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Eating in Taiwan

Eating in Taiwan

Taiwanese beef noodle soup
Taiwanese beef noodle soup
Lemon aiyu jelly
Lemon aiyu jelly
Generally speaking, the foods of Taiwan are derived from mainland Chinese cuisines. It is possible to find Szechuan (四川) food, Hunan (湖南) food, Beifang (北方) food, Cantonese (廣東) food and almost every other Chinese cuisine on the island. The Taiwanese are also passionately in love with eggs and seafood, as you will discover during your stay on the island. Fruits are another famous part of Taiwanese food. A wide range of fruits can be found at local fruit shops and stations. The subtropical climate allows different fruits to grow nicely. Actually you can find almost every kind of fruits you can think of in Taiwan. Taiwan also has many of its own local specialties. A few found island wide include:
  • Beef noodles (牛肉麵 niúròu miàn), noodle soup with chunks of meltingly soft stewed beef and a dash of pickles
  • Oyster omelet (蚵仔煎 ó āh jiān - this is the Taiwanese name, as its Chinese name only exists in characters, but not in oral Mandarin), made from eggs, oysters and the leaves of a local chrysanthemum, topped with sweet red sauce.
  • Aiyu jelly (愛玉 àiyù), made from the seeds of a local fig and usually served on ice ? sweet, cool and refreshing on a hot day
  • Taiwan Sausage (香腸 xiāngcháng), usually made from pork, it is a modified version of the Cantonese laap cheong (臘腸) which has been emulsified and is much sweeter in taste. Unlike laap cheong, which is almost always eaten with rice, Taiwanese xiangchang is usually eaten on its own with some garlic.
  • Taiwanese Orange (柳丁 liŭdīng) is a type of citrus fruit which is similar to usual oranges, except that the skin and flesh tend to look more yellowish like lemon. Unlike lemon, it is usually quite sweet.
  • Taiwanese Porridge (粥 zhōu in Mandarin, 糜 beh in Taiwanese) is rice porridge cooked with sweet potato. It is usually eaten with several different dishes.
  • Most cities and towns in Taiwan are famous for special foods because of the Taiwanese passion for food and influences from many different countries. For example, Ilan (宜蘭) is famous for its mochi (麻吉), a sticky rice snack often flavored with sesame, peanuts or other flavorings. Yonghe (永和), a suburb of Taipei, is famous for its freshly made soy milk (豆漿) and breakfast foods. Taichung is famous for its sun cakes (太陽餅 tàiyáng bǐng), a kind of sweet stuffed pastry and the best place to buy some is arguably Taiyang Tang (太陽堂) along Freedom Road (自由路), where the pastry was supposedly invented. In Chiayi, it's square cookies, also called cubic pastry (方塊酥), crispy layered cookies cut into squares and sprinkled liberally with sesame seeds. Tainan is particularly famous among the Taiwanese for its abundance of good food and should be a stop for all gourmands. The most famous dish is arguably the coffin bread (棺材板). Virtually every city has its own famous specialties; many Taiwanese tourists will visit other cities on the island simply to try the local foods and then return home. Taiwan also has remarkably good bakery items. Most specialize in sweet Chinese pastries or Western pastries adjusted to local tastes, but look out for We Care bakeries which also offer Western options such as whole wheat loaves, sour breads and ciabatta. Vegetarians are better catered for in restaurants and variety than in most other countries.

    The Most Frequently Asked Travel Questions about Taiwan

    Stinky tofu

    Undoubtedly the most infamous Taiwanese delicacy, stinky tofu (臭豆腐 chòudòufu) is fermented tofu with a strong odor often likened to rotting garbage. It's usually sold only by outdoor stalls, as the smell would overwhelm most restaurants, but if you can hold your nose long enough to eat it, the taste is quite mild ? but with distinct earthy overtones that many visitors find off-putting. It's most commonly eaten fried, but for extra Fear Factor points, find some mala hotpot (麻辣鍋) with stinky tofu and gelatinized duck blood.

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    Taiwan Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

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