Food in Taiwan – Unique Taiwanese foods and snacks
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
Some Common Foods in Taiwan:
Stinky Tofu 臭豆腐 (Chou Dofu)
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 pickeld cabbage 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. Stinky Tofu comes deep fried, stewed, and even barbecued!
Duck Tongue 鴨舌
Yes, duck tongues can be found at stalls in night markets just about anywhere. You can, of course, get other parts of the duck as well. Usually the tongues are stewed in a seasoned soup. Sometimes they are stir fried.
Oyster Omelette 蚵仔煎 (E-ah-Jian)
Taiwanese love oyster omelettes. 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.
Here is how it’s cooked:
Chicken Feet 雞腳
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 or 7-11 and at most night markets.
1000 Year Old Eggs 皮蛋
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 豬血
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 MoonLake 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.