Taiwan’s night market food is internationally renowned for its delicious food. Almost every foreigner who comes to Taiwan will arrange a trip to a night market. Walking in Taiwan’s night markets you will want to try and taste everything. When you walk into the first row of the market your nose will catch one thing and when you turn into another row you will find something else. In Taiwan’s night markets, strolling around always makes people want to taste everything. You will wish you had ten stomachs!
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Sweet Potato Balls (地瓜球)
Rumor has it that under the Zhongzheng Bridge in New Taipei City, there was an old man who retired and planted sweet potatoes under the bridge. Later, when the government needed to renovate the floodplain, the sweet potato field was dug up.
The old man threw the sweet potatoes into an oil pan to fry it and the smell was so fragrant that it attracted the worker team nearby. The rumour of this delicious fried sweet potato spread around. The nearby night market arranged a stall to sell his fried sweet potatoes. In order to save costs, the old man cut the sweet potatoes into small pieces and fried them.
Sweet Potato Ball is a famous snack found in Taiwan night markets. The cute and lovable appearance of the small, golden, round shape, and the sweet sweet potato aroma have attracted the attention of famous chefs. Once you take a bite, it is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The sweet potato taste is very popular among children and people of all ages.
Lu Wei (滷味)
Lu Wei is food cooked with soy sauce and added spices. It is commonly found in Taiwan night markets. Lu Wei vendors and shops can be seen in most towns and villages in Taiwan. It is not uncommon so see someone with a large bag of chicken or duck feet marinated in Lu Wei. It is a snack that might not appeal to everyone, but I think everyone should at least try it once when visiting a Taiwan night market.
Lu Wei is probably one of the most popular snacks in Taiwan. Generally, Taiwanese food is more delicious when eaten fresh and hot, but Lu Wei can be eaten hot or cold. The traditional way to cook Lu Wei is to cook the ingredients in a soy sauce marinade and then eat them cold. The basic ingredients used are tofu, tofu skin, kelp, marinated eggs, chicken wings, chicken and duck feet, and pork tendons.
Oyster Omelet (蚵煎)
According to a sample survey of 1,000 Taiwanese in 2007. It was found that the oyster omelet won the championship of snacks that best represent Taiwanese cuisine. As long as there is a night market in Taiwan, there will be an oyster omelet stall. Oyster omelets are one of my favorite night market snacks.
The oyster omelet is mainly composed of sweet potato powder, cabbage, and oysters. Each vendor uses a different sauce to cover the omelet. Some use a specific oyster sauce and others use a sweet chili sauce. Others use a combination of a variety of sauces. Try a variety of different oyster omelets and you will find out which sauce you prefer.
Stinky Tofu (臭豆腐)
Stinky tofu is a delicacy that some people love to death and some people dread in Taiwan night markets. Whether it is fried stinky tofu or marinated, the unique “scent” is unforgettable. The delicious, stinky and fragrant tofu is served with spicy duck blood.
Stinky tofu is one of the Chinese folk specialty bean snacks. It is made by fermenting tofu and is often eaten by deep-frying. The stinky tofu sold by Taiwanese vendors is often used with Taiwanese kimchi, which is sweet and sour. It is one of the snacks that foreigners must challenge when they come to Taiwan.
Taiwanese Fried Chicken (香酥雞)
Fragrant and crispy fried chicken chops and salty crispy chicken. Served with garlic, nine-layer tartar, sprinkled with pepper and spicy powder. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. Taiwanese fried chicken even has magic power. There was a news story about a grandma visiting her grandson in the hospital. Her grandson had been in a coma for a long time. Her grandson’s favorite food was fried chicken chop and when she said the Chinese for it, he instantly woke up.
Fried Squid (酥炸大魷魚)
The fried squid is very popular among tourists and was selected by the Tourism Bureau as “Taiwan’s Top Ten Most Popular Night Market Foods”. The innovative snack food “Crispy Fried Squid”, which is popular all over Taiwan’s night markets, lived up to expectations and won the highest number of votes among innovative snacks.
Fried squid is high in nutritional value and low in calories. So if you want a guilt free and cheap snack, try some fried squid.
