Restaurants in Kenting
Finding good restaurants in Kenting should be easy, right? After all, there are so many of them all over the place around Hengchun, Kenting Village, Baisha, and Nanwan. Unfortunately, I have to give you some bad news… In this part of Taiwan, quantity doesn’t equal to quality. There are in fact very few good restaurants in the Kenting area, and it’s better if you do some research before going out for a bite, otherwise you most likely will end up wasting a lot of money on miserable food and poor service. Yes, most restaurants in Kenting are overpriced.
Ali Seafood Restaurant in Kenting, Taiwan
Over the years, I’ve made the effort to be adventurous on many occasions, and tried some of the very inviting restaurants in Kenting town along the main strip. Most of them have great decorations, nice patios, bars, music, and appealing names like Blue Coral, Thai Paradise… BTW, stay away from the restaurants who claim to have real Thai cuisine. I’ve probably tried all of them, always in the hope of discovering a treasure, and not a single one comes even close to offering authentic Thai food. Plus, they are ridiculously expensive for what they offer.
BUT… I also have great news for you! I know 3 amazing restaurants in Kenting (and one small cafe) where you can go to fill your stomach with high quality, fresh food and cold Taiwan Beer.. It’s not Thai, but it’s delicious!
Ali Seafood Restaurant
The ultimate seafood experience!
(If you somehow must choose only one restaurant in Kenting, Ali is the place! You may skip the other ones if pressed by time.)
Ali Seafood Restaurant is the most popular Chinese / Taiwanese seafood restaurant in the whole Kenting region even with locals. This fact is usually a good sign. I have been there at least 20 times and I have never seen this place quiet. There’s always a lot of customers, which is definitely wanted at a seafood place for freshness - the fish are not just sitting there in the heat, waiting to be picked, like at many other restaurants in the southern part of Taiwan. Rotation is fast. Fish are so fresh, even the frozen ones still seem alive and staring at you begging to be picked...
The variety of fish, seafood, and vegetables is huge and the portions are very generous. You can select what you want at the counter by the fish tanks by simply pointing. Some of my favourite dishes are the shrimps, squid, cabbage, parrot fish, and the lobster. Ahhhh!! THE LOBSTER!! Ali's lobster was voted #1 dish in Taiwan (by me and my wife). So freakin amazing!! You must order it! You have to be careful, people might try to steal it... It's THAT good! Check it out... here's a picture:
You can choose to have your fish either fried, steamed, or barbecued. Beer is super cold and cheap. You need to grab your rice by yourself at a little station in the centre of the restaurant. By the way, their rice is delicious - it has pieces of sweet potatoes in it. Service is first-class, fast, and efficient. Parking lot is Wall Mart-size, so you could invite 200 of your friends, or drive a 30-foot-long winnebago and park it with ease. (I don't know why, I have a fond passion for big parking lots, and Ali wins.)
Bring a sweater as the place is freezer-like cold (to keep the customers fresh?) Ali Seafood Restaurant is a bit outside of town, on the way to Baishawan (Baisha Beach) so you'll need wheels to get there, or be ready to walk a very long way!
Ali Seafood Restaurant in Kenting is an all-star favorite of mine. Do it. You won't be disappointed!
Address: 20 Shawei Rd, Hengchun Township
Hours: 11am - 2pm, 5pm - 9pm
Houbihu Fishing Harbor
Houbihu Marina is the biggest fishing harbour in Kenting National Park. That’s where most local Taiwanese and restaurants buy their seafood. There’s a couple of very traditional restaurants in the main building. It’s always packed and you might have to wait 5 to 10 minutes to be seated. This is where the boats come to unload their catch, so it doesn’t get any fresher than that. Prices are a bit high, but the plates are gigantic. The boxes of freshly-cut sashimi are the exeption to this rule - they are cheap and it is 100% super fresh! Try the giant octopus legs also.
Address: 43 Daguang Road, Daguang Village, Hengchun Township
Hours: 10am - 7pm
Fresh sashimi at Houbihu Harbor
Piccolo Polpo Italian Restaurant
Located right across from the road from Nanwan Beach, Piccolo Polpo Italian Restaurant serves what I believe is the only true Italian food in Taiwan (apart from my own pizza, of course!) This newly established spot serves delicious risotto, seafood, pasta, salads, and a small selection of fantastic, authentic Italian appetizers. The Piccolo Polpo is my wife’s main “thing to do” when we travel to Kenting. She’d be totally fine driving 4 hours from Taichung to Kenting, have their risotto and return to Taichung absolutely satisfied. It’s that good!
The location is nice, you can see the ocean. I like to sit at the bar next to their open kitchen. The cooks and the chef are real pros and it’s half the pleasure of being there watching them preparing dishes. Good wine, good coffee, warm decor, but tiny parking lot.
Get there early on weekends as it tends to fill up quickly. It’s popular with both locals and travellers.
Address: 68 Nanwan Road, Nanwan, Hengchun Township
Phone: 8888 2822
Summer Point Restaurant in Jialeshui
Summer Point is a warm little cafe in Jialeshui, just across the road from the beach. It's kind of a laid-back surfers' hangout where you can grab a beer after hitting the waves. Their coffee is fresh and the burgers are American-style. French fries are also quite decent. Staff is friendly and can give you local travel info.
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