My Top Five Favorite Eats/Drinks in Taiwan

Taiwan is a tiny island country, but it is rich in history, culture, nature and FOOD! I just couldn’t get enough of the “small eats” at night markets, all the exotic fruits and refreshing drinks.

I would like to share with you some of the food/drinks that made my taste palate very happy.

My top five favorite small eats/drink are:

1- Stinky Tofu

Yes, it is true I love everything stinky – durian, natto beans and of course, stinky tofu.  When I hear the word “Taiwan”, that is the food that comes to mind.  I love it cooked any way – deep fried, boiled, grilled.  Don’t let the smell scare you.  Hold your breath, take a bite and you will not regret it.  The at first not so pleasant smell will become one that your nose will follow once you start loving it.  The more stinky it is, the happier the stinky tofu lover will be.  Needless to say, I had them many times while I was in Taiwan.

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The fried ones are best paired with pickled cabbage! Crispy on the outside and juicy inside.
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Boiled stinky tofu at one of the popular shops at Sheng Keng Old Street (aka Tofu Town) in the outskirts of Taipei City.
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My absolute favorite was this little tiny corner shop at Sheng Kang Old Street.  Toasted, stuffed with some fresh basil leaves and topped with kimichi, preserved and pickled vegetables.  Just looking at the picture is making me salivate.
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Close up picture!  This was so good that I was close to making another trip to that area just to have it again.  Unfortunately, time didn’t allow.  Definitely a must the next time I visit Taiwan.
 

2 – Oyster Pancake

Another thing that I associate Taiwan with – Oyster Pancake!  Something about the taste of this gooey pancake.

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Tastes best when every bite is with an oyster, fried egg, crispy bean sprouts and a tad of hot sauce…yum yum…
3- Mango Ice

There are so many delicious desserts in Taiwan, but my favorite is mango ice.

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I finished this all by myself!
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Mixed fruits ice
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Ripe mangoes. Typhoons have wiped out many mango plants, making this fruit outrageously expensive this summer.
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 4- Wild Vegetables

There were lots of interesting vegetables that I have never seen and eaten before.  I was lucky to get to try many of them.  Though I liked all of them, my favorite is this indigenous vegetable 龍鬚菜:

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Perfectly stirred fried- sweet, garlicy taste with crispy texture.  I have eaten this several times during my stay.  Even the one at a high-end restaurant that costs 3 times more was not as half as delicious as this one that I had at a small restaurant in Sun Moon Lake.
Other tasty vegetables:

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There are tons of betel nut trees ( which many tourists mistaken as palm trees) in Taiwan. This vegetable is from the inside of a betel nut.

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Okras and bitter gourds
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Just look at how beautiful these veggies are.
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Another rare veggie
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I have only had bamboo shoots in ramen noodles and hot and sour soups.  This is a different type of bamboo.  It makes a refreshing summer treat.  You peel off the skin, boil it in water for a bit, cut it into pieces, chill it in the fridge and serve it with mayo.

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The finished product.   Picture taken by Y.Lee

 

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Another type of bamboo.  You peel off a few of the outer stalks  and eat the tender part inside. Also boil first then chill, before serving with mayonnaise.
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Fresh baby corn!  Sadly, I have only had baby corn from a can.  I was so excited to have these fresh one for the very first time!
5- Sugar Cane Juice

I was overwhelmed with all the drink venders in every corner.  There were way too many drinks to choose from – Bubble milk tea, papaya milk shake, bean slushy, fresh fruit juices, herbal drinks, soy bean milk, sour plum drink, preserved fruit drinks, winter melon drink and various teas.  I like them all, but my favorite is still sugar cane juice!  I love to drink it straight, or mixed with lime or tea!

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Sugar cane juice stand
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One of the many drink stalls at the night market.
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Mango slushy…hmmm…one of those drinks that I wanted to try but just didn’t have room for.
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Fun cups
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One of my favorite drinks – Jasmine tea with fresh sugar cane juice. This shop makes it really good.
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Did Obama have one of these?
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You will never stay thirsty in Taiwan.
 

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More pictures of other food:

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Tea leave eggs.  These eggs might not look very appealing but they are extremely tasty!
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You see the eyes? The pod resembles the slit eye of a phoenix, thus it is called Phoenix Eye fruit.  You peel off the many layers of the seed and eat the inner yellow part.  Too bad I didn’t get to try it.  Next time.
 

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Cute and yummy baby bananas
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Red bananas – Only grown in Sun Moon Lake?
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Nice team work.  Look at that big chunk of peanut candy!
 

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Shaved peanut candy with ice cream and parsley on a roll, anyone? A popular dessert in Yilan.
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This deep fried toast with vegetable stew inside is called Coffin. What a name!
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Like me, from a distance you would probably think this is an electronics repair shop.  Yes, this is where they shuck the oysters for those mouth-watering oyster pancakes. They sell them in batches to restaurants.
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Liuhe Night Market in Kaohsiung City.  Streets are closed and vendors start preparing at around 4pm.
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Hualien Dongdamen Night Market.  I love the bright orange awning.  You can still enjoy the night even if it starts to pour.
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One of the big night markets in Tainan City.  Look at the crowd and it was not even a weekend.  Had some great food here.  Tainan is well-known for its night markets afterall.
 

Are any of these your favorite too?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Pearl

I have always loved traveling but did not venture out on my own until I was in my mid-20s. After my first solo adventure to Vietnam, I have fallen in love with the freedom and exhilaration of traveling alone. I would like to use this blog to document my travels and record memorable stories I do not want to forget. It will be a platform to share useful information and hear about others' experiences and thoughts, not necessarily about travels but also on life in general. Live a simple and meaningful life, enjoy learning along the way, travel the world and explore the unknown!

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