10 Best Street Foods in Taipei That You Must Try 2023

best street foods in Taipei
Taipei has many delicious foods.

When I think about Taipei, one of the things that comes to mind is its abundant choices of food. It might seem hard to decide which one is really worth your time or even try to find those hidden gems that only locals seem to know.

You see, Taipei is a city where you don’t need an elaborate plan to find fantastic food; it’s all around you. Simply head to your nearest night markets, and you can find all the food choices that Taipei offers. I know that choosing your first meal might be hard, especially if it’s your very first time in Taiwan.

So, I want to equip you with the knowledge I have accumulated in all these years of living and exploring this country. In this list, I have broken down the 10 best street foods in Taipei that you must try while traveling in Taiwan.

night view of keelung night market in taipei
Try out some local snacks in night markets.

>> If this is your first time in Taiwan, then consider my ultimate 3 day Taipei itinerary guide to help you navigate your way through Taipei. <<

Taipei Travel Essentials : 

1. Buy yourself a prepaid SIM Card – Having an internet connection during your visit to Taiwan, is an important thing to have. Not only can you easily find directions, research stuff online, and translate what you need to say in Mandarin.

2. Buy an EasyCard – EasyCard is the way to go! Taipei is a bustling city and everyday people use this as their daily transport card to commute.

3. Maximize your trip with Taipei Transport Fun Pass – If you’re planning to travel everywhere using MRTs and buses, opt for unlimited travel suited to your needs.

4. Download these useful Taipei Travel Apps – A must-have is the Bus+ app which lets you search and view real-time schedules of all public transportation in Taiwan!

5. Bring an Umbrella – I’ve learned the hard way of not bringing my umbrella everywhere I go. If you aren’t aware, Taipei has 4 seasons but most of the time rains do happen so better come prepared!

>> Consider my guide to the Top 10 Nature Spots Near Taipei if you are looking for new places to visit. <<

qingtiangang at yangmingshan nationa park taiwan
The beautiful Yangmingshan in Taipei

10 Best Street Foods in Taipei:

Alright, now let’s get to the fun part. I have said before that Taipei has A LOT of food choices and it can be overwhelming to choose from. Here I will list my top recommendation that highlights Taipei’s best street foods.. Of course, you can try whichever food that interests you the most!

1. Taiwanese Fried Chicken (炸雞排)

Taiwanese fried chicken
Try these big-sized chicken cutlet.

Why settle for fast-food chains when you can savor the crispy wonder that is “zha ji pai” or Fried Chicken in Taiwan?

While the exact origins of this delightful snack are a bit fuzzy, some believe it made its way to Taiwan during Japan’s 50-year occupation, drawing inspiration from Japanese “katsu.” Initially served in train bento boxes, it didn’t take long for Taiwanese Fried Chicken to become a beloved street food sensation in Taiwan.

The cooking process starts with tender slices of chicken, which are skillfully pounded flat to achieve that perfect thickness. These chicken slices take a plunge in a mixture of sauces then they take a dip in hot oil to attain that golden, crispy perfection.

tamsui old street
Go for some food hunting in night markets.

If you stroll through the city’s bustling streets, you’re likely to spot long lines forming and locals walking away with paper bags that practically bulge with these enormous fillets. It’s an oily treat that satisfies late-night cravings and represents the heart and soul of Taipei’s street food culture.

There are a variety of flavors it offers. Some prefer the classic combination of salt and pepper, while others seek the fiery kick of chili seasoning. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try the versions with cheese or seaweed toppings? Each bite is an exploration of flavor and texture that you won’t soon forget.

Where to eat Taiwanese Fried Chicken in Taipei?

  • Hometown BBQ Chicken (家鄉碳烤香雞排) in Shilin Night Market: always crowded with people during dinner time.
  • Monga in Raohe Night Market: Expect hot steaming fried chickens.
  • Shida Night Market: You can find street vendors selling this fried chicken.

2. Braised Pork Rice (滷肉飯)

ningxia braised pork rice
Delicious braised pork rice in Ningxia

A dish that encapsulates the heart and soul of Taiwanese comfort food is Braised Pork Rice, or as locals lovingly call it, “Lu Rou Fan”. It is one of my favorite foods to eat here in Taiwan.

