What if you’re a Westerner like me and also happen to be a very picky eater. What if you then decide to go to Taiwan for two weeks. And what if I told you you’d then have to eat ONLY Taiwanese food for two whole weeks? Dun dun dun!
Nah I’m only kidding, you can have Western food in Taiwan as well but if you have a boyfriend like mine who wants you to try all of the Taiwanese food, then you might get a little scared. Here’s the deal: my stomach reacts very poorly to a different ‘diet’ , since that is essentially what it would be like. Going from only Dutch food to completely different meat and fish can be very hard for my stomach to deal with. Also, if you tell me that something is a part of an animal that sounds gross; I don’t want to eat it. Even if it’s really good. I’m also very stubborn.
So needless to say, I was very scared when it came down to some of the dishes. For example: Taiwan has a crap load of food stands and not that there’s anything wrong with that, but in the Netherlands their food isn’t always good. Of course you cannot compare it but yeah, I was a bit iffy about it at first. But boy oh boy, was I wrong.
I will now share with you all, some photos from my actual stay there and since I had a loooot of photos containing food, it wasn’t hard for me to pick out the best. Of course I didn’t have everything they had to offer in Taiwan because then I’d need more than two weeks.
So let’s start!
So sushi is amazing in Taiwan ! I was already a big fan of the sushi in my country but I was ruined when I ate it over there. TY decided to bring me to one of the best sushi places he knew back in Kaohsiung. I’m sad to say I don’t know the name of it anymore because it was a difficult name. However it was amazing. It was so incredibly fresh and when I was eating he told me that the sushi is so good because the fish are first to swim past Taiwan. So basically Taiwan gets their hands on the fish first. He made me try octopus and actually it wasn’t half bad. Apart from the chewiness, I quite liked the taste of it.
This teeny tiny restaurant was located in an alley very close to our hotel. TY really wanted me to try this food because he knew the owner. The owner was Taiwanese but his teeny tiny restaurant was Japanese inspired. It only had four seats outside and according to TY the owner didn’t actually have set times to open or close. He would sleep until he’d be awake enough and then open his little restaurant and close whenever he’d want to. Oddly enough he’d never run out of customers because it would always be packed with people wanting his food. When we sat there he gave us tea and an ashtray for smoking. We had these skews with chicken on them and tofu and all sorts of grilled vegetables. If your cup was empty, he’d immediately fill it up for you again. You could take your time while eating because he wanted you to enjoy the food. He’d make small talk and ask where I was from and all sorts of things. He took a long time preparing all the individual dishes but he actually made them with passion, and you could definitely taste that! It was a really pleasant experience and I’d gladly go back next year.
We would not always go to a restaurant but also go to food stands that served noodles or duck or whatever they had. This photo is a simple bucket full of tofu, vegetables, chicken, beef, pork and egg. The noodles were in a separate plastic bag(!) I thought the bag would explode and if it would, we’d have a huge problem, but it didn’t. They give you chopsticks with it and you take it home and pour it in the buckets. It was really simple but really delicious.
Then there’s little savory snacks. So if I’m correct, and remember well, these little things are made from rice. There’s different flavors in them but I think the ones we got were with nuts and some sort of dried berry in them. These are handmade by people and you can even watch them prepare it for you. We found a little store that sold these in a mall back in Kaohsiung. To be fair I didn’t really like these ones but I also didn’t hate them. I think you’d really have to eat these a few more times to get used to them. I will try again next year I’m sure!
So Taiwan loves it’s meat, in the same mall we bought the snacks we also sat down at a little restaurant. The chefs would prepare the food right in front of you and I went for the chicken and beef, with a bowl of rice and some vegetables. TY wanted me to try a certain drink with ginger in it… I hated it and did not finish it. The taste was so weird I can’t even describe it now. But apparently it is very healthy for you and clenches your thirst very well. However I didn’t like that so sticked to my milk tea. Back to this food, it was really well made and the people were very nice. There was a family sitting next to us consisting of a Taiwanese woman, an English man and their child. And the girl kept pointing at me the whole time saying things in Taiwanese. Until the English man leaned over to me and said: “my daughter thinks that just because you’re white like me, you’re my friend.” Which made us all laugh and I just waved at the girl. She was adorable though! Just a little side story here 🙂
Also the rice is really good. I’m used to rice grains that don’t stick together but in Taiwan that’s all they have. Which makes sense since you’ll be using chopsticks the entire time. But I don’t know what they do or maybe garnish their rice with, but it’s significantly better than it is over here.
