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08.15.2013

Amazing Cheap Eats of Taiwan – WARNING: May Induce Extreme Hunger


Pains
Posted  in:  Features,  Food  Reviews  No  Comments

Author

The  Chubby  Orangutan

Price
One  Dollar
Rating
Five  Forks

The  eating  scene  in  Taiwan  is  overwhelming  yet  exciting.  In  this  post,  I  focus  on  the  cheap  eats  of  Taiwan.  Most  of  the  dishes  below  range  from
US$0.50  to  US$2  per  dish;  only  a  few  seafood  dishes  are  pricier  at  US$5  to  US$6.  In  fact,  many  of  these  dishes  can  trace  their  roots  back  to
mainland  China,  sadly,  it  is  difficult  to  find  street  food  with  the  same  quality  in  mainland  China  today.  Taiwan  has  preserved  the  taste  of  old
China  and  a  part  of  its  regional  culture,  and  the  quality  of  street  food  is  impressive.  Instead  of  massively  sourcing  their  food  from  factories;
many  of  these  local  food  vendors  are  seen  preparing  their  own  ingredients  in  traditional  ways.

To  not  overly  lengthen  this  post,  I  did  not  include  everything  I  ate  here.  But  all  of  this  is  merely  a  peek  into  the  vast  food  culture  of  Taiwan,
there  is  just  so  much  more  to  explore.  Now,  let’s  start  with  the  most  important  meal  of  the  day  –  breakfast!

Yung  Ho  (永和豆浆大王)  at  no.  215  Zhong  Zheng  Road,  Shilin  District  opens  from  2  am  to  2  pm.  It  has  been  serving  the  locals  with  fresh
Taiwanese  breakfast  for  decades.  My  passionate  foodie  friend  Jamie,  who  is  also  a  Shilin  local,  tells  me  how  Yung  Ho  has  been  a  family  favorite
and  is  filled  with  childhood  memories.  

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This  is  their  xiao  long  bao  (小籠包)  –  soup  dumplings.  Unlike  the  typical  xiao  long  bao  with  thinner  skin  and  hot  soup  inside,  Yung  Ho’s
version  is  more  like  a  steam  pork  bun  with  chewy  thick  dough,  accompanied  by  delicious  pork  meat.  

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Besides  soybean  milk  (in  white),  try  the  Taiwanese  specialty  –  rice  milk  (米浆).  The  brownish  color  of  the  rice  milk  is  from  peanuts,  it’s  a  sweet
drink  with  nutty  flavor.  

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The  hot  sticky  rice  roll  (飯糰)  is  prepared  with  rice,  dry  meat  floss  and  eggs.  It  goes  perfectly  well  with  the  sweet  soybean  and  rice  milk.  

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Egg  Cakes(蛋餅)  is  a  mixture  of  egg  and  flour.  Just  imagine  eating  thin  layers  of  egg  pancakes!

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Baked  layered  flat  bread  with  twisted  fried  bread  stick  (燒餅油條)  is  another  traditional  breakfast  dish.  Try  dipping  them  into  the  soybean  and
rice  milk  first  before  devouring  it.  

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Done  with  breakfast,  let’s  move  on  to  lunch!  We  go  to  Emperor  Foods  (君悦排骨)  –  a  fast  food  chain  serving  typical  Taiwanese  lunch,  which
includes  dishes  such  as  beef  noodle  soup,  fried  chicken  and  pork  chop.  The  pork  chop  here  (like  most  pork  chops  you  will  find  in  Taiwan)  is
thin,  which  allows  plenty  of  flavors  to  sink  in  and  is  easy  to  devour.  It  is  crispy  on  the  outside  and  soft  on  the  inside.  Even  though  it  is  deep
fried,  it  does  not  taste  very  oily.

