The night markets, wherein street food merchant offers a range of street foods ranging from finger foods, beverages, desserts, and sit-down dinners, are home to some of Taiwan’s most well-known delicacies. Fried and steamed meat-filled buns, oyster-filled omelets, cool fruit ices, and much more can be found in street food stalls at Taiwanese night market. Taiwanese night markets also feature apparel, accessories, and a variety of entertainment and items in addition to snacks, appetizers, meals, and desserts.
If you are considering a trip to Taiwan, here is a list of the most popular Taiwanese street foods. Continue reading if you want to learn more about the traditional street Taiwanese cuisine.
Taiwanese Street Food
Stinky tofu is widely available at Taiwanese street food stalls Cooking techniques for Taiwanese stinky tofu include frying, steaming, cooking in soup, and grilling, however it is most typically experienced fried. Shenkeng Old Street in New Taipei’s Shenkeng District is famous for having an entire boulevard dedicated to restaurants providing Taiwanese stinky tofu variations.
Stinky Tofu is available in different varieties. Steamed, grilled, and deep-fried stinky tofu are three of the best. Furthermore, the side dish for this meal is routinely fermented cabbage, which has a pleasant crunchiness.
Varieties Of Stinky Tofu Taiwanese Version
This is the most prevalent form of stinky tofu available in Taiwanese night markets. It is believed to be less pungent than other variants. Pickled cabbage and garlic sauce are typically served together.
In Taiwan, this type of tofu is regarded the most pungent type of stinky tofu available. Pickled cabbage, chili sauce, and garlic sauce are common accompaniments.
In a thick soup, steamed stinky tofu is served. The most common base is a Sichuan mala, however this can change. A mala base’s spicy broth is supposed to be able to hide the smell and flavor of tofu.
Barbecued Stinky Tofu
This type of tofu is a famous stinky tofu variation that is offered in many of Taiwan’s night markets and is thought to have originated in Shenkeng district, New Taipei city. It has a nutty, smooth interior and a spongy outer layer. The tofu cubes are speared on a bamboo stick and cooked with roasted pork sauce over charcoal. The pungent stench of grilled stinky tofu is comparably milder due to the large number of spices. For folks who are experiencing stinky tofu for the first time, grilled stinky tofu is always suggested.
Yansu Ji or Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken
Yansu Ji is a Taiwanese dish that is widely seen as a street food and is essential to Taiwanese night markets. The Taiwanese food is made up of bite-sized boneless chicken thighs that have been coated and fried in a flour and spice combination. Salt and pepper are the basic seasonings, with chili powder, slightly fried basil leaves, and garlic pieces added as desired. This dish has become a favorite fast food or restaurant appetizer in several Asian countries, as well as among Asian immigrant communities in other countries.
Gua Bao/Cua Pao Or Taiwanese Hamburger
One of the most popular Taiwanese street foods is gua bao or cua pao. Also known as pork belly buns. This staple street food is a kind of sandwich prepared with braised pork belly between two halves of a Chinese steamed bun. Pickled mustard greens, coriander, and crushed peanuts are traditional toppings of this Taiwanese food. You can easily find this dish in Taiwanese night market.
Lu Rou Fan or Braised Pork Rice
This street food from Taiwan is produced from ingredients such as stewed pork belly or shoulder, and served with rice in a small dish
Pickled cucumbers and shiitake mushrooms are two popular side dishes to serve with this meal. This is a popular filling meal in night markets, so if you’re looking for something to fill your empty stomach, Lu Rou Fan is the best option.
The sauce is essential to producing Lu Rou Fan since it is the source of the taste. In Taiwan, the most common method of preparation is to stir-fry minced pork with chopped shallot in oil before boiling it in soy sauce. Seasonings such as sugar, pepper, rice wine, and other spices can be added to the frying process to enhance the flavor.
Beef Noodle Soup
Taiwanese beef noodles is a traditional noodle soup. In Taiwan, its often known to as “Sichuan Beef Noodle Soup.” Although this usage may cause confusion because Sichuan has its own varieties of beef noodle soups, which may be marketed under the same name in Sichuanese restaurants. The meat is frequently stewed in the broth and cooked for hours. Chefs also allow the bone marrow stock boil for a long amount of time. Some mechants may cook the beef stock for up to 24 hours. Generally chilly side dishes, such as braised dry tofu, seaweed, or pork intestine, are also offered from beef noodle sellers in Taiwan. Also, suan cai (Chinese sauerkraut) is frequently served with beef noodles, as well as green onion and other vegetables in the soup.
Beef noodle soup is extremely popular on Taipei’s Yongkang Street.
Peanut Ice Cream Roll/ Peanut Ice Cream Wraps
Another popular street food or dessert is Peanut Ice Cream Roll. Peanut Ice Cream Rolls are wraps stuffed with Taiwanese ice cream, peanut brittle shavings, and cilantro. Though this may appear to be an unusual combo, they are pleasant, refreshing, and really tasty.
