There’s no denying that Taiwan has some of the tastiest street food in the world – and most of it is perfectly edible, unlike some “delicacies” you will find in China or parts of South East Asia. Discovering the night markets of Taipei, I began to realise that Taiwanese street food is really something that I could live on for a while – and here are my 5 absolute favourites.
5. Fried Milk (炸牛奶)
I don’t think anyone would have ever tried Fried Milk prior to visiting Taiwan. Frozen milk balls dipped in batter before being deep fried is a very unique food to the Taiwan street markets and is absolutely delicious! It is extremely hot and you may have to take many tiny bites to finish one ball, but the tastes that come out of this milk ball make it a must try!
4. Flame-Grilled Beef Cubes (火焰骰子牛)
The raw beef on the grill may look very unappetising and you will just walk past it without giving it a try. But produce the fire torch and give it about 5 minutes and the taste will actually change your life! Succulent and sprinkled with rose salt seasoning, these once-dubious-looking beef cubes melted in my mouth and excreted beef juices I’ve never tasted before!
3. Zhu Tong Fan (竹筒飯)
Originally, Zhu Tong Fan was a street food from tribal villages in the rugged central region of Taiwan and in villages along the east coast. It is made by stuffing cut stalks of bamboo with rice, vegetables, and occasionally meat, then steamed them over hot coals.
2. Xue Hua Bing (雪花冰)
One of my all-time street food treats, Xue Hua Bing is commonly known as Taiwanese Snow Ice. Rather than flaky bits of ice, the base of the dessert is typically layered-sheets of frozen condensed milk. The consistency is achieved through the milky base and a special machine that shaves the ice, which street vendors usually have on their stall. Xue Hua Bing is perfect for a hot summer’s day!
1. Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken (鹽酥雞)
When you are in Taiwan, it would almost criminal to turn down a chance to eat this popcorn chicken, known locally as Yan Su Ji. There are even websites dedicated to finding the best popcorn chicken shops in the country! Popcorn chicken is arguably the most popular street food in Taiwan – and once you try it you’ll see why! It is usually coated with salt and pepper, and the crunchy texture is incredible!
There are so many street foods in Taiwan that I could have included in this list. Honourable mentions must go to Boba “Bubble Tea”, Dou Jiang soy milk, those giant dumplings known as Ba Wan, and the chocolate penis-shaped cakes which, believe me, provide a real mouthful!