Taiwan the Food Heaven:15 Must Try Food in Taiwan + Travelling Guide

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I am sure Taiwan is in your Travel bucket list, if not then after you read this post I am sure you will have the urge to purchase air ticket to Taiwan right away. Who don't love Taiwan? So many reason to fell in love with Taiwan!


Taiwan has been in my bucket list for a long time but I just don’t have the budget to go! Taiwan is filled with friendly and kind people that you will be blown away by their hospitality. Every of my friend that return from Taiwan told me this, everywhere you go people smiling at you. There’s just too many reason for me to visit Taiwan, I am not sure if I can list down all here but I will try my best!!!!! Look at below picture, it’s just part of the best of Taiwan, there is much more… Allow me to bring you around Taiwan!!!!!

image Some of the beautiful place to see in Taiwan
 
Oh in case if you're not aware, Butterfly Project & Taiwan Tourism Bureau Kuala Lumpur are going to send a lucky butterfly and her friend to Taiwan! The trip includes a 5D4N stay, return air flights, accommodation and tour worth RM8,000! If you are a blogger too, come and join by telling them why you want to go Taiwan and how you will enjoy your trip inspired by 1 of the 3 themes available: Time to Eat (for foodies) / Time to Shop (shopaholics!) / Time for 2 Wheels (LOHAS lifestyle). Contest details at this link
 
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As a avid foodie lover (look at my body size and amount of food pictures in my Instagram), I shall go with the food escapes in Taiwan (since I am allowed to only pick one theme!)!!! It’s Time to Eat!!!!!!!! Chiak Chiak !!!  
 

Many of the street food found in Taiwan can be found in various places in mainland China but it can be hard to get all of them under one roof at a affordable price which you can now, by having it all in Taiwan. Question is Do you have what it takes to taste them all??

They say,
" Good eating is always one of the main attractions of travel, and in Taiwan you can dine like a king without paying a king’s ransom for it."
 
Taiwan is famous with street food or snack that are set up in a small stall akin to the night market we have here in Malaysia. Well probably if you are from countries from West side, you might not seen the night market scene. Imagine a street filled with small stores where vendor sell various food and snacks. These stall are usually family owned, passed down from generation to generation and operate in a very basic metal stall. Some stalls that had made it to the top sellers, may have upgrade their stall to brick and mortar. You can just buy and eat on the go or can opt to take a seat at a table nearby after you done picking your snacks. Most of the food are in bite size and not really a full meal so you can buy a various food in small portion comes in a pack or stick and enjoy a various kinds of flavours that Taiwan has to offer.

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The list of food to try out in Taiwan is ginormous and I doubt I could finish all in one trip! The food can be categorised in 3 main type street food, dessert and regional specialties. For this post, I will list down 15 must try food in Taiwan which I personally think  that you must try.

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I will be hunting this down if I were to win this awesome trip to Taiwan. Even if I don't win I will be sure to step into Taiwan one day!!!!!!!! Let's go for a treat in Taiwan now!!

Okay I am imagining myself in Taiwan already as I saw this poster in one of the mall and I actually walk through the taiwan food street in Jurong Point, Singapore and grab a few snack to eat!!!!!!!!!!

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Here is the map of all the food I introduced in this post for your easy reference.





1. Taiwanese Pork Sausage with Sticky Rice (Dachang Bao Xiaochang, 大腸包小腸)

 
I am a huge fan of Taiwanese pork sausages. Made from chunks of pork fat and chopped pork, with clobs of glistening pork fat make these sausages especially moist and flavourful. These Sausages are usually grilled and served on a stick for your biting pleasure while on the go. The sweetness that kicks in as I bite the outer crispy skin through the springy pork meat stuff underneath were unforgettably delicious. Many said the one in Taiwan taste so much better than the one we had here. It get more interesting as you can get upgraded version of this sausage in Taiwan.

imageTaiwanese Pork Sausage with Sticky Rice in Feng Jia Market
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The mandarin name (Dachang Bao Xiaochang, 大腸包小腸) can be translate into English as a big sausage wrap small sausage. It’s pretty similar to a hotdog bun but i this case the glutinous rice become the bun and made into a sausage shape and then being slit open to stuff in the pork sausage. This will surely give you a burst of flavour and texture!!!

where to get?
  • Fengjia Night Market, Taichung County
  • Shilin Night Market, Taipei




