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Hakka stir fry can be enjoyed in restaurants in Kaohsiung's Meinong District. (SC)  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Taiwan

Taiwan Restaurants & Eating

  
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Generally speaking, the foods of Taiwan are derived from mainland Chinese cuisines. It is possible to find Sichuan food, Hunan food, Beifang food, Cantonese food and almost every other Chinese cuisine on the island.

Taiwanese renditions of these cuisines tend to be somewhat greasy, though, and completely authentic mainland cuisines are rare. This is especially true for Cantonese cuisine, as demonstrated by the lack of Cantonese speakers on the island. The Taiwanese are also passionately in love with eggs and seafood, as you will discover during your stay on the island. Fruits are another famous part of Taiwanese food. A wide range of fruits can be found at local fruit shops and stations. The subtropical climate allows different fruits to grow well.

Local specialties

  • Beef noodles - noodle soup with chunks of meltingly soft stewed beef and a dash of pickles
  • Oyster omelet - made from eggs, oysters and the leaves of a local chrysanthemum, topped with sweet red sauce
  • Aiyu jelly - made from the seeds of a local fig and usually served on ice — sweet, cool and refreshing on a hot day
  • Taiwan Sausage - usually made from pork, it is a modified version of the Cantonese laap cheong which has been emulsified and is much sweeter in taste. Unlike laap cheong, which is almost always eaten with rice, Taiwanese xiangchang is usually eaten on its own with some garlic.
  • Taiwanese Orange - is a type of citrus fruit which is similar to usual oranges, except that the skin and flesh tend to look more yellowish like lemon. Unlike lemon, it is usually quite sweet.
  • Taiwanese Porridge - is rice porridge cooked with sweet potato. It is usually eaten with several different dishes.

Most cities and towns in Taiwan are famous for special foods because of the Taiwanese passion for food and influences from many different countries. For example, Yilan is famous for its mochi, a sticky rice snack often flavored with sesame, peanuts or other flavorings. Yonghe, a suburb of Taipei, is famous for its freshly made soy milk and breakfast foods. Taichung is famous for its sun cakes, a kind of sweet stuffed pastry. In Chiayi, it's square cookies, also called cubic pastry, crispy layered cookies cut into squares and sprinkled liberally with sesame seeds. Tainan is particularly famous among the Taiwanese for its abundance of good food and should be a stop for all gourmands. The most famous dish is arguably the coffin bread. Virtually every city has its own famous specialties; many Taiwanese tourists will visit other cities on the island simply to try the local foods and then return home.

Taiwan also has remarkably good bakery items. Most specialize in sweet Chinese pastries or Western pastries adjusted to local tastes, but look out for We Care bakeries which also offer Western options such as whole wheat loaves, sour breads and ciabatta.

Vegetarians are well catered, as even small towns have inexpensive vegetarian buffets.

Places to eat

If you're on a budget, the cheapest food can be found in back-alley noodle shops and night market stalls, where you can get a filling bowl of noodles for around NT$35-70.

The Taiwanese love to snack and even many restaurants advertise xiaochi, literally "small eats", the Taiwanese equivalent of Cantonese dim sum. There are also the standard fast food places such as McDonalds (a standard Big Mac Meal costs NT$115), KFC and MOS Burger. In addition there are large numbers of convenience stores (such as 7-Eleven) that sell things like tea eggs, sandwiches, bento boxes and drinks.

Night markets are also a good place to try some delicious local Taiwanese fare at attractive prices. Examples would be the Shilin Night Market in Taipei and the Liuhe Night Market in Kaohsiung, each of which has its own special dishes not to be missed.





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