Taiwanese food is mostly derived from the cuisines of mainland China. Chinese food though, is incredibly varied and is made up of many different and very distinct styles, and if you’re in China, it would be hard to sample each one without traveling thousands of miles. So if you really want to get a good sampling of the variety of China, go to Taiwan. And in addition to the incredible Chinese influence there, you’ll also get a hint of Japanese and Korean food as well.
Food Good for the Whole Family
You can find food everywhere in Taiwan, and it is surprisingly inexpensive wherever you go. Taiwanese eat with chopsticks, and food is usually served family style on a large plate, placed at the center of the table.
The geographical location of Taiwan is part of what makes this a diner’s delight. There is an abundance of fresh seafood, as well as plenty of wonderful and exotic fruits. Food is usually not too spicy. Although chili peppers are common, the fire is not overwhelming to the senses.
No Wasted Chicken and Duck Parts
As in most of Asia, there are plenty of food vendor stalls and markets. At the popular night markets, you can find plenty of small restaurants preparing authentic and sometimes very unusual dishes. You’re just as likely to find a fried chicken leg as you are a fried chicken intestine, or even a delicious plate of fried duck heads. You may want to try the duck tongue, which is considered a delicacy.
Tofu and Sukiyaki Variations
Another very common, but highly unusual Taiwanese dish as chou toufoo, or “stinky tofu.” It’s called that for a reason, which you will quickly discover when you happen to stroll by a stall selling it. Another common, but less aromatic dish is huo guo, which is somewhat similar to Sukiyaki. When you order it, you are brought a pot of hot broth, along with plates of raw ingredients, which you put into the bowl and cook yourself right at your table.
There’s a lot to do and see in Taiwan, but the food culture alone is worth the trip. Many restaurants are a destination on their own, and may well be the high point of your trip. Themed restaurants have become very popular, and restaurateurs try hard to outdo each other with progressively more bizarre themes, including the famous “toilet restaurant,” where patrons sit on toilets instead of chairs; and eat out of small toilet-shaped and bathtub-shaped bowls. One of the most popular desserts here is chocolate ice cream served in a toilet.