Food in Taiwan - Some Unique Cuisine
Stinky Tofu | Duck Tongue | Oyster Omelet | Oyster Vermicelli | Chicken Feet | 1000 Year Old Eggs | Blood on a Stick | Eel noodle soup | Chicken Hearts | Plum Vinegar | Animal Parts
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Food In Taiwan
For the most part, the food in Taiwan is derived from mainland Chinese cuisine. It is possible to find all types food and almost every other Chinese cuisine on the island. Taiwanese versions of these cuisines tend to be somewhat oily, though, and completely authentic mainland cuisines are rare. This is especially true for the Cantonese cuisine, as demonstrated by the lack of Cantonese speakers on the island. The Taiwanese are also passionately in-love with eggs and seafood, as you will discover during your stay on the island. Expect to find kernels of corn on most sandwiches and pizzas and in many other foods.
Taiwan also has many of its own local specialties. Perhaps because of its long isolation from mainland China and distance from other parts of the world, most cities and towns in Taiwan are individually famous for special foods. Virtually every city has its famous specialties; many Taiwanese tourists will go visit other cities on the island only to try the local foods, then return home.
- Ilan is famous for its mochi, a sticky rice snack often flavored with sesame, peanuts or other flavorings. You'll find this item cold or hot, and more recently more creative uses include ice cream.
- Lugang is famous for its oyster omelet and oysters. You'll find many types of oyster snacks around Taiwan.
- Yonghe, a suburb of Taipei, is famous for its soy milk and breakfast sandwiches. You'd recognize "Yonghe Dojiang" as a breakfast shop that's sprouted up all over Taiwan. The original Yonghe comprises only a small number of shops that claim the name. These shops open late afternoon and stay open until 11am or so. They are very popular with people looking for late night snacks and workers getting up early to start the day.
- Taichung is famous for its sun cakes, a kind of sweet stuffed pastry that is usually round like the sun.
- Jiayi is famous for its turkey rice which is bits of fresh turkey mixed with freshly steamed rice and vegetables
All Mahayana Buddhists, which account for the majority of adherents in Taiwan, aspire to be pure vegetarian in deference to the Buddha's teaching of non-violence and compassion. So, vegetarian restaurants (called su-shr in Mandarin, and often identified with the 素食 symbol) can be found spread all over the island, and they run from cheap buffet style to gourmet and organic. Buffet styled restaurants (called 自助餐 means "Serve Yourself Restaurant") are common in almost every neighborhood in large cities, and unlike the 'all-you-can-eat' buffets, which charge a set price, usually ranging from NT$250 - NT$350 including dessert and coffee/tea, the cost is estimated by the weight of the food on your plate.
Rice: (there is usually a choice of brown or white) is charged separately, but soup or cold tea (link) is free and you can refill as many times as you like. NT$80 - NT$120 will buy you a good sized, nutritious meal. However, if you cannot find a veggie restaurant, don't freak out. Taiwanese people are very flexible and most restaurants will be happy to cook you up something to suit your individual tastes. The following sentences in Mandarin might be helpful: Wo chi su - I'm vegetarian, Wo bu chi rou - I don't eat meat. However, as Mandarin is a tonal language, you might need to say both, plus practice your acting skills to get yourself understood. Good luck! NB: If a restaurant refuses your order, don't push the issue. The reason will not be an unwillingness to accommodate your request, but because the basic ingredients of their dishes may include chicken broth or pork fat.
Although vegetarian restaurants in Taiwan do not aspire to vegan principles, due to the fact that Taiwanese do not have a tradition of eating dairy products, almost all dishes at Chinese style veggie restaurants will actually be vegan.
As with Chinese cuisine elsewhere, food in Taiwan is generally eaten with chopsticks and served on large plates placed at the center of the table. Unlike in the West, however, a serving spoon might not accompany the dishes, and instead guests will use their own chopsticks to transfer food to their plates. Some people unaccustomed to this way of eating may consider this unhygienic, though it is usually quite safe. Those who do prefer using a separate utensil for serving have the option of requesting communal chopsticks (公筷 gongkuai), and can gently encourage friends to use them if they do not automatically do so.
Can't remember the name of this fruit? Nut?
You find it all along the streets going down to Kenting.
Stinky Tofu 臭豆腐 (Chou Dofu) NT$~40 or NT$50 depending on your location.
Anyone first coming to Taiwan for the first time will often quickly experience a strong bad smell in the air that resembles the worst case of moldy socks. This strong pungent smell comes from a certain kind of food called stinky tofu or chou tofu in Chinese. Stinky tofu is a form of fermented tofu, which gives it the strong odor. It is cooked in the pan with the fermenting bean curd and Nateki explodes, and knows the smelly tofupickled afterwards, with acidity with a good mouth hit. It's tofu that has been marinated in vegetable and shrimp broth that has been fermenting for months. Apparently, there is one type of stinky tofu that is served with goose blood, which is much rarer to find.
It actually doesn't taste as bad as it smells. I tried it a couple of different way. it's deep fried with some sauerkraut and sauce. If you can stand the smell to get close enough to the vendors' chou tofu stand, plug your nose and go for it, the taste is fantastic.
They must be tasty and in high demand because apparently two Taiwanese men were arrested for allegedly smuggling raw duck tongues into Taiwan from China in 2005. You'll find these in almost every night market and food street in Taiwan. The other items in the typical vendor cart include tofu, seaweed, fish cakes, chicken wings and necks, and other goodies.
