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Taiwan Dinning

Generally speaking,Taiwan Foods are derived from mainland Chinese cuisines. It is possible to find Szechuan 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 the 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.

Popular Dishes

With a light taste, fine appearances and materials of mainly seafood, the traditional dishes of Taiwan cuisine are merged with Min (Fujian Province), Yue (Guangdong Province) and Hakka cooking styles, developed with local products and dining customs to be a special cuisine also influenced by Japanese culture. The tastes of the traditional dishes tend to be natural and original since the weather of the island is muggy. No matter what the cooking style is, it emphasizes the light and fresh, which constitutes a unique school in Chinese cuisines.

Taiwan also has many of its own local specialties. A few found islandwide include:

  • Beef noodles (牛肉麺 niúròu miàn), noodle soup with chunks of meltingly soft stewed beef and a dash of pickles

  • Oyster omelette (蚵仔煎 kézǎi jiān), made from eggs, oysters and the leaves of a local chrysanthemum, topped with sweet red sauce

  • Aiyu jelly (愛玉 àiyù), made from the seeds of a local fig and usually served on ice — sweet, cool and refreshing on a hot day

Most cities and towns in Taiwan are famous for special foods, because of their passion for food and influences from many different countries. For example, Ilan 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 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. Virtually every city has its famous specialties; many Taiwanese tourists will go visit other cities on the island only to try the local foods, 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.

Where 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 (小吃), literally "small eats", the Taiwanese equivalent of Cantonese dim sum. There are also the standard fast foodplaces 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 7-11) that sell things like tea eggs, sandwiches and drinks.

As with Chinese cuisine elsewhere, food in Taiwan is generally eaten with chopsticks and served on large plates placed at the center of the table. Unlike in the West, however, a serving spoon might not accompany the dishes, and instead guests will use their own chopsticks to transfer food to their plates. Some people unaccustomed to this way of eating may consider this unhygienic, though it is usually quite safe. However, those who prefer to use a separate utensil for serving have the option of requesting communal chopsticks (公筷 gongkuai), and can gently encourage friends to use them if they do not automatically do so.

Tai Nan - Coffin Shaped Bread (Guan Cai Ban)
Maybe firstly your sight will be caught by the name of the food. Factually it is a thick piece of western style bread without the core part, which will be filled with the prepared stuffing of fish and meat or vegetables. After filling the slot like part with the delicious stuffing, it can be fried in oil until golden. At last, a piece of fried bread should be covered on the top. Then you can enjoy it.

Chyn Kaan Coffin Shaped Bread
Address: 180, Yeong Kang Market at Chyn Kaan in Tainan
Opening hours: 10:30 to 22:30

Tan Shui - Fish Ball (Yu Wan)

Referring to fish ball, you can taste the authentic Taiwan-style balls in Tan Shui. There are hundreds of snack bars and stalls operate fish balls. The popular snack is made of shark flesh stuffed with ground meat. The first time you try it, you can bite a small hole in the ball and suck the palatable juice and stuffing from it before chewing the meat to enjoy the rough and chewy texture. A very famous snack bar for fish ball is located at 228, Chung Cheng Road, Tan Shui.

Yong Ho - Yong Ho Soybean Milk (Yong He Doujiang)

With the special food of soybean milk, deep-fried twisted dough sticks and sesame seed cake, Yong Ho Soybean Milk now has became a healthy and famous brand in Chinese catering trade. Yong Ho City is the cradle of Yong Ho Soybean Milk, so you may have a different feeling when you enjoy it there with their circumspect service.

Taipei Yong Ho Soybean Milk
Address: 353, Junghua Rd., Bade City, Taoyuan

Hsin Chu - Meat Ball and Rice Noodle (Gong Wan He Mi Fen)
Locals often eat meatball soup with rice noodle mixed together, which creates a perfect taste. A small snack counter at 98, Xi Men Street, Hsinchu City is must try.

Chiayi - Chicken Rice (Ji Rou Fan)
As a representative local snack, authentic chicken rice is usually served with fresh and soft turkey flesh, which will offer you a larruping flavor.

If you want to try various kinds of snacks in Taiwan, snack streets and night markets will be the ideal choice. Taipei Shih-lin Night Market, Huahsi Street Night Market, Raohe Street Night Market, Tan Shui Night Market, Keelung Temple Night Market and Hsinchu Lord Temple Night Market are all recommended - enjoy it!

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