2. Oyster Omelette (蚵仔煎)
 
This dish is quite common in Malaysia, we can get this is most kopitiam (Chinese food stall) and it's a famous dish in Penang too. This dish is will got you struck with burst of oyster juiciness!! If you like oyster and egg this is a must go food in Taiwan, it warm up your tummy well. Look for those stall with fresh oyster on display as they make the best oyster omelette.

imageFresh and juicy oyster.
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Technically the oyster is fried with egg and tapioca starch mixture and chrysanthemum leaves is added in too. the Taiwan omelette version is more softer and has a lot of vegetable in it. It’s usually flooded with sweet and spicy sauce.

image Oyster omelette flooded with sweet and sour sauce
where to get?




3. Tian Bu La

 
After introducing some common food we can find in Malaysia what about we go into some unique food? Tian Bu La, a funny name which is a Taiwan version of the the famous Japan Oden. Made from fish paste that is moulded into different shape and sizes, deep-fried, then boiled in a broth. These solid fish paste will be eaten with a coat of brown sauce. For extra flavour, ask for broth from the vendor and add into the bowl with the remaining brown sauce and enjoy it to the fullness! Ahhhh.. I feel like drinking the soup now as i am typing… It’s raining cat and dog here at the moment.

image Tian Bu La

where to get?
  • Simon Tian Bu La (賽門甜不辣), 95 Xining South Road, Wanhua District,
  • Yi Fan Tian Bu La, Shi Lin Night Market




4. Pork Pepper Bun

This is another interesting bun that you will never get in Malaysia (I think). I always love pepper in my food and I think this must be hell good of a bun! Pork with strong pepper flavour is the perfect combination. The bun made from fresh pork, marinated in a unique sauce which give a delicious rich and juicy pork flavour. The pork filling is filled with plenty of green onions and is baked on a wall of clay oven and has sesame sprinkled on giving a crispy finishing skin and piping hot filling.

image Piping Hot Pork Pepper Bun
where to get?
  • Raohe night market, north end of Kee Lung Road, Taipei


5. Coffin Board (A thick toast with filling)
 
When I first hear about this, I was like what? Coffin Board?? What a peculiar name… As the name suggest, a hole is dig from the thick toast just resemble a coffin opening. The thick toast is then deep fried and right after it is filled with various fillings like chicken, pork,beef, shrimp and vegetable.You gotta eat this fast unless you want a soggy toast.

image Look much better than coffin!
where to get?
  • Shihlin Market




6. Exploding Chicken Roll


Reading the name of this exploding chicken roll excites me!!!!! I can imagine the juicy chicken essence burst in my mouth on first bite. Most the time I burn my tongue having similar snack like this but it feels satisfying to me!! Found this blog, that said she literally fell in love with it the first bite and buy one on every market she went after that. WOW it became an addiction. It made up of a chicken skip wrap over chunks of chicken and grilled to perfection giving a very crispy and juicy bite. You can opt to add more flavour onto the chicken roll like salt & pepper, lemon salt, wasabi etc.

image The Exploding Chicken Roll

where to get?




7. Xiao Long Bao (Bread)

 
Ermmm have you not had enough of juicy affair?? Xiao Long Bao is a mini steam dumpling made into bun shape with thin skin contain sweet broth and minced meat (pork or chicken) or seafood. Originally from Eastern China but Din Tai Fung, Taiwan made this Xiao Long Bao reach out the world and was awarded with one Michelin Star and ranked as one of the world’s Top Ten Best Restaurants by The New York Times, the original Din Tai Feng can be found at Yong Kang Street.


Apparently I found another blog mentioned that the one in Su Hung Restaurant (info can be found at the link below) rival the one in Din Tai Fung so you might want to give it a try. It’s also cheaper and no queue at all. 


You can also get another chewier and thicker Xiao Long Bao version at Yung Ho stall, just like the char siew bao (steam caramelised pork bun)

imageThick Xiao Long Bao
Where to get?

8. Mee Suah
 
Do you have a craving over thick smooth starchy concoction of gravy over noodles?? I do and I crave for mee suah all the time especially on rainy weather. The fine and smooth vermicelli is cooked for hours until it turn into tan brown starchy soup. Then oyster or pig intestine will be added along with coriander and pepper for extra aroma and flavour. You can also add vinegar to give extra kick to your bowl of mee suah. According to Google best mee suah can be found at Ximending’s Emei Street 西门丁 or Shida Night Market 师大夜市.

