swensons taipei restaurant review
Swensens Taipei Restaurant Review
by Liv
May 19, 2011

There are many things I really like about the UK but some things that really annoy me. The first things that really annoys me is the NHS, it’s useless! The second is eating out. Most shops are open until around 6pm, some 8pm, and the same goes for restaurants. Restaurants close at 11pm and reopen for lunchtime the next time.

One of the best things about Taipei is that there is always something to do / somewhere to eat 24 hours a day and the quality of the food is always really good. When I was younger I used to enjoy clubbing and when we would leave clubs at 4am we would go to a restaurant and grab some food.

One of my favourite 24 hour restaurants is Swensens. Swensens is located at 106 Taiwan Taipei City Daan District Section 4, RénÀi Road 109號 and they serve delicious American food 24 hours a day.

The first time Chris and I visited Taipei together I took him to Swensens for breakfast. Swensens is a chain of American restaurants serving the usual array of American food; burgers, steaks, ribs etc. He ordered an English breakfast, which he really enjoyed but he was bemused when my father ordered a burger. He said “burger? for breakfast?” expecting a tiny little burger but the burger was the size of a plate. It was huge. He had a couple bites and vowed next time we came to Taipei together he would order a burger for breakfast.

Two years later we returned to Taipei and went to Swensens at 5am where he ordered a burger and I ordered a steak. I also ordered soup and a smoothie. Chris ordered a cookies and cream ice cream drink.

Everything was really good. The burger was delicious, the cheese was tasty, the bacon crispy and the burger was cooked perfectly. Same with my steak, it was cooked exactly how I like it and was covered with garlic butter and came with the usual assortment of chips/salad.

Chris absolutely loved his drink and I really enjoyed my smoothie. Everything cost about £30.

This is the thing that annoys me. Yes you can buy food at the UK from 6am/7am but it’s always the same assortment of bacon and egg sandwiches or greasy spoon food. Don’t get me wrong, I love greasy spoon food sometimes but Taipei has so many places like Swensens, where you can walk in 24 hours a day and eat really delicious food.

Pumpkin soup

Cookies and cream milkshake and smoothie at Swensons

5am burger at Swensons. This was really delicious

5am steak covered in garlic butter at Swensens. Awesome!

Close up of that delicious steak

Swensens Taipei menu

Swensens Taipei menu

Swensens Taipei menu

Swensens Taipei menu

Swensens Taipei menu


By Liv

Illustrator by day, home chef at night. I worked as a professional chef for many years but now I draw for a living. I now cook just for the love of cooking. The recipes on this website are all influenced by things I have eaten in different locations around the world.

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  1. stevchipmunk

    Just discovered your website… some interesting recipes. I definitely will continue to follow you.

    …but you went all the way to Taipei to eat American diner food at… Swensens? Although, from the brief hint of what the restaurant looks like, it does look CLEAN, which is an attraction…

    But at 5 am, I would suggest you get a quick bowl of noodles and go to sleep. Then for lunch the next day, I would suggest going to Din Tai Fung for dien shin. Good tasting, not cheap but not too expensive, decor with clean lines… and clean.

    • admin

      Hi there, we didn’t specifically just go to Taipei to go to Swensens but it is one of the restaurants we wanted to visit. I’ve been to Din Tai Fung dozens of times, Mitsui, Kao Chi, you name it I’ve probably been there. Another note about Swensens is I used to visit there often with my girlfriends after going at night and eating a big breakfast, it’s part of my good memories from when I lived there.

      The attraction of Swensens is the food is quite tasty but it’s the excitement of eating a big burger and steak mid morning, which is something we definitely can’t do in the UK. Sure if I want to eat noodles, dim sun, shenjingbao etc, I’d just visit one of the night markets and grab a bowl of beef noodle soup or whatever.

      Another reason for writing about Swensens is to show Western people there’s more food in Taipei than just Chinese/Taiwanese food. A lot of people in the UK think in China/Taiwan all we eat is rice, noodles, etc, this post shows there is more than that available.

      Thanks for the advice but trust me I know exactly where to go in Taipei to eat any kind of food I want, it is my home city after all where I lived for the first 25 years of my life.

  2. Paul

    Sorry, I disagree. I lived for a year in Vancouver at 5th and Commercial Drive. Within about ten blocks, there are 20 restaurants and 10 coffee bars, and there’s probably more variety than the entire city of Taipei. For example, just off the top of my head, there’s a vegan restaurant and bakery, and authentic Indian, Mexican
    Japanese, Spanish, Ethiopian, Italian, Greek and so on, as well as restuararants with patio dining that serve fare similar to Swensen’s. There are also at least two coffee bars that have been open for about 50 years. These are not franchises. I would like to know where there’s even an Ethiopian restaurant in all of Taiwan? If you like fast food, then there’s a variety of Taiwanese fast food, and actually very little else. And you can forget about restaurants open late (2 a.m.) on the weekend. They are all closed by 8:00 p.m., because Taiwanese are supposed to be at home watching TV by then.

    • admin

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you for your obnoxious and slightly racist comment. You make it sound like I’m trying to knock down Canada bus this blog post wasn’t meant to be competitive, it’s just my observations based on living in Taiwan for 25 years. Where did you get the idea restaurants are closed by 8pm at the weekend? Again during my 25 years living in Taiwan and based on my experiences many restaurants are open past 8pm at the weekend.

      Enjoy your life in Vancouver. Certainly people as obnoxious as you don’t make me want to visit anytime soon.

  3. Noush

    I have just found your article on Swensen’s & you have saved the day! I am thrilled!!! I travel to Taipei once a month (ish) for work, and often finish very late, like now for example I have just got to my hotel at 10:30pm at night. I am vegetarian, I don’t speak/can’t read mandarin, and am often by myself, so I need places that have an English menu, and a few meat free options, until now (been coming here perhaps 9 months or so) I have never found anywhere within walking distance of my hotel that offers this. I had been going to Tom’s Diner, but it’s gone, City Star is just not the kind of place I feel comfortable eating alone really, there are other places but I don’t want to have to get a taxi. I thought I was going to be stuck with overpriced, overcooked room service rubbish, or a trip to the family mart for a bag of crisps! I have been past Swensen’s a million times but I thought it was an ice cream parlour & didn’t dream it would be 24 hour!! What a treat for my last night 🙂 Thank you, I am on my way there now!

    • admin

      Hi Noush,

      Many thanks for your kind comment. I got few negative comment about my Swensens Taipei Restaurant Review before and I think you’re the first person I know understand why I wrote this review and who I wrote this restaurant information to.

      Your comment really made me feel so much happier that I wrote this blog post and hope you had a good time there. 😉




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