We love a good food market. Heck, we love food, period. So wandering the streets of Taipei had our noses tingling and our bellies grumbling (that was before we smelled the stinky tofu…)
Here are seven Taiwanese delights you need to get your mouth around…
1. Gua Bao
Bao buns have gotten super popular over in the West, but there’s nothing like an authentic bao and the Taiwanese have got it down.
Head to Lan Jia Gua Bao for the ultimate in pork belly steamed bun goodness or look for a bao bun stall with a long line and you’re guaranteed to start drooling.
2. Stinky Tofu
You’ll smell this one before you see it and it will be everywhere! This fermented tofu is a Taiwanese staple but don’t mind the smell too much. Hold your nose and bite down. We promise the taste is much better than the stench…
If you’re put off, ease your way in with some stinky tofu fries covered in sauce. You can find these at Raohe night market.
3. Beef Noodle Soup
Ah the classic beef noodle soup, oh how we love you! Perfect for those colder days, this stew will get you all warmed up.
Long lines are a sign of the good stuff, but if you don’t mind parting with $330 (USD) then head to restaurant Niu Ba Ba for their presidential soup… Or get the regular people version for just $16 (USD)!
4. Shaved Ice Mountain
Who knew something so simple could be so delicious?! You can find this cool Taiwanese dessert complete with toppings at most food stalls. Good luck picking your toppings though. There are infinite combinations from fruit or chocolate or the more traditional additions like taro, grass jelly or mango. Head to Ice Monster for the absolute classic – mango shaved ice. That’s it, we’re drooling!
5. Deep-Fried EVERYTHING
You heard me right, these guys stop at nothing to stick food in a fryer and we LOVE it. Try the classic popcorn chicken or go more daring with deep-fried squid! Or, try a deep-fried chicken steak as big as your face from Hot Star. You can find these in almost every food district and night market, so don’t worry about missing it, you can’t!
For something a little more unusual, how about some deep-fried milk for dessert? Just 60 cents a skewer, it’s crispy on the outside and smooth and sweet on the inside. Perfection!
6. Pan-seared Dumplings
Another day, another un-BAO-lievably tasty dumpling. Pan fried and steamed at the same time? You betcha! You don’t need further convincing. Just visit any Taiwanese night market and order as much as you can. Believe us, you will thank us for it! Craving more dumplings? Check out the traditional soup dumpling xiaolongbao (good luck pronouncing that, pointing helps when ordering…)
7. Pepper Buns
Ready for some crunchy flakey and juicy goodness? Think tender pork with spices and scallions wrapped in a breaded shell and you’ve got yourself a pepper bun, or hu jiao bing in Chinese. Head to Fuyuan Pepper Bun on Huayin Street for the ultimate in baked goodness. It’s even featured on Anthony Bourdain’s Layover!
Belly rumbling yet? Ours is for sure! And now, we’re giving away two tickets to a Taipei Eats tour as well as a round-trip flight to Taiwan, so you could be on your way to Asia for the ultimate street food experience! Apply now for a chance to win!