When we announced on Instagram that we were on a mission to eat healthy (still a challenge on most days but we’re not giving up!), a restaurant called Taipei Dao reached out to us with an invitation to meet the owner, Felice. We rocked up to the South Ridge location one afternoon, appetite in tow. Both Namrata and I haven’t had much experience with Taiwanese cuisine before (Don’t know if Din Tai Fung counts) and were curious to see how this cuisine could remotely be healthy. Taiwanese, and South East Asian cuisine in general, makes me think of gluten, MSG, sodium heavy sauces and the like.
Walking out three hours later, our bellies were satiated. We had a wonderful afternoon chatting and eating with Felice, it was a real eye opener and we felt like we’d been schooled on nutrition (in the best way possible!).
A longterm resident of Dubai, Felice has spent over 10 years traveling the world and sourcing some the best and healthiest ingredients for her restaurant. The menu is so well thought out, it may look like any other Asian restaurant menu but when you go into specifics, the food contains no artificial additives, no GMO or MSG, and they try and use organic where possible. Felice and her husband have spent years developing the brand (they previously owned a restaurant called Sino Chai in Dubai Healthcare City), and have put a lot of thought into every dish on the menu.
Taiwanese cuisine is heavily influenced by Chinese and Japanese food. As soon as we were seated, we were offered the most refreshing jug of detox water. TaiPei Dao makes a range of concoctions, all containing essential minerals and antioxidants that help clean your body from within. This includes combinations such as cucumber and lime, white cabbage, celery, cold brew green tea, and more.
You’ll find that the food here tastes fresh, wholesome, yet packed with all the familiar comforting notes of Asian cuisine – you wont leave feeling sluggish as you would after a big Indo-Chinese meal.
Here are some of our favourites:
Crispy scallion pancakes which I imagine is a night market staple across Taiwan. TaiPei Dao makes theirs with an oolong tea twist.
Jasmine tea chicken and prawn shu mai, topped with crab eggs. Taipei Dao does a great selection of dim sum, like green tea prawn chives dumplings, radish cake with beef bacon and more. If dim sum is your thing, try the All You Can Eat Dim Sum offer every weekend priced at AED98 per person.
Chin Hsuan oolong tea seafood rolled in tofu skins
Crispy prawn with chopped garlic and spring onion
Chicken in black pepper sauce
Mixed 5 grains vegetable fried rice. TaiPei Dao uses germinated brown rice which provides four times more fiber and vitamin E than regular rice, and three times more vitamin B1, B6 and magnesium.
We ended the meal with this decadent chocolate fondant, made with sweet potato starch, organic whole wheat flour, organic eggs, and 70% Swiss dark chocolate. The pomelo ice-cream served on the side is made in house with organic palm sugar.
Sweet potato, one of my favourite things to eat at home, is a good source of fibre and is rich in Vitamin A, good for your eyes, bones and immune function. TaiPei Dao uses sweet potato flour in a lot of their menu items because it holds moisture well, brings a richness of flavour, and adds a slight sweetness to baked products. It is used in a lot of the items in Taipei Dao’s bakery, which we stopped by on our way out. Organic, all-natural refined sugar-free, and wholegrain flour breads, muffins, cookies, and desserts. There is also a retail section with items handpicked by Felice, if you wish to carry on your healthy diet at home.
After the meal, we were given a shot of Herb Vinegar. I know, I know! Sounds harsh but it was actually quite tasty. Herb vinegars are known to introduce good bacteria in your digestive tract and help with digestion. I’ve been having a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar everyday for a couple of years now and can vouch for its efficacy.
Before we left, Felice gave us this jar of Deep Sea Mineral Salt (below) which is used for all cooking at the restaurant. Reading up, I learnt that this salt is found in the water 662 meters below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, off the West Coast of Taiwan. At this depth, the water is free from pollutants and the process of salt extraction ensures that it retains all the important minerals lost in everyday salt.
If all of this nutritional info is BS and means absolutely nothing to you, TaiPei Dao is still definitely worth a visit. Its a cozy little restaurant in the heart of Dubai and the food is delicious; you can eat to your heart’s content knowing its all good for you!
LOCATION – South Ridge Tower 4, Downtown Dubai
DISCLOSURE: We were guests of Taipei Dao. As always, all opinions are our own.