Oyster Mee Sua
This dish is a great example of how Taiwanese can turn the simplest dishes into real delicacies with a couple of minor changes. Oyster Mee Sua is basically a regular noodle soup with oysters and braised pig intestines. This makes the soup a lot thicker, it gives it a smooth texture and makes it a lot tastier, especially if you add some black vinegar! The best part? You can get it practically anywhere for less than $1 per bowl!
Once you pass by a stinky tofu street food stall, you’ll understand why this snack bears the nickname “stinky”. Just like smelly cheese, there’s no middle ground with stinky tofu; you’ll either love it or hate it. Just like blue (smelly) cheese, some people like stinky tofu because it has more flavor. Stinky tofu comes in two variations- steamed and fried. I would recommend you to try it because it tastes nothing like tofu and all the different sauces mute any “stinky” flavors you might expect after passing by a stinky tofu stall.
We can’t really talk about street food in Taiwan without mentioning ba-wan. This dish originates from the Beidou region but you can find it pretty much anywhere in Taiwan. It consists of dough made of sweet potato wrapped around a filling of seasoned pork, mushrooms, shallots, and bamboo shoots. Ba-wan comes in two variations- steamed and deep-fried and is served in a starchy gravy with some sweet chili sauce. Looking for the best place to try Ba-wan? Check out the street food stall on Tonghua Street in Daan District in Taipei.
If there’s a Taiwanese street food version of a burger, gua bao is the closest thing to it. Gua bao is basically a white wheat bun filled with juicy pieces of pork belly, pickled veggies, fresh cilantro, and small pieces of crushed peanuts. This dish technically originates to China but Taiwanese street food vendors have mastered it into perfection and from what I could see, it’s a lot more popular in Taiwan than it is in China. If you’re looking for the best gua bao street food stalls, head to the Raohe Night Market in Taipei.
Cong You Bing (Scallion Pancake)
Scallion Pancakes are one of the most famous street food delicacies of Taipei. Unlike the name suggests, the scallion pancake isn’t something you’d normally call a pancake. It’s an unleavened flatbread flooded with oil and minced scallions. It’s pan-fried and made of dough rather than flour and can be filled with different toppings, such as ham, cheese, eggs, etc; basically anything you want. The best scallion pancake I tried in Taiwan was in Tianjing Chong Zhuaqe’s street food stall on Yongkang Street. There’s always a long queue and you can’t miss it.
Taro ball is one of the most famous desserts in Taiwan that can be found in every part of the country. In case you’re wondering, taro is a root vegetable grown primarily for its edible corms. This dessert is prepared by peeling and steaming fresh taro and mixing it with some potato starch and dicing it into bite-sized pieces. Afterward, the whole texture gets boiled until getting its famous QQ texture. Taro Balls are usually served over chipped ice or warm dessert soup, come in a variety of flavors and this colorful dessert tastes just as good as it looks.
Black Pepper Meat Buns
This street food dish’s name is quite self-explanatory; it consists of buns filled with pork, vegetables, and black pepper. The buns are usually steamed on the side of what appears to be a clay oven. After baking for some time, the final product is served: a sandwich with a crispy outside layer and a hot, melting concoction that that overflows with meaty juices and will probably burn your tongue a bit (because the smell is too tempting to wait for it to cool down) but it’ll be worth it.