- East asia
Top 12 Street Food to Try in Taiwan
One of the greatest joys of traveling in Taiwan is to go walk its abundant night markets that sprung up at 6 PM, with street food trucks and stalls filling up roads across the island. These little pockets of night market are home to all the greatest street food Taiwan has to offer, and there are a ton of them you should try.
I had the chance to travel around Taiwan for 2 weeks and in all those days, I did not once have my dinner in a restaurant. Every city I go, may it be Taipei or Kenting, they all have night markets with plenty of street food for one to try. Why settle for one dish when you can have 5?
So from my experience of 2 weeks of devouring the night markets in Taiwan, here are 12 of my favorite street food that you should try when you are backpacking through Taiwan. Without further ado, let's begin with the most obvious one, the famous Taiwanese dumpling, Xiao Long Bao.Table of Contents
Taiwan Travel Video
1. Xiao Long Bao (Soupy Dumplings)
Xiao Long Bao is a soupy dumpling that will make your mouth water even before you bite its soft bun. It is a dumpling, unlike any dumplings you have tried before.
The soft white steam bun of Xiao Long Bao is filled with a tasty soup that you either have to drink from it or swallow it whole to really give it justice. You can find Xiao Long Bao in most Taiwanese restaurants as well as from street food stalls in a night market such as Ningxia Night Market in Taipei and a night market in Kenting.
2. Gau Bao (Taiwanese Pork Belly Bun)
Gau Bao or the Taiwanese pork belly bun is another of my favorite street food in Taiwan I often go with if I want to fill up my stomach fast with only a small portion.
The soft white bun, something you can always expect to be delicious in Taiwan, together with the heaviness of Pork Belly, veggies, and ground peanuts make it quite a fulfilling bite to take while strolling around the night market looking for other things to eat. You can find them in almost any night market in Taipei as well as in other cities around the island.
3. The Spring Onion Pancake (Tianjing Chong Zhua Pancake)
The Spring Onion Pancake (Tianjing Chong Zhua Pancake) is, yet again, another of my favorite street food to eat. It's like a Taiwanese version of a sandwich where you can choose what filling you want inside the crispy tasty onion pancake. It can be found in almost every night market in the city and it is a must-try when you are in Taipei.
The pancake usually costs no more than 60 - 120 NTD per serving and it comes with many toppings you can choose from. You can eat it as a meal with a topping like ham and bacon or you can make it your dessert with a sweet topping.
You can find plenty of food trucks selling these but one of the best ones you can find is at the corner in Ximending District in Taipei where you can choose which toppings you want (100 - 150 NTD) and you will get a discount for drinks if you order it from the drink shop next door.
4. Peanut Ice Cream Roll
Peanut Ice Cream Roll is another great dessert you should try. It's basically the burrito ice-cream or a spring-roll filled with ice cream, grounded peanut candy, and cilantro. It may not sound that appealing but trust me when you try it, you will love it.
I tried the Peanut Ice Cream at 3 night markets, one at the entrance of Jiufen Old Street, one at Ningxia Night Market, and one at Shifen Train Station, all of which are extremely delicious. If you are looking for a sweet dessert to eat after a meal, be sure to look for the Peanut Ice Cream Roll.
5. Taiwanese Sticky Rice Sausage (Da Chang Bao Xiao Chang)
Taiwanese Sticky Rice Sausage (Da Chang Bao Xiao Chang) is the Taiwanese version of hot-dogs but instead of a bun, they used glutinous rice, and instead of the regular hot dog, they used the Taiwanese sweet hot dog instead.
It is a delicious combination of the light yet fulfilling rice used as bread and the sweet and delicious Taiwanese sausages that make this dish a must-try in Taiwan. I found the Taiwanese Sticky Rice Sausage at the lesser-known Linjiang Street Night Market in Taipei and at Kenting Night Market.
6. Chicken Cutlet
Fried Chicken Cutlet is becoming a popular snack among young people in Taiwan. It is basically a deep-fried chicken breast cutlet seasoned with powdery pepper and salt, giving it a texture you can't get in regular chicken. You can find these large fried chicken cutlets in any night market in Taiwan. I had a great one at Wenhua Road Night Market in Chiayi for only 100 NTD.
7. Flame Grilled Beef Cubes
You can also find this in every night market in Taiwan. The Flame Grilled Beef Cubes is a barbeque-style beef cut into cubes, seasoned with spices, and then grill right in front of you with a handheld blowtorch.
