If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a food lover. I don’t discriminate between high end or street food. If it tastes good, it tastes good. And let me just say…..the food taste really f’in good in Taiwan. Yes, I ate myself silly from morning to night….smiling with every bite, stuffing my lil’ tummy until it was bulging over my jeans. It was totally worth it! I was mostly in a food coma while there, but here’s what I remember as my top food picks of Formosa (aka Taiwan, aka mecca of deliciousness).
Tried & True
- Dirt cheap $1 boba (or less!) on every street corner. Had one pretty much every day.
- Traditional Taiwanese breakfast- turnip cake, fresh soymilk, scallion pancake, sesame pastry stuffed with doughnut.
- Beef noodle soup- Nothing fancy, just tender beef cooked in a broth with noodles. You can pretty much get this on any street corner or night market. I have so many fond childhood memories of my Mom making this for us on a cold, winter day.
- Fried milk- It’s not really want you think it is. It’s really more like fried custard/ pudding ball on a stick. Another night market find.
- Pineapple cakes- If you’re looking for souvenirs, look no further. It’s always a crowd favorite and most come in cute individual packages. We snagged a few in the free hotel minibar and then bought a few boxes as presents. Buttery outer layer with pineapple filling on the inside. It’s not oozy like a jelly doughnut filling, but more like a paste.
Drooling yet? Read on to drool more…
Once in a lifetime
- Mountain greens- My mom is uber healthy, so I’ve eaten a lot of Taiwanese greens in my life; however, I’d never laid eyes on these greens until this trip. They’re grown in the mountains and have a very distinct curly cue at the end. Typically sautéed with black beans for a tasty side dish. I’m usually not one to rave about veggies, but these ones are unique, cute to look at, and flavorful.
- Gakuden Boulangerie in Taipei- I stumbled across this bakery on accident and it was kismet. If I were stranded on a desert island, the one thing I could not live without is bread, carbs, baked goods. What’s even more amazing is that bakeries in Taiwan are typically open late (like think wee hours of the morning). I wish I had photo evidence of these goodies, but I devoured them too quickly. Sorry! You’ll just have to trust me that the chocolate mini soufflé muffin was to die for…that the loaf bread with cubed cheese, cranberries, and nuts had the perfect texture and sweetness. Really, everything we had was amazing.
- Din Tai Fung restaurant- If you read any guidebook, than you know that you MUST go to Din Tai Fung. Sure, it’s totally hyped up, but it lives up to its name. It’s known for handmade dumplings and Xiao Long Bao (dumplings that burst out with soup when you bite into ‘em). We had pork chop fried rice, Dan Dan noodles, and a bunch of a dumplings and stuff. YUMMY!
Most interesting and unique
- Rice flour wraps stuffed with peanut shavings, cilantro, and ice cream… Interesting combo, right? Sounds weird and gross, but somehow it works really well together. It’s refreshingly sweet and kinda makes you wonder what other combos that you’ve overlooked in life that could be absolutely wonderful together.
- Other odds and ends that were interesting, but not really for me: pig knuckles, duck’s blood in hot pot, oyster omelet..and these slimy guys below. I’m adventurous, but something about the looks of these pouches made me want to cringe. Sorry, maybe next time!
Until the next food adventure…