16 Best Street Food In Taiwan You Need To Try!

Looking for the best street food in Taiwan? Taiwan is famous for its food culture and here’s what you need to know to navigate the country like a true foodie.

From savory dumplings to sweet bubble tea, street food in Taiwan is a feast for the senses.

Street Food In Taiwan

In this blog post, we’ll explore the best street food in Taiwan and why it’s so popular among locals and visitors alike.

A Bite into the History of Street Food in Taiwan

If you think about Taiwanese street food, you might imagine the bustling night markets filled with countless food stalls, the aroma of fried food, and people lining up to try their favorite snacks.

But have you ever wondered how these iconic food scenes came to be?

The history of street food in Taiwan dates back to when it was under Japanese rule from 1895 to 1945. During this time, Taiwanese cuisine began to incorporate Japanese flavors and cooking techniques.

As a result, some popular street food adaptations, such as oyster omelets (蚵仔煎) and takoyaki (章魚燒), emerged.

After World War II, Taiwan shifted from an agricultural to an industrial society. Many people migrated from rural areas to urban centers in search of work.

With limited time and resources, workers relied on quick and affordable street food as their primary source of nourishment. The providers of these meals adapted their offerings to cater to the tastes of the local populations.

In the 1980s, first-night markets began to appear. Places like Shilin Night Market in Taipei emerged as popular venues for shopping and eating, becoming a crucial part of Taiwanese food culture.

These markets not only provided a wide variety of delicious street food but also served as social hubs for people to gather and enjoy each other’s company.

Taiwanese street food has continued to evolve over the years. Today, there are numerous ways to experience this unique culinary scene.

While some dishes have maintained their traditional roots, others have merged with modern cooking techniques and flavors, creating a diverse and ever-changing food scene.

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What is the Best Street Food in Taiwan?

When you visit Taiwan, trying the local street food is a must!

Your taste buds will thank you as you indulge in some of the island’s most delicious and unique street snacks.

Here are our top recommendations for must-try street food in Taiwan:

Street Food in Taiwan You Need to Try

1. Xiao Long Bao (Soupy Dumplings)

When you’re in Taiwan, one street food that shouldn’t be missed is Xiao Long Bao, also known as soupy dumplings.

These delightful parcels stuffed with minced pork and savory soup broth are a must-try for any foodie exploring the vibrant night markets.

To make them, delicate dough wrappers are hand-rolled and filled with a juicy mixture of minced pork, shredded vegetables, and a secret gelatinous ingredient that transforms into soup during the cooking process.

You’ll typically find these little gems served in a bamboo steamer basket hot and fresh straight out of the kitchen.

To indulge in this Taiwanese delight, start by gently lifting a dumpling with your chopsticks and placing it on your spoon.

Xiao Long Bao can be found at various food stalls across Taiwan’s bustling night markets, typically served with a side of thinly sliced ginger and a tangy soy-vinegar dipping sauce.

This combination only adds to the symphony of flavors and textures that make these dumplings truly unforgettable.

2. Bubble Tea

Bubble tea is a beloved street food beverage in Taiwan that you won’t want to miss!

Street Food In Taiwan

The drink features a delightful mix of tea, milk, and sugar, served with chewy tapioca pearls.

You might be surprised to learn that the vibrant drink was invented in the 1980s in Taichung, a city in central Taiwan.

Since then, bubble tea has conquered the hearts of people with an ever-growing variety of fruity and creamy flavors.

While exploring Taiwan, you’ll encounter countless bubble tea shops lining the streets. The options might overwhelm you at first, but fear not!

Look for the shops in long queues; they often have the tastiest creations.

3. Tie Dan

Tie Dan are essentially tea-smoked eggs, a popular snack found in many street food markets.

To make Tie Dan, vendors start by hard-boiling eggs and then carefully cracking their shells, leaving them intact.

Then, they marinate the eggs in a flavorful mixture of tea leaves, soy sauce, and various spices such as star anise, cinnamon, and Sichuan peppercorn.

After marinating, the eggs are smoked, infusing them further with that irresistible aroma and taste.

The result is a beautiful marbled appearance when you peel away the cracked shell. You’ll notice that the flavors from the marinade have seeped into the egg, giving it a rich and savory taste.

