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Monday, June 9, 2014

13 MUST-TRY Street Food in Taiwan

Taiwan. The moment you hear this word, three things would inevitably popped into your mind - Shopping, food, and girls (and not regularly girls, they are 台妹). Well this post is not about shopping and girls, but well, there's always room for discussion for that. Food, probably Taiwan's national language as well, can be found in almost all nooks and crannies in the streets of this beautiful city. Well, for starters, Taiwan has more than 40 official night markets, including the famous Shilin night market (士林夜市) and Miaokou night market (廟口夜市) to the lesser known ones, like Luzhou (蘆洲夜市) and Ningxia night markets (寧夏夜市).

Well, without further ado, try this, or don't say you have been to Taiwan.

13 recommendations not enough? Read more about Taiwanese food at My Top 30 Taiwanese Eats.

1. FEN YUAN  (粉圆)
The epitome of desserts. A typical bowl of this famed ice dessert consists of grass jelly cubes, taro balls, red beans and an optional drizzle of milk. If you love Singapore's ice-kacang, I swear you would dig their rendition of shaved ice desserts.

A match made in heaven, which you don't simply savour one without another. What you want to do is to dip the fried dough into the bowl of soy milk, and take it out before it turns soggy (usually takes around 3-5 seconds). There are a lot of stalls specialising in this traditional Taiwanese breakfast, but my one vote goes to Fu Hang Dou Jiang (阜杭豆漿).

I don't think this dish ever needs introduction. Arguably the best mee suah in human history, their qualitiy standards are consistent and never-changing. The long queue, despite the lack of seats and tables for dining-in is itself a testimony for its world-renowned popularity.
Another new addition to my to-eat-list is these aromatic, juicy Angus beef cubes made fresh upon order. Prices range from an affordable NT$60 to NT$80 for the exceptional quality. Also, take note of the available condiments which could be added for extra flavours. Definitely, a must-try for any beef lovers out there.
Besides the famous 豪大大雞排 stall, there are indeed other stalls out there which sells this type of bigger-than-ya-face chicken cutlets. Not exactly healthy, but.. YOLO. (Just kidding, preferably shared to even out the calories and exercise it out later).
Originated from the poor societies in Taiwan, this dish is invented by combining potato starch, eggs, vegetables, fresh oysters and later topped with a sweet sauce. Their rendition of this classic night-market favourite is sweeter than the ones we have in Singapore, but taste no-less yummilicious. 
I have no idea what the Chinese name for this is, but in Singapore, we call it 泡泡茶. This national drink of Taiwan is a tea-based beverage, with chewy tapioca balls added to it. To date, there are more than hundreds of bubble tea varieties, but perhaps the top-selling one is still Pearl Milk Tea (珍珠奶茶).
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. This bad boy is not for the faint-hearted.

9. MUAH CHEE (麻滋)
Who the hell would guess that dough could be so tasty? Choose from a variety of toppings, such as peanut crumbles, caramel and sesame! Just a friendly warning: IT'S FREAKING HOT!
10. Da Bing Bao Xiao Bing (大餅包小餅)
The literal translation of this popular snack is "big bun wrapped small bun", or "small bun in big bun". Nevertheless, this delicacy is actually a crushed crispy bun wrapped with a Chinese wrap, and comes in flavours of sweet (sesame, taro, peanuts, etc.) and salty (curry, etc).
11. Scallion Pancake (蔥抓餅)
Also known as 蔥油餅, this night snack resembles our roti-prata, its texture is crispy on the exterior and slightly chewy on the interior (and depending on what add-ons you have). They are usually drizzled with your choice of sauce, such as soy or sweet sauce.
Sounds exotic? These honey bitter gourd juice can be seen almost in all night markets. The fruit resembles a bitter gourd, but is white in colour. Now, the exotic thing is its taste - trust me, its sweet when you drink it, and then the bitter after taste kicks in. Nothing better than a nice cup of honey bitter gourd juice to wake you up.
From crabs to squids (and other exotic things that could be put onto the grill), the night markets have it all. Definitely something not to be missed.
13 recommendations not enough? Read more about Taiwanese food at My Top 30 Taiwanese Eats.