International air travel is never a particularly relaxing experience, but it can be particularly stressful for people with dietary restrictions. Not all international airlines offer vegetarian or vegan meals, and after 12 hours of flying, that packed lunch you brought along might be more likely to induce nausea than a comfortable sense of satisfaction and well-being. You might end up getting off at your destination hungry, or worse, you might find yourself marooned for hours (or even a day) in a foreign airport on a layover. At times such times, it’s good to know whether you can depend on finding food. So, I’m going to start a new travel segment: Vegan Airport Food Guides! Whenever I travel, I’ll try report on places to eat, dishes to order and any other interesting things I see.
At most of the airports I’ve been to, finding vegan food has been fairly challenging. However, much like Taiwan itself, the Taipei Taoyuan International Airport has quite a few options for vegans and vegetarians. I will list the vegetarian places that I personally know about, but keep in mind that this is by no means an exhaustive list – there are no doubt numerous other places to get vegetarian food in addition to these. You can explore other restaurants in Taipei Taoyuan here.
1. Li Pin Vegetarian
- Type: Vegetarian (probably has vegan options)
- Location: Departure Area, Terminal 1 – B1F (Basement 1st Floor)
- Hours: 10:00~22:00
- Website: Airport Page
There’s a cafeteria in the Basement Floor of Terminal 1, in the non-secure area of the airport (before you go through security/check-in). Li Pin Vegetarian is located inside the cafeteria. Sadly I didn’t have a chance to visit this restaurant, but luckily a few other wonderful travelers have documented their experiences at this restaurant here and here.
2. Homee Kitchen
- Type: NOT vegetarian (has 3 vegetarian options, 1 vegan option)
- Location: Departure Area, Terminal 1 – 3F (near A4 Gate Area)*
- Hours: 6:00 ~ 23:00
- Website: Airport Page, Company Website
- *Special Note: According to the website there’s 3 other locations in the Terminal 1 Departure Area, but I didn’t see them.
- Language Barrier: English menu, Staff speak great English
Homee Kitchen isn’t a vegetarian restaurant, but it has a couple of vegetarian options and at least 1 vegan option. All the vegetarian options are marked with a green “素”. There are 3 vegetarian options: the vegetable & mushroom noodle soup, a Vegetarian Set with Rice, and vegetable buns (served at breakfast). The only thing that I know is for-sure vegan is the Vegetable & Mushroom Noodle Soup. The other vegetarian dinner option, the Vegetarian Set with Rice, is NOT vegan (I asked). The vegetable buns may be vegan, but I was there for dinner so they weren’t available to order. If you’d like them, just ask the staff if they contain milk or egg. They’re very helpful & speak perfect English!
I got earl grey iced tea, a cup of fresh pressed Taiwan soy milk, and the Vegetable & Mushroom Noodle Soup Set. Maybe it was just the jetlag and 9-hour-layover talking, but I thought it was DELICIOUS. I would definitely recommend this to anyone stuck in the departure area during lunch and dinner – it’s a good deal (for airport food) and incredibly warm and filling, perfect for an achey tired traveller!
3. I-Mei Food Company
- Type: NOT vegetarian (has a vegan option)
- Location: Departure Area, Terminal 2 -4F
- Hours: 06:00~22:30
- Website: Airport Page, Company Website
- Language Barrier: English menu, some English spoken
I got hungry again as my departure time approached, so I went on the hunt again for vegetarian food. I notice quite a few places had options that might be vegetarian, but ultimately I ended up at I-mei. It’s definitely not a vegetarian restaurant (almost everything on the menu is meat), but they have a vegetable dumpling set. I asked if they contained meat, egg or milk, and after some initial hesitation they said no. Hopefully that was the correct information – due to the hesitation, I’d encourage you to ask yourself as well (just to confirm).
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t particularly impressed by this meal. They weren’t terrible, but the dumpling just didn’t have much flavor at all – I feel like it could have used some sort of sauce or spice or something to add some flavor. I’ve encountered this problem at other vegetarian Chinese restaurants though – I think I may just be so used to pan-fried dumpling that when I eat steamed dumplings, I’m disappointed by the lack of fat. The soup was thick and a bit slimy in texture, but quite flavorful. I couldn’t finish it but what I did eat, I enjoyed. Overall, I would recommend other restaurants over this one, but if dumpling are you’re thing it might be a good choice.
Have any experiences of your own in Taipei Taoyuan Airport? Please leave your recommendations in the comments!
Thanks for reading!