The texture is smooth and slightly chewy, making Tie Dan a delight to savor when it comes to street food in Taiwan.

Tie Dan can be enjoyed on its own as a snack, or it can be incorporated into other dishes. Keep an eye out for rice rolls or tofu dishes topped with slices of these eggs.

4. Chou Doufu (Stinky Tofu)

Chou Doufu or Stinky Tofu is a must-try when it comes to street food in Taiwan.

Street Food In Taiwan

As the name suggests, its pungent aroma might not be for everyone, but once you take a bite, you’ll understand why it’s so popular in Taiwan.

Stinky Tofu is made by fermenting tofu with a mix of dried shrimp, greens, bamboo shoots, and amaranth.

If you want to sample some deep-fried Stinky Tofu, head to the bustling Shilin Night Market or Shida Night Market. Here, you’ll find it served with pickled cabbage and a drizzle of sweet or spicy sauce.

The crunchy exterior, paired with the soft tofu inside, creates an irresistible texture that’ll get you hooked.

For a different take on Stinky Tofu, try the stewed version. Usually found in sit-down restaurants or smaller food stalls, stewed Stinky.

Tofu is cooked in a savory broth with ingredients like black mushrooms, bamboo shoots, cilantro, and chili oil.

5. A-gei

Another must-try is A-gei, a popular street food in Taiwan that originated in the Tamsui District.

This delightful snack consists of fried tofu stuffed with glass noodles and topped with a savory, sweet sauce. Trust us, you’ll be craving more after just one bite!

Seeing A-gei being made is a treat in itself. The tofu is sliced open to create a pocket, and then glass noodles are carefully stuffed inside.

The filled tofu is then steamed or fried, depending on your preference, until it reaches the perfect texture.

As for the sauce, it’s usually a blend of soy sauce, rice wine, and sweet fermentation sauce. While some vendors may add their own unique spin to it, the sauce’s purpose remains the same to beautifully complement the mild flavor of the tofu and noodles.

A-gei can be found in many night markets and street food stalls around Taiwan.

6. Zha Ji Pai (Fried Chicken Cutlets)

One must-try street food in Taiwan is Zha Ji Pai, especially at night markets.

Street Food In Taiwan

These oversized, crispy chicken cutlets are a popular treat among both locals and tourists.

To make Zha Ji Pai, the chicken is first marinated in a mix of soy sauce, garlic, and other seasonings.

After marination, the chicken is coated in a special batter made of flour, cornstarch, and other ingredients.

Next, it’s deep-fried to golden perfection, resulting in a crisp exterior and a tender, juicy interior.

Feel free to customize your Zha Ji Pai experience. Many vendors offer a variety of seasonings, such as pepper, chili, garlic, and even cheese powder.

7. Yu Yams (Taro Balls)

Made from taro root, these small and chewy spheres are a popular treat that you must try if what you’re after is sweet street food in Taiwan.

Street Food In Taiwan

To make taro balls, first, taro is mashed and mixed with sugar and potato starch. Then, the mix is rolled into small balls and boiled until they become bouncy and translucent.

These chewy balls are widely known for their versatile use, as you can enjoy them both hot and cold.

8. Kao Youyu

This mouth-watering dish is so popular among locals and tourists alike that you shouldn’t pass up the chance to give it a try!

Fresh squid is cut into rings or pieces and dipped in a light batter. Next, it’s submerged in piping hot oil until it reaches the perfect level of golden crispiness.

The joy of eating Kao Youyu comes from its delightful crunch, followed by the tender and flavorful squid inside.

The combination of the crispy batter, succulent squid, and savory spices makes it the perfect Taiwanese street food snack.

9. Cong You Bing (Scallion Pancakes)

When you’re strolling through the bustling streets of Taiwan, there’s always a fragrant aroma wafting through the night markets.

That scent, my friend, is the enticing smell of Cong You Bing, a classic Taiwanese street food.

Imagine a warm, flaky, and crispy pancake filled with chopped scallions. Cong You Bing effortlessly combines the delightful flavors of scallions with a slightly chewy texture.

It’s an excellent snack for any time of the day. Street vendors in Taiwan use a simple mixture of wheat flour, water, and salt to create the dough.