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Beef  noodle  soup  at  Emperor  Foods  

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You  can  find  the  famous  tube  rice  pudding  (筒仔米糕)  easily  in  Taipei.  This  particular  one  is  from  Yingge  (鶯歌),  the  famous  porcelain  town
that  is  30  minutes  away  from  the  center  of  Taipei  by  train.  The  restaurant  name  is  Gedi  (哥弟筒仔米糕)  at  no.  85,  Zhongzheng  1st  Rd,  Yingge
District,  New  Taipei  City.  The  tube  rice  pudding  consists  of  ingredients  such  as  sticky  rice,  mushrooms,  pork  and  other  seasoning.  It’s  stir­fried
first  then  steamed  into  the  form  of  a  tube.  

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Braised  egg  and  pigs  ears  at  Gedi  

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This  delectable  and  famous  Taiwanese  tradition  at  Gedi  is  braised  pork  on  rice  (滷肉飯).  The  sauce  is  made  of  garlic,  soy  sauce,  onion,  sugar,
aniseed  and  wine.  

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Going  back  to  the  center  of  Taipei  at  the  Ximending  (西門町)  where  some  refer  to  as  the  Harajuku  (Japan)  of  Taipei,  we  line  up  for  Ay­Chung
Flour­Rice  Noodle  (阿宗麵線).  The  broth  is  cooked  with  large  intestines,  bamboo  shoots  and  dried  bonitos.  Even  if  innards  are  not  your  cup  of
tea,  we  highly  recommend  you  to  try  the  delicious  noodles.  

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The  sun  is  setting  on  the  horizon,  and  it’s  time  to  head  to  the  night  markets!  The  night  markets  of  Taiwan  is  overwhelming,  mostly  due  to  it’s
immense  variety  of  food  vendors.  Below  is  a  food  hawker  selling  braised  meats,  seaweed  and  tofu  at  Shilin  Night  Market  (士林夜市).  

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These  pepper  cakes  at  Shilin  night  market  are  buns  filled  with  minced  pork,  scallion  and  pepper  powder.  Cooked  by  sticking  them  to  the  wall  of
a  charcoal  brick  oven.  

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Eating  a  fresh  pepper  cake  right  out  of  the  oven.  Biting  into  the  hot  and  crunchy  skin,  be  careful  not  to  burn  your  tongue!  

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Now  let’s  talk  about  the  sausages  at  Shilin  night  market.  What’s  cooking  below  are  small  pork  sausages  and  sticky  rice  in  the  shape  of  a
sausage.  The  name  for  this  snack  is  small  sausage  in  large  sausage  (大腸包小腸)  or  simply  call  it  a  Taiwanese  Hotdog.  

The  sticky  rice  is  filled  with  condiments  and  sauces  of  your  choice,  it  acts  as  the  “bun”,  then  add  the  pork  sausage  on  top,  and  you  got  yourself
a  Taiwanese  Hotdog.  

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These  giant  sausages  are  cut  into  small  pieces  and  served  with  raw  garlic.  The  spiciness  of  raw  garlic  and  the  sweetness  of  Taiwanese  sausages
make  it  a  perfect  combination.  Perfect  beer  food.  

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One  of  the  most  delicious  foods  I’ve  tried  at  Shilin  night  market  is  from  Kaohsiung  Dongshan  Duck(高雄東山鴨頭).  Braised  duck  meat,
innards,  wings  and  tofu  of  your  choice  are  flash  fried  in  front  of  you  before  being  cut  into  smaller  pieces  and  served.  The  result  is  a  heavenly
mix  of  texture  and  flavors.  

Just  when  I  am  trying  to  come  to  terms  with  the  large  amount  of  food  vendors  in  Shilin  night  market,  I  discover  an  underground  world  with  two
basement  floors  packed  with  more  food  stands,  it  is  still  a  part  of  Shilin  night  market,  it’s  just  unbelievable,  now,  this  is  an  eating  culture!  The
first  thing  I  find  here  is  the  Coffin  bread  (棺材板).  It’s  an  overly  thick  toast,  hallowed  out  in  order  to  make  room  for  the  pork  and  seafood
chowder.  