Where to get?
  • Ximending’s Emei Street
  • Shida Night Market




9. The Big Fried Chicken

 
I bet you have tried this by now? This is a famous snack of mine!! It’s has a very unique kick of flavour from the huge chicken chop, as huge as my face. The skin is filled with battered and then shimmered with five spice powder and pepper and for extra hot option add some chilli powder. Every bite filled crispy skin and juicy chicken meat. This is a favourite dish for all age!! Go to Hot-star for the original oversized chicken cutlet. The very famous Hot Star stall now has franchise stall around the world.

image The gigantic fried chicken!
 
I went to buy the chicken from Hot Star after I done typing this paragraph as it makes me drools over it! Yes that's how additive it is!

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Where to get?
  • Hot-star Large Fried Chicken (豪大大雞扒), Shilin Night Market, Jīhé Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City




10. Tiger-striped chicken gua bao (虎皮軟燒雞割包)

 
Came across this unique gua bao, a Taiwan version of Hamburger. The Tiger-Striped chicken gua bao is a elevated version of the common pork belly gua bao in Taiwan. The true gua bao, a fluffy steam bun which is usually used to sandwich tender braised pork belly pickled mustard greens, fresh cilantro, and powdered peanuts. Now isn’t the original version of gua bao a bombastic combo already? Old New Restaurant in Kaohsiung transform the bun by using pumpkin and edible charcoal powder to create yellow-and-black striped bun, then fills it with deep-fried and braised chicken fillets in soy sauce and tomato sauce. Tadaaaa a whole new guo bao with sweet and sour flavour totally different from its ancestor.


Where to get?
  • Old New Restaurant (老新台菜), 227 Jiuru 2nd 3077 Road, Sanmin District, Kaohsiung; +886 7 313 3077

There you go 10 top savoury food that are in my food to explore list in Taiwan. Seriously, I want to write more but this post will get way to lengthy! So I put a stop for savoury food and shall move on to dessert heaven now.



11. Pineapple Cake

 
This is like top of the list of must try dessert/ snack when ever I read article about Taiwan. I am a fan of pineapple tart but a pineapple cake? I have never try before, apparently Taiwan uses a different name. It is actually same thing like pineapple tart but in brick shape. I can imagine how delightful to indulge in the crumbly crust holding the tangy pineapple jam filling. Great to go with a cup of tea. This is most raved snack among tourist and this must be a hell good of cake to get such hype.

image  source
 
You can read more on pineapple cake at this link as the author compile 8 different pineapple cake maker and also explain in detail the differences in flavour and texture on each of them.
where to get? 
  • Sunny Hill, Minshen East Road 1F
  • Chia Te, 5 Nanjing East Road
  • Dawn Cake
  • My Sense One, No. 6 Lane 361 Fuxing North Road
  • Wu Pao Chun, No.88,Yanchang Rd., Xinyi Dist
  • Vigor Kobo, No. 27 Section 3 Cheng De Road
  • Amo, 1F, No.140, Sec. 1, Fuxing S. Rd. Da'an Dist


12. Shaved Ice (Mango)


In my country, Malaysia we have our own version of shaved ice, ABC with syrup or brown sugar coating of shaved ice burying red beans, sweet corns, grass jelly, peanut and other condiments underneath. Off course we do have those that comes with fruit combo too just like those in Taiwan. However, according to my source from Google, Taiwan shaved ice is much much better than the one in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea. The most famous flavour is mango, you get a generous amount of mango cubes & puree atop the smooth and fine shaved ice. Sometime, a vanilla ice cream will be added on top to give more flavour and dimension. Perfect for humid and hot weather during summer time in Taiwan. The mango cubes is amazingly fresh and sweet which is something I don’t get to have in my home country.

where to get?
  • Yong Kang 15 (永康15), 15 Yong-kang St., Taipei City; +886 2 2321 3367;
  • For classics go to Tai Yi Milk King (臺一牛奶大王), 82 Xin Sheng South Road, Section 3; +886 2 2363 4341



13. A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll 九份阿珠雪在燒 No 45

 

Anything with peanut and taro will sure attract me to dig out my money and buy it for myself… Any of you love to eat peanut and taro like I do? You must try this out!!!!!! This Peanut Ice Cream Roll would fulfil your craving on peanut and taro. This spring roll will be top with grounded peanut candy, maltose, celery and two scoop of taro ice cream added on top before wrapping it around.

