Foodie Travel: Taiwan’s Must-Try Eats

One of my favorite things about living in Taiwan for the past couple months has been the FOOD. Savory, sweet, snacks, and family banquets–we’ve been doing it all and stuffing our faces with as much as we can before we fly back to Paris in February. From Grandma’s home cooking to night market hawker fare, I’ve been snapping pics along the way to document our delicious adventures and share them with you 🙂 I’m also planning to bring some of my favorite Taiwanese recipes back to France to battle the cravings I get when I’m homesick! Currently Will and I are traveling across Japan for 2 weeks, which is another food adventure on its own–I’ll be sharing our tastiest moments from this trip soon!🍜

December 2016 — January 2017

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T A I P E I(台北)||   T A I   N A N(台南)||   Y A N G   M I N G   S H A N(陽明山)||
S H I   L I N(士林)||   X I   M E N   D I N G(西門町)

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Taiwan is very good at delicious fried things.😍 We had chicken, oyster mushroom, fish, squid, cheese, french fries, jalapeño popper, and ketchup + sweet chili sauce to dip.

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Not Taiwanese food, but you can find ramen everywhere as Japanese cuisine is super popular in Taiwan. Soft boiled egg, corn, green onion, bamboo shoot, nori, and pork slice in shoyu broth. Even food court ramen is top-notch compared to mall food back in the USA. Those gyoza were a tad bit over-fried though…😜

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Bento action all day, every day. Local Taiwanese bentos can be as cheap as $2USD–I’m going to be seriously bummed when I get back to Paris prices😭 This restaurant also provided unlimited pork rib + daikon soup…on top of my pork rib bento. Yum.

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Spicy fried chicken and sweet potato. Mountain cuisine from Yang Ming Shan (陽明山) is simple, but oh-so-good.

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This vegetarian noodle soup was so light, flavorful, and warming. Served with Chinese fungi, cucumbers, and bean sprouts on the side. Also enjoyed on the top of 陽明山 before an afternoon hike.

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2 words: RAINBOW. DUMPLINGS. They taste all the same, but so funny to see them in different colors. The onion pancake & beef noodle soup were deliciously on point too👌🏽

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Posted about this before because it’s so damn good, but it deserves a second mention.😍 One of my family’s favorite local restaurants is called Fool’s Noodles. They specialize in dry noodles, which you pair with soy sauce, black vinegar, spicy oil and chili flakes🌶Our favorite side dishes are wonton soup, fried chicken, pork cutlet, seaweed, marinated cucumber, edamame beans, bean curd noodles!

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Hot pot is the perfect winter comfort food, especially with the temperature finally cooling off in Taiwan. This is one of my favorite meals to enjoy with friends & family because it’s an interactive & fun way to cook & eat, plus everyone can bring their favorite ingredient to the table if you dine at home! Bond over tons of seafood, meats, and plenty of carbs (rice, noodles, sweet potato, throw it all in there), and try some tang yuan (湯圓)sweet rice ball for dessert if you still have room!

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Ignore my crazy morning hair🙄 We tried a newly-opened Lee’s Sandwiches (specialized in Vietnamese banh mi) for breakfast one morning in our neighborhood. The grilled chicken did not disappoint: warm crispy bread gave texture and paired perfectly with the fresh cilantro, carrot, jalapeño, and jicama inside.

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One of Will’s Christmas presents to me: Hello Kitty themed Taiwanese desserts!!💖
Pineapple cake (鳳梨書) and sun cookies filled with butter/cream (太陽餅). Addictive stuff.

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If you know me well, you’ll likely know that I’m crazy about candy. Sour gummies are my kryptonite. Taiwan & Japan are candy paradise: just look at all those colors!🍬🍭

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World-famous Asian dessert snack: Pocky❤️  or “Mikado”, for Europeans out there! (Learned this funny fact from my boyfriend when I was trying to tell him about Pocky and he just kept insisting, “Yes, but that’s Mikado!!”😂) There are a TON more flavors here than at home in California or Paris!

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These Dream Color juices are so beautifully (& naturally!) pigmented and refreshing…such gorgeous colors before & after you shake them up…guava + orange juice (left) & dragon fruit juice (right).

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I’ve fallen in love…this amazing Taiwanese dessert snack is called “Bubble Waffle”. We tried matcha cake flavor filled with melted chocolate chips & chocolate cake flavor filled with choco chips. Matcha was the winner for me!

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I used to be obsessed with Paul Frank in high school, so when I saw this complete Paul Frank-themed café at a outlet mall in Taoyuan, I flipped. Too. Goddamn. Cute.🐵 🌭

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My brother tried Thai-originated MONSTERS “rolled ice cream”at the Shilin night market with a crazy amount of toppings. It was fun to watch them make it! It costs about $3.50USD for a signature flavor cup.

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We tried VOODOO DOUGHNUTS in Taipei!! Funnily enough I haven’t actually tried it in Portland or anywhere in the USA before…but it was funny experience and a much-needed snack in the afternoon. Thomas got bacon + maple bar and I got fruit loops glazed doughnut. Talk about sugar overdose.😜

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And as a last surprise…not really food, but it’s something I’ve been eating and it’s super interesting! Here’s a peek at Chinese medicinal herbs. This is consumed in the form of a soup (my grandma boils the herbs for 45 minutes with pork for flavor) and it was prescribed to me to help boost my body’s lower/colder qi (energy). In Traditional Chinese medicine, many foods naturally have a cold or hot qi (aka ying/yang), which in turn affect your body’s health depending on how balanced your diet and lifestyle are. I’ve had a health issue that I’ve tried taking various medications for over the past few years, and none of them haven’t worked effectively (actually made me feel even more sick). Upon sharing this information with much of my family in Taiwan, they all agreed that it was a matter of yang qi deficiency and that I should see a Chinese doctor. Shockingly, after drinking the soup made from these herbs for the past couple months, I’ve seen improvement for the first time in my adult life. It’s given me hope and joy to know that connecting with my family in Taiwan has not only created so many unforgettable memories, but has also helped improve my overall health in a healthy and natural way–by finding a balance.

ps: Grandma calls it my “love soup”. So cute…😭 ❤️

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