This blog post was written by Taiwan Scene. Taiwan Scene is an online travel magazine. We publish stories introducing readers to the culture, scenery and travel possibilities of our homeland, articles to help travelers make the most of their time in Taiwan.
As a visitor to Taiwan, you may be forgiven for not knowing too much about the country’s culture and history. After all, that’s why you’re here – to find out what exactly makes Taiwan great. If there is absolutely one thing you must know, it’s that Taiwan’s culinary scene is right up there with the best in Asia – if not the world – and it’s in capital city Taipei where you’ll find the best of what the island has to offer. Ever growing as a popular destination for foodies due to the diversity of its affordable street food offerings – influenced heavily by the Chinese, Dutch, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish colonies of the past – the food here is way more than just beef noodles (although they’re still pretty damn good). From bustling night markets to hole-in-the-wall restaurants to five-star luxury dining, Taipei’s got it all. Here are 20 Taiwanese dishes you need to try right now.
1. Beef noodles (牛肉麵 niúròumiàn)
Okay, so we may have just said food in Taipei is way more than just beef noodles, but, you’re still gonna want to try them – they’re so popular here they have their own festival. Usually served in a soup, whether they’re from a tiny street stall or a proper sit-down restaurant, if you order beef noodles in Taipei, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
Yongkang Beef Noodles (永康牛肉麵)
Address: No.17, Lane 31, Sec. 2, Jinshan N Rd., Daan Dist., Taipei (1 min walk from Dongmen Station Exit 3)
Jianhong Beef Noodles (建宏牛肉麵)
Address: No.7, Xining N Rd., Wanhua Dist, Taipei (5 mins walk from Beimen Station Exit 1)
Niu Dian Beef Noodles (牛店牛肉麵）
Address: No.91, Kunming St., Wanhua Dist, Taipei (5 mins walk from Ximen Station Exit 1)
2. Gua bao (割包 guàbāo)
Taiwan’s answer to the hamburger, gua bao is a steamed bun filled with braised pork belly, powdered peanuts and pickled Chinese cabbage. The pork comes fatty or lean – although we recommend asking for half-half (yībàn yībàn) – and each mouthful is a delightful mix of sweet, salty and sour. Check out Lan Chia Guabao at Gongguan Night Market for the real deal.
Lan Chia Guabao(藍家割包)
Address: No.3, Alley 8, Lane 316, Sec. 3, Roosevelt Rd., Zhongzheng Dist (2 mins walk from Gongguan Station Exit 4)
3. Braised pork rice (滷肉飯 lǔròufàn)
One of Taiwan’s signature dishes, braised pork rice, known as lurou fan, is simple, cheap and delicious. Somewhat sweet and somewhat salty, lurou fan is spiced slow-cooked braised pork belly cooked in soy sauce served over rice. The meat is fine and fatty and the result is both filling and extremely comforting.
Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice（金峰滷肉飯）
Address: No. 10, Sec 1, Roosevelt Rd.,Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei (1 min walk from CKS Memorial Hall Station Exit 2)
You might be interested in these Airbnbs!
4. Pineapple cake (鳳梨酥 fènglí sū)
The perfect souvenir snack for your friends and family back home – you’ll be able to grab a lastminute box at the airport if you’re struggling for gift ideas – Taiwan’s pineapple cakes are small, tasty pastries stuffed with candied pineapple and really hit the spot.
Chia Te Bakery （佳德鳳梨酥）
Address: No.88, Sec 5, Nanjing E Rd., Songshan Dist., Taipei (2 min walk from Nanjing Sanmin Station Exit 2)
Xiaopan Pineapple Cake （小潘鳳梨酥）
Address: No.11-1,Lane 135, Zhongzheng Dist., Banqiao Dist, New Taipei (10 min walk from Banqiao Station Exit 1)
Address: No.1, Alley 4, Lane 36, Sec 5, Minsheng E Rd., Songshan Dist., Taipei (15 min walk from Songshan Airport Station Exit 3)
5. Bubble tea (珍珠奶茶 zhēn zhūnǎichá)
Taiwan’s most famous drink. In its most classic form, bubble tea (or boba) is milk tea with chewy tapioca pearls. Seemingly available on every street corner and coming in a variety of different styles, you simply can’t come here without trying a cup of boba. We recommend the brown sugar bubble tea (青蛙撞奶 literally translating to “frog knocking against the milk”) from Chen San Ding on Roosevelt Road near NTU.
Chen San Ding (陳三鼎)
Address: No.2, Alley 8, Lane 316, Sec 3, Roosevelt Rd., Zhongzheng Dist, Taipei (2 min walk from Gongguan Station Exit 4)
Ten Ren (天仁茗茶)
Address: No.12, Songshou Rd., Xinyi Dist., Taipei (5 min walk from Taipei 101 Station Exit 4)
6. Oyster omelette (蚵仔煎 é zǐ jiān)
A nation surrounded by the ocean, of course Taiwan has good seafood. A dish that has proven incredibly popular with foreign visitors over the years, oyster omelette is a textural snack bulked up by potato starch. It’s cheap, tasty and can be eaten on the go as you’re strolling around a night market.
