A Taiwan Food Tour

Tyler Leu, Staff Writer

Taiwan, although recently mostly known for its relationship with China, is often revered as a famous food destination for foodies across Asia. As I was recently in Taiwan, I would love to share some of the amazing dishes I ate while there.

Red-Braised Beef Noodle Soup is Taiwan’s national dish and is enjoyed by many as a comfort food. A beef bone broth is made before herbs such as star anise and cinnamon are added. Chewy Taiwanese noodles are added along with tender, melty beef shank for a warm meal. This bowl of soup that I ate in Taichung City is from Chun Shui Tang, the chain that claims to have invented pearl milk tea (boba)

The next meal I wish to share is a traditional Taiwanese breakfast. In Taiwan, soymilk is very popular along with danbing (egg wraps), shaobing (sesame wraps), and youtiao (fried dough sticks). This photo shows all of these breakfast foods, the youtiao dipped inside of the hot soymilk.

Looking at this photo, you may think you see fried chicken and chicken spring rolls. In actuality, both of these are vegetarian. Some Buddhists in Taiwan eat a vegetarian diet for their religion, believing that eating animals is against the eight-fold path to finding the end to suffering. My own great-grandmother was a vegetarian so when we met with that side of the family, my grandmother decided to choose this restaurant.

Here we have ba-wan, a central Taiwanese street food. It originates in Changhua County, one county south of Taichung City. This dish varies greatly from town to town. Fengyuan’s famous restaurant makes a delicious meat filling that is surrounded by a chewy starchy dough. After cooking, it is covered with a sweet and spicy sauce. Even though my photo does not do it justice, it truly is one of my favorites in Taiwan.

Hong Kong-style egg tarts are just as common there as in Taiwan. Nearly every bakery sells them. They consist of a flaky buttery pastry with a gelatinous egg custard filling. The filling’s texture caught me off-guard the first time I ate it, but it is truly so delicious.

Steamed fish is a staple across Taiwan. Fish is very commonly eaten in Taiwan. This style of steamed fish is almost always a white fish, such as a sea bass. It is typically served with scallion and ginger on top.

These doughnuts are called pon de ring and are actually Japanese. They are from the chain Mister Donut, with locations across Asia. They are chewy mochi doughnuts made with rice flour, flavored with matcha most infamously. Other flavors include chocolate, ube, and strawberry.

These are pork shumai which typically adjoined my breakfast in Taiwan. My grandmother bought these frozen from a special dumpling store for when we arrived in Taiwan. They can be eaten with chilly oil which adds great flavor.

This is Loh Bah Png (Lu Rou Fan in Mandarin). It is braised pork that is put on top of rice. This portion was 50 cents from the famous Jin Feng Lu Rou Fan in central Taipei. It has been discussed by many news outlets and is extremely popular and convenient to get to from the nearby Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall subway station.