Taro Balls are another famous delicacy in Taiwan. Taro balls are taro-based delicacies popular in Taiwanese cuisine. These sweet treats are available in practically every area of Taiwan and the rest of the world, with Jiufen’s taro balls reportedly being the most popular.
Taro balls may be created by combining mashed taro with water and sweet potato flour or potato flour. The mashed taro gives the delicacy a sparkling purple or gray color. The yellow sweet potato ball or the green mung bean ball can be made by replacing the mashed taro with mashed sweet potato or crushed mung bean.
The dessert can be eaten with icy or hot syrup. Taro and sweet potato balls are also commonly used to top other Taiwanese delicacies such as douhua and tshuah-ping.
Bubble tea is a tea-based refreshing drink that dates back to the early 1980s in Taiwan. It’s usually made with tea and chewy tapioca balls also known as “boba” or “pearls”, but it may also be prepared with different toppings like aloe vera, grass jelly, red bean, and so on.
There are various flavors and variations of bubble tea, but the two most popular are black pearl milk tea and green pearl milk tea. Pearl represents the tapioca balls.
In Taipei, bubble tea stores can be found on almost every street corner. Taiwan has designated April 30 as National Bubble Tea Day in year 2020. Bubble tea has become identified with Taiwan, and is an essential symbol of Taiwanese identity both locally and globally, as per Al Jazeera. Bubble tea is used to symbolize Taiwan in the Milk Tea Alliance.
Glutinous Rice Cake
Another popular Taiwanese street food that is widely available in night market is glutinous rice cake. Sweet red bean, salted vegetable, and preserved turnip are among the fillings available.
Fish balls are a popular street snack in several Asian nations, including Taiwan. Fish balls are boiled or deep-fried cylindrical meat balls produced from fish paste. Fish balls are produced with fish mince or surimi, salt, and a culinary binder such as tapioca flour, maize starch, or potato starch, and are similar to fishcake in composition.
Milk fish is usually used in making fish balls. Milkfish are prevalent in Taiwan. This variation has a distinct flavor due to the milkfish’s natural texture and scent. This is one of the most common ways milkfish white flesh is consumed, despite its low value. Shark, lizard fish, pike eel, and marlin are among the other fish employed.
Chiayi city in Taiwan is known for its turkey rice. It is one of the greatest dishes available. This colorless Taiwanese meal appears plain at first glance, but it’s actually flavorful.
It is cooked with shredded turkey meat marinated in a broth with ginger and green onions, then served with a small dish of rice and a slice of takuan (Japanese pickled daikon).
Fried Chicken Chop
At night markets in Taiwan, this is one of the most well-known deep- fried street foods. Fried chicken cutlets are created by flattening chicken pieces, marinating them in soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, and corn starch, then breading and deep frying them. It’s a popular greasy snack in Taipei, particularly at night.
Pig’s Blood Cake/ Pig Blood Pudding
Pig’s blood cake on a stick is a famous Taiwanese street food snack available at numerous night markets around the country. It is created with sticky rice and pork blood, which is steamed or fried before being coated in peanut flour and coriander and dipped in a sweet soy sauce.
Riboflavin, vitamin C, protein, iron, phosphorus, calcium, niacin, and other elements are abundant in pig’s blood pudding. It is also simple for the body to digest and absorb. It also includes some lecithin, which can help to reduce the negative consequences of low density cholesterol.
Taiwanese Meatballs or Ba Wan
A Taiwanese street food, Ba wan is composed of a translucent disk-shaped translucent dough stuffed with savory filling and eaten with a sweet and salty sauce, measuring 6–8 cm (2.4–3.1 in) in diameter. The filling varies greatly depending on where you are in Taiwan, but it commonly includes pork, bamboo shoots, and shiitake mushrooms. Changhua-style ba-wan is regarded as the “standard” ba-wan since it is the most well-known and commonly copied of all ba-wan varieties.
The chewy, sticky, and gelatinous dough is created using a blend of corn starch, sweet potato starch, and rice flour, giving it a grayish translucent color. These Taiwanese meatballs are usually prepared by steaming, but they can alternatively be deep fried. The most common sauce for Ba Wan is sweet chili sauce.
Da Chang Bao Xiao Chang Or Taiwanese Sticky Rice Sausage
Da Chang Bao Xiao Chang roughly translates as “big sausage wraps little sausage,” which is a Taiwanese variation of a hot dog. The bigger wiener is made out of a rice sausage that has been cooked until it is somewhat crispy on the outside and then sliced open like a bun. It’s then packed with a local pig sausage and a variety of sauces to give it a taste.
Scallion Pancakes or Green Onion Cakes
It is also known as chong zhua bing, and comprises of a pan-fried piece of dough coated with green onion. You can purchase your scallion pancakes with or without an egg. It has a crispy exterior, and it is chewy on the inside.
Scallion pancakes are widely available at breakfast shops, Yilan County, and night markets.
Taiwanese Fish Cakes or Tian Bu La
Different fish cakes, tofu, white radish, and pig’s blood cake are cooked in a broth and then served with sweet red sauce and cilantro or celery on top. Comparable to Taiwanese oden, but with red sauce and more particular components that are usually present.
