Indian Food in Taipei


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A fancy appetizer from The Spice Shop

This is a copy of my "Indian Food in Taipei" blog post, which I'll also keep up to some extent. But I update it regularly enough that I feel like it deserves its own page, as I make an effort to review, update and organize every Indian restaurant I know in Taipei, and slowly work my way through reviewing the ones I haven't tried yet. I've spent a fair amount of time in both India and the UK (there's one British curry place listed here, so that matters) and make Indian food myself - and hold my cooking to a very high standard - so I like to think my reviews can be trusted.

If you know anything I don't - a new opening, a closing, an improvement or decline in quality - get in touch! 



Mayur Indian Kitchen 

Mayur has several locations, including a new one near Zhongxiao Dunhua and the original location on the quieter part of Keelung Road near Taipei City Hall.



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MIK-6 Hookah Bar


MIK-1: #350-5, Keelung Road Sec. 1 


MIK-2 #103 Minsheng E. Road Sec. 3

Zhongxiao Dunhua: 2F, No. 1, Ln, No. 146, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, 106

MIK-3 Vegetarian: #38 Sec. 1 Xinsheng North Road (near Guanghua Electronics Mall)

MIK 4ever (their fourth location) at Tonghua St. Lane 171 #34

MIK-5 in Dazhi: Bei-an Road #630)

MIK-6/mik'sutras: Songjiang Road #1-1 (on the corner of Weishui Street)

They're all good, but MIK-5 in Dazhi stands out because it's a bit fancier, more of an upmarket dining experience (the Tonghua Road location is also more upmarket), and MIK-6, also called mik'sutras, is more of a live bar/hookah lounge with Indian food, which we visited recently.


Amma's Kitchen
#2 Lane 357 Heping East Road Sec. 2, Da'an District Taipei 106
106台北市大安區和平東路二段357巷2號
MRT Technology Building 


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The new Amma's

Update: Amma's has moved! 

Amma's new address is above, in a small lane off Heping East Road, a short walk from MRT Technology Building (the closest bus stops would be National Taipei University of Education or Wolong Street). You may remember it as the old location of The Local.

The new Amma's is larger, and no longer a single long room in a decrepit building but a street-level restaurant. It's all-around nicer, with more tables and is already popular.


Amma still excels at South Indian tiffin and indeed is one of the few places in Taiwan where it is available. It might be the only place in Taiwan where you can get pongal (a ghee, curry leaf, pepper and ginger flavored mound of cooked moong daal and rice) - if you call ahead. The Thali (below) has dosa but I honestly don't think even they would do pongal.


Their dosas are delicious and their podi idli is still one of my favorite items. It's still South Indian-run and still has the look, smell and flavor of a restaurant in Tamil Nadu. I love that the coffee is served in South Indian-style tumblers with bowls, a style of coffee drinking I came to love while living in Madurai.



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Onion uthappam at Amma's

There is a 'but', however.

Amma used to also serve excellent curries, including the only good (perhaps the only) Chettinad chicken and Chicken 65 available in Taiwan. Having recently been to Chettinad and having lived in Tamil Nadu before, I know Chettinad chicken when I eat it. It's a distinctively pungent, spicy chicken curry.

Now, sadly, the spice and distinctiveness of the non-tiffin curries (North Indian staples like aloo gobi) are gone. We visited twice shortly after they opened in their new location, once for tiffin - which again, was excellent - and once for more regular curries. While the lemon rice was still amazing, it seemed as though every curry had the same sauce. Granted, the sauce was delicious (though not very spicy), but it was the same sauce on everything, including the aloo gobi, which is supposed to be more of a dry fried curry, not sitting in a gravy. That exact same sauce appeared with the Chettinad chicken, which simply wasn't Chettinad chicken. The coconut chutney, too, lacked flavor - it was really just wet coconut, no curry leaf, mustard seed or anything else you'd put in a proper South Indian coconut chutney. The masala vadai were similarly less flavorful, though the texture was perfect.

We were told that Taiwanese apparently prefer the less spicy curry - okay, but the same sauce, delicious as it is, on everything? - and that if we wanted real Chettinad chicken we would have to ask in advance or ask for "spicy".

