15 Best Taiwan foods and drinks. Our top unforgettable foods after cycling across all Taiwan!
Best Taiwan foods and drinks
Taiwan is a place of incredible street foods everywhere, and it is also a place to make you feel warm.
My first trip to Taiwan for only 8 days. Although the food at the Shilin night market disappoints me, the delicious Taiwanese foods in Taichung makes me amazing! This makes me went back to Taiwan to cycle around Taiwan to hunt for the best Taiwan foods and drinks!
Here’re our best Taiwan foods and drinks. We wish to fly back to Taiwan in one second and eat it again!
Summary of the trips:
Duration of trips: 30 Days spends
Visited Season: Winter
Mode of Transport: Cycling, Trains and Buses
Sponsored Content: None
- Best Taiwan foods and drinks
- 1. Tsu Yi Fried Fish Crackers
- 2. A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll
- 3. Grandpa’s Scallion Pancake
- 4. Long Ji Beef Noodles
- 5. BeimenMilk Mung Bean Milkshake
- 6. Miaokou Black Tea in Steel Pipe
- 7. Chuan Mei Hang Bento Resturant (Rice Box)
- 8. Lin’s Stinky Tofu
- 9. Wandan Wangpin Lamb Hot Pot
- 10. Barway Ginger duck hot pot
- 11. Yuxiangwu Grapefruit Tea
- 12. SmartFish Fish Head Soup
- 13. YaChun’s Pineapple fruit tea
- 14. Devil fried chicken
- 15.Qiu’s Konjac Pineapple Cake
1. Tsu Yi Fried Fish Crackers
When I was thinking of which Taiwan foods are our favourite, this snack has always appeared in my mind. One of the best Taiwan snacks to bring home is this pack that has incredible fishy fragrant and addictive savoury in every bite.
Tsu Yi has been producing the proud signature snack of Taiwan for over 60 years (in Chinese called “xu yi yu su”). Fish and sweet potato powder are mixed and deep-fried twice. It sounds simple, but it’s perfect to whet your appetite or munch all day long.
Above is a photo of a half-packed fish cracker as we can’t wait to eat and forgot to take pictures. Believe me, you won’t stop once eating and feel like ecstasy until you’re full. As it is crispy and not too salty. And a pack of fish cracker will be eaten all immediately without knowing it. If you only buy one or two packs, you will regret it.
What if you are a person who doesn’t like the fishy smell? Me too, no worry. Yet it doesn’t have any bad smell but only the fresh and strong fishy aroma.
The cracker has two flavors, original and spicy. We heard that the package was not completely sealed after opening and it was still brittle after two days. But we can’t test as my friends, family and even myself can’t wait to eat.
If you come to Tamsui, don’t miss this famous Taiwan snack!
How to order:
There is price tag above on the item. Current price is NT$60 per pack. The black font is original, and the red package is spicy. You can use gestures to show how many you want and pay for it.
No. 184, Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District, New Taipei City, 251
BUSINESS HOURS: 06:30-18:00 (Sun to Fri), 06:30-18:30 (Sat)
TEL: +886 (2) 26 211 414
Map: Click Here
2. A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll
A zhu xue zai shao (in Chinese) is a delightful icy dessert in a place where similar to the scene in Japanese animated film- Spirited Away.
This is an unusual vegetarian dessert which consists of a thin Taiwanese spring roll wrapper, a layer of ground grated peanut brittle from a 24 Kgs of Peanut maltose brick, two scoops of Taiwanese traditional taro and pineapple ice cream (called Babu), and a sprinkling of coriander leaves.
Do you think that the last two ingredients are no way to put together? Yes, if you are willing to try, your tongue will feel conflict and complicated, but it will be surprisingly pleasant feeling and refreshing. The taste is an unexpected match. So it is recommended to have coriander leaves to make this dessert complete and great. No worry, you can ask for omitting if you really don’t like it.
Ryan hate coriander. He never drinks the soup if there is sprinkling of coriander leaves on it. But we both ate this amazing Taiwan food and love it. Because he never notices that until we wrote this passage. If you come to Jiufen in Taipei, this is a MUST TRY Taiwan food!
How to order:
One for NT$ 40. They have customers of different nationalities and no worry about ordering.
3. Grandpa’s Scallion Pancake
I love to eat Taiwanese egg pancake (In Chinese called “a bo cong you bing”). When I found this Taiwan food on the list of “must eat in Yilan county” on search result in Chinese, I was quite curious. As Taiwanese breakfast pancake have many choices such as bacon, pork floss, etc., and this is only eggs, sauces and some scallion. With a curious heart, I went Toucheng Train Station to find it.
