Now, I’ve said before that I’m not a foodie. A solid drink or spruced-up cocktail has always been more my speed. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good meal – or in this case, some tantalizing Taiwanese street foods. The street foods in Taiwan have a lot going for them. They’re unique, tasty, and pretty much everywhere.
You can find them at night markets, street markets, tourist hotspots, food trucks, noodle shops – the list goes on. And hey, hopping from place to place is going to make anyone hungry. It makes sense to take advantage of street foods so that you can grab a bite and still spend as much time as possible getting where you want to go.
Having tried some of these street foods myself, I thought I’d give my thoughts on the best-tasting and/or best-looking ones (for those I haven’t tried yet).
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Where to Stay
When visiting Taipei, we chose to stay at Leofoo Residences. It was decent. An apart-hotel with okay prices in a good location, a kitchenette and a washing machine.
PHOTO CREDITS: LEOFOO RESIDENCES VIA HOTELS.COM
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Stinky Tofu for Best-Known Taiwanese Street Foods
Stinky tofu is one of the most popular Taiwanese street foods for a reason. It’s packed with flavor and a great way to fill your stomach when you’re on your feet all day… at least if the smell isn’t too off-putting. I say, don’t feel pressured to eat anything you don’t want to. But half the point of traveling is to try new things, right?
Spicy Beef Noodles, Anyone?
Jeff had a bowl of these noodles during our visit in Taipei, and I had a bite as well. I have to say, they were pretty good, and they weren’t too hard on my stomach, either. Which was good because, let me just say, you have to be careful what you eat when you’re touring a foreign country. But these were definitely a pleasure – had them at the famous Jiufen Old Street.
Gua Bao: Pork on a Bun
Gua bao is another famous street food that you’ve probably at least seen if you’ve looked up Taiwanese food at all. It’s braised pork belly slapped on a steamed bun and piled high with different seasonings, like mustard greens and cilantro. It kinda makes me think of a Taiwanese version of barbecue, even though there’s no grilling involved.
Chew on Some Iron Eggs for Unique Taiwanese Street Foods
I just had to include iron eggs – they’re too unique not to. These eggs are stewed in spices and then air-dried over and over until they turn black (or a very dark brown). Granted, I don’t know if I’d actually be brave enough to put one in my mouth, but they’re supposed to taste amazing. Chewy but rich, especially compared to plain old boiled eggs.
Need Something Light and Refreshing? Try Aiyu Jelly
One thing to keep in mind about Taiwan is that it is HOT. So, one way to teach that heat a lesson is to try out some aiyu jelly. It’s a smooth, refreshing treat – basically a type of jell-o made from figs, usually topped with honey and lime. It’s surprisingly healthy, too, if its list of vitamins is anything to go by.
Baking Black Pepper Buns in a Can
This snack started up in Taiwan’s own Fujian Province. I saw the street vendors baking some of these buns in this big ol’ canisters after stuffing them with meat and green onions. You have to prepare yourself for a long line, but these juicy buns are worth the wait.
Then again, waiting a long time makes you hungrier. And being hungry makes things taste better. So, maybe it’s just tricking us into thinking it’s tastier than it is. A conspiracy…?! (No, probably not.)
Savory Scallion Pancakes
Even though these are called pancakes, they’re more like a pan-fried flat bread. You can find them at the night markets. They fill you up nicely and the scallions (and I’m guessing other spices) add a good punch of flavor. There are a few different types you can choose from – flat and flakey, fluffy and deep-fried – so you can try out a few varieties to figure out your favorite.
Yummy Yummy Shrimp Balls
After visiting Jiufen, I will forever have the words “Shrimp ball, yummy, yummy!” lodged in my brain. A lady yelled it out while hawking samples, and then Jeff decided to adopt this phrase for his own use. So now I must type this, so you can share in my pain. (Okay, I’m exaggerating. He only said this for the duration of our stay in Taiwan.)
To be fair, the shrimp balls did look pretty good. To make them, they chop up shrimp and mix it with tapioca and a bunch of other ingredients. I probably would have given it a try if my stomach hadn’t been on high alert at the time.
Any Favorite Taiwanese Street Foods?
Have you tried any Taiwanese street foods yourself? Or just doing some research on what to hone in on for an upcoming trip? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment below before checking out some of my other posts on Taiwan.
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