Okay, but honestly, I shouldn't have to ask. It would be much better to make it properly as a default and ask customers if they want it dumbed down. Don't make the dumbed-down kind and act surprised when people expected something authentic. In any case, unless I call ahead, it's not possible to change a bog-standard gravy into Chettinad chicken. By the time I've sat down and ordered, the damage is already done and adding chili powder won't fix it.


I want these guys to succeed, so I do encourage everyone to patronize their restaurant. I love the idea of idli and dosa just a short walk from my home! Just stick to tiffin or call in advance to let them know you want the real deal.


The Thali
內湖區東湖路24-1號
Donghu Road #24-1, Neihu District, Taipei
(Near MRT Donghu)
Reservations recommended, easy to book by messaging them on Facebook 

The Thali may be far from Taipei's core, but it's attracted a strong following in the foreign community. It's not hard to see why, with great North and South Indian menu items and an attentive staff - plus, falooda!

Check the link for my full review.


Balle Balle Indian Restaurant
#12 Guangfu N. Road, Songshan District

Good Punjabi food, especially if you stick to the Punjabi classics like Lamb Rara and Butter Chicken.



Joseph Bistro

#13 Lane 69 Songjiang Road
MRT Songjiang Nanjing or any Songjiang or Nanjing bus

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I greatly enjoyed this high-end Indian restaurant! I don't really know how to describe it beyond delicious elevated fusion, so please do check it out. My fuller review is in the link. The Indian classics are great, the starters and desserts are memorable, and I'm excited to go back to try the more adventurous menu options.

Don't miss the stinky tofu curry, one of the few truly delightful, perfectly-executed fusion curries I've tried. Be prepared for the ultimate stink - I had to throw away the face mask I wore home. The lamb infused with argan oil, though it isn't really Indian food, is also a treat.

Reservations recommended.



The Brass Monkey



Chicken korma and pork vindaloo with rice (that's food coloring, not flavoring in the rice) from Brass Monkey

台北市中山區復興北路166號
166 Fuxing North Road,
Zhongshan District Taipei, Taiwan 110
Just north of MRT Nanjing Fuxing
(02) 2547 5050



All of the other restaurants on this list are Indian food - the Brass Monkey is a large British-style pub that specifically offers the cuisine of British curry houses. If you're missing Hyderabad, this isn't quite going to do hit that note. But if you're missing Swindon...it absolutely will. And that's intentional - the point was to offer a British curry house experience, not another "Indian restaurant in Taipei". You can eat in or get takeaway (which you can call ahead for).

Flavor of India

#34 Heping East Road Section 3 (MRT Technology Building/Liuzhangli)
In the same location as the old Fusion Asia


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Shahi paneer and channa masala at Flavor of India

Hey, this place - which replaced the old Fusion Asia (which was fantastic) - is great! It's vegetarian, but everything we got was excellent. They hit all the right spots: both tamarind-date chutney and green coriander chutney, perfectly spicy food, channa masala made with green chilis - these guys know what they're doing. Excellent masala tea. 

We got samosas, shahi paneer and channa masala - all highly recommended. A lot of places put Kingfisher (a not-very-good Indian beer that I love drinking with Indian food) on the menu but never stock it - these guys do! The only thing I think is a bit odd is that it's a vegetarian Indian restaurant that doesn't serve pure veg south Indian. Usually veg places do. But I'm not complaining too much. Oh, the naan is tasty and soft (though the garlic naan could use a little more garlic), but the puris are a little greasy. Still good, though.


Don't worry too much about Fusion Asia being gone, as the owners have opened a new place in Tianmu called...


Jai Ho
#22-1, 1st Floor, Lane 50 
Tianmu E. Road (Shilin Dist., Tianmu)

The old owners of Fusion Asia on Heping E. Road (now Flavor of India vegetarian restaurant - see review below) have relocated to Tianmu with their Punjabi-centric menu. The location is smaller but also better-decorated, with outdoor seating and very close to the Tianmu Shinkong Mitsukoshi. We went here recently and I dunno...the food was all well-made to a high standard, with some interesting menu flair. There's homemade gulab jamun! There's paan flavored kulfi - which takes some getting used to because it, as my husband put it, "tastes like soap smells", but I've cultivated a taste for it. There's masala lassi (salty not sweet). 


But...


Well, I asked them to make the food good and spicy except for the butter chicken, which isn't meant to be particularly fiery. 