It is a simple street food but taste surprisingly delicious. This is completely different from the Taiwanese egg pancake that are usually found on the street. It is deep-fried with dough instead of batter, add half fried egg and locally grown scallion, with their special tempting sauces.
This delicious scallion pancake is crispy on the outside but a soft egg and a lot of fresh scallion inside. It’s this sweet fragrance of the scallions spread from the inner that keeps you going back for more.
There are three kinds of sauces, sweet and spicy sauce, garlic sauce and spicy sauce. My favourite sauce is a mixture of all.
There is a warm story about this grandpa. He is a well-known local and has a kind heart. He saved a small profit from selling scallion pancake and donated an ambulance to the fire station for local medical use. Because he was grateful that he was seriously injured in the accident, an ambulance arrived in time to save his life. Now, grandpa has retired, and his son took over the business.
How to order:
NT$25 normal, NT$30 with egg. It is recommended to order scallion pancake with added egg. You can download the photo and show if the boss doesn’t understand your language. After that the boss will ask you which sauce you want, you can point the sauces you want.
4. Long Ji Beef Noodles
Have you ever eaten beef cooked with fruits? This is the best beef noodle soup I have tasted in Taiwan. Long ji niu rou mian (in Chinese) has a nickname called “sorry noodle”, because if you come late, you will see a sign hanging outside the restaurant that says “sorry, sold out”.
You can’t miss the daily limit of 20 bowls of signature dish in Chinese called “Niu San Bao” (three treasures -beef tendon, tripe and beef shank)! Why are there only 20 bowls? This is because the boss insists on providing customers with the best quality beef noodles. If business hours are extended, although the beef is cooked till tastier, it loses the chewy and firm texture that the boss wants.
As you can see this wonderful beef noodle above, the beef is as thick as a steak. Tasty and tender but firm texture. You can even tear the meat away with your lips. It is the best chance for westerner to try tripe and beef shank! The boss has not only cleaned thoroughly the ingredients but also cooked with various kind of vegetables and fruits such as bitter ground, pineapple, apple, etc makes the tripe and beef shank won’t carry the strong odor, soft and bouncy!
The wonderful soup that the boss cooked for 5 hours tasted sweet and fresh like a juice with herbs. And last is the bouncy noodle, it absorbed the soup and taste great. All dishes are prepared daily by the attentive boss. Thus, there is no doubt that it ranks first in hundreds of the best foods in Yilan and one of the best foods in Taiwan!
Honestly, I’m not fancy of red meat. Although I’m a Chinese, I rarely eat animal organs. But I really like this dish. Wish you can try this Taiwan food as well.
How to order:
Despite business hour starts from 11am. I suggest you come before 10am to queue if you want to eat the three treasures. Once restaurant opens, follow the queue to the counter and make your order. You can show the photo of three treasure to the waitress. After that, they will arrange a seat for you.
5. BeimenMilk Mung Bean Milkshake
Taiwan bubble tea is the best in Taiwan? No. there are numerous great drinks in Taiwan for you to discover! In our Taiwan food tour, we absolutely can’t miss this traditional Taiwanese drink! The mung bean milkshake taste better than our expected. It is not as thick as Western’s milkshake, but it is creamy, smooth, refreshing, moderate sweetness and great flavor!
The mung beans are cooked to mud, you won’t eat the mung bean shells. Although they mix mung bean and milk with ice in a blender, the taste is very smooth and there is no crushed ice in it. Other than this signature drinks, you can try the taro milkshake. The taro fragrant is strong. If you buy papaya milkshake, you must drink it first and finish in a short time, as the taste may change.
Go early, otherwise popular drinks will be sold out.
How to order:
Mung bean milkshake is NT$50. Line up to order if there is no crowd.
However, if there is a crowd of customers, the ordering way will be different. First, a sign that says “help yourself to take number”, A paper with a number in a fruit basket. Take that paper and fill in the quantity you want. There is a numbering machine displays in multiples of ten (let’s say your number is 198, if the numbering machine displays 200, you can pass your order to the counter). Remember your number! After that, waiting for your number to be called, go to pay and take your drinks.
6. Miaokou Black Tea in Steel Pipe
I fell in love with hong cha (black tea) because of this over 50 years-old restaurant. One of the best Taiwan drinks in Hualien county!