Investigators in central Taiwan nabbed the two men in 2005 and confiscated nearly 4 tonnes of tongues from approximately a million ducks. The tongues had an estimated retail value of about NT10 million (US$317,000) Source: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2005/04...
Oyster Vermicelli 蚵仔麵線 (oh-ah-Misua)
Oyster vermicelli is a kind of noodle soup that is popular all around Taiwan and Xiamin Island. This omelet and pineapple cakes are the most favorite Taiwanese food sought after from mainland China and Hong Kong tourists. .It is known by the Taiwanese phrase oh-ah misua. Street vendors expertly combine handmade vermicelli with main ingredients oysters and misua, or Taiwanese vermicelli, wheat flour and salt with a variety of seasoned ingredients, such as slowly cooked pork-tripe. Its superb flavor is the use of deep-fried minced shallots. h. The bowl is then topped off with a few oysters and a pinch of cilantro. Vinegar is usually available for the eater to add to taste..It consists of short, light brown noodles swimming in a bowl of thick soup brot It’s very rich and delicious. You can find it in many night markets and street stall in the evenings and some day markets.
A tan-brown variety of vermicelli used for this dish. It gets its unique color due to a steaming process which caramelizes the vermicelli. This allows it to be cooked for long periods without breaking down.
One of the more famous places serving this is in Dihua Street, Dadaocheng, Taipei. An alternative dish is vermicelli with large intestine. Chopped intestines are often offered as an addition to oyster vermicelli in which oysters are substituted with small segments of pig's intestines. On average, the price for oyster vermicelli is around 40-60 NT. Another thing to note is that oysters are seen as an aphrodisiac in Taiwan.
Recipe for Taiwan Oyster Soup with Vermicelli
Taiwanese love oyster omelets. You'll find these in most night markets and consist of fresh oysters, onions, eggs, and flour that's cooked only to the point of being quite gooey. It takes a bit of adjustment to enjoy the texture of this treat, but you'll end up really liking it if you order it from time to time.
There isn't much meat to be had on these?little feet. The process of eating them is,?you start by biting off the toes and then proceed in spitting out the bones.?
Next, you just ......nibble ..spit..nibble...spit...your way up to the ankle. There is a?super ?rubbery texture to the wrinkly skin. There isn't much meat on them and I was told that they are good for snacking on late at night. You can pick up a bag of chicken feet at any night market and even in corner stores like Family Mart now. Many Taiwanese?love eating chicken feet and I assume I will try soon?as long as they minus the nails.
You can pick up a bag of chicken feet at any night market or even corner stores like Family Mart.
1000 Year Old Eggs
This is actually a real tasty treat but, at first, a bit hard to stomach the thought and look at. Century egg, also referred to as hundred-year old egg, is egg preserved, for a thousand-years ;-) It is a Chinese special food cuisine ingredient made by preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, salt, lime, ash, and rice straw for several weeks to several months, depending on the process or method used. After the process is completed, the yolk becomes dark green in color.This cream-like substance has a strong odor of ammonia and sulphur. The egg white becomes dark brown in color, transparent jelly with subtle flavor or taste. The transforming agent in the century egg is its alkaline material, which gradually raises the pH balance of the egg from around 9 to about 12. This chemical process breaks down some of the complex, flavorless proteins and fats, which produces a variety of smaller flavorful compounds. Some eggs have surface patterns on the egg white that resemble pine branches.
Blood on a Stick
Many Taiwan food stands sell blood rice cakes or blood on a stick. Which one do you prefer?....pig blood or duck blood? The square or rectangles shape cake is generally rolled in hot sauce, peanuts, and cilantro. They're really very yummy. Blood and rice cakes are a dark wine red type color.
Eel noodle soup
This famous Tainan treat or strange Taiwan food or say....... Taiwan weird food is called Eel noodle soup. It is actually chop full of flavor. Most places have the eels live in fish aquariums and in plain sight where you can choose your dinner. It can be found in any major night market and some specialty restaurants.
Chicken Hearts on a Stick
You can order any part of the chicken you want to eat, from chicken wombs, chicken bums to chicken intestines. They don't waste much of any animal in Taiwan They have many ways to prepare each animal part before eating it. Chicken hearts on a stick are seen at almost and deep fry/B.B.Q. vending stalls. You can select 3 ranges of small spicy to spicy hot and order other varieties of spices too.
Healthy Plum Vinegar
"Healthy plum vinegar" is all-natural. It's made by integrating the organic vinegar generally derived from Sun Moon Lake with fresh green plums. This area the vinegar is brewed from is filled full of plum trees that are irrigated with mountain water and planted with only organic methods. Only the healthiest and freshest batches of plum vinegar are used. Unique recipes usually combine green plum and organic brown rice vinegar and then brewed for many years. This creates a natural and down-to-earth product that tastes like pickled, salty plums (umeboshi) soaked in vinegar and then served over a bed of fresh rice.
Boiled Assorted Animal Parts
One of the most popular Taiwan foods from the Taiwanese night markets is a type of stand where you pick ingredients from the stand and put them in a basket. You then give the basket to the vendor and they boil the ingredients for you. Ingredients include things like duck intestines, chicken intestines, chicken skin, animal tendons, and other things that I couldn't identify. This is one of the best foods that I've ever eaten. If you can't stomach the weird animal parts, you can just choose noodles, vegetables, and mushrooms.