However Taiwan is not all about meat. Taiwanese also love their fruit. Fun fact: if you were to meet your parents in law in Taiwan, it’s best to bring a basket full of fresh fruit. As opposed to here, where you’d give flowers to them. Flowers over there are not quite considered okay to give. They won’t hate you for it but they think: fruit can be consumed and shared with the whole family. It’s healthy for you and you can ‘use’ the gift. Whereas flowers just stand there, wither and die. That escalated quickly, let’s move on! So the fruit in this store was really delicious and fresh, above all. We picked a mango, peaches and coconuts for their milk. Just FYI, I had never had coconut milk before but it’s reaaaaaally good. I keep craving it over here but it’s not really a thing in my place 😦
This place we went to was actually totally random. We had our main hotel in Taichung but we decided to go to Kaohsiung several times. So we had a long trip behind us with barely any sleep because our schedule was completely messed up, ended up in a hotel in the afternoon, took a nap, woke up at 2 am and decided to walk around. We ended up in this park I guess, near the docks and found this little bar. The bar was still open and the owner actually had a sign on his bar saying: ‘open from 9 PM until ???’
So this guy also decided whenever he closes as well. There were two amateur DJ’s making music outside, the owner was grilling food outside and we sat outside and ordered some food from him. He gave us both a whole pint of beer(on the house) and kept feeding us and talking to us. Very laid back and relaxed. He had a good vibe. It was an elderly man but so incredibly nice. Out of courtesy I drank most of my beer, I’m not a huge beer lover, but TY finished the beer for me haha.
So this was an actual restaurant we went to. It was sort of: grill your own meat, kind of thing. It was extremely warm because of the grill in your table but the steak and all was real tender and good. The dessert was ice cream, and well.. There’s not much else to say about the food other than it was good. The waiters were incredibly nice as well. Once again, everyone is nice in Taiwan !
Okay, so maybe not everyone. There was ONE person who, for some reason didn’t seem to like me. We decided to go to Kaohsiung again but this time we’d visit a smaller fisherman town. We took the ferry to this little place where according to TY, his family name came from. It was extremely hot that day! So we decided to get some ice cream. This ice cream, I’m still not sure what it was exactly. Some sort of shaved ice cream with actual fruit in it. Nonetheless it’s absolutely delicious. We sat down at a table and there was a guy already sitting there. I think he was about 30 years old. I sat down next to the man and TY sat down on the left side of me. The moment I sat down to eat my ice though, the man next to me kept staring at me and not in a good way. He looked somehow very annoyed, displeased and even disgusted by my presence. TY noticed it too and eventually decided to switch seats with me in case(using his own words): “He was going to try something.” All in all it was great having something cool and though the ice cream might seem like it’s real icey. It’s sort of like soft ice cream and it’s really good.
One night we were roaming the streets we ended up at this food stand. With Taiwanese burritos because why not?! With the owners permission, I took some pictures of him making it really fast. The burritos were really good. I’ve no idea what exactly was in it other than meat, but definitely worth it.
Okay and this is going to be the last of all the food photos in this post. This was taken on actually one of my last days in Taiwan. TY told me that Tainan was the BEST place in Taiwan to go to for food. Tainan is sort of like a food central. However we weren’t able to go to Tainan the entirety of the two weeks because there was an invasion of mosquitos there at that time. This type of mosquito was carrying a certain disease and TY didn’t want to risk me getting that, since mosquitos love my blood. So we only went for one day but tried the ONE thing I wanted to try: coffin bread! Which you can see in the top left corner of this photo. It’s really good actually. The sauce or whatever it is inside(I still don’t know, shame shame) is really sweet. I suppose there’s also peas and carrot in it?- but I’m not sure. I’ll do my research next time. Below the coffin bread are dumplings, which is something you can literally get everywhere in Taiwan. Then the last picture is something TY was eating. I did try one bite but didn’t like it. It was some sort of scallop omelet and the taste just wasn’t doing it for me. But hey, at least I didn’t order it.
As you can see, these were just an inkling of all the dishes you can get in Taiwan. As I said before, this is not all of it. Two weeks is simply not enough time. Taiwan is definitely a country where food is central. In Taiwan I ate about 10 times a day, but all small meals. Also rice and all the stuff I had is easy to digest so you feel full but don’t spend hours on the toilet. The only time my stomach was against me was on the day of departure but that was probably the nerves and maybe not wanting to go home.
If you ever find yourself in Taiwan, do not be afraid to try the food. Though I was skeptical and iffy about the food there at first, Taiwan really proved me wrong. Most of it I was already familiar with. And if I wasn’t, it really wasn’t that bad. There were only a few things I didn’t like at all, and maybe two things I’d have to try again before really judging it harshly. However, food is central in Taiwan and you will most likely not be disappointed. Thanks for reading guys and I hope you have a lovely day ! 🙂