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Below  is  one  of  Taiwanese’s  favorite  snacks  –  Oyster  omelet  (蚵仔煎).  This  dish  is  a  traditional  dish  from  southern  China.  When  people  from
southern  China  migrated  to  places  like  Singapore,  Malaysia  and  Thailand,  they  also  brought  this  dish  along  with  them.  

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This  is  a  snack  called  da  bing  bao  xiao  bing  (大餅包小餅),  it  literally  means  a  small  bun  wrapped  in  a  big  bun.  What  it  is  is  a  deep  fried  bun
wrapped  in  a  soft  pancake.  You  have  the  choice  to  make  this  snack  sweet  or  salty  by  adding  black  sesame,  peanuts,  taro,  red  beans,  zaoni,  curry,
black  pepper  etc.  I  choose  sweet  sesame.  The  first  bite  is  confusing  because  the  pancake  does  not  have  much  flavor  and  the  taste  of  sesame  is
subtle.  But  after  a  few  more  bites,  I  begin  to  like  the  combination  of  the  soft  pancake  skin  and  the  crispy  bun,  I  get  it,  and  I  like  it.  

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You  can’t  say  you  tried  Taiwanese  snacks  without  trying  the  most  famous  of  them  all  –  the  smelly  tofu.  

Smelly  Tofu  at  Shiln  night  market,  not  so  smelly  afterall.  
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You  can  also  find  plenty  of  non­traditional  snacks  in  Shilin  night  market.  Since  they  look  so  good,  I  just  have  to  try  them.  This  is  egg  omelet
with  mayo,  cheese  and  corn.  

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Fried  chicken  

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They  even  have  fried  Oreos  in  Taiwan!  

Fried  Oreos  in  Shilin  night  market.  

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The  best  pan­fry  pork  buns  in  Shilin  is  Zhongji  (鍾記原上海生煎包)  with  over  30  years  of  history.  

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More  pepper  cakes  cooking  in  the  brick  oven.  They  look  so  beautiful,  don’t  they?  

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I  had  no  idea  rice  can  be  made  into  so  many  different  dishes.  This  is  a  rice  cake  cooked  in  layers  in  Jiufen  (九份)  –  a  hillside  town  about  one
hour  away  from  Taipei.  

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The  texture  of  the  rice  cake  is  smooth  and  silky.  

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A  specialty  of  Jiufen  is  taro  cakes.  The  super  soft  taro  cakes  is  made  of  sticky  flour  and  taro.  There  is  a  smaller  version  of  taro  balls  which  is
the  most  famous  in  Jiufen.  Taiwanese  love  to  add  these  amazing  sticky  balls  into  their  desserts.  You  will  find  plenty  of  cooked  ones  to  try  in
Jiufen,  or  you  can  buy  the  uncooked  ones  by  the  bulk.  Once  you  take  them  home,  all  you  need  to  do  is  to  boil  them  and  serve  it  with  dessert  or
fruits.  

Freshly  made  fishballs  in  Jiufen.  I  am  very  glad  these  handmade  fishballs  still  exist!  Fishballs  are  a  very  popular  snack  food  in  Hong  Kong  and

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southern  China,  but  most  of  them  are  highly  processed  with  unpronounceable  additives  and  with  almost  no  fish  in  it.  Whether  it  be  taste  or
texture,  these  fresh  fishballs  are  much  better  than  the  instant  ones.  

Making  fishballs  in  Jiufen.  

