Top 5 Bites in Taipei, Taiwan
By Randy Mulyanto
Taiwanese food from every region is basically present in Taipei, the capital. Taiwan’s culinary scene has deep Chinese roots and Japanese influence, making it one of a kind. Genuine local bites are really easy to find. You just need to head to the bustling night markets and streets of Taipei (and a city that is a little bit up north). They are not just afford able in price, but also essentially Taiwanese. Allow me to introduce you my five favorite snacks that I had during my stay here. They are all Taiwan-styled sweet and savory stuffs that have won the hearts of its people, including mine.
 
Stinky tofu:
 
 
Top 5 bites to eat in Taipei, Taiwan 1 | bitemojo
 
Being notoriously known due to its pungent smell, people in Taiwan are in fact obsessed with this national dish. Stinky tofu is basically tofu fermented for months. It is also marinated with vegetables, dried shrimp and spices. Taiwanese are eating it deep -fried, stewed, barbecued, or together with soup. Here is the catchy thing: Many say that if the stinky tofu is smellier, the taste is guaranteed to be better. When I strolled around the outdoor parts of Shilin Night Market,
the largest night market in Taipei, I spotted a stinky tofu vendor. The woman vendor put these tofu sticks on barbeque, while she seasoned the tofu. Once cooked, she added some chopped vegetable and coriander above the tofu. This costs NT$40 for two sticks of stinky tofu. For a better experience, I suggest you to consider going to Shenkeng Old Street in New Taipei City, which can be reached in less than an hour from Taipei. The street is declared “the tofu capital of Taiwan”. Many vendors there sell original stinky tofu just right.
 
Street vendor
Shilin Night Market
 
You can reach the night market with Taipei Metro. Make
sure you stop at JIantan Station, located at Line 2 (Ta
msui-
Xinyi Line)
 
 
Taiwanese chicken rice:
 
Top 5 bites to eat in Taipei, Taiwan 2 | bitemojo
 
Don’t let Ximending’s reputation fool you. Being considered a major shopping district,Ximending has lots of tasty homemade eateries. My personal favorite would be a restaurant named 365. They serve traditional Taiwan-styled snacks, such as oyster omelet and braised pork rice. When I was around at night, local residents took their time for a quick meal. Doesn’t that say a lot about how the general public thinks of the dishes made here? The menu is actually in Chinese, but you shall not be afraid.There’s always onlinedictionary, right? I ordered a bowl of chicken rice. I could’ve said it is certainly comfort food for Taiwanese. Hot white rice served with shredded non-fat chicken breast (my favorite!) and soy sauce. I kept on saying how good this chicken rice is. I paid NT$35 for a small bowl of the rice. If you are up for bigger taste, opt for larger portion priced at NT$55.
 
365
Ximending
 
Taipei Metro can take you to Ximending. Make sure you
stop at Ximen Station on Line 5 (Bannan Line).
 
 
Mee sua with pig intestines:
 
Top 5 bites to eat in Taipei, Taiwan 5 | bitemojo
 
One thing I really like from Taiwanese cuisine (I am not trying to generalize) is its simple presentation and rich oriental flavors. It goes the same with Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle, a mee sua chain established since 1975. Mee sua is a bowl of rice vermicelli soup with thick broth, which tastes both sour and sweet. It becomes popular with its small oysters as topping on top. I headed to its main branch at Ximending. I ordered for the small bowl worth NT$50. They had pig intestines, instead of oysters, that still taste fine. The soup is kind of light and served warm. Black vinegar, garlic and chili sauce can be added to your soup. They only offer takeout, but you can have your mee sua while standing in front of the store. Expect for some speedy service, but be ready for long queue.
 
Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle
Ximending
 
You need to stroll around Ximending to locate Ay-Chung
Flour-Rice Noodle. The store is situated at smaller alley.
 
 
Peanut ice cream cake:
 
Top 5 bites to eat in Taipei, Taiwan 4 | bitemojo
 
I took approximately one-hour ride by private transport to Jiufen, the old street that rose to prominence during Japanese colonial rule. Located at Ruifang District in New Taipei City, this
mountainous spot offers delightful and affordable street bites. I decided to go with peanut ice cream roll from A-Jou Peanut Ice Cream Roll. Thin popiah (spring roll from Fujian Province of
China) skin covers up two scoops of soft taro ice cream and grounded peanut bites. One ice cream roll costs NT$40. If you happen to be in Jiufen, it is quite easy to identify this store. Just look over the banner on the wall, with a woman holding the unfolded ice cream roll on the backdrop.
 
A-Jou Peanut Ice Cream Roll
Jiufen Old Street
 
You may take a train from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang
Station. Once there, head to the bus stop nearby. Then, hop
on a bus to Keelung Transit Bus that goes to Jiufen.
 
 
Red bean pan cake:
 
Top 5 bites to eat in Taipei, Taiwan 3 | bitemojo
 
 Achang Store at Jiufen sells sweet pancakes, which they bake pancakes with two fillings. The custard butter flavor looks nice, but I preferred the one with red bean filling, although both fillings must’ve been good as well. The woman prepared and flipped red bean cakes for NT$30 each. That woman seller somehow welcomed me who took pictures of her Jiufen specialty. She didn’t look bothered and kept on making more pancakes. Her genuine friendliness, just a part of Taiwanese hospitality, left a memorable impression on me. The cake was soft and moist on the outside, yet the filling wasn’t sticky at all. It became a satisfying treat for my tummy.
 
阿昌芋圓專賣店(āchāng yù yuán zhuānmài diàn)
Jiufen Old Street
 
Randy Mulyanto
By Randy Mulyanto
Randy Mulyanto is a freelance journalist from Tangerang, Indonesia. He has covered Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, China, Vietnam and Taiwan for Indonesian magazines and newspapers. He’s specifically passionate in oriental tastes and sights. Chat him through Instagram at @randymulyanto. He would love to discuss about East Asia with you.

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