnamese back home was something that I thought I could easily replicate in Taipei.  I was convinced Taiwan, Vietnam’s largest investor and home to over 100,000 Vietnamese workers and countless foreign brides, would have excellent Vietnamese food.  Until recently, I had been sorely disappointed.  But then Steve from THE Steve’s Golf Blog introduced me to Ming Jih in Xizhi.

You may think it odd that arguably the best Vietnamese restaurant in Taiwan is hidden in suburban Xizhi.  But there is a reason: it is run by the son of Vietman’s former Representative to Taiwan, who has an import-export company nearby.  He opened up a small stall selling Vietnamese food as an adjunct to his business.  The food stall proved so popular that he expanded and opened Ming Jih restaurant ten years ago.  Or should I say the Ming Jih restaurant complex; the sprawling 250-seat South-east Asian-themed restaurant has ample inside/outside dining areas, a separate coffee house next door and its own 40-car parking lot.  It is worth taking time to explore the restaurant, which has lots of knick-knacks showcasing Vietnamese culture – including a full-size antique cyclo and a life-sized model wearing an Ao Dai.  My toddler had a wonderful time running around and exploring things … with me following closely behind, of course.

Ao dai glad women pictured on a wall in Ming Jih

We sampled several dishes, beginning with an entrée of Vietnamese fresh spring rolls:   served like a swirled sushi roll, they were fresh although obviously Taiwanese influenced. 

Fresh Vietnamese spring rolls

More authentic was the Vietnamese chicken curry, served with a crusty baguette to sop up the rich gravy. 

Vietnamese chicken curry with baguette

I especially enjoyed their sate pork, which was tender with enough of a kick to be interesting. 

Sate pork

Also good was the succulent grilled chicken skewers and pork.

Grilled chicken and pork chop, Vietnamese style

For side dishes, we had a choice of a tangy chicken salad and fried rice. 

Vietnamese chicken salad

Fried rice

I also liked their Chinese-influenced claypot tofu, which would be a good choice for vegetarians.

Claypot Tofu

We ordered chicken congee for our son, Austin.  He quite liked it, but he had already eaten beforehand so we ended up finishing it off ourselves.  The congee was quite bony, but had a nice flavour, augmented by the chopped cilantro and shallots on top.

Chicken congee

We planned on ordering Ming Jih’s Vietnamese beef noodle soup (pho), but regretfully cancelled because we had ordered too much.  I contemplated their homemade ice-cream, which thankfully for my waistline was unavailable outside of the warmer months.  (Steve tells me it is very good, though.)  My husband couldn’t resist joining Steve for some Vietnamese coffee, which was so sweet and strong he was up all night.  But he reckons it was worth it.

THE Steve enjoying Vietnamese coffee

Ming Jih (銘記越南美食) is at 536-1, Kangning St, Xizhi (台北縣汐止市康寧街536-1), phone (02) 2692 7015  It opens Tuesdays to Sundays from 11.00am to 9.00pm.  Reservations are a must on weekends, when it gets really busy.  The menu is in English, Chinese and Vietnamese.

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About taiwanxifu

‘Taiwanxifu’ (pronounced ‘shee foo’) means ‘Taiwan daughter-in-law’ in Chinese and has been my nickname ever since I married my Taiwanese husband, Sam. I love sampling Taiwanese food, even local specialties such as stinky tofu, pigs blood cake and Taipei beef noodle soup with offal. But there are many other options on the menu. Promise!
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4 Responses to Hidden Vietnamese restaurant

  1. Sander Tams says:

    I’ve eaten foods from many Asian countries while in Taiwan, thinking that it was all very tasty. I believe I forgot trying out the Vietnamese food, though, and what a shame. I will try and remember next time I’m in Taipei.

  2. THE Steve says:

    Great post and a great restaurant…the coffee kept me awake too…
    THE Steve

  3. KJ says:

    I am drooling 😀

  4. Great restaurant, Cam on !

Comments are closed.