And they just...didn't? 


I did say I'd lived in India once upon a time, and was quite clear that everyone eating with me could handle real heat, but even the lamb rahrah (probably my favorite dish by this particular chef) was just missing that fiery kick with that warm after-dinner mouthfeel. I said something about it - especially as all of our dishes were clearly made well and the other flavors were well-balanced - expertly even - and the waitress confessed she'd just told them to make it "中辣" or "medium spicy", which is not what I asked for. 


I don't mind too much if a restaurant doesn't get it quite right because I didn't specify, but I have a huge pet peeve about specific requests being disregarded for no good reason.
I liked the food and would return, but I can't say I'm too happy about paying a lot of money for Indian food that just isn't spicy enough.


Namaste Indian Cuisine


#180 Anhe Road Sec. 2, Da'an District Taipei, Taiwan

MRT Technology Building, or any Dunhua, Heping or Anhe Road bus

This small Indian restaurant in the shadow of the Far Eastern buildings on Anhe Road cooks up standard North Indian fare, but it does it well. The heat level is just about right - which means warm for me, way too hot for my friend - and they have Kingfisher to wash it all down. You won't find anything innovative on the menu, just the curries you already know and love, but the food is good and the heat is right. 



Nataraj Indian Cuisine

#75 Nanjing East Road Sec. 5, Songshan District
Taipei, Taiwan
MRT Nanjing Sanmin or any Nanjing Road bus

We haven't tried this place yet, but I've been by it a few times on the bus, and we'll check it out soon. 


Buran's Indian Kitchen

#2-1 Lane 389 Zhonghe Road, Yonghe District, New Taipei
MRT Yong'an Market

This new restaurant is one of the few choices outside of Taipei proper, in Yonghe. The area around Yong'an Market is quite nice, and we'll be trying Buran's soon.



Out Of India

#26 Lane 13 Pucheng Street (in Shi-da)

An old stand-by in Shi-da, the same owner now runs 3 Idiots Toast and Curry. I don't know if they still have a branch at the old location of Bollywood Indian Pizza, and I don't know if their third branch in a lane across from NTU (the back entrance - if you go to where Fuxing meets Xinhai, then when facing the NTU entrance from across Xinhai turn right, it's the first lane on the right. The lane runs north-south, the other Out of India is near the southern end closer to NTU than Heping Rd).

In any case, this is sort of the bog-standard choice for Indian food. The curries are pretty good (though in recent years I've had to tell them to make it "India spicy" because they've been making it blander for the local market) and it's an okay option if you're in the neighborhood.

A word of warning, unless you specifically ask, their garlic naan comes spread with that absolutely disgusting sweetish garlic-margarine spread, the ones you can buy in tubs in Wellcome. It's so gross. But if you ask they'll make you real garlic naan.



Masala Art
Maji Maji (MRT Yuanshan)

Rather like Jai Ho above, the food here was well-made, and I like that they have both gulab jamun and falooda on the menu (a good dessert menu can make or break Indian for me, and so many restaurants leave it off entirely). We got butter chicken and channa masala with garlic naan, and samosas.


The samosas were great - I liked the crispy shells, and the potatoes were well-spiced (I would have preferred both tamarind-date (red) and coriander (green) chutneys but we were only offered green, though. The butter chicken was very good (though all white meat? I prefer a mix of white and dark in my butter chicken). The sauce was spot-on though. Just how I like it - with a nice red warmth, but also creamy and a little sweet in the way tomatoes can be. Almost like you caramelized the tomatoes.


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Samosa at Masala Art
The channa masala, though, just...well, like Jai Ho again, it wasn't spicy enough. Good channa masala has a hot kick from mashed green chilis, which can be heightened with the addition of red chili powder (which I never say no to). It has an afterburn - not quite as hot as lamb rahrah or a vindaloo but righteous in its own way. I said I wanted it hot, like India hot, and I got...not. Not hot. It was a bit warm, to be sure. For maybe 5 minutes after I felt a nice warmth in my mouth. But the right kind of heat gets you a little high and stays with you, and it didn't.

Big fan of the falooda though. Good choice if you are near Maji Maji. I have heard this is the "best in Taipei" but, while not bad...no, it's not the best.