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Very unique and brilliant combination as it give a smooth creamy texture from the ice cream and crunchy bits of the peanut.

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where to get
  • Jiu Fen Old Street




14. Ox Tongue Pastry 牛舌

 

Alright before we get started, no "OX" is used in the process, hence it is safe to consume without "Fear Factor" challenge in mind as it’s named after the shape (Yeah, it looked like a long piece of tongue slab of the OX and there is no OX meat at all).

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It is a pastry that is slightly crusty on the exterior and fluffy on the soft center. I guess you can equate it to a Chinese doughnut of some sort without a hole and more crusty. These little pastries is available at Lukang Old Street and I was delightfully surprised that it is a pastry. Definitely try one of these when you see them, mostly at old streets.

where to get?
  • Zhongshan Road, Lukang Old Street



15. All sort of Teas


Now what better way to serve pastry with? Yes, you can opt for tea if you are tea lover. You should go try some of their tea or buy some as souvenir. Well it’s a better option than key chain right? It's also a great way to bring Taiwan back to your home country and let your family and friends to have a taste of Taiwan. I found a blog that list down all the types of tea based on districts. Now how cool is that.. WOW! There is too many types of tea which I guess you have to Google for individual flavour of the tea to find out how it taste. I'm looking forward to try out the Oriental Beauty Tea, Sun Moon Black Tea, Ta Fung Tea and many more…

 image source
 
If you want to read more on famous food in Taiwan that is recommended to tryout when you are in Taiwan below are some of the information I found in Google…Do read them up too!:
Oh speaking about tea, bubble milk tea is still a hype here in Malaysia... My friend told me any bubble teat in Taiwan taste delicious unlike here in Asia you need to go to the big names like Cha Time, Gong Cha, KOI and many more. However, there is a few in Taipei that are famous for it's authentic taste like Chen San Ding Bubble Tea (Gonguan Night Market)  and Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House (Songshou Rd.)


The food choice and variety is crazy in Taiwan… All I can imagine is eat, eat, eat and eat…. Before I go for my Taiwan trip I have to diet so that there is space for this amount of food!!!! Are you drooling over the food after reading and seeing all those delicious photos?? I feel so hungry now!! Can I fly over to Taiwan now?

Before I end this post, remember I talk about there is too many reason for me to visit Taiwan? but I cant put all of them here.. I just love to highlight some of the key reasons....Taiwan is also a shopping heaven for men and women... Not just for us girls only for your boyfie too!!! Let me list a few places for shopping and I will link the website which I find quite useful for your reference.

  • Wu Fen Pu,Songshan Station for clothings. ** Do not go on Mondays and Fridays coz that is when they take a stock check and only sell to distributors
  • Xi Men Ding, Harajuku of Taiwan for clothings.
  • Shida Night Market, some cheap and not so cheap clothing. Usually filled with college students.
  • Little Three, Paris Strawberry, 86 Shop for all your beauty supplies (mask, skincare, cosmetic)
  • NOVA Building, acrossTaipei Main Railway Station. Electronics (phones, laptop computers, electronic dictionaries, computer accessories, MP3 players) at bargain prices. 
  • Camera Street, BoAi Street near Taipei Main Station. Get your photography equipment here.
  • Guang Hwa Electronic Mall like Nova but much bigger and has a lot more stuff.
Link:
Oh oh and Taiwan is a great place for relaxing too...  LOHAS, means “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability” has become popular throughout the world. Experience Taiwanese's  “LOHAS” through island’s cuisines, sports, leisure activities, and traditional health care therapies. It will bring you a whole new level of travelling! You got to visit their hotspring or rent a bike to explore around Taiwan to see what Taiwan nature has to offer! Being a bathtub queen, hotspring is like an gold glass of bath tub with nature surrounding!! Ahhhhhh a heaven to me! Can't wait to go to Taiwan. Oh well, finger crossed that I will win the 5D 4N trip to Taiwan, do keep me in your prayers ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Link on LOHAS travel guideline:
Ok this is getting too long, I got to put a stop for now! As always thank you for supporting and reading my blog!! Lots of love to all of you! Muah muah!!

For more info you can refer to below link too:
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