6 TAIWANESE FOOD TO DIE FOR

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Credit to Adina Nicolaiciuc

Every time you think you’ve found the best Taiwanese streetside bao, the most incredible stinky tofu or mind-blowing beef noodle soup, there’s always another food shop that surpasses it. The island’s food is a mash-up of the cuisine of the Min Nan, Teochew and Hokkien Chinese communities, along with Japanese cooking.

It’s a culinary love-in with diversely delicious offspring. Arguments about the best food on Taiwan risk ruining relationships and lifelong friendships.

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#1 Oyster omelet. Here’s a snack that really showcases the fat of the land in Taiwan. You’ve got something from the sea and something from the soil. The eggs are the perfect foil for the little oysters easily found around the island, while sweet potato starch is added to give the whole thing a gooey chewiness — a signature Taiwan food texture. No wonder the soup was voted best snack to represent Taiwan in a poll of 1,000 Taiwanese by Global Views Monthly a few years back. Source: CNN Travel.

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#2 Pearl Tea. Night markets are a quintessential part of the Taipei food experience. Shilin Night Market is the city’s oldest, largest and most popular, dating from 1910. There are a vast array of cheap xiǎochī on offer here, from oyster omelettes to stinky tofu. Also worth visiting is Gongguan Night Market, where must-try dishes include the delicious buns (bāo) at Yuanbao and Lan’s Steamed Sandwiches. The most celebrated stall, however, is Chen San Ding Pearl Milk, specializing in pearl tea (qīngwā zhuàng nǎi). This milky tea with large, chewy tapioca balls was invented in Taiwan in the 1980s before being popularised worldwide. Source: roughguides.com

Credit to Michael McDonough
Credit to Michael McDonough

#3 Coffin Bread. Granted not the most appetizing of names, but coffin bread (also called coffin toast or coffin sandwich) was far and away the most interesting and delicious food I have tried. Coffin bread is a piece of super thick white bread French Toast, that is hollowed out and stuffed with something tasty. Originally invented in the southern city of Tainan, I sampled this snack at the Zhiqiang night market in Hualien. You can pick from among a wide range of fillings, including three-cup chicken or pepper beef. The mixture of sweet and savory really hits the spot, and the toast is easy to munch on as you wander through the rest of the market. Source: Business Insider.

Credit to test
Credit to Test

#4 Stinky Tofu. Anyone first coming to Taiwan for the first time will often quickly experience a strong bad smell in the air that resembles the worst case of moldy socks. This strong pungent smell comes from a certain kind of food called stinky tofu or chou tofu in Chinese. Stinky tofu is a form of fermented tofu, which gives it the strong odor. It is cooked in the pan  with the fermenting bean curd and Nateki explodes, and knows the smelly tofu pickled afterwards, with acidity with a good mouth hit. It’s tofu that has been marinated in vegetable and shrimp broth that has been fermenting for months. Apparently, there is one type of stinky tofu that is served with goose blood, which is much rarer to find. It actually doesn’t taste as bad as it smells. I tried it a couple of different way. it’s deep fried with some pickled cabbage and sauce. If you can stand the smell to get close enough to the vendors’ chou tofu stand, plug your nose and go for it, the taste is fantastic. Stinky Tofu comes deep fried, stewed, and even barbecued! Source: englishintaiwan.com.

Credit to TastyChomps
Credit to TastyChomps

#5 Fried Chicken Cutlet. Hot Star is still my favorite place for over-sized chicken cutlet. This gigantic deep fried chicken cutlet which was coated with a crispy crust was tender and juicy. Generously seasoned with powder of your choice, this is best eaten on a cold Taiwanese winter night. The outlet at Ximending sells other deep fried snacks such as Japanese Tempura and Sweet Potato Balls too! Source: anaffairwithfood.wordpress.com

Credit to Elui
Credit to Elui

#6 Shoubing Youtiao. Together, these are normally eaten for breakfast. Shoubing is roasted flatbread with sesame seeds and the youtiao is a essentially a fried breadstick or Chinese donut which is wrapped in the shoubing. Youtiao literally translates into “oil belt” in English from Mandarin. Together, they give a beautiful crunch as you bite into it. Hot, steaming and fresh is the best way to eat them otherwise they get stale and hard. Fried bread sounds a bit heavy for breakfast but I just love these. It’s normal to get soy milk along with the shaobing youtiao. It’s best not to eat one of these everyday for breakfast but you can indulge once in awhile. Source: mytanfeet.com

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