Although not a famous vegan paradise like Taipei, Kaohsiung has its unique and high quality offering in terms of vegan food.
From traditional Chinese street vendor, to realistic Japanese veggie fish sushi, this coastal city will impress you with its plant based cuisine.
Most of the restaurants in this guide are easy to get to when you travel by the metro. After this guide, you should be able to navigate Kaohsiung like a pro vegan foodie!
First thing first, as English is not as common in Kaohsiung as cities like Taipei. Learning a few vegan related words would be helpful.
In general, the word for vegan or vegetarian is “素” or “齋”. The words for vegan include “純素”, “全素”, or “五辛素”. You may find them on restaurant menus, food packagings.
Some useful sentences are:
I eat vegan (Don’t eat meat, milk and egg).
我吃全素 (不吃肉, 蛋, 奶)
Does this have milk or egg?
Now we got the basics out of the way, let’s get to the vegan food in Kaohsiung.
This vegan cafe near Sizhiwan Station is one of my favorites in Kaohsiung. Located on the ground floor of an old Chinese building, Mottainai Cafe kept some parts of the original elements, like the gate and the window frames, and build the interior with the original building in mind. The result is a beautiful modern cafe with a unique local vibe that’s hard to find elsewhere.
Homemade nut milk, fairtrade cocoa powder and desserts that don’t use refined sugar, it shows that the owners have put care into designing the menu. After you’ve decided what to order, you pay at the counter first before the meal.
The food and drinks are well made and delicious. I especially love the red beetroot cashew milk latte with a cute latte art on top. The milk is thick with a layer of foam on top. The desserts, cookie and raw chocolate tart, are both delicious.
If you are in Kaohsiung, you need to try this one-of-a-kind shop. It has veganised a Japanese street dessert, known as imagawayaki or obanyaki, which is a circular shaped grilled pancake with red bean or custard inside.
Wheels of Fortune cakes make 5 flavours (plus seasonal offerings): Lava chocolate cookie, custard with tapioca pearls, brown sugar mochi, and two savoury options: bacon potato and three cup chicken. They are only TW$25-30 each, which is not even US$1.
I especially love their sweet flavours. The lava chocolate cookie has chocolate sauce gushing out once you’ve taken the first bite. It is going to be messy, but it is worth it as it tastes amazing. And the custard in the other flavour tastes like the dairy custard. One of the best desserts you can get.
The food cart is located outside another vegan place called Ye Shu Shu Shi which will be introduced later in this guide.
Fruitful Food Buffet is a big vegetarian buffet in Kaohsiung Dream Mall (3rd floor). You can reach it by first taking the metro to Kaisyuan Station, then tram to Dream Mall Station.
The selection of this buffet is very good and vegan items are marked clearly. Most (about 70%) of the food is vegan. Different section specialises on different cuisines.
The Japanese areas have tempura, sushi, and some other Japanese small dishes. Next to it you can find dim sum, stir fry dishes and more. There are also areas for pasta, pizza, make-your-own noodles, etc.
For desserts and drinks, I’m happy to find 5 vegan desserts on the two visits, like matcha red bean cake, mango sponge cake and mochi. Drinks include soy milk, nut milk, soda, juice, and even a coffee machine that uses only soy milk so it’s vegan friendly.
The restaurant is quite big with hundreds of seats. Even though the restaurant is not full on weekdays, the food is refilled consistently. Also the service is great with polite and happy staff.
This busy Japanese restaurant serves high quality and delicious Japanese cuisine. You can take the metro to Kaohsiung Arena Station station and walk about 15 minutes, or take any bus that goes to nearby bus stops. It is quite a popular restaurant so allocate more time if you’d like to visit.
You will find many traditional Japanese dishes here like sushi, tempura, skewers, etc. I especially love the soft shell crab sushi and the mushroom ball (fried mushroom with tofu and veggies). The food is in general very good with reasonable prices.
Hi-Lai Vegetarian is a popular Chinese restaurant in the Hanshin Arena shopping mall next to Kaohsiung Arena Station Station. Most items are vegan and non vegan ones are marked with egg or milk symbols.
You can find an ordering sheet on the table which you can mark the dishes you want. They have a good selection of dim sum and other traditional Chinese dishes available.
I went in the afternoon for the dim sum. The dishes are delicious and nicely presented. I especially love the crispy shredded radish cake and Shanghai bok choi dumplings.
The decor is also nice and modern with comfortable seating.
Tian Zhi Yu Restaurant is another good quality Japanese restaurant. They are all vegan with some interesting items like okonomiyaki and takoyaki.
The vegan okonomiyaki, which is a Japanese pancake traditionally made mainly with eggs and cabbage, is well made and delicious. They are able to make this without egg. The pancake is flavourful and the edges are crispy. Would be perfect if it’s less oily.
Takoyaki which usually is made with octopus, is created with oyster mushroom to mimic the texture. The mixed flavour plate comes with a few different flavour toppings.
One thing that’s not as great is the use of plastic. Fork, spoon and chopsticks are all one-use. And they only have plastic bottled drinks available.
Inside Jhongsiao Night Market (near Central Park Station and Sanduo Shopping District Station) you can find a few vegetarian places. This particular one 聖林素食館 has cheap and delicious food.
I ordered a sesame mix noodles, small soy sauce mushroom rice, tofu soup and a drink. And it only cost TW$105, which is about US$3.5!
Most of the items are vegan. The items that are not vegan (contains milk) are 3 types of veggie meat:
The sesame dry mix noodles is one of the best I’ve had. Very aromatic and flavourful. The consistency of the noodles is also great. I could eat 3 bowls of this if I’m hungry. The other items are also tasty and great value.
