Taipei is a city renowned for its delicious delicacies and the best place to find the most authentic food is in the night markets, which are often located near temples or schools. The following are five of the must-eat foods to try:
Topping the list is stinky tofu, one of the most polarising foods of Taiwan. As the name implies this dish smells like a cross between rotten socks and garbage but the taste is surprisingly nice. Stinky tofu is usually served in one of two ways: steamed in a spicy stew alongside pieces of duck blood, or deep-fried with a side of pickled cabbage and soy sauce for dipping. The deep-fried version is recommended for first-time visitors.
Bubble milk tea
A drink so famous that it has spread to Los Angeles, bubble milk tea has endless options for customisation. This sweet and milky drink can be served both hot and cold and apart from “bubbles” (tapioca balls), you can also choose to fill your drink with ice-cream, custard pudding or coconut jelly chunks. You can also ask to adjust the sweetness of your tea if necessary.
Fried chicken steak
Pounded to a thin strip, fried to a crispy golden-brown and served with pepper and basil boneless fried chicken steaks in Taiwan are about as deliciously far removed from KFC chicken as you can get. The typical serving spans 10-12 inches in length. Look out for special versions of fried chicken steak which contain slices of cheese or ham—those are the absolute crème de la crème of the fried chicken world.
A made-to-order mixture of fresh oysters, scrambled eggs and sweet potato starch topped with sweet and spicy sauce the oyster omelette is the perfect dish for the seafood lover. Some night markets also offer shrimp or oyster-and-shrimp combination omelettes.
Coffin bread is basically the slimmer equivalent of the bread bowl soup, with rich cream-of-corn soup poured into a hollowed-out piece of toast. The soup usually contains a generous amount of vegetables, mushrooms and occasionally even seafood.
These five foods are highly popular and can be found in any night market in Taipei. Note, however, that the same food can be cooked a multitude of different ways according to local customs and available ingredients- so feel free to order the same thing at different night markets and make a comparison!