This is a tradition Taiwanese black tea. The taste is different from the normal black tea because it is super refreshing! It has a rich taste, but no bitter, moderate sweetness and it feels like adding some milk. Also, it was cold enough, but no ice added. How can it be? Because this restaurant has four large and eye-catching condensing tubes. No doubt, the black tea is inside!
The tube is divided into an inner layer and an outer layer. The inner layer is the beverage delivery tube and the outer layer is the condensed ice water tube. The production of the beverage is located on the upper floor of the store for space-saving.
Are you curious how they clean the tube? They use a long brush on the second floor to clean the inside of the tube.
The decor of this restaurant looks like Taiwan in the 1950s and 1960s. You can find traditional Taiwanese breakfasts at this MiaoKou restaurant, such as nutritious sandwiches, deep-fried dough sticks, peanut soup (cooked for 7 hours), Taiwanese macaron and homemade egg pancake. The foods are placed on old-fashioned plates, paired with traditional Taiwanese black tea in an old-designed glass, and seems to have returned to that era.
How to order:
Black Tea is NT$30. Order at counter.
No. 216, Chenggong Street, Hualien City, Hualien County, Taiwan 970
BUSINESS HOURS: 06:00-01:00 (Daily)
TEL: +886 (3) 832 3846
MAP: Click here
7. Chuan Mei Hang Bento Resturant (Rice Box)
One of best traditional Taiwanese foods. This restaurant is in a place suitable for growing rice.
A renowned Taiwanese-Japanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro occasionally tasted this bian dang (rice box) and liked it very much. Afterward, he went to this restaurant and bought 3 packs of rice for this mother.
Before eating this rice box, we didn’t have much expectations as we’re Chinese. Despite Malaysia does not have such traditional rice box, most of the dishes inside have ever been eaten.
The wooden package surprised me when Ryan handed me the rice box. As I felt great to have this traditional style wooden rice box as my lunch. When I opened the wooden box, it looks appetizing and the fragrant of the foods with wooden aroma caught my nose and reeled me in.
I feel happiness when I eat this Taiwanese rice box. There are ten dishes inside the rice box are aboriginal style smoked pork, Hakka style fried pork, braised pork, sausage, cabbage, marinated soft boiled eggs, Tempura, crispy stockfish, pickled ginger and dried radish. All dishes inside are delicious and match well with other dishes. This is definitely a fabulous rice box.
The Taiwan culture in the past, the lunch boxes sold on the Chishang railway platform were QuanMeiHang. At that time, when the train arrived at the station, if passenger wanted to buy a rice box, they had to trade in a short time and quickly returned to the train. Therefore, it must be a dry rice box, which means that everything inside must be dried because the train didn’t have air conditioning in the past. If it is wet, the rice box would deteriorate.
How to eat:
First, chew ginger first or pickled vegetables (to increase saliva secretion), then eat white rice (white rice will taste better) and follow by eating other items.
How to order:
Signature rice box is NT$80 per box. There are two choices of rice box for vegetarian rice box and pork rip rice box. Buy and pay at the counter of the restaurant, after which you will receive a meal coupon to pick up your rice box, weather you eat in or take away. There is a free soup in the restaurant.
8. Lin’s Stinky Tofu
I love chou dou fu (stinky tofu). This is the best stinky tofu I’ve ever had so far.
This Lin’s stinky Tofu seems nothing special. Stinky tofu is not so stinky. The outer layer of tofu is crispy, but the inside is tender. There are pickled vegetables is not too sour, spicy sauce is not so spicy, soy sauce and basil are on top. But all combination of all the ingredients is superb. And every ingredient is well matched. No wonder many people line up to buy.
Ryan never eats stinky tofu but he was willing to try as I keep saying it was great. And he would try because this stinky tofu is not as stinky as usual. He also said that this Lin’s stinky tofu is really great!
How to order:
Large NT$120, Small NT$60. You can use gesture to show the quantity you want to order. When you order at the entrance there, you can tell the boss if you are vegetarian or don’t want spicy.
9. Wandan Wangpin Lamb Hot Pot
Oh my god, this food is a devil. This yang rou lu (lamb hot pot) is best Taiwan food in our heart! It always makes me eager to fly back to Taiwan to eat!
In Malaysia, lamb is not a common food for Chinese. We don’t like lamb because of the odor of lamb. We seem to be two super picky eaters. Yes, we knew. But we wanted to eat this one because the online reviews are good. People who have eaten say that it has no gamey taste of lamb because all the lamb is fresh and prepared right in front of the restaurant. So why do we say no to this great Taiwan food?
