50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try

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50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Ban tiao (粄條)

As part of the Hakka culture in Taiwan, Ban Tiao draws a big fan base with the locals. Flat rice noodles are made from glutinous rice, cooked in a tasty broth. Yup, this is all you need on any winter nights! (Photo credit: travel2tp.pixnet.net)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Tube rice pudding (筒仔米糕)

If you're confused by what this is, think of sticky rice and mushrooms fried together. Then stuff them in a bamboo tube to steam with pork and an egg. It's served without the bamboo but topped with coriander and sauces. The scent is intoxicating. (Photo credit: tklife.com.cn)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Fried-leek dumplings (韭菜盒子)

So these are usually larger than normal dumplings and they're baked rather than boiled in water. Inside are finely chopped leeks with cellophane noodles. Lovely snack for traveling vegetarians. (Photo credit: huaren.us)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Goose meat (鵝肉)

Smoked or steamed, Taiwanese makes good meat out of geese. The gamey taste is right between levels of chicken and duck. If you're a fan of both, you might love this one. (Photo credit: Flickr/Yu's story......)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Braised pork rice (滷肉飯)

Locals call it "Lurou fan" which is slow-braised pork belly poured on top of a steamy bowl of rice. Glistening pork fat is what MAKES this dish so incredibly Taiwanese. #FOODPORN. (Photo credit: Flickr/Yusuke Kawasaki)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Stinky tofu (臭豆腐)

Looks like fried tofu? Sure! But it's really fermented bean curd fried then drizzled with soy sauce with pickled cabbage as topping. Travelers hate it, locals love it. You've gotta try it! (Photo credit: Flickr/LWYang)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Beef noodle soup (牛肉麵)

It instantly becomes everyone's favorite dish in Taiwan as it also has its own festival. Chunky beef shanks braised in noodle soup. Yum! (Photo credit: Flickr/Blowing Puffer Fish)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
A-Gei (阿給)

You might have tried "aburaage" in Japan already, but the Taiwanese version of stuffed tofu pockets include glass noodles and fish paste. After being soaked in broth, each bite will burst with flavors and full of texture. (Photo credit: Flickr/Francis)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Gua bao (割包)

Hail to the Taiwanese hamburger! It combines the taste of salty and sweet. Inside the buns is typically a piece of ultra juicy and fatty pork belly with coriander, pickled Chinese cabbage sprinkled with peanut powder. (Photo credit: Blogspot/Hugo's Corner)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Pepper cakes (胡椒餅)

Love a hot pocket? Try this one made in a hot clay pot. The buns have steamy pork seasoned with flavorful black pepper. This is a must-eat at night markets. (Photo credit: Flickr/Blowing Puffer Fish)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Pork balls soup (貢丸湯)

Let's not confuse this with fish ball soup! Pork balls soup is another signature of Taiwan street food. Meatballs are made from fresh meat, pounded so when cooked in broth, the texture isn't lost and meatballs still retain lots of flavors from the meat and broth. You should always order a bowl along with a Taiwanese hamburger. (Photo credit: silian.pixnet.net)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Omelette wrap (蛋餅)

Another breakfast staple to go along rice or soy milk. It's fried egg mixed with chives, then Taiwanese tortilla is placed on top to create a wrap. Drizzle some soy sauce or hot sauce and you've got the ultimate breakfast of champion! (Photo credit: Flickr/jeff~)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Salty rice pudding (碗粿)

These specialities come from Tainan, a city in southern Taiwan. Ingredients include: mushrooms, pork, egg yolk and dried shrimp. Steamed then topped with garlic soy sauce is a bowl of culinary paradise. (Photo credit: cook.pxmart.com/)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Pan-fried bun (水煎包)

You may see these cute little buns all over Shanghai, but the Taiwanese version is bigger and they're fried upside down. Inside is a steamy mixture of vegetables and pork filling, making it the perfect afternoon snack! (Photo credit: Flickr/Yusuke Kawasaki)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Taiwanese Biandang (便當)