This beloved comfort food has its roots in the southern regions of Taiwan, where it’s been enjoyed for generations. It’s a simple yet heartwarming dish of minced or sliced pork belly, braised to perfection in a fragrant sauce.

Braised Pork Rice is a simple meal, the tender pork belly will melt the instant it reaches your mouth. It is marinated and slow-cooked in a savory blend of soy sauce, star anise, and other aromatic spices. The result is a heavenly mix of flavors and textures, with the soft pork complemented by the aromatic rice.

braised pork rice wwang
One of my favorites in Wang’s Broth

Every region in Taiwan has its unique take on Braised Pork Rice, making it a dish that’s open to interpretation. Some places serve it with a slightly sweeter sauce, while others lean towards a more savory profile. Regardless of where you try it, one thing remains constant – the sheer delight of savoring this comforting bowl of Taiwanese goodness.

Where to eat Braised Pork Rice in Taipei?

  • Jin Feng Lu Rou Fan (金峰滷肉飯): One of the most popular stores in Taipei.
  • Formosa Chang (鬍鬚張): The famous chain store of Braised Pork Rice serving throughout various branches.
  • Wang’s Broth (小王煮瓜): One of the best I have ever tasted.
  • 方家雞肉飯 in Ningxia Night Market: They also serve chicken rice to mix with it
  • Shilin Night Market: You’ll find stalls here serving up this dish, often with a variety of toppings and condiments.

3. Stinky Tofu (臭豆腐)

crispy stinky tofu
Amazing stinky tofu in Ningxia Night Market

If someone in Taiwan asks you, “Have you tried chou dou fu (stinky tofu) yet?” – consider it your chance to try one of Taipei’s most thrilling food experiences. Let me be upfront: this dish isn’t called “stinky” for nothing.

Its aroma announces its presence from blocks away. But here’s the secret sauce – once you brave that initial whiff, you’re in for a treat that’ll have your taste buds doing a happy dance (heads up, though, opinions can be all over the map on this one!)

Stinky tofu starts with a fascinating fermentation process. Tofu cubes take a long bath in a brine filled with veggies, meat, and sometimes even seafood. Each vendor has a unique twist on the recipe, creating a symphony of smells and tastes that make stinky tofu truly one-of-a-kind.

dongmen night market
Crowded stalls in Dongmen Night Market.

Now, let’s get to the fun part – tasting it! The texture is where it’s at – crispy on the outside and oh-so-soft inside. It’s like a flavor explosion in your mouth that’s sure to keep you coming back for more. Sure, it might challenge your senses at first, but trust me, many folks end up falling in love with its complex character.

Where to eat Stinky Tofu in Taipei?

  • 家湘涼麵 in Shilin Night Market: This street stall sells the most famous Stinky Tofu and also Cold Noodles.
  • Raohe Night Market: A vibrant night market where you can dive into Taipei’s street food scene, stinky tofu included.
  • Tianmu Market: For an authentic taste of local flavors, make sure to grab some stinky tofu here.

4. Xiao Long Bao (小籠包)

xiao long bao
Xiao Long Bao we tried in Tainan

These delicate dumplings filled with savory goodness are a must-try here in Taipei! When you take a bite, a burst of flavor greets your mouth; I was overwhelmed by how brothy it feels. In fact, you can clearly taste the pork inside with its combination of rich fillings.

You must be wondering how they make these magical dumplings anyway? Well, it’s a bit like culinary wizardry. Skilled chefs work their magic by wrapping a savory filling in thin dough, sealing it with precision, and giving it the perfect steaming treatment. The result? A dumpling that’s not just delicious but also visually captivating.

Now, here’s where the fun begins. Grab one of these steaming delights, but be gentle – we don’t want that precious broth to escape just yet. Place it on your spoon and give it a little nibble, releasing the steam like a tiny dragon.

Now, take a moment to relish the rich, savory broth that oozes out. Finally, go all-in and devour the entire dumpling, enjoying the harmony of flavors – tender meat, delicate wrapper, and fragrant broth. It’s like a flavor explosion in your mouth.

Where to eat Xiao Long Bao in Taipei?

  • Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐): This place is famous worldwide for its Xiao Long Bao. You won’t be disappointed.
  • Jin Feng (金峰魯肉飯): A local gem where tradition meets dumpling perfection. A must-visit for all dumpling enthusiasts.
  • Kao Chi (高記): With decades of dumpling-making expertise, Kao Chi is a Taipei classic that keeps the Xiao Long Bao tradition alive.

