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Top 5 Most Popular Foods in Taiwan – Chef’s Pencil

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Though Taiwanese cuisine is heavily influenced by Chinese flavors, the country’s rich history and unique geographical location have led to a cuisine that is extremely diverse and full of flavor, employing plenty of garlic and soy sauce.

1. Beef Noodle Soup (Niu Rou Mian 牛肉麵)

Beef stew noodle soup is Taiwanese comfort food. You can find the world’s most expensive bowl of beef noodle soup in Taipei, but there are also affordable beef noodle shops on practically every corner.

The dish is made from a slow-cooked stewed or braised beef in a rich, dark broth with vegetables such as cabbage and scallions, and thick chewy noodles. Yongkang Street (永康街)in Taipei is especially well-known for it.

2. Marinated Pork Rice (Braised pork over rice or lu rou fan 滷肉飯 )

Salty, meaty, and tasty. lu rou fan is minced pork in gravy served over freshly steamed white rice, and it’s a simple yet wonderfully tasty meal served in most local Taiwanese restaurants.

A good bowl of lu rou fan comprises finely chopped pork belly, slow-cooked in aromatic soy sauce, and Shaoxing rice wine with five spices. The tenderized pork is then served alongside pickled vegetables and sometimes an extra soy sauce egg on the top of steamed white rice.

lu rou fan can be relished on its own as a complete dish, or as the base of a meal that includes a number of different sides.

3. Bubble Tea (pearl milk tea/bubble milk tea/boba 珍珠奶茶)

The world-famous bubble tea was born in Taiwan. This popular flavored iced tea began in the early ’80s in Taichung’s Chun Shui Tang (春水堂) teahouse that came up with an idea of concocting a cold flavored milk tea. The shop added ingredients like starchy balls made from flour, jelly, and sometimes cut fruits, or syrup, and bubble tea was eventually born.

Nowadays, all sorts of flavored milk tea are offered at drink stands. This is the perfect drink to wash down your food with when visiting one of the many night markets in Taiwan. You can have it either hot or cold and with any number of add-ons like tapioca pearls, pudding, and fruit jellies. You can even specify your desired level of sweetness and temperature. The original one, the pearl milk tea, is black tea, milk, sugar, and tapioca pearls.

4. Gua Bao (割包)

It’s often compared to a type of Taiwanese “burger”. Gua Bao is a street snack filled with braised pork belly that has been braised in a mixture of rice wine and soy sauce, along with cilantro, pickled mustard greens and crushed peanut powder, sandwiched in puffy mantou steamed buns.

The steamed buns themselves are soft, pillowy, and fluffy bread—like a cloud made of dough—unlike the thicker pita bread version in the West.

5. Oyster Omelette (O-A-Chian/蚵仔煎)

O-A-Chian can be found in almost every night market across Taiwan. It is a snack that really showcases Taiwanese food, as it is something from the sea and something from the soil.

The omelette is prepared slightly differently from western omelettes because Taiwan uses sweet potato as an ingredient to achieve a thicker consistency. The oyster omelette consists of eggs, juicy oysters, flour, bean sprouts, and lettuce.

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