Posted by on Aug 4, 2010 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan | 1 comment

Hey guys! Thought I’d put up a post introducing some of the popular and delicious, yet cheap, street food in Taiwan. Most street foods are sold in vendor stalls that are pretty much everywhere in the shopping districts. More successful businesses, however, might be located in tiny stores that are marked out by the extremely long lines snaking around the corners. Street food really is the essence of Taiwan, in a way. It’s in the little shops, not the fancy ones, that you get real Taiwanese flavor. =]

First up, delicious red bean and cream filled cakes! These are made fresh as you order, and customers can see exactly how these things are made. The workers have a huge grill, with several cake sized holes, which they pour the batter into. After they swirl it around and the batter bakes, they put in huge helpings of red bean or cream. Then they cap the top with another piece of batter and viola! These babies are filled to the brim, and are not overly sweet!

Next up is Winter Melon Tea!! Personally, I love to drink this stuff. It’s sweet, and tastes of brown sugar, but at the same time has this subtle melon flavor that reminds me of when I was small. The store we went to was in a small obscure street in Kaioshung, and specializes in winter melon tea. In fact, all they sell is winter melon tea! Winter melon tea with lemon, with oolong, with honey…you name it! Here we’ve got three flavors: original (love), lemon, and oolong. I still love original the best, as I felt the other flavors obscured the winter melon a bit.

They also sell winter melon candies. The shopkeeper was nice enough to let us try a few samples. These are made from fresh winter melon, and covered with brown sugar. They are then dried up, and retain all the sweetness of the melon and sugar. In a sense, it’s concentrated winter melon tea! Just plunk them in to boil, and you get tea. It’s really interesting right? The candies are tasty to suck on as well, although I know some people are content to chew them up. Although the candy is super sweet, the drink itself is not overly so. Adults would enjoy it too, and the melon flavor doesn’t get covered by the sugar.

Now here is a classic, shaved ice! No need to explain the beauty behind this. Shaved ice, drizzled with syrup, condensed milk, or both, and topped with various fruits, chews, and jellies. Delicious! Not to mention it’s low in calories too! Here is a picture of one I had recently in Tainan:

Finally time for something salty! I’ll end this post with another of my loves: takoyaki! Although this is originally a Japanese snack, you can find them in many night markets all over Taiwan. Takoyaki are basically little balls of grilled and fried dough filled with octopus and veggies. They end up crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside, and are served piping hot with several toppings and sauces heaped on top. Usually, these include wasabi, sweet soy sauce, and bonito flakes. They usually come six in a boat, which is far too little for me!

Hope you guys enjoyed the post! What are some favorite on the go street foods you guys enjoy? =]

— Jas

Photographs taken and provided by Jasmine Hwang

One Comment

  1. Aug-4-2010

    Hmmmm……. Did you weight yourself before you leave for Taiwan? With all these yummy food and the “six in a boat is far too little for me” statement plus all the sugar you have consumed, I wonder if I am going to see you with a much rounder face? Anyway, we need to explore the night markets, that’s where you find the real street food. You are missing the smelly tofu. Don’t worry, I will show you where to find the best one or I can take you to the one Andrew Zimmern visited. The show is about to begin…..

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