Wan Ke Lou
Wan Ke Lou (wàn kè lóu 萬客樓)
A great acclimatizer for new arrivals, Wan Ke Lou has a wide offering of easy-on-the-taste-buds food that even my grandmother could find palatable. Additionally, it has clear English menus available for the many of us daunted by the Chinese menu boards. When I first moved to Tainan, I lived just two blocks from the Dongning Road location. Being one of the few places in my neighborhood still open when I got off work, I frequented the establishment at least two or three times a week. After my belly started expanding, I eased off the place a bit. While the food is cheaper and more delicious than McDonald’s, I will warn that it might not be any less fattening.
The menu includes some of the following:
- juǎn bǐng 埢餅 – a kind of roll or wrap
- guō tiē 鍋貼 – pan fried dumplings
- tāng bāo 湯包 – soup dumplings
- niú ròu miàn 牛肉麵 – beef noodle soup
While the place advertises itself as a tāng bāo restaurant, I don’t find their soup dumplings particularly good compared to the ones I’ve had elsewhere. My favorite dish is the Japanese style chicken juǎn bǐng (although the vegetable one is also quite good). The niú ròu miàn is a hearty meal in a bowl and one of the best I’ve had in Taiwan. The side dishes give you a nice assortment of vegetables, but tend to be over-priced. If you’re really feeling indulgent, you can try the sweet or salty pancakes. They come drenched in movie-theater-style popcorn butter. There’s also a selection of meat pies, soups, onion bread and many of the standards you would come to expect at other dumpling places in Taiwan. Iced tea and soy milk are free and unlimited if you dine in.
Wan Ke Lou is a chain, though I only know of the one on Dongning Road. There was one on Zhongshan Road in the South Park Plaza, but it closed down last spring. I have heard there is one in Anping, but I’m not sure where it is.
Location: The corner of Dongning and Dongxing Roads, East District, Tainan City, Taiwan