Arguably one of the most undiscovered foodie paradises in the world, Taiwan takes its visitors on a delicious culinary journey of a lifetime. From fresh seafood to local night markets overflowing with incredible street food, there are endless options that will tickle even the fussiest eater’s fancy. While some dishes are restricted to adventurous eaters, be prepared to eat some of the greatest food of your life and consequently have dreams about it until your next visit. Here are some of the best food and drinks in Taiwan worth trying…
A small shortcrust pastry filled with a gooey pineapple paste, these little guys are found on almost every corner of Taiwan. Paired with a cup of tea, you’ll find yourself covered in crumbs after polishing off more than 1 in a matter of seconds. There are hundreds of Pineapple cake brands so to simplify things, be on the lookout for Li Yi or Chia Te – they’re slightly pricier than others but definitely worth every penny!
Say hello to dumpling heaven! Steamed, boiled, fried – dumpling lovers are in for a real treat. With prices that seem too good to be true, the Taiwanese sure know how to make great dumplings. Order a variety of different fillings for the full experience and be sure to try the curry dumplings found on most menus. And while you’re in Taipei, make sure Din Tai Fung is on your list – an absolute must!
Not too well known, even amongst locals, this dish is simply delicious and quite frankly, addictive. Imagine the fluffiest sponge cake filled with melted cheese – it’s almost like a cross between a toasted cheese sandwich and the perfect soufflé. Grab some at the Shilin Night Market and thank us later.
Known for their breakfast shops serving up tasty morning treats, Dan Bing is definitely a morning highlight. A thin pancake that is served rolled and sliced into bite-size pieces and filled with egg and another topping. Choose from options like cheese, bacon, sausage or a combination – this is the perfect breakfast if you’ve got a busy day ahead and need to grab something simple and quick.
Taiwan is known to produce some of the best teas and even more so for blessing the world with Bubble Tea. A tapioca ball-filled drink, you’ll most likely ditch your daily coffee and opt for one of these instead. This sweet and refreshing drink can be found across Taiwan and is best enjoyed while wandering the bustling streets. If you find yourself walking past Sugar Tiger, make sure you try a Brown Sugar Bubble Tea. You’ll very quickly see why it’s on our list of best food and drinks in Taiwan.
Ice-cream Run Bing
A flavour combination that may leave some confused, disgusted or begging for more… This ice-cream wrap with peanut candy shavings topped with coriander (yes, coriander) is absolutely delicious. If coriander isn’t a favourite, don’t be shy to tell them to leave it off, it’s equally as delicious. Find this at any of the night markets or at some street stalls, a change of scenery from the classic European ice-cream in a cone.
Known by locals as Hu Jiao Bing, this one is for the pie lovers out there. A peppery pork-filled bun that has been perfectly baked in a piping hot canister, you can expect to see people queueing for this incredible dish and for good reason. If you don’t mind a bit of a wait, some of the best ones can be found at the Raohe Night Market.
Definitely not for the faint hearted or those that struggle with pungent smells. Extremely popular amongst locals, stinky tofu is exactly that, stinky! If you can get past the smell, this fermented tofu dish really is quite delicious. If you find yourself feeling adventurous while walking through a night market, give it a go – you may be pleasantly surprised.
And the Visa Process?
The visa process for South Africans wanting to visit Taiwan is easy and free. Simply complete your form online, book an appointment at either the Cape Town, Pretoria or Johannesburg consulate and take your passport with 2 passport-sized photos to your appointment. While no other documents are required to get a tourist visa, it’s always a good idea to take along your flight confirmation and proof of accommodation just in case – when it comes to visas, it never hurts to be over prepared!
So what are you waiting for? Pack your walking shoes and stretchy pants, and get ready to go on the ultimate adventure as you taste your way through the best food and drinks in Taiwan. Find cheap flights to Taipei on Travelstart and sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear about our flight specials.