Taiwan: Food, Glorious Food

22 12 2008

Warning!  Gratuitous Food Pics Ahead!  One of the best things about Taiwan is undeniably the food.  From the 5 star restaurant to the local street stand, food is of utmost importance to the Taiwanese, and it shows.  Eating out is a national pastime in this island nation so when in Taiwan, you should do as the locals do!

First, let’s start with the famous xiao chi (small eats) of Taiwan. These traditional Taiwanese snacks are found in roadside stands and markets everywhere.

This is one of my favorite foods of all time.  Called bawan, it is a large rice dumpling stuffed with meat, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms that is steamed (or fried). This particular one comes from a street stand outside of Changhua.  I prefer the steamed version found in Central and Southern Taiwan.

Changhua style Bawan

Next we have sticky rice and peanuts stuffed in a sausage casing and eaten with a traditional Chinese sausage.  Sometimes people eat this with pickles and raw garlic.  This is not the best photo, but it is another one of my favorites.

Chinese Sausages in Taiwan

Here we have three dishes, two of which are probably familiar to those who like Chinese food.  In clockwise order starting from the left, we have steamed dumplings, hot and sour soup, and a selection of oden.  In this Taiwanese version of the Japanese hot pot (sans soup), we have sticky rice squares, tofu, and daikon radish.

Steamed dumplings, hot and sour soup, and Taiwanese oden.

Not all the good food in Taiwan in on the streets, however.  Taiwanese people, especially the younger generation, spend lots of time in the air conditioned malls found in the major cities.  For this reason, every mall in Taiwan features a large food hall / food court with all kinds of dining options.  For those who are wary of street food for sanitary reasons, food courts are a great option for trying Taiwanese food. Below are pictures of one of the fanciest food courts in Taiwan, found in Taipei 101.

Just like Japan, many eateries will display plasticized version of the dishes they serve.  This way you can see what you are getting.

Sushi bar in the food court at Taipei 101

Cafe in Taipei 101

We also went to the Shinkong Mitsukoshi basement food hall and ate at this Taiwanese eatery. Delicious!

Cold chicken appetizer

Handmade noodles topped with stir fried pork – so good!

Hot and sour soup

Fried flat dumpling stuffed with bamboo shoots, meat, mushrooms, and seasoning.

And of course we cannot forget the many eateries and restaurants. Most of the photos below are from restaurants in Kaohsiung.

Xinjiang style Hot Pot Restaurant:

Xinjiang style Hot Pot

Steamed Dumplings

A tea house that serves traditional Taiwanese food:

Chicken dish with stir fried Kingfish.

Dessert consisted of Chrysanthemum tea and tea infused gelatin.

Milk tea

7 course Japanese Hibachi:

Chef with his tools

Salad appetizer with miso ginger dressing

Steamed egg amuse bouche

Onion Soup

The main course was fried scallops and marinated pork, but I ate it before remembering to take some pictures. Sorry!

Fried Rice

Fried Taiwanese Caviar

Bananas Foster dessert

Everytime I visit Taiwan, I resolve to eat as much as I can.  I figure if I eat every two hours, I might be able to accomplish my goal.  This post has now made me hungry and I am going to eat lunch now.  Until next time!




7 responses

25 12 2008

These pictures are killing me! I’m glued to the monitor on account of these pictures (and on Christmas day no less!): such delicious, heaven-made concoctions… it’s torture to look upon these mouth-watering, heart-massaging taiwanese treats and not be able to invite them into my tummy!

P.S. I do not have an eating disorder nor am I starving from lack of good food. Taiwanese food is too damn good.

19 04 2011

Taipei 101 has some amazing dining, but don’t come here without your credit cards!

This building is home to some of the most expensive boutiques, and the eateries can be pricey as well.

21 04 2011

Taiwan has lots of nice and unique food. I would love to try these!

13 05 2011

Stinky Tofu is a VERY Taiwanese dish and is a delicacy. It’s an acquired taste, just like chicken feet and bitter squash. But come on, you’re in Taiwan! Just try it! It won’t get any better in the US so might as well have it when it’s at its best, in Taiwan! The food looks very delicious; thank you for the pictures! I can’t wait to visit this summer.

7 07 2011


I happen to stumble across your blog and it has really been an eye-opener 🙂 Please continue posting! 🙂 Really looking forward to your next post. Oh, it seems like Reader’s Digest Asia has this on-going street food contest. You should join. I think you would stand a good chance of winning 🙂

2 08 2011


The Xing jiang steamboat pics… is in Kaoshiung?
May i know where is the restaurant?

2 08 2011

Hi Candy,

Yes, the Xinjiang steamboat is a restaurant in Kaohsiung. I’m not sure where it is, I will have to ask and get back to you.

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