Taiwan Food and Drink
Much of Taiwan’s culinary heritage comes directly from China so is carefully prepared, easy on the eye and frequently delicious. Culinary styles come from all over China including Canton, Hunan, Mongolia, Peking, Shanghai and Szechuan, as well as Taiwan itself. Fujian, the mainland Chinese province closest to Taiwan, has had the broadest effect on the overall food culture.
Taiwanese staples include spring rolls with peanut satay, sweet-and-sour spare ribs, bean curd in red sauce, oyster omelette, steamed pork dumplings and numerous excellent seafood dishes.
Tea is a major component of Taiwanese culture, with the island producing many acclaimed varieties – oolong being the most famous. Teahouses are found in great numbers, ranging from the traditional to the contemporary.
Xiaochi: Little eats, in effect are a Taiwanese version of tapas.
Lurou fan: Braised pork with rice.
Ningpo: Fried eel.
Beef noodle soup: Local chefs compete to produce the best.
Milkfish: Bony but very popular, served pan-fried, braised or as fish ball soup.
Bun: Spongy white bread filled with meat then pan-fried.
Pepper cakes: Pastry pockets filled with peppered pork baked on the wall of a clay oven.
Gun boa: Steamed bun sandwiches filled with pork, pickled cabbage and powdered peanuts.
Tian bu la: Fish paste moulded then deep-fried and boiled in broth.
Bu wan: Large dumpling filled with pork and vegetables.
Iron egg: Chewy little eggs braised in soy sauce.
Pineapple cake: Mini pies filled with candied pineapple.
Bubble tea: A cooled tea-based drink with tapioca pearls drunk through a straw.
Gaoliang jiu: Local spirit distilled from sorghum.
Tipping is not an established custom, although it is on the increase. Taipei hotels and restaurants add 10% service charge and extra tipping is not expected.