One thing to note is that the drinks are from the shop next door so some of them are not vegan. Some may contain milk or honey.
Vegetarian | Address and Hours
These may be the most realistic vegan fish sushi you’ll have.
This Japanese restaurant is closed to Neiwei Station or Aozihdi Station. You will be greeted by its unique fishing village style decor when you walk in.
The menu is mostly vegan and according to the owner, about 95% of the dishes can be made vegan. On the cover of the menu, circle the word “全素” to indicate you want the dishes to be vegan. And then you can mark the items you like by writing inside the menu.
The sushi is beautifully presented. This assorted sushi platter has 7 pieces. The raw fish sashimi sushi is made with konjac, The red and yellow ones in the middle are tomatoes. And asparagus and corn sushi at the end.
The salmon roe sushi is convincingly made with algae. It even has a shell that when you bite it, the sauce inside burst out. Because it is made with algae, it has a slight seafood taste as well.
You can also add TW$30 for unlimited drinks at this machine.
Overall the food, service and decor are all great in this veg Japanese place.
Hope Yaki is a food cart located near Yanchengpu Station that sells vegan takoyaki. Other than this location, they also go to various markets and you can see their schedule on their Facebook page.
Takoyaki is a traditional Japanese street food that is usually made with octopus. Their takoyaki is delicious with a crispy shell and flavourful filling. You can find ingredients like corn and water chestnut inside the soft filling which creates a good mix of different textures. Topped with seaweed, vegan mayo and spices, this snack tastes as good as they look.
New Danhurf is a veg burger in the North of Kaohsiung. They also have a vegan menu available. The food is good and the prices are very reasonable.
I ordered the BBQ burger which comes with a veg beef patty, vegan cheese, hash browns, veggies and barbecue sauce. It’s a sizeable burger that’s also meaty. Despite being one of the most expensive items on the menu (except the ones with beyond meat), the burger set only cost TW$119, which is about US$4.
The set also comes with chewy sweet potato mochi balls and a drink. Both are nice, but the drink comes in a disposable cup with plastic straw.
This place is located right outside Taiwan Railway Nanzi Station. It is also walking distance from the Metropolitan Park metro station (red line).
Double Veggie Buffet is another vegetarian buffet in Kaohsiung. The lunch and dinner buffets are vegetarian while the breakfast buffet serves meat unfortunately. In the morning, only about 20-30% of the dishes are vegan.
Most of the dishes are marked clearly, indicating whether it’s vegan, vegetarian, or contains meat. However, some sauces and toppings are not marked properly. I’ve asked the staff but most of the sauces don’t seem to be vegan. So it may be safer to avoid them.
In the lunch and dinner buffet, you can find dishes from different countries. The variety is good; about 25-30 dishes are vegan. But comparing to the Fruitful Food Buffet, the vegan options are noticeably not as abundant.
However, some parts of this buffet can be improved. Only 1 out of 6 salads are vegan, and none of the pizzas or ice cream are vegan are a bit disappointing.
Overall it’s a good buffet for vegans and would be nice to try if you are in the area.
Who’s craving a bowl of hearty vegan ramen?
This vegan ramen shop, located in an alleyway near Houyi station, sells a selection of ramen and other Japanese dishes. The toppings for the different flavors are the same, but the soup bases are different.
The 5 flavors are Soy milk, miso soy milk, (fermented rice), kimchi and chili tantan noodles. You can also add TW$20 for a more flavorful broth. The ramen comes with a grilled tofu piece, corn, seaweed, soy piece, broccoli and mushrooms. It’s well made and delicious.
Other side dishes include kimchi, pickles, other veggie dishes.
Ye Shu Shu Shi has 2 shops in Kaohsiung and they are both vegan. The two shops have a slightly different menus. This one near Kaohsiung Arena Station has modern white and blue decor.
The menu features some interesting dishes like the Spanish seafood rice that I had, as well as some classic western dishes.
The presentation is everything for this seafood rice. The veggie prawn can pass as real ones by how they look. It also has capsicum, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, and broccoli. The taste is good, though not really authentic.
Wufu is a vegan taco food truck that goes to different market throughout the year. However, it doesn’t have a set location, so check their facebook schedule if you wish to visit.
The colourful art on this taco truck makes a great first impression. They sell 3 different flavors of tacos. The California Sun taco comes with soy pieces, vegan sour cream, chips and other veggies. Things like toasting the tortilla show the owner’s attention to details. The taste is also pretty great.
This veggie fast food shop has a nice selection of burgers, rice, noodles and other dishes. The decor is quite simple with a few seats.
The items that can be made vegan are burgers, hot dogs, curry rice, mushroom noodles, soy milk drinks, teas, etc.
Be careful as the hash brown that comes with the burger sets contains milk. The staff can swap it for french fries with no extra cost. Items like sizzling teppanyaki and toast also cannot be made vegan.
The beef burger has a patty and some other veggies. It’s simple but acceptable for the price. The set fries is nicely made with seasonings on top. These two items plus a drink is TW$115, which is about US$3.8.
In this vegetarian restaurant near Fongshan West Station (Kaohsiung City Council) station you can find pizza made with vegan cheese. The menu is clear of which ones are vegan or can be made vegan.
This tuna vegan cheese pizza is freshly made with potatoes, corn, tomato, bean and some veggie tuna. It also comes with vegan cream cream and thousand island sauce. The base is a bread/toast type of base, but unfortunately it is not very crispy despite being baked fresh.