They knead it and roll it out until it’s paper-thin. Then, they brush sesame oil on the dough, sprinkle on chopped scallions, and fold it several times to create layers. Afterward, it’s sealed off in a circle, flattened, and pan-fried to perfection.

There are different variations of Cong You Bing as well. Some vendors might add sesame seeds, pepper, or additional spices to give it an extra kick.

For a heartier serving, you can find toppings such as grated cheese, spicy sauce, or even a fried egg.

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10. Peanut Ice Cream Roll

Peanut ice cream roll is kind when it comes to street food in Taiwan for dessert lovers.

Street Food In Taiwan

You’ll see vendors in night markets shaving thin layers of peanut brittle onto a flat surface, creating a beautiful display of food art.

The ice cream complements the nutty and slightly sweet peanut brittle, while the cilantro adds a refreshing burst of flavor. You won’t find such a unique combination of textures and flavors anywhere else.

11. Da Chang Bao Xiao Chang (Sticky Rice Sausage)

You’ll be thrilled to find Da Chang Bao Xiao Chang among the street food offerings in Taiwan!

Street Food In Taiwan

This popular snack consists of a Taiwanese sausage, known as Xiao Chang – wrapped in a slightly thicker, glutinous rice sausage called Da Chang.

The preparation of Da Chang Bao Xiao Chang is simple yet satisfying. The two sausages are cooked until the flavors meld together and the rice becomes crispy on the outside.

It’s then dressed with a variety of condiments like soy sauce, garlic sauce, chili sauce, and sweet sauce.

Feel free to personalize your snack by adding your favorite toppings. Some adventurous options include pickled vegetables, crushed peanuts, or fresh cilantro.

12. Mochi on a Stick

This chewy, delicious treat is made from glutinous rice flour and comes in various flavors to suit every craving!

Street Food In Taiwan

Start by picking your favorite flavor. From classics like red bean and peanut to more unique options such as matcha and sesame, there’s something for everyone.

Don’t be afraid to try new flavors, you never know what may become your new favorite!

When you bite into it, you’ll notice that it’s slightly chewy and dense, yet still soft and pillowy. This unique texture is what makes mochi so irresistible!

13. Ba-Wan (Taiwanese Meatballs)

Another of the must-try street food in Taiwan is Ba-Wan, also known as Taiwanese meatballs.

Street Food In Taiwan

These translucent, gelatinous dumplings are the perfect combination of chewy and tender.

The unique outer skin of Ba-Wan is made from a mixture of rice flour, cornstarch, and sweet potato starch, giving it a slightly gooey texture.

Inside, you’ll typically find a mouth-watering mixture of ground pork, bamboo shoots, and shiitake mushrooms.

The filling is seasoned to perfection, providing a flavorful balance of sweet, salty, and umami tastes.

As you bite into a Ba-Wan, you’ll be greeted by a deliciously savory filling that pairs perfectly with the chewy outer layer.

The dish is usually topped with a mildly sweet and garlicky sauce, which only adds to the explosion of flavors in your mouth.

Ba-Wan is typically served as an appetizer or snack but can also be a wonderful addition to any meal.

14. O Ah Jian (Oyster Omelet)

O Ah Jian or Oyster Omelet is a must-try street food in Tawain.

Street Food In Taiwan

It is a delicious combination of fresh oysters, eggs, and vegetables, creating an irresistible taste. The dish is both quick to make and enjoyable to eat.

Taiwanese Oyster Omelet is known for its rich flavors and contrasting textures. The soft and juicy oysters, together with the crispy fried eggs, bring out an amazing mouthfeel.

The vegetables, on the other hand, add a freshness that balances out the overall dish.

Finding Oyster Omelet in Taiwan is easy just stroll along local night markets, and you will see multiple food stalls with enthusiastic vendors serving the dish. Some popular spots to try Oyster Omelet include:

  • Ningxia Night Market in Taipei
  • Liouhe Night Market in Kaohsiung
  • Shilin Night Market in Taipei
  • Feng Chia Night Market in Taichung

15. Gao Bao (Pork Pepper Buns)

These savory treats are a popular snack that will tantalize your taste buds with their perfect mix of flavors and textures.