Taiwanese worker bees live on these bento boxes, so do college kids. It's a lovely little box filled with everything you need for a meal: fried pork/chicken/fish, with a marinated egg and vegetables on a bed of white rice. It's a staple in Taiwanese daily life, you should give it a try especially during long train rides via Taiwan Highspeed Rail! (Photo credit: Flickr/Party Lin)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Tian bu la (甜不辣)

If you've been to Japan and fell in love with "oden" (おでん,) then tian bu la is Taiwanese version of fish paste molded in different shapes. Fried then boiled in broth for hours. Served in bowls, glazed with a sweet sauce. Here's another Taiwanese street food staple! (Photo credit: phone-yes.com.tw)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Mango shaved ice (芒果刨冰)

Taiwan is a tropical island with extremely hot and humid summers, making perfect weather to order a yummy bowl of shaved ice topped with mango and condensed milk. You'll see vendors selling them with various toppings including: red bean, strawberries...but mango is the most local! (Photo credit: int.zhubajie.com)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Red Bean Cake (紅豆餅)

These sweet pastries can be seen on the streets of Taiwan. Stuffed with red bean paste inside, some may come with sweet cream instead. (Photo credit: Flickr/*嘟嘟嘟*)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Suncakes (太陽餅)

Shaped like the sun, this dessert comes from Taichung - a city situated in the middle of Taiwan. The outer cake is flakey and carries condensed malt sugar inside. This makes another fantastic souvenir item to bring home. (Photo credit: we-taiwan.com)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Pan-fried rice noodles (炒米粉)

A typical dish served in Taiwanese homes (and a personal favorite) are these rice noodles pan-fried in a wok, mixed with vegetables and shredded pork. With a dash of hot and soy sauce, you've got the perfect replacement for white rice! (Photo credit: Flickr/*嘟嘟嘟*)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Grass jelly (燒仙草)

Made from mesona, which is an herb in the mint family. Taiwanese love to eat grass jellies mixed with tapioca and beans infused in sugar water so it becomes a bowl of dessert after light meals. When served cold, this is also a fantastic way to escape the summer heat. (Photo credit: Mesona-garden.blogspot)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Pidan tofu (皮蛋豆腐)

So you've tasted "thousand year old eggs" in Michelin-starred restaurants and paid hundreds of dollars for your meal? It's a snack item in Taiwan. Seriously, they cost no more than $1. These "thousand year old" duck preserved eggs are called "pidan" and normally served with soft tofu, drizzled with soy sauce, sesame oil, pork floss or coriander. (Photo credit: Flickr/profernity)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Braised congo eel (紅燒鰻魚)

This is a must-have in Taiwan night markets as eels are fried then braised. At times, the soup will come with noodles and sprinkled with chopped coriander. (Photo credit: walkgoler.cc)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Oyster vermicelli (蚵仔麵線)

This is a dish all about textures. You've got the vermicelli that's smooth and thin working against a dense yet slurpey soup. Oysters are fresh and tender while cut up intestines are chewy and flavorful. Sprinkled with coriander, here's another outstanding Taiwanese snack. (Photo credit: bluehero.pixnet.net)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Pig’s blood rice cake (豬血糕)

Yup, gross name but let's not forget...pig's blood is made into cakes in a variety of cultural foods around the world, including: French boudin, Swedish Blodplättar and Finnish veriohukainen. Taiwanese cuisine is no exception! Sticky rice and pig's blood on a stick then dipped in peanut powder sauce will become your favorite kind of blood food. (Photo credit: Flickr/Ruocaled)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Spicy hotpot (麻辣火鍋)

These will always be a foodie trend in Taiwan as new spicy hotpot restaurants open throughout Taipei every week. The broth is made from herbs and spices, you can choose to have half a pot be normally flavored, the other be as hot as you'd like. Get ready to get FIRED up! (Photo credit: Flickr/Blowing Puffer Fish)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Sugar cane juice (甘蔗汁)

