Part One and Part Two are in the books and Part Three will be the last one of this series, but not for lack of content. I can’t stress just how much we enjoyed the food scene during our two months in Taiwan. Our only issue was there was just too much food to try! Luckily, we plan on returning within the next year or so and when we do, we have a laundry list of foods we didn’t get a chance to eat our first time around. That being said, here is the wrap up of some of the foods we DID get to try while we were there.
Ohhh dumplings aka the little bites of heaven that I will never get tired of. If there was ever a food to describe “cheap and cheerful”, it’s the dumpling. You can get a massive portion for as little as 40 NTD (~$1.30) that will keep you full for hours. I like to top mine with a thick and spicy soy sauce for added flavor, plus a few scallions for good measure. For some of the best traditional pan fried dumplings check out the lady at Raohe Night Market. A large portion will run you 50 NTD (~$1.60).
Possibly the best dumplings I have ever had in my life were in Taipei. Xiaolongbao aka the soup dumpling are exactly as described: delicate dumplings that burst with delicious soup broth inside. Din Tai Fung is a world famous restaurant that was founded in Taipei and has since moved to a handful of locations around the world. Soup dumplings are their speciality, and boy are they delicious. Even though this is a Michelin starred restaurant (be on the lookout for a post about our trip there soon!) you can try their xiaolongbau for just 105 NTD (~$3.40) for 5 of them. It’s a must try when in Taiwan, but if you cannot make it to the restaurant there are countless places that sell them throughout the country.
Little Sausage Inside of Big Sausage
By far the longest name of all the foods we tried, this food is exactly as it’s described. The inside sausage is a traditional Taiwanese pork sausage and the outside is a sticky rice sausage that is sliced in half. The little sausage is then put inside the big one along with things like garlic, peppers, onions, or crushed peanuts. People equate it to a Taiwanese version of a hot dog. I’d say it’s much better than a hot dog, but I will admit the sticky rice sausage is something to get used to. You can find this snack at many of the night markets across the island and it should cost about 50-70 NTD (~$1.61-2.25).
When we first got to Taiwan I figured pineapple cakes were something concocted to sell to tourists. Boy was I wrong. Every time I went to the local supermarket the employees couldn’t stock the shelves fast enough with these things, so naturally we had to try them. It only took one bite to understand why they’re so popular : they’re delicious!
Though they come in many different flavors, pineapple is traditional as well as the most popular. Expect to pay about 100 NTD (~$3.20) for a box of 12. I honestly have no particular brand to recommend because all of the boxes are in Chinese, but every brand we tried was good so you shouldn’t have much trouble!
We had two different types of shaved ice (one of which being inside a squat toilet!) while we were in Taiwan : regular shaved ice and shaved milk ice. Both were delicious, but had a very different taste. The regular shaved ice tasted like regular shaved ice from back home, with the flavor being whatever was infused into it.
The shaved milk ice was something unlike anything I’ve had before, and quickly moved up the ranks of my favorite desserts. It tasted like ice cream, but because it was shaved into a massive mound it was very light and the shavings melted as soon as they hit your tongue. Add some chocolate sauce on top and you have a winner 🙂 For a more traditional flavor I would recommend a red bean sauce instead. One of these treat will run you between 60-100 NTD (~$1.90-2.20)
Though we never made it there, many people recommended Ice Monster in Da’an District in Taipei, including my friend Tom who has lived in Taiwan his whole life. Give it a try and let me know how it was!
The Japanese controlled Taiwan for 50 years, and even though they relinquished their power more than 70 years ago there is still a massive Japanese influence on the island. Mochi is one of the many reminders of Japanese influence you will see on your trip to Taiwan.
Mochi is a popular dessert made of glutinous rice with flavors like red bean, white bean, almond, and more. You can find it at many of the local night markets and bakeries throughout the country. Expect to pay between 150-200 NTD (~$4.85-6.50) for a pack of 12.
There are so many dishes we left out of these posts due to time constraints, and even more dishes we didn’t have the time to try out while we were there. Taiwan is the place nobody talks about but everyone should have on their bucket list. We hope these posts will convince at least one of you to make it out to this amazing place because that’s what it is: amazing.
Although this will be the last post covering Taiwanese foods, we’re still not done talking about Taiwan! Be on the lookout for future posts on Kaohsiung, our Workaway in Taipei, and our experience at the Michelin starred restaurant Din Tai Fung.
Which food do you want to try the most? Comment and let us know!
P.S – Here are some Honorable Mentions that didn’t make it into the posts, but were still very delicious.
Like I said, no shortage of content 🙂