If you still haven’t planned a trip to Taiwan, now is the time to do so—visa-free entry for Philippine passport holders has been extended until July 31, 2019! Aside from their world-famous bubble tea and sheet masks, the country is also known for their bustling night markets. Here’s a list of street foods you should try while you’re there:
1. Fried Chicken Chop
Although you can find fried chicken anywhere in the world, no one does it quite like Taiwan does. Their most famous brand, Hot Star, serves huge fried chicken chops with a generous sprinkling of chili powder. Each piece is served freshly and perfectly cooked, with super juicy meat and a crisp batter. You wouldn’t want to miss this!
2. Flour Rice Noodles
Ay-Chung is the go-to spot for Taiwanese flour rice noodles. The shop serves mee sua in a hot broth with pig intestines and cilantro, which you can top off with garlic, vinegar, or chili sauce to suit your taste.
3. Taiwanese Pork Sausage
If you’re a fan of Chinese-style chorizo and longganisa hamonado, then you’ll surely enjoy xiang chang. Served either on its own or on a sticky rice bun, the Taiwanese pork sausage is sweet with a smoky taste you won’t be able to get enough of.
4. Sweet Potato Balls
Crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, di gua qiu is made by deep frying a dough mixture of sweet potato and flour. The salty-sweet treat is considered a local favorite.
5. Stinky Tofu
“Stinky” is definitely an understatement! The snack’s unique scent comes from having been fermented in a mix of fermented milk, vegetable, meat, and fish-based brine for several weeks (or even months!). Trying chou doufu is definitely an experience, but it isn’t for the faint of heart—it’s the type of dish where you can “taste the smell,” which some describe as the smell of rotting garbage.
6. Grilled Mochi
Taiwan’s take on mochi is nothing like you’ve ever seen—or tasted—before. A rectangle piece of mochi is placed on a grill, where it puffs up and is flattened until you get a soft, sticky, and chewy piece of mochi topped with a sauce of your choice.
7. BBQ King Oyster Mushroom
King oyster mushrooms may be a rare sight in the Philippines, but they are everywhere in the night markets of Taipei. They’re drenched in barbecue sauce, grilled to perfection, and served with your choice of flavored powders.
8. Pepper Pork Buns
A visit to the Raohe St. Night Market wouldn’t be complete without an order of hu jiao bing from Fuzhou Black Pepper Bun. The popular snack is served freshly baked, with a dough that’s crispy yet chewy and a generous filling of peppery pork coated in spring onions.
9. Pork Rib Soup
The fall-off-the-bone ribs were a winner in itself, but the true star was the mild but fragrant Chinese herbal broth. This dish is best paired with lu rou fan (or braised pork rice) and eaten in cold weather, but it was equally good when we had it on a warm night.