Deep Fried Milk
Another street food in Taiwan is deep fried milk. The delicacy has a milky flavor and is golden and crisp on the outside and soft and white within. It is made of thickened milk with flour, cornstarch, and eggs, and then breadcrumb-coated and deep-fried.
To prepare this dish, fresh oysters and greens are cooked in a batter with eggs and then drizzled with a sweet red sauce. They may be found at any night market in Taipei city.
The oyster omelet is a favorite Taiwanese night market dish, and many foreigners consistently rate it as Taiwan’s best meal. Its huge serving sizes and low price point are typical of night market foods.
An omelet with a filling mostly made up of small oysters is served. When starch, commonly sweet potato starch, is added to the egg batter, the resultant egg wrap becomes thicker. The omelet is frequently fried with pork lard. A savory sauce may subsequently be placed on the top of the omelet for extra flavor, depending on regional differences.
Grilled Squid has a distinct fragrance that may be recognized in every Taiwanese night market. A whole squid is skewered and grilled with sweet barbecue sauce, and sesame seeds are generally scattered on top.
Black Pepper Buns or Hujiao Bing
Another popular street dish in Taiwan is the Black Pepper Bun, a baked bun that originated in Fuzhou, the capital of China’s Fujian province. It’s a popular Taiwanese street food that can be found at night markets and small food vendors all around the country. The exterior dough shell is made with flour, water, and a leavening agent, while the inner filling is made with a meat protein, typically pork or beef, marinated in sugar, soy sauce, white pepper or black pepper, and scallion.
Meat, generally pork, is the major component of the filling. Meat is either ground or finely cut. To give the bun a bite, some sellers use ground and diced meat, but ground meat is more commonly utilized since it makes more juice when prepared. White or black pepper powder, soy sauce, sugar, and cooking wine are frequently used to marinate the meat. Some sellers season the meat marinade with five-spice powder or curry powder.
The prepared bun features a thin, crispy crust that resembles crackers. Meat fluids flow out as you bite into it. The green scallions are in the center of the bun with the meat wrapped around them, rather than at the bottom, due to the manner the bun is folded.
Iron egg is a variation of soy egg, a Taiwanese delicacy. The dish originated in New Taipei City, Tamsui District and is considered a delicacy.
Small eggs have been repeatedly stewed in a spice mixture and air-dried in making this meal. In comparison to conventional boiled eggs, the resultant eggs are dark brown on the exterior, chewy in texture, and extremely flavorful.
Congee from Taiwan is a rice porridge that is popular in several countries in Asia. It can be consumed plan, which is usually offered with side dishes, or it can be served with meat, fish, spices, and flavorings, which is usually offered as a meal on its own, especially for sick people. Congee has as many names as there are ways to make it, but one thing they all have in common is a thick porridge of rice that has mostly dissolved after being cooked in water for a long time.
Pork floss, bamboo, pickled vegetables, peanuts, taro, sweet potato, century egg, salted duck egg, and other items may be added. It is a regular breakfast at Taiwanese hotels, although it is also available for breakfast or lunch at street food kiosks.
A Japanese street food made out of fried dough balls filled with octopus and seasoned with sweet soy sauce, fish flakes, sweet mayonnaise, and other ingredients.
Due to the historical impact of Japanese culture, it is also quite popular in Taiwanese cuisine. This may be found in night markets all around Taiwan.
Xiaolongbao Or Soup Dumplings
Steamed meat and broth dumplings that originated in Shanghai and were popularized by Taiwan’s most renowned restaurant, Din Tai Fung. The delicacy is often served on the street as a breakfast meal.
Traditional Xiaolongbao fillings contain pork, while current variations include different meats such as shellfish, shrimp, crab meat, and vegetarian fillings.
How To Make Congee
- 1 cup rice, preferably jasmine rice
- 1/4 cup dried shrimp
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 tbsp dried scallops
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch thickness
- 3 cups water
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tsp salt
- Using water, wash the dried shrimp and scallops. After that, soak them for 30 minutes in a container with 2/3 cup of water. The scallops and shrimp should have plumped up slightly. You may can drain the water once you’ve finished soaking.
- Next, wash the rice and drain the water.
- In a medium-high-heat pot, heat the oil. Then, put the minced garlic and ginger. Cook it for half a minute or till it becomes aromatic. Toss in the rehydrated shrimp and scallops. Break the scallops apart using the point of a wooden spoon or spatula. This doesn’t have to be really exact. Sauté for another minute with the mushrooms and rice.
- Then, add the broth and water into the pot gently. Add the salt and stir to combine. Let the broth simmer. Then reduce to a low heat setting and cover the pot. Allow for an hour of simmering time, stirring periodically.
- Check the congee after an hour to see whether the texture is to your taste. If a little film forms on top of the congee, simply whisk everything together before serving. You have the option to season the congee with extra salt if you want.
- It’s best to eat it when it’s still hot. Toppings such as sliced scallions, fried shallots, chile oil, and sliced fried dough sticks can be added.