Check-In Taipei | Affordable Taiwanese favourites in Central
Though I’ve never lived in Taiwan, I’ve spent nearly every summer in Taipei since I was born. There is little I love more than Taiwanese ‘snacks’ from the classic rice roll and soybean milk breakfast to the fried chicken cutlet and bubble tea combo at the night markets. But since moving to Hong Kong two years ago, I’d yet to try Taiwanese food here. When an opportunity came to try Check-In Taipei’s new all-day menu, I jumped at the chance.
Located on Hollywood Road, I’d passed the restaurant countless times. It’s an industrial-chic spot seating just 35 people. This means it’s frequently packed out so reservations are recommended. The restaurant’s been open for four years, originally focusing on fusion food but with the recent menu revamp led by Chef Tai (formerly of Ye Shanghai), the restaurant has gone back to basics. The food now focuses on Taiwanese favourites and affordable casual dining with most dishes under $88.
We started with a few plates of their House Lo Sui ($36 to $48). The house lo sui sauce is infused with Chinese herbs, enough for traditionalists but wouldn’t be overwhelming for those new to the taste. Each dish, whether the chicken wings or the pig’s stomach, was lightly marinated. The overall taste is quite sweet.
Given its best-seller status, the Chicken and Waffles ($75 for 3 pieces) is the only dish that remains from their previous menu. A mini basil-infused waffle is topped with pineapple chutney and a hunk of crispy chicken before being speared together by a toothpick. We found this impossible to eat together even with the toothpick, and ended up eating each component separately. That said, the chicken was delicious; juicy dark meat and a flavourful batter. For more value, we’d opt for an order of just the chicken.
The Extremely Cheesy Egg Pancake Roll ($85) is one of the most Instagrammed items on Check-In Taipei’s geotag. With its extremely stringy cheese sauce, it’s quite the visual ephemera. The pancake is crispy fried and slathered with a dark sweet sauce before being rolled, covered in the cheese sauce, and baked. Definitely a cheat day meal! It’s a heavier option than your standard Taiwanese pancake, so if you’re not into this they also have other options like the Truffle Corn Egg Crepe ($68, not pictured).
Of course, we couldn’t leave without trying the Lu Rou Fan with Marinated Half Boiled Egg ($38) or the Taiwanese Beef Noodles ($78). It was nice that the rice comes as a small portion, so guests have room to try more dishes. The pork mixture is 60/40 pork belly to minced meat which the restaurant notes results in a less oily sauce, though personally I found it to be a bit too lean. I loved the peanut-infused flavour though. And the beef noodles are good value, with a flavourful, sweet broth.
Visit Check-In Taipei the next time you’re in the mood for some Taiwanese street eats. The prices are very reasonable for Central, and look out for a second location opening up soon.
27 Hollywood Rd, Central, 2351 2622
*By invitation for Foodie