5. Beef Noodles (牛肉麵)

beef noodles
Beef Noodles are a must eat in Taipei.

These piping hot bowls filled with chewy noodles and tender chunks of beef are what locals refer to as “Niu Rou Mian”. I still remember the first time I tried these noodles.

That time I ordered the dark-broth version and usually had some side veggies to top it off. It was a unique style of noodles; you can feel the taste of beef through your soup, and the noodles are chewy enough without being too hard to eat.

I found out that the story behind these delicious noodles is quite a journey. They arrived in Taiwan with Chinese soldiers after the Civil War. But Taiwanese chefs gave them their twist by adding soy sauce and unique ingredients, creating the beloved Taiwanese Beef Noodles we know today.

beef noodles
The soup is savory with meaty flavor

What makes these noodles special is the incredible blend of tastes and textures. The beef is slow-cooked to perfection, ensuring it’s tender and packed with flavor. As you slurp the noodles, you’ll savor the rich, aromatic broth.

Taipei’s Beef Noodles scene offers something for everyone. Some places turn up the heat with spicy versions, while others keep it mild.

Where to eat Beef Noodles in Taipei?

  • Lin Dong Fang (林東芳牛肉麵): Famous for its melt-in-your-mouth beef and robust flavors.
  • Niu Dian Beef Noodles (牛店): Customize your noodles just the way you like them.
  • Yong Kang Beef Noodles (永康牛肉麵): one of the best beef noodles shop in Taipei.

6. Pearl Milk Tea (珍珠奶茶)

pearl milk tea
I could drink Pearl Milk Tea all day.

Pearl Milk Tea, also known as Bubble tea or “Boba”, is a Taiwanese invention that’s taken the globe by storm. This seemingly simple drink consists of milk tea with some tapioca balls and is one of the most popular drinks here in Taipei.

Bubble tea’s story begins in the 1980s, right here in Taiwan. It’s a delightful concoction that combines black tea with milk and those chewy tapioca balls we fondly call “pearls.” It’s like a party in your mouth with every sip! But there’s no better place to enjoy it than right here in its birthplace, Taiwan.

Since it became popular, there have been a lot of flavors introduced (like honey, vanilla, chocolate, green tea, etc). Do you crave something sweet or more on the fruity side? Is a creamy blend more your style, or do you prefer it straight-up? Whether you’re into classics like Taro or want to venture into adventurous territory with matcha or fruit teas.

Where to drink Pearl Milk Tea in Taipei?

  • Chun Shui Tang (春山茶水舖): Known as the birthplace of bubble tea, this spot is where it all began.
  • Chen San Ding Bubble Tea (陳三鼎黑糖粉圓鮮奶專賣店): If you’re a fan of brown sugar pearls, this local favorite is a must-visit.
  • 50嵐: a popular bubble tea chain store in Taiwan.
  • TRUEDAN (珍煮丹): get their famous brown sugar milk tea!

7. Taiwanese Hot Pot (火鍋)

taipei hot pot
Try some of Taipei’s best Hot Pots.

If you’re searching for a dining experience that’s not only delicious but also interactive and communal, Taiwanese Hot Pot or “huo guo” should be at the top of your list when in Taipei. It is a staple food in Asian countries, usually best enjoyed by a group of people.

It is a culture here in Taiwan; when you are walking around the streets, chances are there is a hot pot store just around the corner. I personally think the amount is on par with the convenience stores here in Taipei; that’s just to show how Taiwanese love Hot Pot.

What makes hot pot truly special is the DIY aspect. You get to customize your meal by selecting ingredients like thinly sliced beef, plump shrimp, fresh vegetables, and various dipping sauces.

Where to eat Taiwanese Hot Pot in Taipei?

  • Mala Hot Pot (馬辣頂級麻辣鴛鴦火鍋): Known for its spicy and numbing Sichuan-style hot pot, this place is a paradise for spice lovers.
  • Taihodien Restaurant (台荷殿麻辣鍋): If you prefer a milder broth, Taihodien offers a balance of flavors that’s perfect for newcomers to hot pot.
  • 6owl door (六扇門): it is a cheaper option and my go-to spot to eat some hot pot.