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Between  Taipei  and  Jiufen  is  a  major  port  town  called  Keelung  (基隆)  which  is  located  in  the  most  northeastern  region  of  Taiwan.  Because  of  its
proximity  to  the  ocean,  the  Keelung  night  market  (of  course  it  has  a  night  market)  is  famous  for  seafood  and  a  special  type  of  sandwich  called
the  nutritious  sandwich  (營養三明治).  
So  how  does  these  nutritious  sandwich  (營養三明治)  taste  like?  Imagine  a  doughnut  that  has  just  been  fried,  the  skin  is  still  crispy  and  hot,  now
imagine  eating  that  doughnut  with  tomatoes,  cucumbers,  eggs,  ham,  sausages  and  mayo.  You  get  the  idea  right?  Hardly  “nutritious”  in  my  books,
but  delectable.  

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Grilling  giant  snails  

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Grilled  corn  and  squid  

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I  stumble  upon  a  seafood  vendor  in  Keelung  night  market,  where  in  the  front  hangs  a  photo  of  the  owner  and  Anthony  Bourdain.    Anthony
Bourdain  is  my  idol,  and  since  I  share  the  same  birthday  with  his  daughter,  I  know  we  must  have  a  special  connection  (crazy  alert).  I  have  to  try
something  here  because  of  Anthony  Bourdain.  I  proceed  to  order  a  large  raw  oyster  and  some  sea  urchins.

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Only  in  Taiwan,  where  I  can  eat  oysters  and  sea  urchins  as  snacks.  They  are  very  reasonably  priced  and  fresh.  

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The  Taiwanese  sea  urchin  has  a  thicker  texture,  it’s  less  sweet  but  more  buttery  with  slight  saltiness.  

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So  much  food,  what  about  some  healthy  mushrooms?  

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For  sweets,  this  is  the  famous  strawberry  candies  from  Keelung  night  market.  

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Besides  pearl  bubble  tea,  papaya  milk  is  also  very  popular  in  Taiwan.  

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Never  knew  bitter  melon  juice  can  taste  this  good,  but  yes  it  can  and  it  is  refreshing  when  mixed  with  lemon  juice  and  honey.  Another  recipe
inspiration  for  my  home  juicing!  

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It’s  time  for  desserts!  Shaved  ice,  shaved  ice  and  shaved  ice!  Everywhere  you  turn,  people  are  eating  shaved  ice!  I  have  no  doubt  this  is  the
national  dessert.  Shaved  ice  comes  in  many  different  toppings.  Try  Ice  Monster,  a  very  popular  shaved  ice  dessert  place  in  Taiwan.  You  can  find
out  about  their  locations  at  www.ice­monster.com  
Shaved  ice  with  mango  

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Crushed  ice  with  peanuts  and  yam  

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My  favorite  dessert  from  this  trip  is  tofu  pudding  at  Dinxiang  (丁香豆花)  at  Qingguang  Market(晴光市場),  Lane  12,  Shuangcheng  St,
Zhongshan  District.  

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2/21/2017 Amazing Cheap Eats of Taiwan – WARNING: May Induce Extreme Hunger Pains - Eat Everywhere

There  are  so  many  toppings  to  choose  from:  tapioca,  taro  balls,  yam  balls,  lotus  seeds,  beans,  peanuts  and  fruits.  

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The  tofu  pudding  is  cold  and  very  smooth.  The  toppings  are  delicious  sticky  flour  balls  with  sweet  flavors.  I  love  the  combination,  the  only
problem  is  that  I  wish  the  serving  size  was  bigger.  But  with  a  price  of  just  US$  2,  I  may  just  order  another  one!  

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And…that’s  it.  Still  hungry?  In  all  seriousness,  the  food  in  Taiwan  is  very  enjoyable  and  I  still  have  a  long  list  to  explore.  I  also  need  to  thank
Jamie,  the  Taiwanese  foodie  who  took  me  around  town!  If  you  are  into  food,  Taiwan  should  definitely  be  on  your  radar  to  visit!  My  stomach
and  I  cannot  wait  to  go  back!

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January 9

Feeling stuffed after this meatfest


#Japanesecurry #meat #yesplease #yum
#foodie #instafood #curry3

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