Before we moved to Taiwan, everyone that we talked to raved about the food. Honestly, so far it is living up to the hype. Food is part of the culture here and it is very tasty. I am sure that through the course of us living here I will blog about food more than once, but I will start with an overview of what we have eaten so far…
The fruit is amazing. We had heard it was amazing from multiple sources, but it really is that good. Right now is the season for Mangoes and we are a little obsessed with them. In the US the most common ones are the green ones with some pinkish red spots. Here they are very yellow-orange with some red on the outside and wonderfully sweet. It is fun to get fruit that is not common at home. We have been buying dragonfruit both white and red. Kiwis are also very cheap; both the green and golden. Kiwis are more sweet here as opposed to the tartness that I always thought was a characteristic of kiwi.
It is also really easy to find fruit stands. There is one walking distance from where we live. All of the fruit stands I have seen also make fresh fruit smoothies. I have yet to order one because I cannot read what it is that I am ordering, but I will soon.🍉🍍🍊
The local food here is pretty cheap and good. Daniel and I found a restaurant where they did not speak any English, (thankfully, one of the to-go customers translated for us) the noodle soups 🍜 were delicious and our meal total was around $5.00. We found a vegetarian buffet that was about $6.00 for both of us. We had heard that the vegetarian places do amazing things with tofu, the food was really good. Yesterday, we went to a chain restaurant called, Rice. You can order chicken and hamburgers, but more interesting they will make your sandwich buns out of rice or you can be like me and just order a giant rice ball 🍙 with all sorts of tasty ingredients stuffed inside (I meant to take a picture of this, but I ate it). We ordered lunch for three people here including “set” meals meaning they come with fries and a drink and it was $8.00. Overall, the food is cheaper here.
Taiwan does not have an open container law. You cannot drink and drive, but apparently the passengers in the car can drink (we have not tried this, but have been told about it). You can also buy single beers at the local mini-marts and drink them walking down the street. This can be nice when it is so hot and humid. We have bought beer at our local family mart while on our way home several times. I have tried many of the local fruit beers because they are about $1.00 and why not? Overall, I would say that they taste like slightly alcoholic soda and are not very good, but it has been fun trying the different flavors. So far I have tried peach, lemon lime, and pineapple. There are still more, so I will probably try those too. They are starting to get into craft brewing here in Taiwan, they were offering samples of this beer at Costco (which I also found amusing that you can taste wine and beer at Costco) and it was pretty good. I have also found that I like Asahi Black, which is an amber Japanese beer.
Not to be overshadowed is the tea. It is a great thing to be a tea drinker. There is milk tea, bubble tea, fruit tea, plain tea, etc… and along with all the options are several what seems like 100+ tea shops. These stands specialize in all things tea. You can customize your drink with how much sugar and ice you want in your drink. Culturally with the availability of tea and the hot humid weather it makes sense that these shops are everywhere. I have to admit I think I have had some kind of tea almost everyday since we have been here.
Dumplings are cheap here and one of the famous aspects of Taiwanese cuisine. In the states, Taiwan is most famously known for Din Tai Fung. There is one in our town, that we have not ventured to yet, but we did see several places that make dumplings. At stall near the train station downtown, we ordered curry dumplings and one that had vegetables. So Delicious!
Another great aspect of food here the influence of Japanese cuisine. Japan colonized Taiwan for about 50 years up to the end of WWII, so there are lots of familiar Japanese foods here. Lots of curry and katsu, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and D’s favorite the Japanese style bakeries. I honestly do not think that we have gone long at home without a pastry in our fridge. Red bean buns for breakfast, matcha croissants for dessert, it makes me determined to keep going to the gym so I can keep eating all the goodness.
Well that is a pretty good overview, but I am sure it is not the last you have heard from us about food!