Best-of Guides Tainan

MICHELIN-Recommended Breakfast Eats In Tainan

8 Restaurants
Also known as Fucheng for its history as Taiwan’s old capital, Tainan has a rich and unique breakfast culture spanning a wide range of dishes that promises to upend your expectations of the morning meal.
Updated on 10 March 2023

In the early days, most of the Tainanese depended on agriculture for their livelihoods. Because of this, they relied heavily on their first meal of the day — breakfast — for their daily fuel.

A nutritious, substantial breakfast gave these farmers the energy to begin a day of hard work at sunrise that did not end till sunset. Over the last 400 years, the culture of breakfast has evolved in Fucheng, resulting in a morning meal that would subvert the expectations of most foreign visitors.

A Hsing Congee
289, Section 3, Minzu Road, West Central District, Tainan
$ · Congee

The doors are open for business at 5 o’clock in the morning at this 60-year-old stalwart establishment, where taste buds are awakened by warm and luscious fish congee featuring fresh milkfish dressed with fried garlic crisps. The flavorsome congee promises to warm the body and mind. In summer, the cool indoor air conditioning makes dining more comfortable.

A Xing Shi Mu Yu
252 Wunsian Road, North District, Tainan
$ · Small eats

The small shop sits at a triangular intersection; and although the storefront is unassuming, business is as brisk and busy as the streets next to it. A Xing Shi Mu Yu is loved by locals and tourists alike for the live milkfish delivered daily directly from source. The fish, butchered fresh on-site, is just as delicious whether pan-fried until crispy, in a rich fish skin soup, or as fried fish intestines that are always sold out early. Also try the store’s unique garlic rice.

RELATED: 141 restaurants awarded a Bib Gourmand in the 2022 Selection of the MICHELIN Guide Taipei, Taichung, Tainan & Kaohsiung

Fu Tai Table Third Generation
219, Section 2, Minzu Road, West Central District, Tainan
$ · Small eats

Not an early riser? No problem. Fu Tai Table offers a Tainan-style brunch that expresses the essence of Tainan's century-old "fan zhuo zai" culture. The establishment began as a street vendor some 80 years ago, until the second and third generation owners opened the current store in 2015. The bright and cheery environment sets the stage for diners to select their favorite dishes from a paper menu, or point them out at the counter. The menu changes daily according to what’s fresh and available seasonally. A small blackboard highlights the catch of the day and seasonal offerings. Highly recommended is the golden and crispy milkfish fillet, as well as the braised pork rice with just the right ratio of fat to lean meat.

RELATED: Michelin-Recommended Restaurants For Taiwanese Banquet Cuisine

Shang Hao Chih Beef Soup
6, Section 1, Beian Road, North District, Tainan
$ · Small eats

Fast becoming iconic of Tainan’s food culture, beef soup has become one of the must-eat dishes for visitors to this part of Taiwan. Shang Hao Chih Beef Soup opens at 3 o’clock in the morning with carefully selected fresh meat delivered directly from Shanhua. The signature beef soup is brewed from the bones until the stock is amber-colored and deeply flavorful, warming and rich when slurped with tender hand-cut beef. Complete the breakfast with the perfect accompaniment of braised pork rice with pork rind and peanuts, a unique rendition not to be missed.

RELATED: The Best Braised Pork Rice in Taipei and Taichung

No Name Lamb Soup
144, Section 2, Fucian Road, West Central District, Tainan
$ · Small eats

For over 50 years, this humble shop with no name has been famous among gourmands in the know for its traditional mutton soup. The signature clear soup is made using only the bones and meat of freshly slaughtered local lamb delivered daily, and other lamb cuts and offal can be eaten in the soup or blanched and dressed in sesame oil. The small shop opens at 6 a.m. and fills up quickly — one will find no seat unoccupied. The offals sell out as quickly as the first hour, so go early if you want to try them.

Wang Shih Fish Skin Dishes
612 Anping Road, Anping District, Tainan
$ · Small eats

Night owls and early birds alike will not be disappointed by the fresh and rich milkfish dishes served up for breakfast at Wang Shih Fish Skin Dishes. The store uses fresh milkfish delivered directly from Chigu in Tainan every morning. The broth of the signature milkfish skin soup is umami-filled and delicious, and swimming generously within are slices of milkfish skin with a thin layer of flesh attached for a heartier bite. Other dishes such as braised pork rice, milkfish skin dressed in braised minced pork sauce, with the Tainan-style congee are also popular.

Hsia Ta Tao Lan Migao
6 Kangle Street, West Central District, Tainan
$ · Small eats

Migao, or aged glutinous rice cake, are another iconic snack in Fucheng, and this shop in particular has been making its famous migao for decades, as evidenced by the mottled newspaper cuttings and celebrity photographs on the wall. The signature rice cakes are made from aged rice, topped with a slow-cooked pork neck sauce stewed with shallots, garlic, sugar, and soy sauce, and then garnished with sliced cucumber, dried fish floss, and a fish ball. Extraordinarily delicious, the dish is just what is needed to kickstart the day. The shop opens from 9 a.m. until the dishes are sold out.

RELATED: Restaurants for Rice-based Dishes in Taipei and Taichung

Yi Wei Pin
Shop 111 & 112, Yong Le Market, 177-179, Section 3, Guohua Street, West Central District, Tainan
$ · Small eats

The owner hails from a family famous for making a Taiwanese savory rice pudding known as wagui. There are only two dishes on the menu at Yi Wei Pin: wagui and milkfish soup, both of which are crowd favorites. The wagui is made with local rice milk, served with freshly slaughtered pork, whiskered velvet shrimp, and a house-braised ground pork sauce. Freshly made every day, the pudding is darker in color, a style more typical to Tainan, with a firm and chewy texture with the distinct fragrance of rice. Try it with wasabi or minced garlic for a flavor punch. Open at 5 a.m., the store is adjacent to the market, which also comes to life at that time, adding to the lively atmosphere.