Taiwan Food & Dishes
What to Eat in Taiwan
To say that noodle dishes are popular in Taiwan is an understatement - there are countless types of noodle dishes in Taiwan waiting to be savoured. For starters, there’s the usual Taiwanese beef noodles made from hand-pulled noodles and tender beef. Then there’s Taiwanese sesame noodles which is lightly spicy and tantalising to the taste buds, and there are signature county-based dishes such as Sichuan Noodles, Nantou slender noodles and hot Hsinchu noodles.
And let’s not forget dishes made popular by Taiwanese aborigines. The Han-Chinese settlers introduced culinary delights that are mostly simple yet aromatic dishes where seafood is the main component. Hakka people, on the other hand, are more extravagant, at least when flavours are concerned.
For those with a sweet tooth, sweet and savoury pastries as well as a dizzying array of desserts can be found in Taiwan. Aboriginal millet cakes are lightly sweetened and make great snacks, Hakka glutinous rice cakes, and sweet yet rich egg tarts are only a handful of the best desserts you should savour. There are also icy cool desserts like shaved ice topped with fruits as well as jelly drinks and pearl milk tea - the latter is a popular treat for the young ones in Taiwan.
And how can one not love the taste as well as variety of Taiwanese snacks? Locally known as Taiwanese street food, these snacks can be eaten any time of the day and are usually sold in road side stalls. The good stuff consist of the usual fare such as oyster omelette, stinky tofu, Taiwanese meatballs and coffin sandwiches.Read More
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Ai-yu jelly is a much-loved dessert found predominantly in Taiwan. The jelly is always served cold, with shaved ice, squeezed lime and sometimes fruits, giving it a cold, sweet and sour flavour that will refresh your taste buds and quench your thirst at the same time.
Beef noodles are a popular staple food in Taiwan. They could be cooked either in a hot and spicy or mild and soupy style for those who dislike spiciness in their food. The beef is usually tender, having been marinated and braised beforehand.
Braised Pork in Sliced Buns
Also called gua bao, this braised pork dish is also a popular snack food in Taiwan. It is also often compared to a type of Taiwanese “burger”. The buns themselves are soft and fluffy bread not unlike a thicker version of the pita bread. Filled with pork and vegetables, the braised pork in sliced buns are a delight to eat when one is in a hurry.
Candied Fruit Sticks
A delight with both kids and adults, candied fruit sticks are always sold at night markets. The dizzying array of fruits on sticks can be spotted for miles away! Fruits like strawberries, grapes and kiwis are caramellised and then stuck on sticks.
Deep-fried Chicken with Seasoning
This may look like common fried chicken but the deep-fried chicken with seasoning is a great tasting Taiwanese street food. The vendor will deep-fry the chicken, cut it up into bite-sized pieces then cover them with various seasoning powder. Some like it hot and will request for more chilli powder seasoning.
Drunken chicken dishes in Taiwan are usually infused with Shaoxing wine. Some restaurants even serve these dishes with lots of herbs and spices, the perfect combination for those who are health conscious and do not like to consume lots of fried and oily street food.
The hotpot is regarded as a “family” dish, a dish that is always eaten in the company of lots of people. Many Taiwanese view this as a community thing where relationships can be fostered while eating from a common claypot. The dish itself contains a myriad of ingredients such as meat, vegetables, seafood - all cooked in a simmering clear soup and eaten with rice.
Ice Mango and Sago
The ice mango and sago dessert is a delicious and refreshing dessert found at most night markets and roadside stalls. Flavoured shaved ice is placed in a bowl, and topped with succulent pieces of golden yellow mangoes, sweet sago and other types of fruits. Some will even request to have fruit syrup or sauces drizzled on the ice for added flavour.
Light Taiwanese Congee
Light Taiwanese congee is most often eaten with ingredients like thousand century eggs, preserved salted duck eggs and pork floss. The congee itself is light and delicious, and is often eaten during breakfast or supper.
Mangrove Crab Porridge
The Mangrove crab porridge is just the ideal thing to eat during a rainy evening. This dish is most often offered in the outskirts or smaller villages at an affordable price but bigger restaurants offer them in their menus too, albeit with more ingredients and a higher price tag.
Also known as bawan, these meatball dumplings can sure pack a whole lot of punch once you put a single one into your mouth. The dumplings can be either fried or steamed, and are usually sold in the streets and at night markets. You can request to have them cut up in small pieces and dipped in sweet or spicy sauce.
Oyster omelette is one of the yummiest, must-try street food in Taiwan. Most travelers never leave Taiwan without tasting at least half a dozen plates of this delicious, decadent goodness. The dish is typically made from lots of eggs, oysters, flour, starch and other ingredients to create a perfect omelette covered with light gravy. Some even eat it with spicy chilli sauce on the side.
Pearl Milk Tea
The popularity of pearl milk tea has grown from Taiwan to all parts of the world, particularly in Asia. All sorts of flavoured milk tea are offered at drink stands and are topped with starchy balls made from flour, jelly and sometimes cut fruits. This is the perfect drink to wash down your food when visiting one of the many night markets in Taiwan.
Slender Noodles with Oysters
Also known as o-a-mi-suann, these noodles are usually cooked in a starchy soup and topped with fresh oysters. The noodles are almost translucent and while most would expect to eat them with chopsticks, just a spoon would suffice because it is easier to eat them using a single hand. You can find a wide variety of slender noodles with oysters at night markets - most are sold in small styrofoam bowls and plastic spoons.
Stinky tofu is typically fermented soy bean curd sold at most, if not all, night markets. The vendors would often fry the fermented tofu and drizzle them with hot, sweet and spicy sauce before serving it to customers waiting in line.