Yuan Huan Pien Oyster Egg Omelette (圓環邊蚵仔煎)
Address: No.46, Ningxia Rd., Datong Dist., Taipei (Inside Ningxia Night Market, 8 min walk from Shuanglian Station Exit 1)
A-cheng Oyster Egg Omelette (阿成蚵仔煎)
Address: No. 14, Shenghuo St., Yilan (5 min walk from Yilan Train Station)
7. Xiaolongbao (小籠包 xiǎolóngbāo)
Invented in Shanghai but arguably perfected in Taiwan (don’t let the Shanghainese hear you say that, though), xiaolongbao are delicious (usually pork-filled) soup dumplings. A popular order at Din Tai Fung, there’s a trick to eating them that involves nipping the dumpling with your teeth and sucking out the soup, otherwise you’ll end up squirting the filling everywhere.
Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐)
Address: No.194, Sec 2, Xinyi Rd., Daan Dist, Taipei (1 min walk from Dongmen Station Exit 5)
Shengyuan Xiao Long Bao (盛園絲瓜小籠包)
Address: No.1, Lane 25, Sec 2, Hangzhou N Rd., Daan Dist., Taipei (6 min walk from Dongmen Station Exit 3)
8. Fish ball soup (魚丸湯 yúwán tāng)
Exactly what it says on the tin, fish ball soup is balls of fish in a soupy broth. A good fish ball will be slightly porous and air-filled, allowing it to soak up the soup, adding an extra dimension while you eat.
Jiaxing Fish Balls (佳興魚丸)
Address: No.21, Lane 210, Sec 2,Yanping Rd., Datong Dist, Taipei (8 min walk from Daqiaotou Station Exit 1)
Shih Jia Fish Ball (石家魚丸湯)
Address: No. 27, Xingxue St., East Dist, Hsinchu （9 min walk from Xinzhu Train Station)
9. Three-cup chicken (三杯雞 sānbēijī)
Named after the cooking process, sanbeiji is chicken cooked in a cup of rice wine, a cup of soy sauce and a cup of oil – although other versions have been known to involve cooking in sugar, sesame oil and wine. Garlic, basil and chilies are then added to give this dish its distinctive flavor. Other meats cooked in the three-cup style include squid and pork, but chicken is the classic.
Xin yeh Shiao Ju (欣葉小聚)
Address: 1F, No. 166, Jingmao 2nd Rd., Nangang Dist., Taipei (4 min walk from Nangang Software Park Station Exit 2)
10. Hotpot (火鍋 huǒguō)
You’ve gotta love a spicy hotpot. The ultimate social dining occasion, hotpot restaurants are a dime a dozen across Taipei and Taiwan as a whole, each with their own gimmick or pull. For the authentic Taiwanese hotpot experience, check out 松江自助石頭火鍋城 (Sōngjiāng zì zhù shí tou huǒ guō chéng) in Zhongshan District, otherwise, you can rarely go wrong with a trip to popular Chinese chain HiDiLao.
Song Jian Buffet Hot Pot (松江自助石頭火鍋城)
Address: No. 315, Songjiang Rd., Zhongshan Dist, Taipei （3 min walk from Xingtian Temple Station Exit 3)
Xiao Hong Mei Steamboat Buffet Restaurant (小紅莓自助石頭火鍋城)
Address: No. 24, Baoqing St., Songshan Dist, Taipei (5 min walk from Nanjing Sanmin Station Exit 4)
11. Stinky tofu (臭豆腐 chòudòufu)
Often considered the stinkier the better, you might love it, you might hate it, but you’ve got to try it. Take the smell out of the equation and it’s simply deep-fried bean curd marinated with sweet, spicy sauce, but it’s the stench/fragrance (delete where applicable) that makes it.
Ya Kou Tian Xiang Stinky Tofu (雅口臭豆腐)
Address: No.19-1 Linjiang Street, Taipei (8 min walk from Xinyi Anhe Station Exit 4)
Chou Lao Ban Steamed Stinky Toufu (臭老闆現蒸臭豆腐)
Address: No. 6, Ln. 313, Sec. 2, Zhonghua Rd., Zhongzheng Dist, Taipei （15 min walk from Longshan temple Station Exit 2)
12. Scallion pancakes (蔥油餅 cōngyóubǐng)
Flaky, chewy and another popular night market snack, you can’t beat a good scallion pancake. Some venders will offer additions of cheese and egg and we’re all for it. Be sure to eat it quickly to maximize the experience.
Tianjing Scallion Pancake (天津蔥抓餅)
Address: No.1,6 Alley,Yongkang Street, Taipei (2 min walk from Yongkang Station Exit 5)
13. Sweet potato (地瓜 dì guā)
Served in soup, as chips, or as they come, sweet potato is a local favorite here in Taiwan. Another great snack to grab at one of Taipei’s many night markets, the vegetable is particularly loved here due to its shape somewhat resembling that of Taiwan island.
