Now that you have reached one of the best eating capitals of the world, here is a food checklist to run through to ensure for the best culinary experience in Taipei. There are way too many to include in one list, but I have included some of my favorites. Eating in Taipei is one sure way of gaining a couple pounds and being proud of the weight you gained.
1. Stinky Tofu
This might be completely foreign and intimidating for some, but get past the smell, and definitely give this a try. This fermented soybean curd is a craze for good reason, and it’s not like you can really avoid the smell in the air. Make sure to pair it with pickled cabbage, and their delicious garlicky sauce. To find, just follow your nose when walking through a night market. The stinkier it smells generally indicates the tastier it is. My favorite is a little street stall at the beginning of Gong Guan Night Market. This is a clip of how close I am to the street while eating this delicious stinky Tofu:
2. Taiwanese Sausage
A sweet sausage different from any other that is cooked to perfection. I don’t even like sausages, and I can eat these all day. People eat it with raw garlic, but I like it just the way it is. You can find these at any night market.
3. Hand-sliced Beef Noodle Soup
On a chilly day, this warm beef noodle soup is such a comfort to my belly. The fat noodles are hand-sliced, with imperfections that make more the perfect chewy texture. It usually just comes with beef and noodles. I asked for an egg as an additional topping. Taiwan Yi Pin Ramen and Sliced Noodle in Da’an District is my absolute favorite.
3. Cold Noodles - Liang Mian (凉面)
Speaking of noodles, these are a cold refreshing side dish to try as well. Literally translated to cold noodles. These were also from the same restaurant as the beef noodle soup: Taiwan Yi Pin Ramen and Sliced Noodle in Da’an District .
4. Pork Meatballs - Gong Wan Tang (貢丸湯)
My favorite meat balls, unlike any other, cooked in clear broth. There are many copycats outside of Taiwan, but the ones in Taiwan are chewy and an absolute delight. My favorite store in Taipei closed, so I will have to search for a different one. You can find these at any night market as well.
5. Taiwanese Egg Crepe - Dan Bing (蛋餅)
This pairing of Dan Bing and soy milk is the breakfast of champions. You can have it with pork floss (rou song – 肉鬆) or plain. I prefer the plain flavor or the egg. These places are littered all over the city. I can’t remember the name of the one I frequent. I ate this for breakfast every single morning I was in Taiwan.
6. Taiwanese Pork Belly buns - Gua Bao (割包)
This steamed bun with slices of stewed pork makes for a delicious snack. The bun is extremely soft and fluffy, and the meat is topped with powdered plants and cilantro. This was found in a restaurant near Taipower Building MRT station.
7. Beef Teriyaki Rice Burger
This burger is essentially a small bowl of beef teriyaki rice fashioned into a small burger. It gets a little messy eating it since the buns made out of rice starts falling apart while eating, but Mos Burger can’t be found everywhere, and this is pretty good, much like the Yoshinoya outside of the United States.
8. Tea Eggs
Tea eggs are the ultimate old-school fast food. These tea infused boiled eggs are filling and savory, and what’s incredible is that this delightful little thing can be found at any 7/11 store. Perfect snack on the go.
9. Chicken Hearts on a Stick
These little BBQ marinated chicken hearts are a fatty snack found in night markets everywhere. Other worthy mentions are fried squid, fried cuttlefish balls, and blood sausage.
10. Strawberry and condensed milk covered shaved ice
Taiwanese shaved ice is out of this world. It has a really fluffy consistency that is unlike regular shaved ice. This was found when strawberries were not in season in Shilin Night market. Impressive, isn’t it? This one is eaten mainly for the fruits, whereas the next picture is for the flavor of the shaved ice itself. You can see how it looks different than the average shaved ice.
Relevant reading: Check out more things to eat in Shilin Night Market.
11. Egg waffles
These light and fluffy waffle puffs are originally from Hong Kong. There are many variations now, and come in different fun flavors. I still prefer the original egg flavor though. You can find these in any night market.
12. Guava with plum powder
This fruit pairing brings back such incredible childhood memories. The ones found in Taiwan are white inside, and are so crunchy. Best paired with plum powder for the best results. You can find sliced ones in night markets sometimes.
13. Really long squiggly ice-cream
14. Peanut crumble ice-cream
Essentially an ice-cream burrito, this beloved grated peanut brittle ice-cream roll is a mixture of pineapple, peanut, and sometimes taro flavored ice-cream wrapped in a light roll. It’s an old-school delicacy that some people like paired with coriander. These can be found in older districts like Jiufen or Jiaosi. So, so, so delicious.
Relevant reading: Check out my time in Jiufen.
15. Maltose candy and fried ice-cream
The fried ice-cream in Taiwan is light, and never heavy. The dough is feels light and perfect. It is fried just enough to give it a warm, and crispy consistency, along with the coldness of the ice-cream on the inside. The maltose candy is a thick syrup that can be enjoyed by cutting a small opening at the top of this clear baggie, and slowly releasing the honey-like candy in your mouth. It’s less sweet than regular sugar, so you can feel less guilty about consuming this candy.
16. Fried Milk on a stick
These delicious little cubes of fried milk is the best thing ever. The consistency is like butter, and slightly sweet. I’ve tried some here in Los Angeles, and they were awful. Only in Taiwan. This was found in Shilin Night Market.
17. Candied cherry tomatoes
These remind me of candied apples, but with cherry tomatoes. They can be stuffed with dried plums to add to the flavor, as you can see on the stick I am holding on the right side. These can be found at any night market. I found these in Shilin night Market.
18. Sugar Cane Juice
I cannot get enough of this juice. This is freshly squeezed, and taste like refined sugar water, and is so refreshing in the humid air. The sugarcane juice in Taiwan taste relatively similar to the ones in Singapore, but different than the ones in Egypt. If you come across Carambola (Starfruit) juice, give that a try too. Both of these drinks are such incredible thirst quenchers.
19. Cotton Candy
Either make your own at Tamsui. Or get one beautifully made for you at Shilin Night Market. Making your own is pretty fun. You insert coins, and it gives you a little packet of sugar for you to pour into the middle of the machines. You take the stick provided, and you twirl around as the cotton candy is made. The one in Shilin Night Market is a work of art, and is really interesting to watch how creative people get with their foods.
20. Soybean Pudding - Dou Hua (豆花)
Dou Hua is served warm or hot, usually with ginger flavored syrup. This was found in Raohe Night Market.