I traveled to Taipei last week with my parents so that we can visit my aunts who have been living there for almost two decades. I was really excited because it’s been a LOOOOONG time since I last went out of the country with my parents. Our flight was early in the morning and when we got to the hotel, the room wasn’t available until after 2 hours.
Good thing my aunts were already waiting for us outside the hotel! They decided not to waste any time and introduce us to some of the food found in and around Taiwan. 🙂
苦瓜汁 / Bitter gourd or bitter melon juice
I first learned about this when I was doing my research prior to the trip. I’m not a fan of bitter gourd, but I wanted to be able to try this one. There were a lot of stalls selling bitter gourd juice in Taiwan, so it’s really not very difficult to look for it.
I had mine with very little honey mixed in; Dad opted to have his with Splenda. It was surprisingly good and refreshing! It was also very efficient in regulating Dad’s blood sugar levels even if he ate a lot during the trip.
煎包 / Pan-fried buns with pork filling
Take a peek inside the 煎包
This was one of our absolute favorites! Good thing that the shop which sold this was just right across our hotel. ♥ They sold each piece for NT$13. We saw another shop somewhere else selling these for NT$12 each, but we weren’t able to stop and sample their version.
蚵仔麵線 / Oyster Vermicelli
This was another winner! It was served piping hot and in generous proportions. My mom and I shared this small serving, which cost around NT$40.
紅豆餅 / red bean cakes
This stall was located in the Tamsui District (淡水區) and sold different types of “cakes”. Their best seller was the ones with red beans inside, but they also had butter and radish varieties. I was only able to try the red bean cakes. It was yummy while hot (The ones which we tried to save for later that day ended up really rubbery)! These little delights reminded me so much of the ones which we used to buy at a little Japanese store in Makati.
臭豆腐 / Stinky Tofu
Ah…the stinky tofu. One of those dishes which would require great willpower. You really have to learn to ignore the awful smell. Once you take a bite of the tofu, you’d realize that it really isn’t so bad. By the way, the ones above had some sort of sweet sauce and shredded vegetables on top. Like most of the Taiwanese street food we’ve tried, we recommend you eat it while its hot! It tastes way better. Trust me, I’m now a stinky tofu convert!
豬血 / Pig’s Blood (The one in the photo above was coated in crushed peanuts)
I was really looking forward to trying this one out, especially since I’m a big fan of dinuguan and I don’t mind having the occasional betamax (coagulated chicken blood, a famous Filipino street food). Unfortunately, this was the Taiwanese street food which I disliked the most. It was mushy and tasted really odd with the crushed peanuts. I tried the one without the coating, but still found it too icky.
炸魷魚 / Deep fried squid with spices
Another one of my favorites in Tamsui District! I loved how meaty and fresh the seafood was. It was a little expensive at NT$100 for a bowl, but I personally think it was worth it.
I’ve been craving for this since I got back from Taipei and was very happy to find one milk tea place near our house selling something similar. I decided to give it a shot last Sunday. The verdict? It wasn’t exactly the same, but pretty close. :p
花生地瓜仙草 / (literally) Peanut Sweet Potatoes Grass Jelly
My aunts ordered this and shared it with my Mom and I. Boiled peanuts, sweet potatoes, grass jelly and red beans were placed on top crushed ice and milk. A very refreshing treat!
豆腐湯 (?) / Sweet beancurd soup
I’m not sure what they call this dish, but it’s basically silken tofu with syrup, topped with sweet potato and taro balls. Mom enjoyed this a lot!
inside the 阿給
I don’t think this dish has any English name so I’ll just try to describe it as much as I can. It’s a tofu, hollowed out to create a pocket, and then stuffed with Dong Fen or 冬粉 (Chinese vermicelli). It seems to have been soaked in some sort of marinade and then topped with sweet-spicy sauce before serving.
I really liked this one after getting to try it. At first I thought it was really odd, with its name and all ( 阿給 pronounced as “Ah Keh”), but I’m so glad I decided to go with this versus the colorful soft-serve ice cream which I saw along the same street.
魚丸湯 / Fish Ball Soup
This was something that I didn’t get to try. Dad was the only one who had this, and he said that it was pretty bland. He ate it with chili sauce so that he could enjoy it.
台灣香酥雞 / Taiwan’s Crispy Chicken (Chunks)
Who can resist deep fried, breaded, spicy chicken chunks? I’ve been having this type of street food since I was in high school and I’ve been a fan ever since. Blame it on the Taiwanese lady who sold this and milk tea right across the street from my school. :p When I saw the stall selling this, I had to ask my Aunt to help me buy a small serving even if my tummy was already so full from all the eating we’ve done. The small bag cost around NT$45. Delicious!
All of the stuff you saw above were consumed by our group in our first morning in Taipei.
Just imagine how much more we ate during the rest of the trip. I’m not complaining though. 😛