Street Food In Taiwan

Bao starts with tender ground pork, which is seasoned with soy sauce, sugar, black pepper, and a blend of aromatic spices.

It is then stuffed into a slightly leavened dough made with flour, water, yeast, and a touch of sugar. Once the dough is filled with the well-seasoned pork mixture, it’s sealed tightly and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

The buns are then baked in a cylindrical clay oven, similar to those used to make Indian naan bread. The high heat produces a crispy, golden crust on the outside while keeping the inside moist and flavorful.

Gao Bao is a staple at Taiwan’s bustling street food markets, and you’re likely to find them at famous night markets like Raohe and Shilin.

Many street food enthusiasts swear by a specific stall – Fuzhou Shizu Black Pepper Bun at the Raohe Night Market entrance. Trust us, you’ll want to make a beeline for this place!

16. Tianjing Chong Zhua

This popular street food is a Taiwanese twist on fried chicken, combining juicy, tender chicken with a crispy, savory coating.

Street Food In Taiwan

To make Tianjin Chong Zhua, large pieces of chicken are marinated in a flavorful mixture of soy sauce, garlic, and traditional spices.

After marinating, the chicken is coated in a light batter and a crispy outer layer featuring tasty seasonings such as salt, pepper, and five-spice powder.

The seasoned chicken is then deep-fried to golden perfection, locking in all the delicious juices and flavors.

As you take your first bite, you’ll know your taste buds are in for a real treat. The crispiness of the coating, paired with the tender, moist chicken inside, contributes to an unforgettable taste sensation!

Another unique feature of Tianjin Chong Zhua is the way it’s served. You might find it served in paper bags, skewered on sticks, or even loaded onto a plate at one of Taiwan’s bustling night markets.

Don’t forget to sample some of the various dipping sauces available to complement the rich flavors of the dish.

Popular sauces include a tangy garlic mayonnaise or a spicy chili sauce.

Night Markets With the Best Street Food in Taiwan

1. Shilin Night Market

Shilin Night Market is one of Taiwan’s largest and most popular night markets!

When you visit, don’t miss out on trying some mouth-watering street food like oyster omelets, stinky tofu, and fried chicken.

With its lively atmosphere and countless food stalls, you’ll quickly understand why it’s a favorite among both locals and tourists when it comes to places to find street food in Taiwan.

2. Raohe Street Night Market

If you’re visiting Taipei, make sure to check out Raohe Street Night Market. Known for its delicious street food options, this night market is a must-visit destination.

Some highlights include the famous Fuzhou black pepper buns and grilled squid.

As you wander down the bustling 600-meter street, you’ll also enjoy live music performances and traditional crafts for sale.

3. Keelung Night Market

In the harbor city of Keelung lies the Keelung Night Market, another great destination for Taiwanese street food lovers.

At this night market, you’ll find an abundance of seafood dishes, thanks to its proximity to the ocean.

Make sure to try the popular pào mǒ, tempura, and grilled mushrooms. The Keelung Night Market offers a unique and authentic experience that you won’t want to miss.

Street Food Tours in Taiwan

Navigating the street food in Taiwan may seem a bit overwhelming for first-timers, and taking a tour is the perfect solution if you’re not sure where to start!

Here are some wonderful options:

1. The 10 Tastings of Taipei With Locals: Private Street Food Tour

This is a walking food tour in Taipei’s Zhongzheng District with a maximum of 8 people.

street food in taiwan

The tour includes a visit to Dongmen Market and sampling up to 10 Taiwanese street food dishes and regional specialties.

A local guide is available to provide recommendations on where to eat in the city and to explain the ingredients and translate any food preferences.

👉 book tour

2. Taipei Street Food & Night Market Tour with a Local

This is a private evening tour of the Yansan Night Market in Taipei. The tour includes sampling up to eight different traditional local dishes and meeting numerous vendors.

The tour is fully personalized and offers a chance to experience the authentic ambiance of a Taiwanese night market.

The tour is ideal for those who want to explore a side of street food in Taiwan that most tourists overlook.