Beef Noodle Soup (牛肉湯)
A popular snack in Tainan City. People will come from all over Taiwan to visit Tainan to try their beef noodle soup. The special ingredient is the fresh beef slaughtered in the early morning and used on the same day. During the whole process the beef is not frozen. Only Taiwanese local beef is used, because foreign beef has to be transported and refrigerated for a long time.
Beef soup can be eaten in a variety of ways. Some take the meat and dip it in a sauce. If you are like me, you just eat it as fast as you can.
Red Bean Cake (紅豆餅)
Red Bean Cake is a wheel-shaped snack commonly found on the streets of Taiwan. In fact, wheel cake is a traditional food introduced from Japan during the Japanese occupation era. It was originally called Imagawayaki, and is generally called red bean cake or wheel cake in Taiwan.
The texture of the cake crust is divided into a traditional crispy crust and a Japanese-style soft cake crust. As for the stuffing, there are a lot of different flavors. You can find red bean, chocolate, egg, mochi or cheese. Different flavors can be found all over Taiwan.
Oyster Noodles (蚵仔麵線)
Oyster noodles are a popular snack in Taiwan. There are different names according to the ingredients added. There are two traditional methods of cooking oyster noodles. Some vendors will use a very thick soup which is what you will find in most night markets. The other method doesn’t add a soup and the noodles are served dry. I prefer the dry noodles, but you should try both styles.
Shaped Egg Pancake (造型雞蛋糕)
The shaped egg pancake is a kind of dessert. It has a milky yellow appearance and a sweet and smooth taste. Every night market has a shaped egg pancake vendor. You will usually see a cartoon characters, guns, cars, or dinosaurs because they are a popular children’s snack. An egg batter is used as the main ingredient, but like the red bean cake, there are a variety of flavors.
Grilled Taiwanese Sausage (香腸)
Commonly known as “Taiwanese hot dog”, it became popular in Taiwan night markets in the 1990s. The roasted glutinous rice sausage is cut into pieces and sandwiched with the roasted sausage. After being roasted over a charcoal fire, garlic and sauerkraut are added according to personal preferences and vendor preference.
Taiwanese sausage can be found almost everywhere. You can be stranded in the mountains and stumble on a truck selling freshly cooked Taiwanese sausage.
Coffin Cake (棺材板)
Due to its special shape and sweet taste, the coffin cake became an instant hit. It was one of the most famous snacks in Tainan from the 1970s to the 1990s. Most of the vendors were located near Chikan Tower. Only in recent years has its popularity declined having been out competed by snacks such as beef soup.
In recent years, other counties and cities have successively launched new coffin cakes that can be eaten while walking to meet the demand for fast food. The fillings are also more diverse and a variety of different flavors can be found.
Taiwanese Crepe (可麗餅)
Crepes in Taiwan were initially modeled after Japan, but soon developed their own style. The crepe is usually baked to a crisp on a baking sheet, rolled up and then packed in a special paper tube. The most common Taiwanese crepes use Japanese ingredients such as ice cream (vanilla, strawberry, banana, mint, chocolate, etc.), cotton candy, chocolate bars, rainbow candy and other Taiwanese favorite foods.
Mango Shave Ice Cream (芒果冰)
Mango ice is one of my favorite Taiwan night market snacks. It is different from the traditional shaved ice with powder balls, taro balls, jello, etc. The mango ice is covered with fresh mango, condensed milk, and mango ice cream. Traditional ice shops in many places sell mango ice or various fruit ice.
Unlike mango smoothies , where the mangoes in mango ice cream are usually cut into small pieces, mango smoothies are made by smashing the mango into it. Taiwanese mango iced products are popular among tourists and Taiwanese. According to surveys by CNN and travel magazines, Taiwanese mango ice cream has been selected as one of the best desserts in the world.
Steak and Noodles (鐵板牛排)
The sizzling steak in the night market is the favorite of many people. A hot iron plate is topped with noodles, steak, and eggs and covered with a special sauce. The unique sizzling aroma of sizzling steak attracts a lot of customers and can be found at most night markets. The steak quality can’t be compared to a high-end steak house. But this steak is delicious and cheap.