Taipei is a city of many charms. And of many foods. If you fancy yourself a bit of a foodie and happening to be heading to Asia, consider spending some time here. And bring some larger pants along with you, as you’ll likely take a little bit of Taipei home with you when you leave. Read on to learn of six must try foods while in Taipei, and one that the jury is still out on.
The Taiwanese take their food very seriously. And checking out “best of” lists all over the Internet, a lot of people feel very strongly about a lot of different kinds of food and treats that you can find here in Taipei. Without a doubt, there is something for everyone. And I think the general population would agree that these 6 are some of the most popular and delicious recommendations.
Spicy Mala Hot Pot
This isn’t so much a food to eat, as it is a delicious experience. It all begins with your chosen soup base(s), in the giant pot, built into your table. Order whatever meats you’d like to cook up from your server. Next, head back to the refrigerated room to fill up a plate with whatever veggies and seafood you’d like to throw in the pot. It doesn’t end there. There are a variety of drinks to choose from and trays of fresh fruit to refresh your palate. And there’s the sauce bar. Oh, the sauce bar. Choose from different kinds of soy sauces, garlic, green onion, cilantro, sesame and other oils, vinegars, etc., to concoct the perfect dipping sauce for all that you fish out of the hot pot. Finally end with delicious Haagan Daz or Movenpick Ice Cream. (Sadly, you will most likely not have a lot of room left for this) This is all included in one reasonable price.
This one is traditionally a breakfast food. If you like your brekkies a little carby and a little greasy, you’re in the right place. While it’s probably not wise to make this one a daily indulgence, some mornings are just Dan Bing mornings. A classic Dan Bing is made up of a fried egg inside a thin, onion flavored, crepe-like wrapper. You can get creative with what else you’d like rolled up inside, but the classics of cheese and/or bacon work very nicely. It’s enjoyed with some fermented, thick (almost sweet) soy sauce. I’ve never met someone who hasn’t
found satisfaction in starting a day with Dan Bing.
Green Onion Pancake
Think more of a fried bread dough than traditional, sweet pancake. They are simple, but addicting. Often handmade with green onions mixed right in, these are a common street vendor snack. They’re flaky, warm and wonderful.
Ahhh, Beef Noodle soup. If there is one dish you must try while in Taiwan, I’d say it’s this one. It’s stewed or braised beef, in delicious, dark broth with chewy handmade noodles. This is the best comfort food that you never knew about. There are often a few options for what goes in your bowl, like type of noodles, beef tendons or tripe. But I prefer to stick to the classic described above. It truly is one of Taiwan’s favourite dishes. From night market stalls, to upscale restaurants, everyone has their own version of it. And most living in Taiwan have their own favourite spot to enjoy it.
Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung is a wonderful restaurant, that originated in Taiwan. Locations are now found all over the world. It is known for the pork Xiao Long Bao. These are delicious, delicate soup dumplings, made by hand daily, at each restaurant. There is a special technique (that the servers are happy to teach you) to eating these tasty treats. But really, everything on the menu is delicious. Not only is the food amazing, but the service impeccable. When my youngest was a toddler, her spoon would hardly even hit the ground before there was a server bringing a new spoon, with a smile.
Taiwan is a hot place in the summer. It’s hard to truly understand the heat and humidity until you’ve experienced it. Cold, refreshing drinks and treats are everywhere. This one is simple, but incredible. It’s shaved ice, sometimes with milk, topped with fresh, cut up fruit and smothered in condensed milk and quite often a scoop of ice cream. There are also bean variations. Whatever your preference, you really can’t lose. It’s a delicious way to chill out.
And finally, the final bonus food. Stinky tofu. That’s the literal translation. Love it or hate it, you’ll surely know when you’re near it. It’s fermented tofu, often found being sold at night markets and usually served deep fried. The odour is unmistakable. I’m not going to lie…I still need to mouth breathe when I’m near it. It’s said that the stronger the odour, the better the stinky tofu. While I still don’t understand it, this is a very loved and popular snack in Taiwan. Apparently it tastes better than it smells. If you’re feeling brave, give it a go!
This truly is only the very tip of the iceberg. The amount of restaurants and street vendors in this land is really hard to comprehend. Come, see and taste for yourself!