Like tapas in Spain, Taiwanese cuisine is comprised of dishes made from stories of the island in addition to influences from China, Japan and local Hakka origins. I could have continued this list forever as there are simply too many delicious foods to show off in Taiwan, but I’ve narrowed it down to 50 signature dishes. Personally, I grew up eating every item and reminisce these quirky dishes while traveling abroad.
Bet you didn’tknow, Taiwan is a traveling foodie’s culinary paradise!
When you’re preparing for a trip, it’s easy to expect the type of food you’re about to devour when heading to countries such as: France, China, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Thailand or even the U.S. We have been conditioned to identify cultures around the world with the type of cuisine each is internationally known for. But what exactly is Taiwanese cuisine, you may ask? What are you expected to eat there?
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To start with, Taiwanese food is based on a huge variety of street foods, snacks that are both sweet and savory. Like tapas in Spain, Taiwanese cuisine is comprised of dishes made from stories of the island in addition to influences from China, Japan and local Hakka origins. Expect to stare at foods you’ve NEVER seen before and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. I could’ve continued this list forever as there are simply too many delicious foods to showoff in Taiwan, but I’ve narrowed it down to 50 signature dishes. Personally, I grew up eating every item and reminisce these quirky dishes while traveling abroad.
Remember, there’s a reason why Taiwanese locals are secrely considered serious foodies. Because we can and know how to eat…well.
Taro rice cakes (芋頭粿): Taro added with sticky rice, steamed then served on leaves. Sometimes, they’re fried with fried chicken. Magic, right? (Photo credit: Flickr/Blowing Puffer Fish
Tea leaf egg (茶葉蛋): Boiled in the famous Chinese five-spice powder including: ground cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, cloves and Szechuan peppercorns. These eggs make the perfect snack and can be found on street vendors and Seven-Elevens! (Photo credit: sophianaustin.blogspot)
Flaky scallion pancake (蔥抓餅): These pancakes are made with scallions. The texture is flakey but ultra delish when you add it with an egg or cheese. (Photo credit: Flickr/pan vanessa)
Omelette wrap (蛋餅): Another breakfast staple to go along rice or soy milk. It’s fried egg mixed with chives, then Taiwanese tortilla is placed on top to create a wrap. Drizzle some soy sauce or hot sauce and you’ve got the ultimate breakfast of champion! (Photo credit: Flickr/jeff~)
Iron egg (鐵蛋): These chewy little quail eggs are cooked in soy sauce for hours then air-dried. Repeat it a few times, in days each will become hard and chewy. You’ll be surprised how obsess-worthy these tiny eggs can be! (Photo credit: buy.gomaji.com)
Taiwanese Biandang (便當): Taiwanese worker bees live on these bento boxes, so do college kids. It’s a lovely little box filled with everything you need for a meal: fried pork/chicken/fish, with a marinated egg and vegetables on a bed of white rice. It’s a staple in Taiwanese daily life, you should give it a try especially during long train rides via Taiwan Highspeed Rail! (Photo credit: Flickr/Party Lin). I simply love it.
Breakfast rice milk (米漿): Taiwanese soy milk is pretty amazing. But amp it up a notch is the rice milk or “mijian” which is made from peanuts and rice. Super healthy, great taste with sweetness. You’ll find it at every breakfast spot on the streets! (Photo credit: lulutaipei.com)
Mango shaved ice (芒果刨冰): Taiwan is a tropical island with extremely hot and humid summers, making perfect weather to order a yummy bowl of shaved ice topped with mango and condensed milk. You’ll see vendors selling them with various toppings including: red bean, strawberries…but mango is the most local! (Photo credit: int.zhubajie.com)
Ban tiao (粄條): As part of the Hakka culture in Taiwan, Ban Tiao draws a big fan base with the locals. Flat rice noodles are made from glutinous rice, cooked in a tasty broth. Yup, this is all you need on any winter nights! (Photo credit: travel2tp.pixnet.net)
Pan-fried rice noodles (炒米粉): A typical dish served in Taiwanese homes (and a personal favorite) are these rice noodles pan-fried in a wok, mixed with vegetables and shredded pork. With a dash of hot and soy sauce, you’ve got the perfect replacement for white rice! (Photo credit: Flickr/*嘟嘟嘟*)