Two flavours of soups, herbs or curry soup. Of course, we chose the signature curry soup. This wonderful curry soup is smooth and rich, not greasy and not spicy. The lamb taste delicious, tender but firm texture and bouncy. Drink curry soup and chewing the lamb paired with the special “shacha” sauce, the happiness is this taste.
The boss learned this cooking method in Vietnam and adjusted it to cater to the tastes of the locals through continuous improvements, making it the taste of today. He insisted on ensuring the best quality and thus no branches
Since the gas is on, if you eat too slowly, the lamb will be cooked until it is super chewy. You can take it out first, then dip in the hotpot when you want to eat it or order extra lamb. And one more thing, it is so great to have this lamb hot pot paired with cold local beer Tsingtao Brewery!
How to order:
NT$ 450 included lamb, tofu, cabbage and curry soup. Queue and order at entrance. Once you order a hot pot, they will ask for anything else you want to order. You can ask for a menu list and fill in the quantity you want, and then return it to the person. It is recommended to come before 5.30pm so you can avoid long queues.
NO180, Daxian Street, Wandan Township, Pingtung County, 913
BUSINESS HOURS: 16:30-00:00 (Tue off)
TEL:+886 (8) 7775908
MAP: Click here
10. Barway Ginger duck hot pot
One of the best traditional Taiwanese foods is this seasonal jiang mu ya (ginger duck hot pot).
In addition to doing research, luck is also a critical point in finding out the best Taiwan foods.
When we passed by, our soul was stolen by the strong ginger and herbs aroma from this restaurant. Thus, we decided to try it. We were just waiting for a while as we came earlier. The special thing for ginger duck hot pot is the colder the weather, the more people. Thus, this special dish is only eaten during cold weather as it is supposed to warm your body up.
The soup base is made of sugar cane, sesame oil, ginger, 32 kinds of Chinese herbs and tender duck meat to cook for a long time. That is why there is a strong aroma around the restaurant.
The hot pot was served in a traditional Chinese clay pot and heated up by charcoal embers. The texture of the duck meat has been cooked until tender and well flavoured, chewy but not too hard. The soup won’t let you down as it tastes delicious, rich, smooth, not greasy and not spicy. If you come to Taiwan in the winter, remember to have this great traditional hot pot to warm you up!
The restaurant we tried is famous for this herbal duck hot pot in Taiwan. It is a franchise business with numerous branches throughout Taiwan. We had tried another branch in Taipei, but I ONLY recommend coming to Tainan to try this branch!
How to order:
NT$280 per hot pot which included duck meat only. Look for a seat, sit down and ask for order. Waitress will provide you a menu list, fill in the quantity you want. Local usually order cabbage, tofu, and noodles. Then ask for collecting the paper and wait for your hot pot to come. Soup can be refilled.
11. Yuxiangwu Grapefruit Tea
This famous Taiwan drink may not sound exciting. But it certainly worth you to line up in the long queue to buy. The incredibly fragrant, flavour of the green tea paired with the sweet and tangy grapefruit juice and pulp truly made for a taste revelation.
The sweet and sour grapefruit pulp and green tea is the perfect colour gradient canvas. The grapefruit and green tea flavours are perfectly balanced and allow for a refreshing drink. It is not that sour, we recommend to anyone!
How to order:
Grapefruit Tea is NT$55. Line up to order. You will be asked how much sweetness and ice you want. This stall recommends ordering half sweet and little ice. Then pay. Or you can call in advance to order and come to the stall, tell your number and pick up your drink.
12. SmartFish Fish Head Soup
In 1953, the SmartFish began selling sha guo yu tou (fish head soup) on the street but now in an antique-decorated restaurant and is being operated by granddaughter. According to locals, this is a rare Taiwanese street food and is a local specialty that has been sold for more than 60 years and its taste has never changed.
In front of the restaurant, you will that boss is preparing a hundred servings of soup so that you know how their soup famous is. They can sell more than a thousand bowls in a day. Even former president Ma Ying-Jeou and Chen Shui-Bian often came to eat during election.
This is one of our most memorable foods we had in Taiwan. I remembered that when this soup just arrived on our table, it really struck us, and our eyes have been drooling. The dish looked appetizing and the broth was deliciously flavourful, which was boiled for ten hours using pork and chicken bones, dried shrimps, scallion, spices and herbs and seasoned with their secret shacha source. The addition of their award-winning deep-fried chub fish made the broth even tastier.