Oh...no beer. But there are places nearby to get it, and I'd guess they allow BYOB.
(Finally, the garlic naan is nice and thin the way I like it, but they use garlic powder, not fresh garlic.)


Azeez Indian
Maji Maji
This is more like a food stall in a whole row of international eats at Maji Maji, not a full restaurant the way Masala Art is. We haven't eaten here but plan to soon.




Masala House (formerly Exotic Masala House?)
#6 Lane 269  Roosevelt Road Sec. 3 (in the Shi-da neighborhood)

I can't for the life of me figure out if this place in Shida is still open, but their TripAdvisor and Facebook pages seem active and as of 2015 Forumosa says they're still open (closed Wednesdays). I have heard from multiple sources that the newer "Masala House" is simply Exotic Masala House under an abbreviated name - same management. I can't remember if the location is the same. I haven't gone back to check because I was not that happy with the food the last few times I went several years ago, so I haven't returned. We really liked this place in its early years and I even had one of my Thanksgiving gatherings there, but the food got steadily worse and we stopped going. I have no idea how it is now.

Calcutta Indian Food

#70 Xining S. Road (B1 level)

This place used to be good. Now it's terrible. They were still really good - and the mutton samosas are still great - after moving to the bottom of the U2 building in Ximen. We've been back recently, and...wow. No. Every curry seemed like it was cooked in the same sauce, nothing was remotely spicy (even butter chicken needs a bit of warmth - nothing - it was weirdly sweet?), and the "aloo gobi" was made with broccoli, not cauliflower! Unacceptable!

What's more, aloo gobi is a dry, brownish curry where the cauliflower (NOT BROCCOLI) is fried in spices, onion, garlic, and just a bit of sauce. This was served in a big gravy-full tureen of red, tomato-based curry sauce which is simply not what aloo gobi is meant to be. It was just...the wrong curry.

Sometimes restaurants make mistakes yet should not be written off completely. However, this was unforgivable. They didn't even respect their customers enough to make a curry with the correct ingredients, from the vegetable to the sauce. I will never return.


Avoid.


Nanjing E. Road by Jilin Road (you can walk from Zhongshan MRT or take a bus a few stops from there) across from poorly-named Silverfish Thai and next to Safranbolu Turkish restaurant.

This place is actually run by Pakistanis and offers halal food - they are best at tandoori and other Punjabi treats (there is a dish that is basically butter chicken under a different name) as well as more Muslim-influenced fare such as seekh kebabs and other dry meat dishes. Great food though the spice level varies. We went once, ordered vindaloo, and nearly got our taste buds blasted off - OK in my book! - and yet another friend claimed that their spices were tame. Ask for spice and you'll get spice, don't and you'll get mild, I suppose. The veggie-covered papadam is fantastic, as is their masala chai. The kheer is good but the gulab jamun comes from a can. This is the only place in town that offers kheer. As they're Muslim, there's no beer available. But, they allow BYO alcohol!

We don't go as often anymore as it's not convenient to where we live, it's kind of expensive and there are more convenient options, but I don't dislike them at all. 




#38-6 Tianmu East Road, Tianmu, Shilin District (behind the big department stores)
Next to The Spice Shop
Saffron is upscale and chi-chi looking, which is why I haven't eaten there yet. But they seem to have Indian cooks and the place smells nice - and my friends say its excellent - so I'll give it a try someday. I just don't go to Tianmu often. I do have a student (one who has been to India) who has been there, and her review? "Meh". I know Hungry Girl recommends it, as does the Taipei Times, though. More coming when I try it for myself.




#6 Alley 10 Lane 50, Tianmu East Road, Tianmu, Shilin District

Here is a picture from the old Spice Shop: 




The photo above was taken at the old Spice Shop, maybe 12 years ago. The one below are the fancy appetizers from the new Spice Shop:


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The fancy new appetizers at The Spice Shop
I've never had a curry I didn't like here, though they can be a bit pricey.


This place is one of my favorites, and we always choose it over Saffron because we know the food is good and the decor is more our style. We don't go often, though, because they're at the opposite end of Taipei. In fact I don't think I've been since I first wrote this post in 2008.


