Mianto: Taipei’s Top Restaurant for International Vegan Cuisine
As we all welcome in the Chinese New Year, there’s no better time than to really get serious with our recent resolutions. Mine is to lose weight, eat better, get healthier, and do more to make the world a better place. The good news is that I can accomplish all of these goals by simply switching to a vegan diet.
living in Taipei, there’s probably no better place in Asia for vegan food. I was not only quick to discover a huge community of vegans in the city, but also the sheer range of options that are quite impressive, from cheap Taiwanese style soups to higher end dining, and everything else in between.
As a group of us were first timers to veganism, we searched around the web to find popular and foreign friendly vegan restaurants to make good impressions on our first experiences. Located around the corner from the Dongmen MRT Station, we found Mianto, Taipei’s top restaurant for international cuisine.
We visited in February and instantly felt warmed by the cosy interior and glowing Christmas decorations which most of Taiwan keep up throughout the winter. The restaurant is a little on the small side, but in some ways it added to the interesting and comfortable atmosphere.
Our immediate impressions were how authentic the place is. We even met the owner, A friendly South African expat called Michel as she came over to take our order. She was enthusiastic enough to have a little chat with us about the place, the food options and her experiences running the vegan restaurant in Taipei.
It’s not hard to see how Mianto has achieved a lot of popularity online as it quickly became a go-to spot for expatriates who are craving the tastes from home and abroad, which are often very difficult to find with no animal products in Taiwan. They use fresh, healthy ingredients, some of which are organic, making it a great place to go for a delicious, healthy meals for locals and foreigners alike.
So here’s what we ordered
Soup of the Day – Price: $80NT
We ordered the soup of the day as our appetizers, which was a medium sized cup of corn soup. Since it would probably be a different soup each day of the week, it’s a shame that I can’t recommend this. Nevertheless, it’s best to ask the waitress what the soup of the day is.
The corn has a deep creaminess to it that massively builds your appetite for the main course. I honestly felt that I could endlessly eat this soup without ever getting full or bored of it! – Not like I’d try though…
Mushroom Pasta – Price: $270NT
Since it was one of their best sellers, we went for the mushroom pasta dish from their Italian style section. We found this dish to have a deep and fresh mushroom taste and the pasta was bouncy. The creamy sauce definitely enthused the tastes together to make this an enjoyable and popular dish on their menu. Recommended for those that prefer the safe bet of not being too adventures, or simply miss the typical European foods back home.
Bunny Chow – Price: $320NT
I was personally recommended the Bunny Chow as my main course by the owner when asked her for something a little more on the exotic side to what most expats would be used to back home. In fact, this is a traditional South African dish, and it’s another one of their best sellers, so I thought why not!?
They actually make the bread themselves with whole wheat and flax bread, so it tasted really fresh. The curry is Indian, bursting with taste and full of spices made for an interesting meal. It wasn’t that hot though, just a little more than mild, and it went well with the cold pickled carrot shredding you get as a side dish. My mouth is pretty sensitive when it comes to spicy food, so it hit the spot without scolding my tonsils.
This dish comes a finger bowl of water as some customers prefer to wash the crumbs off their fingers after ripping and dipping the bread into the curry-filled bread. I personally didn’t use it.
Baked Lasagna – Price: $320NT
We ordered the baked Lasagna as to see if you can really tell a difference between meat based and vegan. It took the longest to arrive as it needs 30 minutes to bake. They will politely remind you that upon ordering it. It’s made by layers of pasta with tomato based soy protein and cheese sauce, then they bake it.
As a first timer to the whole vegan experience, I was super impressed. I’d have to be pointed out that there was no meat products in the food at all thanks to the strong soy protein the chef uses to supplement the beef. Another thing to point out, which we were all shocked to discover was how filling it was, we almost couldn’t finish it!
Soy-based Vanilla Ice Cream – Price: $120NT & Raspberry Juice $85NT
As for the dessert, we ordered the soy-based ice cream, and yes, there’s a face in it, which believe it or not, none of us actually noticed it at the time! Maybe because I was too quick to enjoy this naughty healthy treat! in fact, I actually preferred this dessert over the typical milk-based vanilla ice-cream we all know and love. I don’t think I’ve eaten anything as silky smooth as this, although it was more of a very thick cream than ice, it wasn’t very cold either.
I ordered a delicious raspberry juice which came free with my set meal. It was chilled and bursting with flavor, but not too sweet. As the desert was more of soft and subtle taste, the sweet juice really complimented it.
As a really kind gesture from the owner, Michel, she came over and offered us a complimentary set of soy-based teddy bear chocolates! So cute, right? We were told to leave them for a few minutes and let them thaw a little by the room temperature to get the best tasting experience, so we did. It was such a kind gesture for the moment as we later found that it’s not something the restaurant typically sells or makes on a day to day basis.
These cute vegan chocolates were amazing little treats with the same type of deep taste you’d get from dark chocolate. There’s definitely a lot of special effort put into all the food at Mianto, and these chocolates were no exception!
For those that were raised on a steady diet of skewered pork and chicken curries, and think that vegan food is all bland and forgettable, I strongly suggest you pay Mianto a visit and be prepared to have your perceptions fully changed! – Ours have!
Overall, total bill came to $1,197NT for the 3 of us as we ordered in sets rather than the individual prices shown.
As for my share of the bill, ordering the Soup ($NT80), lasagna ($NT320), Ice cream ($NT120), juice ($NT85), totalled to $NT605 individually, but as we ordered as a set, my bill only came to $NT498 which is very affordable.
It’s also worth noting that there’s a 10% service charge added to the final bill. There is also a minimum order of $250NT per person.
What’s the vibe?
A very friendly and authentic restaurant with cosy interior. Sure, the restaurant is a little on the small side, but in some ways it added to the interesting and comfortable atmosphere that you don’t get at the bigger and impersonal chain restaurants.
Would I go back?
For sure I will, and most likely with the same group of friends who also want to revisit there. We all thought we gave our vegan experiences the best first impressions. We had missed out on the other best sellers that we want to go back and try. We’ve heard nothing but positive things about their mac and smoked cheese dish!
Chinese name: 艾果豐
Hours: 11:30am – 9:30pm, closed on Mondays
Phone: 02 2321 9749 (owner speaks English & Chinese)
English Address: No. 7, Lane 146, Section 1, Xinsheng South Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, 100
Chinese Address: 台北市中正區新生南路一段146巷7號
Closest MRT: Dongmen Station – Exit 6 (green line)