As I mentioned in my last post the majority of the food we ate while in Taiwan was street food, or at local restaurants with almost no English. This was something we wouldn’t have been able to do easily without our friends who took the time to order everything we ate for us, suggesting their own favorites for us to try. The food also happens to be one of the things I greatly miss. I’ll start with drink suggestions.
The first is traditional milk bubble tea and if you’ve ever had bubble tea you really really must have it in Taiwan. Last year in Japan I learned that there’s a right way to make boba and a wrong way and most places sadly make it wrong. Doing so in Taiwan would be blasphemous. So if you want real bubble tea get it in Taiwan, I suggest the yellow and blue sign, it’s a chain and you should find it easily called 50 Lan or 50嵐. It should be a bit easier to order from this way as well, seeing as there may be some English menus available.
The second is guava. If you’ve ever been somewhere tropical you’ll know the fruit there is so much better than anywhere else and the chain Guava Juice makes all sorts of different juice drinks with Guava as the main component. We ended up getting an orange and Guava mixed juice that was amazing.
Flavored milk is also huge in Taiwan and one of the most popular is papaya milk, which is what we ordered from City Milk.
The last one is the one that’s a bit more odd. Mung bean smoothie. It’s lightly sweet and a bit healthy as well, since mung beans are a healthy food. However after ordering don’t break the seal with your straw just yet and instead shake it up, most of the sweet flavor is towards the bottom and you’re going to want to mix it up.
When at most restaurants in Taichung with our friends we ordered this way, not really looking at menus or talking to the servers but sitting on little plastic stools in crowded bustling restaurants while our friends marked what we wanted on a pink piece of paper. Then they gave that to the workers. There tend to be pens and these pink order slips around to order with near the front of restaurants, but if you don’t know the characters for what you want this might be super difficult to do on your own.
One of my favorites was lǔ ròu or braised pork with noodles, usually it’s served on rice called Lǔ ròu fàn or 滷肉饭 which is absolutely wonderful as was the sesame noodles 麻醬麵 . You can also click on the photos for the English names of the food we tried like pig blood soup 豬血湯, it has an interesting texture, which you can also just try as a cake on a stick called 豬血糕.
We also stopped at a nice shop for a traditional dessert. Tofu pudding and Taro and sweet potato rice balls in a milk soup. The tofu pudding is called Douhua or 豆腐花 and can be served hot or cold. The taro and sweet potato rice balls were served ice and were lightly sweet and delicious.
Then of course there’s delicious street food, here’s some of my favorites. Note that the sausage isn’t always delicious, it depends on the street vendor. The one I tried in Taichung at a night market was amazing, seasoned well in its rice bun, but then I had it again in Jiufen and it wasn’t good at all. The chicken was fried fresh so it took a bit and was piping hot. It was very filling and delicious with a bit of bone towards the bottom. The wheel pie/cakes were also nice and sweet with red beans and the fried dumplings were delicious though a bit messy.