【Flavor of Taiwan】What the locals eat in Taiwan? – Part 1

When looking for restaurant recommendations abroad, travelers always fantasize about a “local” who will guide them to the best and authentic meal. Today, as locals like us, would like to show you what we love to eat in our real lives.


Stir-Fried Dishes Restaurant 台式熱炒

Stir-friend dishes restaurant is the right place for you if you don’t want to eat with the tourists and want to try something local. Having hands of beers and some stir-fried dishes with friends could be considered as the local night life for Taiwanese. The environment of the stir-fried dishes restaurant is noisy, but it also means you can be fully relaxed and laugh as loud as you want when having meals with your friends, colleagues or family.

Each dish in the restaurant costs only 100-300 TWD , which is a very reasonable price! Some stir-fried dishes restaurants provide fresh seafood and you can pick fish or shrimp which is still alive by yourselves before the chef cook the cuisine for you.

What’s more interesting, some dishes are dubbed with really fancy names such as Ants Climbing a Tree, Old Skin Soft Flesh or Flies’ Head.

Ants Climbing a Tree

Ground meat cooked with glass noodles with soy sauce. It looks like tiny little ants climbing up the branches.

Old Skin Soft Flesh

Fried egg tofu. It looks like old people’s wrinkled skin on the outside and new-born babies’s soft skin on the inside.

Flies’ Head

Cooked with minced meat, chopped chive and fermented black beans. The big black beans look like there are some visitors on your dish.

Hot Pot / Spicy Hot Pot / Twin-side Hot Pot 火鍋

I believe hot pot is definitely one of Taiwanese favorite cuisine since we have a variety of hot pot restaurants here in Taiwan from spicy hot pot, twin-side hot pot, all-you-can eat hot pot, sukiyaki, hot pot BBQ and shabu-shabu. Oh! We even have stinky tofu hot pot!

There will be a simmering pot of soup stock at the dining table, containing a variety of ingredients such as thinly sliced meat, leaf vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, tofu, and seafood…etc. The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce.

Taiwanese also pay attention to the matching the temperature of foods to the body’s needs, so in the winter, ginger duck with rice wine, mutton hotpot and Taiwanese sesame oil chicken stew are the popular hot pot as well. They are SO aromatic that will make you can’t wait to taste them.

Braised Dishes 滷味

Taiwanese people love eating braised food as it’s quick, convenient and delicious. There are two kinds of braised dishes mainly, cold and heated braised dishes.

The ingredients of braised dishes is various from vegetables, mushrooms, eggs, dried tofu to tempura. If you like to weird food (locals like us feel tasty), you can also order some animal’s entrails such us pork liver, chicken heart or duck’s gizzard.

For cold braised dishes, the ingredients are braised with soy sauce. You can eat them directly after picking what you want to eat from the vendor. For heated braised dishes, the only different is that the vendor will cook your food in hot water with soy sauce or some Chinese herbal so that the food will be tasty. You can also order the noodles and the vendor will cook them with the ingredients you pick together. Choose whether to add pickle and chopped spring onion to add some flavor.

【Useful Info】Fruit season in Taiwan

People who had come to Taiwan must know that Taiwan is known as “fruit kingdom. We have specialized in agricultural technology to maintain the sweetness and quality of the fruits to reach the high standard, so it is very easy to get fresh and delicious fruit in Taiwan. Not only travelers but also locals are crazy about the fruits here and fruits picking become one of the most popular activities. Our tour consultants are frequently asked what the best season for particular fruit is and where to pick them, so I wrote this article to give all the travelers a rough guideline. Some high-value fruits are fragile, so they are not suitable for travelers to pick directly, but of course you can taste them with affordable prices in the production area or local market.

Tips: Because the fruit season and the yield is very easy to be affected by the weather, so please reconfirm with your tour consultant whether the fruits picking is doable or not during your visit.

Wax Apple:

Taiwan Wax Apple

You can find the world’s top wax apple in Pingtung, Taiwan. This high-quality wax apple has a beautiful name which is called the Black Pearl. It has a dense body, juicy, crunchy and sweet.

█ Best season and place to pick : Nov to Mar and May to July in Pingtung/Yilan.

Sugar Apple (a.k.a. custard apple):

Sugar apple looks like Buddha’s head, and they are sweeeeeeeet! They are full of delicious custard-li

ke flesh and inedible black seeds inside. I guess you’ll just have to try it yourself but I am afraid that you can’t stop once you have a bite  😛

█ Best season and place to pick: Aug to Mar in Taitung


Taiwan Loquat

The season for Loquat is very short, only in late March. The fruits, leaves, flowers, nuclei, skin and roots of loquat are used as Chinese medicinal materials. Loquat skin is very thin, taste like mango and peach but the seeds inside are bigger, Loquat is a high price fruit because it’s hard to plant.

