Top 10 Taiwanese Food Dishes to Enjoy on a Taipei Holiday
In recent years, foodie travellers from Singapore have been flocking to Taipei in search of the many must-try Taiwanese food dishes on offer in this food paradise. Here, you’ll find food options around every street corner and at every time of day or night. With delicious food being served up at street-side stalls, night markets, coffee-shops, cafes and restaurants, we’re sure that you’ll never go hungry in Taipei! Read our guide for our recommendations on the best food to try and where to try them in Taipei and start planning your next trip to this bustling foodie city.
1. Xiao Long Bao
Few dishes are quite as iconic as a piping hot basket of Xiao Long Bao. Since the Din Tai Fung branch in Tsim Sha Tsui was awarded a Michelin Star in the 2010 edition of the Michelin Guide for Hong Kong and Macau, the restaurant now has branches in 13 countries outside of Taiwan and is spreading the love of Xiao Long Bao far and wide. When you visit Taipei, you should dine at the original shop on Xinyi Road. This shop has the widest menu of all its global sister shops, so you can’t miss it if you’re a big fan. No reservations are allowed so be prepared to arrive early or wait in line with the rest of the crowd.
2. Stinky Tofu
Stinky Tofu is one of the most controversial dishes in Taiwanese cuisine. It’s a either you love it or you hate it reaction after the first bite. Some find it repulsive, while others find it satisfying. It’s definitely a must-try the first time you visit Taipei. The skin on the outside is crispy and crunchy from the deep frying and a strong smell from the fermented marinade that the tofu is soaked in while the inside of the tofu is juicy and moist. We’re sure that you’ll smell it before you see it at every night market. If you want to try stinky tofu at the most highly rated stall, then head over to Xia Gang Stinky Tofu at Raohe Night Market. Another great spot is Jin Da Ding at Shenkeng Street, a stall which has been serving this delicacy for more than 50 years. And, if you’re an extreme food eater who wants to try the smelliest stinky tofu, look no further than Dai’s House of Stinky Tofu, located on Yongji Road.
3. Wild Boar Sausage
Wild Boar Sausage is a local delicacy that many Singaporeans love to try when they go to Taipei, especially since you can’t find this dish in Singapore. Made from wild boar meat and with a special marinade that coats the sausage, it’s more chewy and juicy than a regular pork sausage and definitely much richer and more flavorful. Some famous spots include Ma La Sang Wild Boar Sausage at Shilin Market and the numerous stalls along Wulai Old Street and Raohe Night Market.
4. Grilled Muah Chee
Grilled Muah Chee is a fun and unique spin on the traditional snack. Its cooked like a piece of satay, with sticky glutinous rice paste being rolled up into a rectangular tofu like shape and then skewered and put over a charcoal grill. They are then coated with a drizzle of honey or with shaved peanut or cheese for additional flavour. Try this at Wulai for the traditional honey version or at Ximending for the peanut or cheesey alternative.
5. Oyster Mee Sua
Few Taiwanese dishes are as comforting in cold weather than a bowl of piping hot oyster mee sua and few places are more famous than Ah Zhong Mian Xian in Ximending. This is a die die must try dish when you’re in Taipei. Ah Zhong Mian Xian serves its oyster mee sua in take-away bowls and the noodles are cooked in a thick broth with pig’s intestines and juicy oysters.
6. Taiwanese Fried Chicken
One of the most popular street snacks at night markets is Taiwanese Fried Chicken. At Shilin Market, look out for Hot Star Fried Chicken, which serves a giant piece of fried chicken cutlet coated in a special seasoning powder (pepper, salt, chill and other spices). The fried chicken skin is crunchy and flavorful and the chicken inside is tender and juicy. At other stores, like Ji Guang Fried Chicken in Ximending, they serve up bags of fried chicken chunks, marinated in over 10 spices.
7. Grilled Beef Cubes
Grilled cubes of beef steak has been increasing in popularity in recent years and you’re sure to find these stalls at every night market you visit in Taipei. Often grilled over a charcoal fire and then blowtorched to get a nice crust at the end, these juicy pieces of beef are cooked to perfection and coated in your choice of seasoning (the popular ones are black pepper, rose salt, cumin powder or teriyaki sauce). Popular shops can be found at Raohe Night Market and Shilin Night Market.
8. Sweet Potato Balls
Sweet Potato Balls is the perfect dish to try if you’ve had a heavy meal and want something sweet to end your trip to the night market on a great note. Get a bag of this delicious snack, which is simple, yet so comforting as you start to make your way around the souvenir shops looking for something to bring home for your family and friends. The most popular shop can be found at Ningxia Night Market. The name of the shop can be loosely translated to Rock and Roll Sweet Potato Balls!
9. Deep Fried Squid
Deep Fried Squid is another staple snack that you’ll see an abundance of when you visit night markets in Taipei. Different stalls serve up this dish in different ways, ranging from deep frying the entire squid in batter and then putting it on a skewer, or chopping it up to smaller pieces, and then coating it a spicy and salty powder. It’s so hard to pick a favorite stall for this but you can’t go wrong picking the longest line to follow!
10. Lu Rou Fan
No list of Taiwanese must try dishes would be complete without the inclusion of Lu Rou Fan. Jin Feng, is arguably the most famous stall serving this delicious and deeply satisfying dish. Expect a crowd of people waiting in line, but the queue moves pretty fast so don’t be discouraged, we assure you it’s worth the wait. If you’re going in a group, it’s best to order an individual portion of Lu Rou Fan each, and then order some dishes like Tofu or Braised Egg or Stir Fried Vegetable to share. The braised pork is tender and melts in your mouth, while the rice is coated in the delicious stewed sauce. Prices here are very reasonable and you’ll expect to spend under $5 per person to have your fill.
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