Abad Indian Restaurant

#130 Guangfu Road (just north of Nanjing-Guangfu), Songshan District

I...don't know what to make of this place. They advertise themselves as South Indian but they are definitely not. There are a few dosas on the menu, but no masala dosa, which is odd. Why offer paneer dosa etc. but not standard masala dosa? No idli, no vadai, none of that. No upma, no idiyappam, no Kerala fish curries or Hyderabadi lamb biriyani (for the places that aren't pure veg). It's just not south Indian. Putting a few non-standard dosas on the menu doesn't make you something you're not.

The service is friendly and I genuinely like the folks who run the place, I mean, insofar as I can know what they are like as a customer. Whoever is making the food clearly has cooking skills - the texture of the samosas was perfect with a flaky, moist but not greasy pastry and perfectly cooked potato filling. The lamb biriyani was well-cooked, too.

And they have falooda. I love falooda and this might be the only place in Taiwan offering this unique dessert. Yet again this shows that they are not a South Indian restaurant - I associate falooda with Mumbai and points north.

But...oh...it's not spicy. It's just not spicy at all. The samosa was plain potato, served with ketchup. No masala. No spices. It was the color of a croquette. The lamb biriyani was moist with excellent quality chunks of lamb (though a very small serving for a high price), but it wasn't spicy. The paneer dosa, something I never ate while actually in South India, was midly warm, but not spicy, not really. I just...how can I recommend this place when their food isn't spicy? It's not even flavorful-spicy. It's just...nothing.

I mentioned the unspiced samosa - I was so disappointed - and they said it was because "Taiwanese don't like spicy food". But...come on, they expect at least some heat, yes? Something? Anything? Even so, if you distort your own cuisine that much to cater to local tastes you cease to be an Indian restaurant.

I can ask them to make it spicier for me, but...you can't make a samosa spicier. They aren't made to order. And at some point it's just not worth it to ask.

I'd recommend Abad, if the owners read this, focus on what they do well - perfectly prepared, perfectly textured Indian food - and quit trying to "market" themselves as something they're not. They're Indian chefs - make it taste like Indian food. They can do at North Indian cuisine - make that. They could do a lot better. 


Tandoor




#10 Lane 73 Hejiang Street, Taipei
MRT Zhongshan Junior High School, or any Minquan, Minsheng or Fuxing Road buses

We ate here recently and not only is the food still good - distinctive curries, made well - but they've redecorated into a comfortable, modern restaurant.

When we first ate here years ago, we enjoyed everything we ate, except for the very lackluster samosas.  Kind of small and deflated. That seems to have changed with the update, though we didn't get to try the samosas. The only reason we don't eat here more often, honestly, is that it's a little far when there are good options closer to home.
As usual, you need to specifically ask for truly spicy food.




Alla-Din Indian and Pakistani Kitchen
#101 Raohe Street, Songshan District (in Raohe Night Market)


I used to get take-out from this place often, and the food was fiery hot - which I love - and spiced with depth and care. We often got the chicken or lamb rolls, and the kebabs we've had while eating in were also great. It's a solid choice in Raohe Night Market. The only complaint I have is that while the rolls are affordable, the curries can get very expensive.

Or at least, it was good. We returned at one point and got what I can only describe as mildly-flavored Indian food slathered in chili paste. No depth, no care, just heat. We haven't been back so maybe that was a one-off, but I just don't know. 




#26 Lane 81 Fuxing N. Road, Taipei

Yum yum yum yum yum. While this place has more than just Indian food, there are plenty of curries on the menu, not to mention samosas, really nice lassi (yoghurt) drinks and other tasty treats. I can't really place where the food is from - there are Southeast Asian dishes that you'd swear were Burmese, Indonesian or Thai, Indian food, Pakistani food, even Middle Eastern staples like hummus and I swear a few Chinese offerings. I've never had a bad meal here, though, and strongly recommend the lassi and samosas.


Tibet Kitchen

#217 Heping Road Sec. 2 (very near Technology Building MRT)
This restaurant specializes in Tibetan food (the way that Kunming specializes more in Burmese-Muslim fusion), but still serves up pretty decent Indian food. I'm including it here because it's a great restaurant that deserves your patronage, and does offer Indian dishes, but if you go I would recommend ordering Tibetan food.


Khana Khazana


#366 Section 1 Keelung Road (north of Xinyi and south of the original Mayur Indian Kitchen).