█ Best season and place to pick: Mar to Apr in Taichung

Carambola (star fruit):

Taiwan Carambola (star fruit)

The carambola is also called star fruit because the cross section is five awn stars. In Taiwan, besides eat it directly, we also use sugar and salt to make star fruit into juice or candied fruits which you can add it on shaved ice.

█ Best season and place to pick: Sep to Apr in Maioli/Taichung


Taiwan Litchi

The most exciting things in early summer for Taiwanese is to taste the first ripe litchi. Litchi can only be given to kings and royals before. During the Tang Dynasty in China, there was a most beautiful consort who loved to eat this delicate fruit. Nowadays, we are very lucky since it is easily bought from May to August. Be coved by the coarse peel wine skin, the pulp are thick and full of moisture. Oh! Restrain yourself not to eat litchi too much at the same time since it will make your body hot and it is better to eat after meals.

█ Best season and place to pick: May to Aug in Kaohsiung

Count on me! How We Deal with A Last Minute Booking

Pierre and Francoise was a lovely couple from France who liked to visit the nature and get in touch with people. And like most of the travelers from France, they were willing to taste all types of cuisines. Visiting some friends in Taipei, Pierre planned their first trip in Taiwan which lasted three weeks. They spend their first few days in Taiwan catching up with their friends. The hue of their friendship did not fade due to the distance, but became more colorful through the past of time. Afterwards, they wanted to seize the chance to explore Taiwan and would also like to take some days to relax and to travel freely. As a result, Pierre contacted Topology Travel.

Receiving the request letter from Pierre and understanding their needs, we designed a 9-day exclusive trip around the island for them. For the accommodation, we did our best to find them B&Bs because they wanted to interact more with the locals. Furthermore, in the hope that the trip can be more satisfying, we assigned them Spencer, a foodie tour guide, who knew a lot about local cuisines according to their taste.

Cheers with Taiwan Beer!

In these 9 days, Pierre and Francoise visited almost every city in Taiwan. They saw the production of dried persimmon for the first time in Shinchi, made a souvenir using the natural indigo blue dye in Miaoli, rubbed tea leaves with their own hands in Puli, enjoyed a boat ride in Sun Moon Lake, experienced the mountain train in Alishan, taste all sorts of local snacks in Tainan, and roamed along the Baishawan Beach which appeared in the movie, Life of Pi, in Kenting.

In addition, the view on the east coast where the sea meets the sky and the magnificent scenery in Taroko were also hard for them to forget. They also stayed in different types of B&Bs in Taiwan, including the farm type, the aboriginal type, the hybrid of tradition and modernity, the one with incredible view of the ocean, and the one with hot spring that allowed them to relax completely. All of which occupied a special place inside Pierre and Francoise’s memory.

In the end of the trip, Pierre suddenly told the guide Spencer that they had a few more free and easy days in Taiwan and wanted to find a place with beach where they can stay and have fun. They were wondering if Topology Travel could help them with arranging transportation and accommodation. Originally, Pierre and Francoise were thinking about Penghu or Lanyu, but these islands were not perfect for traveling at the time of their visiting which was in November. Hence, we provided an alternative option—Lamay Island, or commonly known as Xiaoliuqiu. After researching the information about Lamay Island, the couple quickly agreed with our choice because it was a perfect place for their interest.

Since the couple decided to go there alone, we were worried that there might be some communication issue. After contacting many B&Bs, we finally picked a great bed and breakfast that provided English service with a walking distance to the beach. What comes next was transportation. They would need to take the high-speed rail from Taipei to Kaohsiung, transfer to a shuttle bus that would take them to the port, and head to the island by boat. For the ride from the train station to the port, the considerate Spencer said that his brother was in Kaohsiung and offered to help with the transfer. This allowed the last-minute booking to go smoothly. At the same time, we called the B&B to see if they could send someone to pick the couple up at the port in case that they couldn’t find the way to the B&B.

The main transportation in Lamay Island is motorcycle, and considering this, we rent an e-bike for the elder couple so that they could enjoy their trip on the island with ease. During those 4 days in Lamay Island, Pierre and Francoise enjoyed their beach time heartily. Their trip in Taiwan ended with a skin diving with the Green Sea Turtle in the gorgeous sea.

Going back to France, Pierre wrote a letter to thank us for everything. He enjoyed everything on the schedule, including the scenic spots, activities, and accommodation. Above all, Taiwanese people’s warmth and passion made the greatest impression on them. The only thing that he was a little upset about was that the guide knew so much good food that he gained a few pounds during this trip!

The customer’s feedback about their great time in Taiwan is always the best and most satisfying compliment for Topology Travel!