Taiwan is not just about beautiful landmarks, but they are also famous for their delicious street foods. I have not even tried anything that I didn’t actually like because everything was appetizing. It’s not just that the foods are delicious but everything was cheap!
And now, I would also want to make your Taiwan trip exceptional by introducing their local cuisines. Because traveling is not just about buildings and historical sites, it is also about knowing their culture and learning it through the taste of their foods.
Here are the must-try foods in Taiwan:
When my Taiwanese friend told me that I should try stinky tofu, the first thing that I asked was, “how bad does it smell?”. I personally love tofu but I couldn’t imagine eating a food that reeks. I mean, a food can appetize you by just smelling it, right? But, stinky tofu is the exact opposite, you wouldn’t like the smell but you will surely love its taste.
You can also easily tell if there’s a store nearby who sells it cos the smell is strong. Just follow that smell and it will lead you to a kiosk cooking the famous food.
There are 3 types of stinky tofu which are fried, grilled and with soup. My favorite would be the grilled one since it’s not too stinky plus the sauce is so yummy! The tofu on a hotpot is the stinkiest, so if you are curious how stinky the tofu can be, get the one with soup.
FRIED STINKY TOFU – 45 NTD
GRILLED STINKY TOFU – 45 NTD
STINKY TOFU IN A HOTPOT- 90 NTD
I was roaming around the streets of Ximending when I came across this kiosk with people lining up, waiting for their turn to order. I believe that when the queue is long, the food is great. So, I stopped and checked what the fuss is about.
The Angus beef was placed on the grill flamed with a burner. It was perfectly cooked with its tender juicy result. They’d sprinkle some salt and add a seasoning which you can choose from Japanese Teriyaki, Xinjiang Cumin, Black pepper or Hungarian pepper. I had Japanese Teriyaki which goes perfectly with the beef.
PRICE: 200 NTD
CART WHEEL CAKE
The cheapest with the most generous filling food I’ve had! I just ate brunch when I saw a hot cake wheel along the way, but since I am still full I just walked passed by it. However, I couldn’t resist not to go back and get myself one since it looks really divine.
I ordered the cream cake (custard) which tasted heavenly! It has a crispy shell with a generous amount of filling, the cream even spill out with every bite I take. The two main flavors are red bean and custard, however, some store offers more flavors like matcha, sweet potato, choco and a lot more.
PRICE: 15 NTD each
Another local Taiwanese food that you need to try is the scallion pancake. Most Taiwanese likes to grab some food before they go to work or school, and this is one of the popular foods that they would get on their way.
It is a green onion pancake that is flat and flaky. You can also add egg on it, but I like it without the egg so I can taste the original flavor. I love how simple the ingredients are but still makes the food scrumptious. You need not to miss this! Sweaaar!!!
PRICE: 40 NTD
Talking about Taiwanese food, this is also a must on your list. I love oysters especially when they’re baked with cheese on top. But I have never tried oyster omelette prior to my visit to Taipei so I don’t have an idea how it really taste like.
This dish is widely known in Taiwan for its savory taste. It is made of sweet potato starch and a pan-fried omelette with a freshly poached osyters, adding the signature red sauce that makes the dish savory.
PRICE: 40 NTD
HOT STAR CHICKEN
Have you ever eaten a chicken that is larger than the size of your palm? Then you shouldn’t miss out the Hot Star chicken. It’s too huge for you not to share, but if you feel like being selfish then indulge yourself with one. It’s crispy texture on the outside and juicy flavor on the inside makes it more remarkable.
PRICE: 70 NTD
The sausage that has another sausage inside. Isn’t it redundant? Well, yeah. You maybe be curious now but that’s actually not the reason why you should try it but simply because it is yummy!
The Taiwanese sausage has a distinct Chinese flavor, maybe an herb added on it but whatever that is, it makes the sausage so tasty. It is also easy to find since it’s sold in all night markets.
PRICE: 25-40 NTD
A traditional Chinese candied fruit snack on a stick. The first authentic sugar coated fruit was the “Bird Pear” or simply called Chinese Hawthorn. However, the snack now has different varieties of sour fruits like strawberries or cherry tomatoes.
The taste is a combination of sweet and tart flavors. The Hawthorn berry has a slightly tangy taste. The union of the sugar’s sweetness and sour berries exhilarate the palate.
PRICE: 30 NTD
This is very similar to the Filipino’s Ginataang Halo-halo or Bilo-bilo, though this doesn’t have a coconut cream. This Taiwanese dessert is locally called “Yu Yuan” which is very popular in Jiu Fen, however, it was not originally from there but in Riufang.
The Taro balls are made out of sweet potato, tapioca, and yam. You can have it either cold or hot, with choices of syrup like ginger tea, or red bean. I just had the original flavor which has no added syrup and served hot since the weather in Jiu Fen that time was chilly.
PRICE: 30 NTD
XIAO LONG BAO
Eating Xiao Long Bao is like a ritual when visiting Taiwan, especially in the most famous restaurant named Din Tai Fung. Do you know that the Xiao Long Bao in Din Tai Fung has 18 folds and is believed that it is the perfect number of folds a dumplings should have. You can watch how they make each little morsel from the glass window inside the resto.
Some people get confused on how they would eat it since it has a hot soup inside. You just simply start from the top and sip the soup before eating the whole thing. Well, you can eat how you want but this is is also to prevent your tongue from being burnt.
The perfect sauce has 1/3 vinegar, 1/3 soy sauce and add a some of the sliced ginger as per the server.
Curious if I counted the folds? WELL, YES I DID! Haha.
PRICE: 115 NTD / 5pcs
Shaved ice is pretty poular in Taiwan especially the mango shaved ice. I tried it along Shilin Market. I ordered the aloe almond and it is surprisingly good!
It’s one of the desserts that you must try, especially if you want something cold.
PRICE: 70 NTD
Taiwan is a home to Bubble teas as it’s where it originated. It is a tea-based cold drink that has tapiocas. 50 is one of the popular milk tea stores that you can literally see anywhere in Taiwan. I tried their regular milk tea, it’s good and cheap compared to other stores.
PRICE: 40 NTD
There are still A LOT of foods to try in Taiwan. Make sure to get them at the night markets; cheaper and authentic.
TIP: If the queue is long, then you should definitely try the food.