Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Top 30 Taiwanese Eats

Mention the beautiful city of Taiwan and most people would quickly link it up with shopping, be it in the famous streets of Xi Men Ding or the night markets in Shilin, and the vast variety of food, ranging from the highly acclaimed chicken cutlets to a bowl of slimy sea-snails. Leaving the shopping part out, this blog post will be highly focused on the good eats in Taiwan.

For me, I had a physical list of food that I want to try and I highly recommend you to do up a similar list as well, striking off the names or putting a tick beside after you savoured them. By doing this, it helps to keep track of what you have eaten, and what you have not. Being in a city where good food is everywhere, you surely do not want to miss out any of them.

Again, please do note that taste is subjective to personal likings, for example I can't stand the pungent smell of stinky tofu, while some just totally love it etc. Without furthur ado, I present to you my favourite 30 eats in Taiwan.

Check out my newer list of 13 MUST-TRY Street Food in Taiwan.

My Top 30 Taiwanese Eats

Note: Those food items marked with an asterisk(*) are suitable as souvenirs.

1. TRADITIONAL TAIWANESE BREAKFAST

There are a lot of shops that specializes in soy bean milk and you tiao, however I highly recommend Fu Hang Dou Jiang (if you don't mind the insanely long queues.)



2. FISHBALL NOODLES
The fishballs are bouncy and juicy that I could use it as a ping-pong ball substitute, except that I would regret later on for wasting such a treasure. I highly recommend the store located near the entrance of Jiufen Old Street.


3. FEN YUAN (粉圆)
The price of their typical bowl of fen yuan (NT$50+/-) is 50% of Singapore's, but 200% of the awesomeness.


4. CHEESE POTATO
One of the greatest creations created by mankind is combining a piping hot baked potato wrapped in a nicely crisped skin, together with a generous amount of mayonaise and melted cheese. It is usually served with fillings, such as broccoli, minced tuna, bacon or grilled eel.


5. TIAN BU LA (甜不辣)
Different from the Japanese version, this is actually fried fish paste, which is usually served with slices of crunchy pickled cucumber and sweet sauce.


6. BEEF NOODLES
One does not simply leave Taiwan without eating this dish.


7. BRAISED PORK RICE W/ MUTTON SOUP


8. SALT WATER CHICKEN (盐水鸡)
De-boned chicken thigh or breast, which is cut into smaller pieces and mixed together with assorted vegetables and/or innards, and drizzled with sesame and chilli oil. Highly addictive. A particular corner store in Shida night market is an expert in this dish.

9. TAIWANESE MILK TEA*
Look no furthur than their convenient marts, they serve an impressive selection of home-brewed milk tea, but "A San Mu" still remains as my favourite.

10. OYSTER OMELETTE


11. PEANUT ICE CREAM BURRITO
2 scoops of ice cream topped with peanut brittle shavings and coriander (/Chinese parsley), wrapped in a paper-like skin (or known as "popiah" skin). The what-seems-to-be a weird combination produced an indescribable, surprising flavour that you got to truly experience it yourself.


12. FRIED CHICKEN CUTLET
豪大大雞排 from Shilin Night Market is a favourite to many and for lucky Singaporeans, there are currently 2 branches locally, located at Ion Orchard and Nex.


13. DA BING BAO XIAO BING (大餅包小餅)


14. MANGO SHAVED ICE

15. BUBBLE TEA
There are lots of bubble tea shops in Taiwan, but apparently C-Tea (50嵐) is the most popular choice among the locals.


16. DA CHANG BAO XIAO CHANG (大腸包小腸)
It resembles an American hotdog bun, just that it is replaced with a Taiwanese sausage and crunchy veg wrapped between glutinous rice "sausage" (bun, rather).


17. WANTON W/ CHILLI OIL


18. HERBAL EGGS


19. MUAH CHI (麻滋)
There are different types of muah chi, but I do recommend the store at Xi Men Ding, where they serve this in Japanese style - by grilling and topping with assorted flavours of your choice.


20. SCALLION PANCAKE (蔥抓餅)


21. SUN CAKES (太陽餅)*
A popular souvenir to bring back home. I recommend 李仪饼店 (Li Yi Bing Dian) which is located outside the Jiufen Old Street. There is also another branch in Taipei Main Station for better convinience.

22. ALMOND BISCUITS*
These freshly made biscuits bring along a strong, crispy nutty flavour and a whiff of almond aroma.


23. RAILWAY BENTO BOX
Perfect for long train rides - I bought this at the convenient store just located beside the gantry of Taiwan Railway Adminstration (TRA).


24. QUAIL EGGS
One of Danshui's speciality - it is seasoned with a dash of pepper and oyster sauce, doned up as the same method as your traditional Takoyaki.


25. CHINESE DUMPLINGS


26. PINEAPPLE CAKES (鳳梨酥)*
Another popular souvenir. Maison Kaser from Danshui Old Street serves good pineapple cakes.

27. SOFT SHELL CRAB


28. OYSTER MIAN XIAN


29. IRON EGGS (铁蛋)*

30. SEA-SNAILS (螺)
An exotic food for the more adventurous - slightly different from their cousins - escargots, it is seemingly less flavourful and more slimy. This snails (NT$100 for 4 -5) are usually washed in warm water and seasoned with five-spices sauce just before serving.