We've eaten here and I can confirm it's good, though I've heard other reviews. The offer pretty typical north Indian food with an emphasis on Halal (as with many Indian restaurants in Taipei the owners are Muslim and many are actually from Pakistan - I don't care where you're from as long as the food is good though). But still, good, a solid choice in Xinyi. Well-decorated with cushy velvet chairs.



Sagar Indian

2nd floor #195 Sec. 2, Xinyi Road Taipei (near Yongkang Street)

Not sure if this place is still open, actually - it's the same address as Saathiya below. We haven't eaten here, but the TripAdvisor reviews are good. However, a friend of mine did eat there along with her husband who is a chef, and they said "the curry was watery and my husband's tasted weirdly fermented. He felt sick after." So I'm not that excited about trying it.


Three Idiots Toast and Curry

#28 Lane 293 Roosevelt Rd. Sec 3 (?), Da'an District
Also #318 Changchun Road, Zhongshan District

Multiple locations - decent though not amazing curry with various sandwiches, toasts and other things on a fusion menu in a casual setting. Don't let this trick you into thinking I didn't like it - I did, and I would go back. It's not a typical or traditional Indian restaurant, and I appreciate that. 


Moksha

Zhongshan N. Road Sec. 6 #138 (Tianmu)
台北市士林區中山北路六段138號

Because Tianmu didn't already have enough expensive Indian restaurants...there's this one. A few of my friends have checked in here, and it looks nice. Huge menu, includes South Indian (but expensive). We'll go at some point.

Namaste Indian Cuisine (not the Anhe Road one)

#30 (or 32 - Google Maps and Facebook don't agree)
Lane 3

Jiuzhuang St. (舊莊街) Section 1 (in Nangang)


This place also advertises itself as South Indian, and the only reason we haven't been is that it's way out at the ass-end of Nangang by Academia Sinica. That's really far and inconvenient...but we'll make it out there eventually. I do want to try this place and give it a review.


Taj Indian Restaurant

#1 Lane 48, Civic Boulevard (市民大道) Section 4
Where all those popular restaurants are on Civic

I have to admit I didn't even know this place existed until I googled "Indian restaurants in Taipei" and it showed up. Haven't been, don't know how it is, will try at some point.
Oye Punjabi
#121 Yanji Street
We tried this place recently and really liked it! It looks like a small, standard Indian place from the outside but we were pleasantly surprised by the attentiveness to spice level in the curries, the samosa chaat (hard to find in Taipei - a real treat!) and the masala chai with cinnamon stick for stirring. Click the link for my full review.


Janny Curry House
#4 Alley 1 Lane 199
Jinhua Street (near Yongkang Street)

I haven't tried this place, but intend to soon. 


Saathiya

#195 2nd Floor
Xinyi Road Sec 2 (near Yongkang St. MRT)
Same address as Sagar above, and also gets a pretty bad review from the Taipei Times. I suspect they might be the same restaurant.


India Palace (or something)

Taipei 101 B1 level food court

As a rule I avoid food court curry, but Brendan has been here and says it's serviceable. There's another India Palace on Taiyuan Street (#103, B3 level?) and another on Chengde Road (#1, Sec. 1) which is very confusing. I'll have to walk around a bit in that area and try to figure out the situation on the ground.


And this post would be remiss if I didn't mention...


Trinity Superstores (import store) #23 6th Floor (ring up), Ren'ai Road Sec 3 Lane 143 (Zhongxiao Fuxing)

(or)
#35 Zhongxiao E. Road Sec 5 Lane 71 (City Hall)
(or)
#535 Zhongshan N. Road Sec. 5 (Shilin)

They now have three locations - one just south of Zhongxiao Fuxing/green Sogo, one at City Hall and one in Shilin. Their own information online is confusing so I'm putting it here for you - a good place to buy Indian spices and ingredients.




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3 comments:

Priya L. P. said...

Hi Jenna, You need to add The Thali in Neihu, and Saffron's new branch in Breeze Nanshan.

Jenna Cody said...

Will do!

Guy said...

Hi Jenna,

Thanks for assembling this helpful list. Some updates:

Burans is now in Sanchong.

Taj somehow got on the 2020 Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand list. It'd be great to get your take on it.

Cheers,
Guy