8. Oyster Omelette (蚵仔煎)

oyster omelette
Savor some delicious Oyster Omelette.

Whenever I went to the night market, I would find long queues of people lining up to have some (ô-á-tsian) which is Oyster Omelette in Taiwanese! It is a mix of fresh oysters with seasoned eggs, fried together to create this amazing dish that you should try!

It is crispy yet slightly gooey pancake, generously filled with plump oysters, fresh greens, and a savory sauce that ties it all together. On top, they would add some sweet soy sauce to give it a bit more flavor and if you want, you can add some spice as well.

oyster vermicelli
Taste this bowl full of flavors

There’s another version called Oyster Vermicelli, which is also a great food to eat! It uses Oyster but mixes it together with a thick noodle soup, the noodles are called mee sua. This dish is very integrated into Taiwan’s culture, and you can find it everywhere in Night Markets.

Where to eat Oyster Omelette in Taipei?

  • A Hua Oyster Omelet (阿華蚵仔煎): If you’re up for a short trip to Keelung, this place is renowned for serving some of the most scrumptious Oyster Omelets in Taiwan.
  • 士林廟口阿輝麵線 in Shilin Night Market: This shop was the most famous for selling Oyster Vermicelli.
  • Ningxia Night Market: For a taste of authentic Taiwanese street food, including Oyster Omelet.

9. Taiwanese Sausages (香腸)

taiwanese sausages
My favorite go-to snack in night markets.

If you’ve been walking around night markets in Taipei, surely you have seen these sausages sizzling on a hot grill. There are a lot of variations to these amazing dishes which locals call (香腸). You have the normal sausage on a stick and the (大腸包小腸) which is a combination of pork sausage wrapped around rice sausage.

These juicy sausages send irresistible aromas wafting through the air. They also come in various flavors, from classic pork to garlic-infused and even some with a hint of Chinese medicinal herbs. They are often served on skewers, making them the perfect on-the-go snack as you explore the bustling streets of Taipei.

Where to eat Taiwanese Sausages in Taipei?

  • Shilin Night Market: As one of Taipei’s most famous night markets, Shilin is a fantastic place to sample a variety of Taiwanese sausages.
  • Raohe Night Market: Another night market gem, Raohe, is known for its street food delights, including these savory sausages.
  • Huaxi Street Night Market (Snake Alley): If you’re up for a unique experience you can find a range of street foods, including Taiwanese sausages.

10. Taro Balls (地瓜球)

taro balls
Try these colorful Taro Balls.

If you have a sweet tooth and crave a unique culinary adventure, you’re in for a treat with Taro Balls (地瓜球) aka QQ球, which you will find often displayed in night markets.

It is a beloved Taiwanese snack that’s a must-try during your Taipei journey. Get ready to satisfy your cravings with these sweet and chewy delights!

Taro Balls are made from taro, a starchy root vegetable that’s grown in Taiwan. The taro is transformed into a dough, rolled into small spheres, and cooked until they achieve a delightful chewy texture.

What makes them truly special is the range of vibrant colors, from deep purple to pale lavender, making them not just delicious but visually appealing too.

When it comes to flavors, Taro Balls offer a delightful range. The classic version is mildly sweet with a subtle taro flavor, but you can find variations that are infused with additional flavors like matcha, sesame, or peanut.

Where to eat Taro Balls in Taipei?

  • Liu Yu Zai in Ningxia Night Market: an amazing shop that sells freshly cooked Taro Balls.
  • Raohe Night Market: there are a lot of stalls here that sell this QQ dish.
  • Shilin Night Market: you can enjoy Taro Balls along with other Taiwanese snacks here.

Conclusion: Are these 10 street foods worth it?

In short, Yes it is. I believe in order to truly explore a country, we need to taste their foods. From there can we understand how their culture is built based on food choices. This is just my opinion but I strongly recommend you to try this 10 street food, you won’t regret it!

If this trip will be your first time in Taiwan then visiting the very capital should be your top choice! Not only does Taipei offer amazing things that you can do, but there are many other spots like old streets that you should consider visiting as well.

Taipei is the perfect place for you to enjoy an amazing full 3 days trip, If you have more time to fit in your itinerary then consider going to other places around the city where you will be greeted with beautiful nature spots within driving distance.

I hope that this list of the 10 best street foods in Taipei will give you an idea of how your trip would look like in this enchanting city.

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