Food in Taiwan – Unique Taiwan food and snacks
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 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. 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.
- Sun Cakes are from Taichung. They are a kind of sweet stuffed pastry that is round like the sun.
- Jiay has its famous turkey rice.
Some Strange and Unique 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. Some can’t stand the smell and others love its fragrance.
This strong pungent smell comes from a certain kind of food called stinky tofu or chou tofu in Chinese. Stinky tofu is fermented tofu, which gives it the strong odor.
Stinky tofu is a very popular unique Taiwan food. You cook the tofu in a pan with the fermenting bean curd which creates the strong smell.
It actually doesn’t taste as bad as it smells. I tried it a couple of different way. it’s deep fried with some pickled 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 is deep fried, stewed, or 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)
Oyster omelettes are another popular unique Taiwan food. You’ll find these in most night markets and consist of fresh oysters, onions, eggs, and flour. The consistency becomes 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.
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 convenient 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 site. Don’t worry. It is not a preserved thousand year old egg.
Cooks preserve 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.
The yolk then becomes dark green in color.This cream-like substance has a strong odor of ammonia and sulfur. The egg white becomes dark brown in color and a transparent jelly with subtle flavor
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? Cooks roll hot sauce, peanuts, and cilantro together in rectangular shapes. They’re really very yummy. Blood and rice cakes are a dark wine red type color.
Eel noodle soup
This famous Tainan treat is 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. You can find it in any major night market and some specialty restaurants. This is a super Taiwan unique food.
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. You can select 3 ranges of small spicy to spicy hot and order other varieties of spices too.
Boiled Assorted Animal Parts (Lu Wei)
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 who will 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.