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FYI SOUTH Magazine, February 2007.


--- By John Matthews, Andy Macdonald and Richard Matheson
Translated by Joshua, Monica Lin and Mei Lee

Rhine Coffee and Tea

73, WuFu 2nd Rd,
Kaohsiung City ; (07) 215-0545
Open: 24 hours
Credit cards accepted.

This place comes as a small surprise when you learn that it has been open for almost 20 years. Located on Wufu 2nd Road, the Rhine restaurant is well furnished and decorated with truly authentic European wares. Inside and out, this restaurant stands alone as a unique ode to European tastes. Open 24 hours a day with just a one-hour break at mid-morning, the menu reflects a blend of Taiwanese tastes with a distinctly Western inspiration. Between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. a menu is available that includes your choice of stir-fry, steak, porridge and noodles, and set meals (NT$220). Don't miss the Garlic Chicken with Pickles (NT$180) from the stir-fry menu, the U.S. Prime Steak (NT$700), or a Taiwanese-style breakfast from your choice of set meals (NT$220). A service charge of 10 percent will be added to your bill and most major credit cards are accepted. A smoking section is available.

Western Cowboy

46, JhongJheng Rd,
Pingtung City (close to Sogo)
(08) 732-2084
Open: 24 Hours a day, 7 Days a week

When you're hungry and not ready to go home after a night out, the Western Cowboy is waiting with open arms. The 25-year-old-ranch-style restaurant is great for late eats. The downstairs patio has benched tables and the upstairs floors have cozy booths. The restaurant boasts breakfast fodder as well as full meals. Recommended breakfast picks are the Fried Basil Omelet (NT$70), Fried Soybean Curd (NT$90), Peanut Butter on Toast (NT$30), and Tuna and Cheese on Toast (NT$50). The back of the menu lists drinks, from teas to cocktails. The Western Cowboy has imported as well as local beers. Drinks such as lattes, teas, juices and sodas are available and their fruit teas are a delicious, warm treat for chilly winter months. Drinks range in price from NT$70-110. If you have an appetite or want a dish to share, the full-sized meals are good and reasonably priced (NT$100-150). The menu offers fried food, sizzling plates, hot pot, noodles, fried rice, BBQ, risotto, Japanese rice, soup, and stews.

Chang Rong Beef Soup

88, ChangRong Rd., Sec. 2, Tainan City
(06) 275-4190
Hours: 4 am-11:30 am

What sets Chang Rong's beef soup apart from others is its freshness, which is also the reason for its somewhat odd business hours. For over 10 years, 'Little Aunt' and 'Third Sister' (as the customers affectionately call the friendly bosses) have been opening at four in the morning in order to serve the freshest possible beef. Little Aunt says the beef starts to change after six hours and they sell the beef before this happens. A bowl of beef soup is NT$60 (small) or NT$100 (large), and standard pork rice is NT$15 (small) or NT$20 (large). There are seven beef dishes to choose from, fried vegetables, and rice. Beef is sold until there's none left, which is usually around 10:30 a.m. The decor is simple with wooden tables and stools, and a menu written out on wooden slats nailed to the wall. Besides the wonderful freshness of the beef, the other thing that sets the shop apart is service. The family seems to know every customer by name, are pleasantly chatty, and quick to serve.

Yi Dian Gua Bao

156, SiaoDong Rd., Tainan City
(06) 274-1582
Hours: 10 pm-7 am (approx)

This restaurant is a simple affair. It's basically a roll-out tent, attached to a garage that has been converted into a kitchen. Customers sit on plastic stools at fold-out tables. The 10 or so tables seem always to be full from opening to closing. The boss says he has been open for about four years, and that he discovered early on that daytime business was slow, while the wee hours saw a steady flow of customers, mostly students from nearby National Cheng Kung University. Yi Dian Gua Bao's offerings include milk drinks such as hot chocolate and iced coffee (both NT$20), soy and rice milks (NT$10), Taiwanese "mantou" steamed bread with a fried egg (NT$15), and the shop's specialty "guabao", which is a mantou-like bread wrapped around some vegetables, pork and sauce (NT$25, add another NT$5 for a fried egg). People obviously don't come here for the decor—it's for the tasty food!

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