We haven't been to Taiwan yet, but after reading this post I think it might be top of the list. We love food, so thanks Will for bringing this to our attention.
Authentic Taiwanese cuisine certainly has a lot to offer to the gourmet visitor. The island has been under the rule of various countries, each of them bringing their own culinary culture while aboriginal cuisine also lived on, even if often in the background.
Taiwanese cuisine is a colorful and varied amalgam of the cooking culture of all the nations that have ever settled here – you will find traces of Japanese, Chinese and Hakka influence in local food just as much as ingredients and cooking techniques characteristic of other Asian kitchens. Taiwan also provides international dishes – you can find French and Italian restaurants on the island as well as restaurants operated by the world's most famous fast food chains.
The culture of snack foods is one with the culture of Taiwan. Snacks offer a quick and authentic way to get a first-hand experience of what local life is really like. Available from street vendors and at local marketplaces, Taiwanese snacks are made with the freshest local ingredients, usually seafood, but you can find dishes made with other types of meat as well - here are a few of the most popular snacks available in every town and city on the island:
- Oyster omelet – fresh oysters straight from the sea, coated in tapioca and potato starch, mixed with eggs and vegetables, then stir-fried at high temperatures;
- Taiwanese meatballs – balls of meat made from pork, mushrooms and spices, wrapped in a coating made by mixing tapioca powder, potato starch and rice powder with water;
- Stinky tofu – the pungent smell of fermented tofu puts many people off, but those who conquer their disgust are in for a real treat. Fermented tofu is fried in oil, and then served with pickled cabbage.
Beside its world-famous snack food, Taiwanese cuisine is well known for its extraordinary delicacies, skillfully crafted by local masters of the kitchen.
One of the most famous of all delicacies is tea, what else. Taiwan has always been known as a tea empire and the tea varieties available everywhere from large supermarkets to small corner shops are really amazing. The four most common varieties are Wenshan Baozhong, Tie Guanyin, Dongding Oolong Tea, and Pekoe Oolong – each of them having a different taste, conjuring a different atmosphere.
Taiwan delicacies include cakes, brittles, noodles and a lot of other culinary delights:
4. Pineapple cake – Taiwan is one of the world's largest producers of pineapples, so local people must know a thing or two about using the fruit in cakes.
5. Shaoxing wine – a sweet beverage made by fermenting different types of rice, wheat and other ingredients.
6. Rice noodles – absolutely yummy!
7. Peanut Brittle – Taiwan makes the best peanuts in the world, these small, sweet and crunchy bars are the best proof of that.
8. Mochi – one of the representative delicacies of Taiwan, this sticky cake is made by transforming rice into paste and molding it into various shapes.
9. Candied fruits - that are salty, sour and sweet at the same time.
10. Taiwanese tea – Taiwan's topography and climate are ideal for growing tea. Among the varieties you absolutely have to try out, we must mention: Guanyin, Pekoe Oolong, Dongding Oolong and Wenshan Baozhong.
Taiwanese cuisine is all about natural flavors and uncomplicated tastes that combine into gourmet experiences. Whether it is snacks that you are having or you are enjoying one of the great local delicacies, it will surely be an unforgettable experience.
William Chan is an avid food blogger. And travels based on where he can get the most unique and culturally enriching food. Brought to you by Taiwan Tourism Bureau.