Often lauded as one of the world’s best food destinationsTaiwanmust be on the bucket list of every serious foodie. This list of5种食物尝试in Taiwan is a tiny fraction of the delicious food on offer. It could very easily be 10 foods, 15 or 30!
Bubble Tea or Boba
It has evolved to include hundreds of flavours and variations but in its most basic form it comprises black tea, milk, ice and the ‘bubbles’ of chewy tapioca pearls. Frequently served in a take away cup, lid and the all important fat straw with which to suck up the bubbles.
Whilst the tapioca pearls are white and hard to begin with they are boiled for hours in a sugary caramelised syrup. This unique texture is the all important essence of bubble tea and the source of its particular taste. The Taiwanese refer to this essence and measure of its rubbery, springy and chewy consistency as Q or QQ.
The most productive way to explore local foods is often to identify the stall apparently most popular with locals. For Taiwanese Bubble Tea aficionados this is often Xing Fu Tang and its famous Happiness Brown
Sugar Boba. The luscious dark and creamy complexion is incredibly rich with caramel but not as sweet as you may anticipate. The bubbles are certainly an acquired taste but far from unpleasant.
After its most famous food export Taiwan’s most popular and common street food must be the next of our 5 foods to try in Taiwan.
Fried chicken is a beloved fast food dish the world over but unlike anywhere else we’ve visited Taiwan is known for its large fried chicken cutlets. These plate sized treats may not be the healthiest of options but boy are they tasty.
Whilst Chinese in origin the national dish of Taiwan is often considered to be beef noodle soup. Taiwan loves this dish so much it has even been rewarded with its own national festival – the Taipei International Beef Noodle Festival.
Slowly braised beef served in a rich broth with noodles seems so simple. However the Taiwanese have elevated their variation to new heights by adding elements such as pickled mustard greens and that all important five spice powder. The sound of slurping this incredibly deep tasting dish is almost Taiwan’s national sound!
However, the restaurant perhaps most popular with locals can be found in Taipei’s Tao Yuen Street near Ximen Station. Just head for the longest queue!
Creme Brûlee Puff
Prior to our visit to Taiwan we were fully expecting two weeks of solely Asian inspired dishes and the odd sticky rice dessert or fresh fruit. However, we instead came across this French inspired pastry delight.
This puff comprises traditional choux pastry filled with a velvety, smooth rich vanilla custard or ice cream. This is then coated with icing sugar and a blow torch used to create the crunchy caramelised layer.
不活动think about the calories just wallow in the sweet joy. It is without doubt my new favourite pastry and I’m confident it will be yours too.
A result of a large pineapple surplus in the 1930’s requiring pineapple centred food innovations resulted in these small pineapple jam filled shortcrust tarts. The Taiwanese pronunciation of pineapple sounds like ‘Ong Lai’ or coming luck suggesting wealth and prosperity.
Simple but elegant these are tasty gifts to take home to family and friends. We bought ours at the incredible Miyahara store in Taichung in the south of Taiwan. This store resembling something from the world of Harry Potter offers beautifully packaged pineapple cake and other food treats. A visit here is a definite must, especially for the famed ice cream stall.
However, we have to be completely honest and admit that we cannot comment on whether this adage is true or just a myth. The smell was so off putting that we couldn’t bring ourselves to try a sample.
Perhaps next time…..
两那些blog, founded by husband and wife Paul & Nicki Rought aims to share experiences of their world wide travels. An active couple constantly seeking new experiences and always learning The Two That Do includes city and country guides, Van Life tips and blogs on their various adventures. Highlights include paragliding over Cape Town, pasta making in Italy and sand-boarding in Namibia.
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