It’s the 5th day of #Project14Lists, and today, I’m switching things up a bit. 😱 Most of you know that I love books (hence the book blog), but one of my other loves is foooood! If you didn’t know, I’m Taiwanese American, and I love introducing my friends to the amazing foods Taiwan has to offer. 🍴 I’m definitely not an expert on Taiwanese cuisine, and my taste is pretty basic. However, being with my family this holiday season is making me really appreciate our culture, and I wanted to share some favorites with you all!
1. Bubble Tea
Let’s start with something easy—bubble tea, or bōbà (波霸)! Boba is a sweet refreshing drink, and it can be made with or without milk (because you know that many Asians are lactose intolerant). The little black balls are chewy tapioca balls, but if you’re not a fan of them, boba can also come with other toppings like pudding, aloe jelly, or fruit! I recently tried cheese boba which is a tea base with a layer of cream cheese on top. It may sound gross, but it actually tastes like cheesecake! 🍰
Braised pork rice, or 滷肉饭 (pronounced: lǔ ròu fàn), is a delicious savory comfort meal. In the old days, eating meat was often a luxury, so families would cook a small piece of pork and braise it into a savory meat sauce so that it could feed the whole family. The delicious meat would then be served over some steamed, fluffy rice with some vegetables for everyone to enjoy! 🍚
Taiwanese breakfast can consist of a variety of different foods from egg crepes to rice burritos. My personal favorite is fried dough wrapped in baked flatbread, or 燒餅油條 (pronounced: shāo bǐng yóutiáo) dipped in savory soymilk, or 豆漿 (pronounced: dòu jiāng). This definitely isn’t an everyday type of meal because as you can probably tell, it’s not exactly the healthiest meal, but it is insanely delicious. 😋
4. Popcorn Chicken
Every culture has their own take on fried chicken, and Taiwanese fried chicken, or 炸雞 (pronounced: zhá jī), is a popular street food, especially at local night markets. Bite-sized pieces of chicken are coated and fried with flour and seasoning mixture. Its flavored with salt and pepper, chili powder, and lightly fried basil leaves. 🐔
5. Snow Ice
What’s a more perfect way to end a hearty meal than with some refreshing snow ice, or 刨冰 (pronounced: bào bīng)? It’s very similar to Korean patbingsu. Milk or cream is frozen and shaved to create a lush, creamy base. In Taiwan, shaved snow is often topped with a variety of toppings like fruit, taro balls, red beans, mochi, or condensed milk. In the U.S., flavors and toppings have expanded to include treats like Fruity Pebbles and chocolate chips! 🍧
Stinky tofu, or 臭豆腐 (pronounced: chòu dòu fu), is a well-known street food that has a pungent order but delicious flavor. The tofu is fermented in a brine of milk, vegetables, and meat. Stinky tofu can be eaten cold, steamed, stewed, or, most commonly, deep-fried, and it is often accompanied by chili sauce or soy sauce. Again, I promise…it tastes way better than it smells! 🥢
7. Soup Dumplings
Soup dumplings, or 小籠包 (pronounced: xiǎo lóng bāo), originated from the Jiangnan region of China and are more specifically associated with Shanghai and Wuxi. It’s also an extremely popular dish in Taiwan because of a restaurant called Din Tai Fung. Soup dumplings are like your typical dumplings but next level because when you bite into them you feel all cozy and warm inside from the soup. 🥟
8. Oyster Omelet
Oyster omelets, or 蚵仔煎 (pronounced: ô á chian), are another popular Taiwanese street food. The omelet consists of a filling primarily composed of small oysters. Potato starch is mixed into the egg batter, giving the resulting egg wrap a thicker consistency. It’s very different from a traditional Western omelet, but it’s just as yummy. If you like oysters or seafood, this is the dish for you! 🌊🍳
9. Pineapple Cake
Next up is the pastry that my mom always loves to buy at bakeries and share with our friends! Pineapple cake, or 鳳梨酥 (pronounced: fèng lí sū), is a buttery pastry filled with pineapple jam. It might sound like a simple dessert, but it’s always fun to share with family. 🍍
10. Beef Noodle Soup
Like fried chicken, many cultures have their own version of a noodle soup comfort dish. In Vietnam, there’s pho, and in Japan, there’s ramen and udon. In Taiwan, there’s beef noodle soup, or 牛肉麵 (pronounced: niú ròu miàn). Every year, Taipei holds an annual Beef Noodle Festival, where various chefs and restaurants compete for the title of the “best beef noodles in Taiwan.” It’s delicious, filling, and will warm you right up! 🐮🍜
#Project14Lists is a project Shealea from That Bookshelf Bitch started, with a goal to write and post a bookish list every day from December 18th to December 31st. Participating bloggers are tasked to come up with creative list ideas, and on each day until December 31st, write a list and post it on their respective blogs. Check out who else has accepted this blogging challenge here.
If you’re interested in joining the fun as well as entering an exclusive giveaway for participating bloggers, read this!
Have you tried any of these dishes? What was your favorite? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS! 💕