What Locals Eat

It is absolutely not possible to cover the entire plethora of Taiwanese food in one article. The cuisine in Taiwan has a number of variations including the Hakka, Aboriginal or Hoklo/Taiwanese foods. Due to its history, Taiwanese cuisine stems from a number of influences from mid and southern provinces of Mainland China to Japanese cuisine and more.

Here are some of the typical dishes you’ll find in Taiwan.

Stinky Tofu

This dish won’t certainly appeal to everyone. The name says it all. It is, however, one of the staples of Taiwan and you will often hear that every traveller should experience it at least once.

Stinky Tofu is a certain type of a fermented tofu with a very strong and entirely unpleasant odour. It is found almost anywhere in Taiwan and it is also one of the more popular night market snacks.

Place: Raohe Market, Taipei

Beef Noodle Soup

This is another extremely popular dish in Taiwan and once again restaurants and stalls can be found all across Taiwan. As a matter of fact, since this dish is so proliferate, you may have trouble deciding where you want to experience your first bowl.

If you’re having a hard time making up your mind you can take cues from the nation-wide Beef Noodle Festival that lasts about 2 months and go to one of the awarded restaurant.

Place: ?????????, Taipei,  Ximen MRT station

Oyster Omelette

Probably most well-known as Tainan’s signature night market snack the oyster omelette is well loved in many parts of Asia for its savoury taste. Of course, omelettes can have all kinds of flavours but the one many people look for in Tainan is somewhat sweet. It is filled with eggs, vegetables, sweet chilli sauce, sweet potato powder and oysters. In 2007, it was even voted as the best snack to represent the island by Global Views Monthly (a poll of 1000 Taiwanese).

Place: Shilin Market, Taipei, Jiantan MRT station

Bubble Tea

If there is a food texture that is representative of Taiwanese cuisine it is without a doubt the gooey chewiness also called “QQ” by the locals. The Bubble Tea represents perfectly this Taiwanese love affair with everything gelatinous. The tapioca balls (“bubbles” or “pearls”) found in the tea is where the magic is. Nowadays, the bubble tea is one of Taiwan’s greatest food exports.

It is said that it was invented in Taichung, Taiwan in 1988 out of boredom when Liu Han-Chieh threw some sweetened tapioca pudding into her iced Assam tea. Since then, a huge variety of drinks have emerged mostly containing a tea base mixed with milk or fruit. Some of the favourite bubble drinks are bubble milk tea with “bubbles” and bubble milk green tea with “bubbles”.

Place: ????????30?, Taichung (can also be found in Taipei)


Chicken Steak

The deep-fried chicken steak is undoubtedly one of the most popular street foods in Taiwan. There always seems to be a vendor nearby. It is exactly what you’d expect, which is a tasty slab of breaded chicken that has been enhanced by some chilli powder or other condiments.

Place: any night market

Shaved Ice Mountain

This is the perfect treat for a hot Taiwanese summer day. It is refreshing and it comes in a variety of flavours. It is essentially a pile of shaved ice heaping with fresh fruit, juice and sweet condensed milk. The most “traditional” is the mango mountain.

Place: 臺一牛奶大王

新生南路三段82號, Taipei, Gongguan MRT station