A normal serving of the fish head soup comes with chunks of fish meat and some vegetables like cabbage, golden needle mushroom, black fungus and bean curd. I love the soup that full of different fillings in the bowl. The fish is crispy, tasty and fresh, no bad fishy taste and muddy smell at all. Overall, complex flavour profile but tasty, fresh and sweet but not too salty.
Lin said the most delicious part of the Chub fish is the meat inside the fish head. You can also order the egg soup recommended by the boss (taste fresh and have a light boiled eggs) and one of the most famous Chiayi dishes- chicken rice.
How to order:
Fish head soup is NT$90 per bowl. You can come earlier before 6pm to avoid long queue. They will arrange seat for you and provide you a menu list. Fill in quantity. Pass to the counter and pay. Can ask for refill the soup.
13. YaChun’s Pineapple fruit tea
One of the best drinks in Taiwan! At Douliu RenWen Night market. To me, this is the best night market in Taiwan. It’s big, easy to look around, have traditional game to play and delicious foods and drinks!
Before you enter this night market, tangy pineapple aroma will catch your attention and start to look for it! It is the pineapple fruit tea with a super long queue! No one will say no to this absolutely refreshing and fresh pineapple fruit tea.
The boiled pineapple, with lemon and ice, become everyone’s favourite super refreshing fruit tea.
The sweetness is just nice, and no added tea. It can sell a thousand cups a day.
The boss has been doing it for more than 20 years. Why is this tea so famous? He is the earliest to go to the night market at 2pm. Under the bright and shiny sun, he and helpers are peeling the pineapple and cooking it in 18 of pots for 2 hours. If the pineapples are not well cooked, the boss will not simply sell it. And every pineapple is selected by him. Hence, from the drink, you can feel the sincerity of the boss.
Despite he has branches in Taichung, many customers will still come to this original stall, probably because the boss is here.
How to order:
Queue and order. NT$50 (Cold), NT$55 (Hot) per cup
14. Devil fried chicken
One of the foods that you must try in Taiwan is fried chicken chops. This is the best fried chicken chop to us so far. You know what the stall’s slogan is, “Juicy and Delicious, Taste Violence”. It is so true!
The chicken chop is thick cut but skin is thin, deep-fried to crispy, but the inner is super juicy. It tastes not salty, has no strong flavour but is fresh and I’ve never ever had this before. It totally different from what you usually eat. The one I ordered is spicy flavour. Eating in cold weather is so great.
This is a franchise business, but I only tried it in Taichung. Why is it so fresh? Because the boss chooses fresh chicken directly from the factory and monitors the standard quality of the materials.
Also, due to quality control, it was originally sold in many flavours, but can’t manage well for every taste. In the end, they only sell the original and spicy taste.
15.Qiu’s Konjac Pineapple Cake
This is a hidden shop in a rural area called NanZhuang Old Street. I’m not a fan of Chinese cakes. But this is the first time we ate it in a few minutes!
Above photo is the one we ate. They use traditional Taiwanese ways to bake cakes. Therefore, this shop is one of the top ten best foods in network and awarded by Hsinchu City.
This is a Hakka traditional cake with three layers inside, natural flavours with great fragrant, sweet and chewy. The crust is absolutely crispy and soft. Their cakes use milk powder instead of butter.
This is actually not their signature cake, but I didn’t eat because I felt it looked special and delicious. And the result it was! The signature cake is a meat pie as follows. You can try the opposite shop as follow to try iced glutinous rice dumpling balls with sweet osmanthus, honey and fruits. It is refreshing, and the sweetness is just right.
How to order:
NT$250 per piece
No. 807, Section 6, Zhonghua Road, Xiangshan District, Hsinchu City, Taiwan 300
BUSINESS HOURS: 11:30-14:30 (rest at noon), 17:30-21:00 (Mon off)
TEL: +886 (3) 5371805
MAP: Click here
Recently, I have eaten more than usual, as it is not easy to write a food blog post! The above 15 best Taiwan foods and drinks usually require long queues to be enjoyed. But we never queue! No worry, no one support or sponsor our Taiwan trip, and this is not a sponsor post. The travel tip is below.
Travel Tips to eat the best Taiwan foods and drinks:
- Go Taiwan in off-peak season (Fall season). If in the summer, the price of the hotels used doubles and there are crowds everywhere.
- Avoid peak hours. This is the most important tip! For example, if the restaurant opens at 5pm, we usually arrived at the restaurant early between 5:00 to 5.30pm to avoid long queues. Hence, we saved a lot of time to continue our journey.
Relax and face it no matter what happens or problems on the road. Sometimes, changes will surprise you. Wish you have a wonderful trip in Taiwan!
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