When you walk around a night market and there is a sudden rise in humidity and temperature, you know you are near a Flame Grilled Beef Cubes Street food truck.
8. Stinky Tofu
Another household name for Taiwanese Street Food, the Stinky Tofu is as its name implies, stinky tofu but do not let the dreaded smell of this food deter you from trying. Just like smelly cheese, the stinkier the Stinky Tofu the more delicious!
Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and with all the sauces giving the dish a unique taste, you will forget about the smell the moment you try it. You can find them in almost any night market in Taiwan such as the Ximending District, etc.
9. Fried Mushrooms
In Asia, you can deep fry anything and it will still taste delicious. That goes for the bucket of fried mushrooms I had at Dongdaemun Night Market in Hualien. Sold for about 70 NTD, you can get a bucket of fried mushrooms, sprinkled with pepper and spice that you can indulge yourself in, just like a bucket of Kentucky Chicken 😀. If you are in Taiwan, be sure to look out for these delicious buckets of fried mushrooms.
10. Mochi On a Stick
If you need a shot of sugary dessert, Mochi on a stick is just perfect for you. Influenced by the Japanese with a Taiwanese twist, these chewy balls of mochi glittered with sweet powder will either give you the energy to run around a football field 3 times or put you straight to bed.
Yes, it's that sweet and if you have a sweet tooth, do not forget to keep an eye out for one of these street food trucks while you are exploring a night market. I found this one at Ita Thao Shopping District at Sun Moon Lake.
11. Taro Balls (As Dessert and as Fried)
Another popular dessert in Taiwan that you should try is the Taiwanese Taro Ball (芋圓), a traditional Fujian dessert made of taro balls (mashed taro with water and flour) mixed with syrup and more.
Its soft spongy taro balls together with the mild sweetness of the syrup and flour create one of the most iconic desserts in Taiwan. You can find Taro Balls at or you can find it in most night markets in Taipei.
Taro Balls also come in as deep-fried (why not?) and are filled with delicious fillings like salted egg and caramel. You can find one of these at Ningxia Night Market in Taipei so be sure to give that a try too.
12. Boba Tea
One of the fanatic trends that swept throughout Asia in the past decade is the Boba Tea Craze (bubble/pearl milk tea) and it all originated from Taiwan and you will regret not trying the Pearl Milk Tea at its birthplace.
Pearl Milk Tea is a Taiwanese tea-based drink that contains tea, flavors of milk, and chewy tapioca balls hence the name pearl/bubble tea. There are many varieties of pearl milk tea with a wide range of flavors that you can try. You should have no trouble finding a place to try this as they are literally everywhere in Taiwan.
And there you have it, all the best street food you should try at night markets in Taiwan. Are you looking forward to devouring the street food in Taiwan? Have you tried some of these? Let us know in the comments below.
Further Reading for Taiwan
Looking for more information for your trip to Taiwan? Here is a collection of articles about Taiwan that you might find useful:
- Looking for a complete travel guide to Taiwan? Check out: 2 Weeks Backpacking Itinerary for Taiwan.
- In order to engage all your senses in Taipei, the hypermodern capital of Taiwan, be sure to check out: The Ultimate Backpacking Guide To Taipei
- Looking to visit Taroko Gorge, one of the most pristine travel destinations in Taiwan? Check out: The Ultimate Backpacking Guide For Taroko Gorge
- Getting border of mountains and cities? How about you take a break at the beach-side town of Kenting? 9 Best Things to Do in Kenting
- If Taroko is known of its gorges and rivers, Alishan is known for its forest and gigantic trees as old as Christendom. Here’s a complete guide to Alisha: The Ultimate Backpacking Guide To Alishan
- Spend a day biking around the stunning Sun Moon Lake with The Ultimate Backpacking Guide To Sun Moon Lake
- Looking for something more visual to convince you about visiting Taiwan? How about you watch a Taiwan travel video? Turbo Taiwan
- Wondering where to go after Taiwan? How about you drop continue on to Japan and after, visit China?
- For all articles about Taiwan, visit Taiwan Travel Guide page.
- Looking to travel to East Asia? Check out all my articles about East Asia here: East Asia Travel Guide page.
- You can see all my Asia related articles here: Asia Travel Guide page.
- For more of my travel guides like this, visit my Destinations page.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by Pete Rojwongsuriya, the founder of BucketListly Blog where we will follow his solo journey around the world as he experiences different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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