K.K Orchard (呱呱園)
Address: No. 41, Sec 1, Roosevelt Rd., Zhongzheng Dist, Taipei (1 min walk from CKS Memorial Hall Station Exit 1)
14. Shaved ice (刨冰 bàobīng)
Perfect for cooling off during Taiwan’s hot and humid summer, a shaved ice mountain is a real treat. Sometimes referred to as crushed ice, shaved ice mountains are often packed with juice, milk or fresh fruit such as mango. More adventurous incarnations will include boba, honey, or red bean.
Da One Gong (大碗公冰品 西子灣店)
Address: No.107, Binhai 1st Rd, Gushan Dist, Kaohsiung (5 min walk from Xiziwan Station Exit 1)
15. Taiwanese burrito (潤餅 rùn bǐng)
Referred to by many as a spring roll, head to Nanjichang Night Market to try Taiwan’s version of the burrito. At Sung Ching Taiwanese Burrito, they pack a popiah roll with ten fillings, including pork and bean sprouts, resulting in a dish good enough for Taipei’s Michelin Guide. Another variant on the burrito you can regularly find at night markets is an ice cream-filled crepe that you definitely need to try if you aren’t counting calories.
Sung Ching Taiwanese Burrito (松青潤餅)
Address: No.4, Lane 311, Sec 2, Zhonghua Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei （15 min walk from Longshan temple Station Exit 2)
16. Tangyuan (湯圓 tāngyuán)
A popular dessert, tangyuan is a bowl of glutinous rice balls traditionally filled with sesame. However, there are many variants on the food, including at Yupin Yuan Iced and Hot Tangyuan at Linjiang Street Night Market that serves them over shaved ice for an interesting hot and cold contrast.
Yu Pin Yuan Iced and Hot Tangyuan (御品元冰火湯圓)
Address: No.31, Alley 50, Lane 39, Tonghua Street, Daan Dist, Taipei (6 min walk from Xinyi Anhe Station Exit 3)
Shih Chia Big Rice Ball (施家鮮肉湯圓)
Address: No.58, Sec 3, Yanping N Rd., Datong Dist., Taipei (5 min walk from Daqiaotou Station Exit 3)
17. Milkfish porridge (虱目魚粥shī mù yúzhōu)
Somewhat difficult to eat for rookies who aren’t used to dealing with the bones, but it’s worth the hassle to try one of Taiwan’s most popular dishes. Soft and tender, we’d recommend trying to pan-fried, but it’s not uncommon to see it in a fish ball soup or even a congee (porridge).
A-tang Fish Congee (阿堂鹹粥)
Address: No.728, Sec 1, Ximen Rd., West Central Dist., Tainan
Yong Ji Milkfish Ball (永記虱目魚丸)
Address: No. 82-1, Kaishan Rd., West Central Dist, Tainan
18. Pig’s blood rice pudding (豬血糕 zhūxiěgāo)
It may sound like a horrifying prospect to foreigners, but hear us out. It’s pig’s blood mixed with sticky rice, sprinkled with peanut powder and served like a lollipop. According to CNN travel, NBA star Jeremy Lin tried it and liked it when he visited Taiwan. So, there’s that…
Zhu Da Lang Pig Blood Rice Pudding (豬大郎豬血糕)
Address: No. 30, Ln. 737, Sec. 1, Neihu Rd., Neihu Dist, Taipei (6 min walk from Gangxian Station Exit 1)
19. Cherry roasted duck (櫻桃鴨yīng táoyā)
Definitely one to try if you’re a fan of Peking duck. Slowly roasted, tender and crispy with a cherry glaze, a good serving of cherry roasted duck is a real treat. If you want to try it in Taiwan, head to Yilan, southeast of Taipei, and go for dinner at Red Lantern. You can thank us later.
Cherry Valley Duck (櫻桃鴨櫻桃谷)
Address: No.72, Sec 7, Jiaoxi Rd., Jiaoxi Town, Yilan
20. Taiwanese breakfast
You’ve got to, you’ve just got to experience a proper Taiwanese breakfast while you’re here in Taiwan. Sesame flatbread (shāobing) and deep-fried Chinese donuts (yóutíao) washed down with a glass of soy milk (dòujiāng). It may not quite be what you’re used to starting your day with, but that’s all part of the fun. Other popular breakfast foods include egg pancake (dànbǐng), and steamed buns (bāozi).
Address: No.30-1 Jinhua Street, Zhongzheng District, Taipei (3 min walk from CKS Memorial Hall Station Exit 3)
Weiding Egg Pancake (味鼎蛋餅)
Address: No.3 Lane 21, Longjiang Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei (7 min walk from Nanjing Fuxing Station Exit 2)
Liu Mama Rice Ball (劉媽媽飯糰)
Address: No. 88, Sec. 2, Hangzhou S. Rd., Zhongzheng Dist, Taipei (5 min walk from Guting Station Exit 8)
Get Trip101 in your inbox