Give your dishes an exciting flavour oomph with 8 amazing Asian dipping sauces!
Off the coast of Fujian province in south-eastern China, is the island of Taiwan. With lush green mountains, scenic coastline, rustic towns, vibrant cities, and a kaleidoscope of flavourful foods. In fact, you can enjoy authentic regional cuisines from all over China here, imbued with the delicate Taiwanese touch; as well as amazing local goodies you won’t find anywhere else.
Even among the Hongkongers, Koreans, Japanese, Malaysians and Singaporeans—whose cuisines are no less exciting—Taiwan is a premier foodie haven and beloved holiday destination.
The Taiwanese Palate
Savoury-sweet with a nuanced herbal fragrance, is the general taste combo in most Taiwanese foods, with distinct variations and crossovers among the various traditional flavours. Common condiments include soy sauce, vinegar and fermented chilli bean paste.
Dishes with Fujian roots are often sweet and meaty, like the braised pork rice and pork belly bao. While the hallmarks of Hakka cuisine are found in robust seasonings, made of preserved foods, pickles, and leafy herbs; such as in the yummy Hakka-style Zongzi, tea egg and Lei Cha green tea rice.
Stir-fries, braised, boiled, steamed, grilled and other Chinese cooking-styles are also abundant, but made with much more delicate umami flavours than you may find elsewhere – thanks to the Japanese influence.
Like most Asians, rice is the Taiwanese staple carb food, as well as noodles made from wheat and rice-flour. Pork is the most popular meat, followed closely by chicken, beef and lamb. The Three Cup Chicken, flavoured with equal portions of rice wine, soy sauce and sesame oil, is a Taiwanese favourite. A typical home-cooked family meal will also include a warm mild-flavoured soup. Similar to the Japanese miso soup.
Veggies are a must-have, too. Enjoyed in side-dishes, or full-on vegetarian meals for pious Taiwanese Buddhists – the most popular religion here. Giving rise to the unique tradition of delicious fake meats like hams, ribs and steaks made from tofu and other plant-based ingredients.
They also love their seafood, including freshwater and seawater fishes, squid, oysters, lobsters, prawns and crabs. Eels and sea cucumber are favourites, too. And, you can pick them, alive and fresh in tanks at dedicated restaurants.
Other notable faves are the oyster omelette, salt-grilled fish (similar to Thai-style), grilled squid and Taiwanese tempura – all cheap and yummy street foods you can enjoy at diners and night markets.
Speaking of night markets, they’re literally everywhere in Taiwan. From townships to major cities like Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung and Tainan, you’re sure to find several bustling spots. Packed with games, live music and dance performances, and a plethora of snacks and delicacies to enjoy.
Taiwan has 16 indigenous mountain and coastal tribes, each with their distinct culinary customs. Although modernization has brought them to urban life, there are still many communities who fish, hunt, and forage for food in protected environments. Along with centuries-old sustainable agriculture that produces a good portion of the fresh veggies and fruits in Taiwan.
Millet is their traditional grain food, while barbecues are their specialty, often infused with aromatic local herbs and spices. The most authentic way to experience these are the guided tours to their villages, though you can also find them at certain markets and eateries.
Taiwan is also famed for the incredible sweet desserts. Available at cosy cafés, bakeries, markets and street vendors everywhere. From traditional Chinese dessert soups and tofu pudding, to the cooling Aiyu jelly and taro ball; world-famous Bubble Tea, and all kinds of delightful sweets, cakes and pastries.
Visit Taiwan for More!
Taiwan is filled with beautiful sceneries, warm, friendly people, fascinating cultures, and too many delectable foods we’ve yet to mention. So do take a trip to this paradise island, and taste the gastronomic wonders for yourself!