If you haven't had it in other Asian countries, you must try it here! In Taiwan, they sell them fresh or you can mixed it with jellies and citrus-flavors. (Photo credit: vsip.tycg.gov.tw)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Flaky scallion pancake (蔥抓餅)

These pancakes are made with scallions. The texture is flakey but ultra delish when you add it with an egg or cheese. (Photo credit: Flickr/pan vanessa)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Pearl milk tea (珍珠奶茶)

Bet you didn't know that pearl milk (or bubble) tea is MIT (Made in Taiwan)! The pearls are tapioca, added in sweet jasmine tea. What a tasty drink with lots to chew on. (Photo credit: chunshuitang.com)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Deep-fried Chinese donut wrapped with sesame flat bread (燒餅夾油條)

The ultimate breakfast street food! Vendors who sell them wake up at 4AM to make them fresh for the morning crowd. Eat like a local starts with these donuts and flat-bread...DEEP FRIED! (Photo credit: Money.365jia.cn)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Peanut powdered mochi (花生麻糬)

If you've been to Japan, then you're familiar with mochis - glutinous rice balls. In Taiwan, vendors sell them dipped in peanut powder and brown sugar. Soft and tender...the perfect dessert! (Photo credit: blog.xuite.net)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Danzai noodles (擔仔麵)

Another national dish of Taiwan is made of a bowl of egg noodles in shrimp broth, minced pork, coriander, bean sprouts topped with shrimp. Such a bowl of perfection, you'll want a second bowl...pronto. (Photo credit: Flickr/Paul Chan)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Breakfast rice milk (米漿)

Taiwanese soy milk is pretty amazing. But amp it up a notch is the rice milk or "mijian" which is made from peanuts and rice. Super healthy, great taste with sweetness. You'll find it at every breakfast spot on the streets! (Photo credit: lulutaipei.com)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Soup dumplings (小籠包)

The number one dish that travelers come to Taiwan for, the xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) at Din Tai Fung. Yes, the snack was originated from Shanghai, but the Taiwanese version is considered as the highest quality in the world because of its delicate wrap and flavorful soup with juicy pork meatballs inside. This is an unforgettable foodie experience. (Photo credit: Flickr/Banzai Hiroaki)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Fish ball soup (魚丸湯)

Crisp yet chewy are these wonderful fish balls made with a bit more air than other kinds of meatballs. The air allows each bite to be more tasty infused with flavors from the soup which typically comes with chopped celery and white pepper. (Photo credit: Flickr/Yusuke Kawasaki)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Sticky rice (油飯)

A fun take on glutinous rice is also a celebratory dish eaten during festivals, New Year's or when someone's about to have a child. Glutinous rice is cooked with mushrooms, chopped sausage, soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine. It's fantastically flavorful! (Photo credit: cc0204.wordpress.com)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Sweet potato porridge (地瓜稀飯)

Taiwanese think of sweet potato as a symbolic national food since it's shaped like the Taiwan island. A traditional breakfast at a Taiwanese home consists of hot and steamy sweet potato porridge. (Photo credit: easy.sina.com.tw)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Tea leaf egg (茶葉蛋)

Boiled in the famous Chinese five-spice powder including: ground cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, cloves and Szechuan peppercorns. These eggs make the perfect snack and can be found on street vendors and Seven-Elevens! (Photo credit: sophianaustin.blogspot)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Aiyu ice jelly (愛玉冰)

Honestly, this jelly is the best treat on a hot summer day. Especially when it comes with sugar water and lemon slices. (Photo credit: Flickr/mk_is_here)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Rice roll (飯糰)

By now, you should realize that Taiwanese love glutinous rice (the sticky and chewy kind that's really got the game of texture down.) Rice rolls are prevalent throughout China, Hong Kong and the Taiwan version has flossy pork inside with marinated pickles and cucumbers. This may be served in a plastic bag, but don't judge...it remains mouthwatering. (Photo credit: penghu-picapica.com.tw)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Pineapple cake (鳳梨酥)

