8 Must-Try Taiwanese Foods

8 Must-Try Taiwanese Foods

Caution: reading this article will make you drool. Taiwanese food is that delicious.

If you’ve never tried Taiwanese food, you’ve been missing out. Although most Taiwanese dishes do not originate from Taiwan, the localisation of these dishes with special flavours makes them unique and often better than the original versions. Here are eight Taiwanese foods that you must try when you visit this beautiful island.

1. Spicy hot pot

taiwanese food

Image credit: KanKaiEn

If you don’t know what hot pots are, they are like the Japanese shabu-shabu. When you go to a hot pot restaurant, you usually see a lot of tables with “holes”. Your server will put a pot in one of these holes and heat it up from below, usually with a gas stove.

Taiwanese hot pots are not just any hot pots. They are the spicy kind. Some restaurants allow customers to choose the spicy level, from very mild to very spicy. You can choose from a wide variety of ingredients, such as mushrooms, meat, vegetables, etc, and you cook the ingredients as you eat. It’s best to eat this in winter as it will warm you up.

2. Stinky tofu

Image credit: Morgan Calliope

Stinky tofu is a very popular snack in Taiwan, and you can smell it from as far as a 100 metres away. It is made by soaking tofu cubes in fermented milk, meat, and vegetables, and it is one of those polarizing dishes that evoke strongly opposing reactions among those who have tried them. There are those who think stinky tofu is a dish from heaven, and there are those who can’t even breathe when they are close to it. As such, you should try it at least once to determine which camp you are on!

3. Shaved ice

Image credit: Robyn Lee

Shaved ice is a very popular dessert in Taiwan, especially during the summertime because Taiwanese summers are usually very hot and humid. Shaved ice is often served with freshly cut fruits, such as mango, watermelon, and melon which makes it all the more refreshing. The texture of the shaved ice is extremely smooth, making you feel like you’re eating cotton-candy!

Also read: Xi Men Ding 西門町 Food on Foot! Must-Try Street Snacks of Taiwan

4. Beef noodle soup

Image credit: Daniel

Beef noodle soup is sold at almost any Taiwanese restaurant, and it is usually very affordable, making it a great snack meal for the bargain hunters out there. Beef noodle soup is served in a bowl filled stewed beef slices and egg noodles, in a beef broth. It is topped with green onions and spices.

5. Taiwanese fried chicken

Image credit: Robyn Lee

Taiwanese fried chicken, also known as salted fried chicken, is a popular Taiwanese street snack that you can find at any night market in Taiwan. These bite size pieces of fried chicken are coated with flour and seasoned before they are deep fried. Once fried, a spice mix of salt, pepper, chili powder, and fried basil leaves are added to the chicken, lending the chicken a wonderfully savoury taste.

6. Scallion pancakes

Image credit: Stuart Spivack

Scallion pancake is another popular street food in Taiwan. Also known as green onion pancake, the scallion pancake is a piece of greasy flatbread with green onions mixed in before being fried in oil. A large scallion pancake is cut into small pieces of triangular shaped pancakes before they are served.

7. Bubble tea

Image credit: Robyn Lee

Bubble tea is one of the few dishes that  has its origins in Taiwan. It is a cold drink that contains sweet milk tea and tapioca pearls (which are the “bubbles” in bubble tea). In Taiwan, you will likely find at least two or three bubble tea vendors within a single block. Yes, it’s that popular! Bubble tea comes in all kinds of different flavours and is served in a big cup with a larger than normal straw for you to suck in the tapioca pearls while drinking the tea.

8. Soup-filled dumplings

Image credit: Robyn Lee

If you ever travel to Taiwan, do yourself a favour and try these dumplings! They literally melt in your mouth. These dumplings are best tried at the Din Tai Fung chain of restaurant, which you can find in both Taipei and Kaohsiung. You can actually see how they are made right before your eyes through the glass windows of the restaurant.

Also read: Don’t Leave Taiwan Without Visiting These 7 Night Markets

About Author

Sandra Chan

Sandra is a freelance writer, illustrator, layout designer, and web developer. Growing up in Canada, she earned a degree in Computer Science and worked in the IT field. She was bored by her 9 – 5 job and decided to take some time off to travel. She moved to Taiwan where she volunteered for a non-profit organization as a layout designer and illustrator, and has been travelling around Asia for the past two and a half years.


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