👉 book tour

3. Taipei at Night: Raohe Street Night Market Guided Tour

This is an evening tour of Taipei’s highlights, ideal for those with limited time. The tour starts at Longshan Temple, where visitors can learn about its significance, and then proceeds to the night market.

street food in taiwan

The tour includes a delicious dinner at the famous Din Tai Fung and a visit to Taipei 101 to see the skyline shimmering from the clouds.

👉 book tour

4. Backstreet Food Tour

This is a food and walking tour of Taipei’s XinYi district, known for its culinary prowess.

The tour includes sampling both famous and obscure Taiwanese delicacies, such as stinky tofu, and receiving personalized recommendations from the guide.

The tour offers a chance to experience the unique street food culture in Taiwan and to discover parts of Taipei that may be missed when exploring alone.

The tour is conducted in small groups and the guide helps to overcome language barriers.

👉 book tour

Tips For Eating Street Food in Taiwan

Trying out street food in Taiwan is a must on your itinerary!

To make the most of your experience, here are some tips for eating street food in Taiwan:

Be adventurous: Don’t hesitate to try new dishes and flavors. Taiwanese street food is diverse and caters to various taste preferences. Trust your taste buds and go for it!

Food hygiene: Look for vendors with a high customer turnover, as it ensures the food is fresh. Additionally, observe the cleanliness of the stall and opt for cooked-to-order dishes.

Use your phone: Use Google Translate or similar apps to decipher menu items when necessary. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re about to eat.

Ask locals for recommendations: More often than not, locals know the best spots and dishes to try. Don’t be shy to ask for their opinions—you might discover some hidden gems!

Carry cash: Most street food vendors don’t accept card payments, so it’s best to have enough Taiwanese dollars on hand.

Pace yourself: With countless delicious options available, it’s tempting to try everything at once. However, it’s best to pace yourself and savor a variety of dishes throughout your stay.

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FAQs About Street Food in Taiwan

What are the must-try dishes at Taipei night markets?

Taipei night markets offer a variety of delicious street food options that are worth trying. A few must-try dishes include:
Stinky tofu: A popular fermented tofu dish with a distinct smell.
Oyster omelet: A savory blend of oysters, eggs, and vegetables.
Bubble tea: A sweet and refreshing tapioca pearl-infused tea.
Grilled corn: A simple yet tasty snack of roasted corn on the cob
Gua bao: A fluffy steamed bun filled with braised pork and spices

Which night market has the best street food in Taiwan?

Opinions on which night market has the best street food may vary, but Shilin Night Market is often considered the most popular choice. Other notable options include:
Raohe Street Night Market
Ningxia Night Market
Tonghua Night Market
Huaxi Street Night Market

What are some popular Taiwanese street food recipes?

If you’re interested in trying your hand at making some Taiwanese street food, here are a few popular recipes to consider:
Taiwanese popcorn chicken
Scallion pancakes
Beef noodle soup
Pineapple cake
Taiwanese meatball (Bawan)

What is the price range for street food in Taiwan?

Street food in Taiwan is generally quite affordable. You can expect to pay between NT$ 30 and NT$150 (approximately $1-$5 USD) per dish, depending on the ingredients and preparation involved.

How does street food fit into Taiwan’s food culture?

Street food is a crucial part of Taiwan’s food culture, reflecting both its history and culinary diversity. Many dishes found at night markets have roots in various regions of China, as well as elements from Japanese, Southeast Asian, and indigenous cuisines. Night markets also serve as social hubs, bringing people together to unwind and enjoy delicious food after a long day.

How does street food fit into Taiwan’s food culture?

Yes, there are numerous famous street food spots around Shilin Night Market. Some well-known establishments include:
Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken: Known for its giant, crispy fried chicken cutlets
A-Po Ah Gei: A popular spot for stuffed tofu and glass noodles.
Shrimp Daddy: A favorite for both locals and tourists, known for their fried shrimp on a stick.
Chen San Ding: A bustling stall serving some of the best brown sugar bubble milk tea in the area.

Street Food in Taiwan: Conclusion

Street food in Taiwan is more than just a meal, it’s a cultural experience. Whether you’re a foodie or just looking for a quick and delicious bite, Taiwan’s street food scene has something for everyone.

From traditional dishes to modern fusion creations, the variety and quality of street food in Taiwan are truly impressive.