The best souvenir you can bring home to share with friends and family! Pineapple cakes have bits of pineapple fillings inside. Some come with melon fillings or with a baked egg yolk inside. (Photo credit: king-harmony.com.tw)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Grilled sausage and sticky rice sausage wrap (大腸包小腸)

Taiwanese hot dog comes in the form of two types of sausages: one grilled with sweet pork, the other is made of sticky rice. You put one on top of the other, and it's the best sausage mashup you've ever encountered! (Photo credit: Macroview.com.tw)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Iron egg (鐵蛋)

These chewy little quail eggs are cooked in soy sauce for hours then air-dried. Repeat it a few times, in days each will become hard and chewy. You'll be surprised how obsess-worthy these tiny eggs can be! (Photo credit: buy.gomaji.com)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Taro rice cakes (芋頭粿)

Taro added with sticky rice, steamed then served on leaves. Sometimes, they're fried with fried chicken. Magic, right? (Photo credit: Flickr/Blowing Puffer Fish)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Pan-fried raddish cake (蘿蔔糕)

You've probably seen this at dim sum restaurants, but Taiwanese eat this as breakfast and it's fried right in front of you so you can taste it while it's still crispy and steamy. Delish! (Photo credit: Flickr/See-ming Lee)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Ba wan (肉圓)

Giant dumpling with the best wrap ever! Made with rice flour, corn starch and sweet potato starch, it's chewy and full of goodness especially when you bite into the pork and vegetable filling inside. It's typically served with a huge scoop of gravy. Hearty and lovely! (Photo credit: Flickr/MiNe)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Fried chicken (鹽酥雞)

You won't want fried chicken any other way after you've had the Taiwanese version. Fried, bite-size, salty, peppered and typically added with fried basil (which is a tasty gem.) BAM! You'll crave for this snack everyday. (Photo credit: wap.abang.com)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Oyster omelet (蚵仔煎)

Now THIS is the ultimate street food snack you'll see everywhere. Little oysters scrambled in eggs and sweet potato starch which creates a nice chewy texture. Sweet and spicy sauce glazed on top completely defines this dish as an absolute food heaven.(Photo credit: Flickr/peter cheng)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Cuttlefish soup (魷魚焿)

A clear thick soup with cuttlefish covered in fish paste is ultra tasty if you're a fan of anything edible from the sea. (Photo credit: Flickr/Bunkichi Chang)

50 Foods In Taipei You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try
Water caltrop (菱角)

These bull-shaped snacks are grown by water caltrop plants. Taiwanese eat these starchy seeds like a bag of peanuts or chestnuts. (Photo credit: tour.tainan.gov.tw)

BY WENDY HUNG

Bet you didn’t know, Taiwan is a traveling foodie’s culinary paradise!

When you’re preparing for a trip, it’s easy to expect the type of food you’re about to devour when heading to countries such as: France, China, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Thailand or even the U.S. We’ve been conditioned to identify cultures around the world with the type of cuisine each is internationally known for. But what exactly is Taiwanese cuisine, you may ask? What are you expected to eat there?

SEE ALSO: 6 Reasons Why Jiufen Is Taipei’s Ultra-Popular Vintage Gem

 

To start with, Taiwanese food is based on a huge variety of street foods, snacks that are both sweet and savory. Like tapas in Spain, Taiwanese cuisine is comprised of dishes made from stories of the island in addition to influences from China, Japan and local Hakka origins. Expect to stare at foods you’ve NEVER seen before and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. I could’ve continued this list forever as there are simply too many delicious foods to showoff in Taiwan, but I’ve narrowed it down to 50 signature dishes. Personally, I grew up eating every item and reminisce these quirky dishes while traveling abroad.

Remember, there’s a reason why Taiwanese locals are secretly considered serious foodies. Because we can and know how to eat…well.

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