Taichung is filled with wonderful restaurants. From every imaginable Taiwanese food to a fusion of every other culture you can imagine. In the coming weeks, we’ll begin a series of reviews for the most popular western restaurants around town.
Here are some tips for eating out in Taichung, especially when you are served by our Taiwanese friends. These tips mainly apply to restaurants where you sit down to eat.
- If you are eating at a sit down restaurant with service, it’s often a good idea to make reservations. Especially for the weekend when many restaurants tend to be busy.
- If the restaurant doesn’t have an English menu, you might consider just looking around at what other’s are eating and ordering based on sight. Unless you have a very experienced waiter, translating food items is often difficult and Taiwanese menus tend to be lengthy because of the variations. A great app for you phone that can help you translate menu items is from Waygo called Translator Abroad. It does a fairly great job of translating menu items on the fly.
- In Taiwanese service culture, the entire team of waiters is responsible for the whole restaurant, so you will probably be served by different people during the evening. In the West, we are more used to having one waiter responsible for our table. It’s different. If you feel like one waiter goes above and beyond and you wish to leave a tip, you need to give a cash tip directly to that waiter. They may or may not refuse, but you can politely insist.
- Unless you are at a Western style restaurant, your food will usually be served prior to the drinks. Depending on what you ordered, Usually Soup, Main Course, Fruit, Drinks. If you wish to have your drinks brought with the meal or before the meal, you will need to try and communicate this with the waiter.
- At most Taiwanese restaurants, you fill out a menu at the table, write your table number on the menu, then take the menu to the register and pay to initiate the order. When you are finished dining, you can leave when you are ready.
- If you have trouble with your order, do your best to communicate calmly and slowly with your server. In our experience, they really want to provide great service and most mistakes are due to miscommunication because of language issues. Always assume the best and most of the time mistakes are corrected with little trouble.
These are general suggestions and ideas. Your experience may vary depending on where you eat, how busy the restaurant is and how fluent the staff is in English. Some servers have more experience dealing with foreigners than others and those with less experience tend to be more nervous.