November 7, 2010

[Taiwan] Street Food

                A weekend break at Taipei is like a glimpse of heaven, especially to a person who is in love with food. Everything is just eccentric and perplexing. What’s even extraordinary is the magnitude of street foods they have. A week—maybe a month won’t even be enough to try all the goodies Taipei has to offer.

                Taiwan is an island with an area of almost 36,000 square kilometers. It is located north of the Philippines, approximately 200 km from Basco, Batanes. It resembles a Manila to Baguio trip, that is, if land exists between the Philippines and Taiwan.

                The food we ate is not the best tasting food in the world but food I‘m not acquainted to appeals to me remarkably. Curiosity gets the best of me, every time.

                These are the most popular food in Taiwan. You can find them literally anywhere. But you can have them all in one stop just by visiting the famous night markets in town.

                Stinky Tofu. It smells short of like a piggery, stinky right? You can smell it from a 15-meter radius. But it’s not as bad as it smells. Crunchy on the outside and soft within and with a slight meaty taste.

                A vendor cooking  a big batch of stinky tofu while the girl in the back is cooking an oyster omelet.

                Oyster Omelet. Taiwan’s omelet is also unique. Oyster is the main ingredient of the omelet but you can also add shrimp and vegetables. It is also sticky due to the fact that they added starch to achieve a certain consistency.

                Taiwanese Meatball. It doesn’t look and tastes like any meatball you’ve ever had. For one, it’s huge! A plate can only fill one meatball.

Like the oyster omelet, the Taiwanese Meatball is also sticky and thick. The skin is made of something like a starch dumpling wrapper and the ingredients include ground pork, bamboo, mushrooms and a variety of vegetables.

                Coffin Bread. Sounds ominous but it’s only a thick toasted loaf bread, about 1.5” in height, hollowed out in the middle and filled  with a creamy soup filling of your choice. This coffin bread filling is chicken and corn soup.

                Baked Buns or Pan Fried Buns. Buns filled with meaty and juicy fillings. Baked Buns range from beef, chicken, goat, curry, spring onions and chives and the most famous, Pork. The bun is in between the likes of fried siopao and ordinary bread.

Sausages. These are gigantic sausages with at least 12 inches in length and almost 2 inches in diameter. Foot-long hotdogs are common but I’ve never seen sausages this big! In addition to that, it’s grilled to perfection and it tastes like a gourmet sausage too.

                Soup Dumplings. This is like the usual dumpling—same ingredients and wrapper. But these soup dumplings are more flavorful, more spicy AND it’s juicy. One bite and the filling is just oozing. Dumplings are really better when Chinese/Taiwanese makes it, don’t you think?

                Fried Noodles. Last but not the least is the Fried Noodles. Just a couple of years ago, Hong Kong style noodles became a hit in Manila. Everyone’s just crazy about it. Wherever you go you’ll see one. Taiwan’s fried noodles are ten times better! And to think that there’s only one special mix of sauce in this noodle. Toppings include lots of chili, spring onions and crunchy bits of peanut.

                These are just a few of the street foods we had in Taipei. Sadly, my excitement and curiosity for tasting the food is far greater than my urge to take a photo of it first. Aside from the 8 mentioned above, other popular food in Taiwan includes Fried Chicken Fillet, Tea Eggs, Potato Strings, Pork Blood Cake, Various Animal Intestines and other internal organs, Grilled Squid, Spring Onion Pancake and more. And really, when I say more, it’s MORE!

P.S. Special thanks to Judy and Jagz for taking such good photos on our Taipei escapade, as well as half the photos in this post.:)

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  1. Thanks for the friend request on Foodie Blog Roll. You have a lovely blog - I love street food too...lucky you to be living in the continent which has the best of it!

  2. i have always loved taiwan sausages:), never seen it that big though