A friend of mine is visitng Taiwan next month and asked me for a "must-eat" list.
Since I'm going to reply to his email anyway, I might as well post my answer here.
I have picked 5 because most visitors to Taiwan stay no more than 3-5 days, so I want to make it a concise list.
Also, this is a list of must-eat from my perspective, if you have some must eat list to recommend, feel free to leave a comment.
1. Du Hsiao Yueh 度小月
Absolutely one of my favorite eatery and my favorite noodle joint. See my earlier post here
(Picture taken from FMSC website)
I'm amazed I never wrote about Formosa Chang Minced Pork Rice in my blog!!! And I can't even find pictures that I thought I took. How did that happen?? Anyway, Minced Pork Rice sounds like a boring dish, and is common in the Taiwanese restaurants here in the states as well. But this is not any minced pork rice, this is Formosa Chang!!! Formosa Chang's minced pork is so flavorful, and the pork with just the right amount of fat, every time I have it, I want to swallow the whole bowl!
Other than Formosa Chang, another well known Minced Pork Rice eatery is "Jin Fong"
I have only been to Jing Fong once (because there is one Formosa Chang nearby my parent's house). Their Minced Pork Rice has a different flavor from Formosa Chang's. It is convienently located nearby Ching Kai Shek Memorial Hall.
3. Oyster Omelette
A friend of mine who doesn't normally eat oyster visited Taiwan last year. She told me of all dishes, Oyster Omelette took her by surprise the most. The oysters in Taiwan taste so different from the ones here in the state, that it was actually pretty delicious. So, even if you are not a oyster fan, I encourage you to give it a try. One that I highly recommend is Lai's Oyster Pancake.
See my earlier post here,
4. Mango (Fruit) Shave Ice
If you are visiting Taiwan during the summer, Mango Shave Ice is a must try. If you're there any other season, still worth a try, but if the store offers other fresh fruit shave ice, I'd choose that instead, after all Taiwan is nicknamed "Fruit Kingdom"!
See my earlier post here
and Chris' video
5. Taiwanese Breakfast Sandwich
This may be slightly unusual, and not often appear in tour books. There is not one specific place I can recommend as I always eat at the one next to my parent's house. There are so many Taiwanese Breakfast Sandwich places, you should be able to find one easily if you walk around early in the morning. If you need help finding one, ask the hotel front desk for "Mei-Er-Mei Sandwich places" (美而美三明治) . Other than the breakfast sandwich, also try Taiwanese omlette.
See my earlier post here
6. Din Tai Fung
Wait, isn't the title of this blog "Top 5 Must Eat?", what's up with #6??
Well, I don't think I can get away without recommending Taiwan's most reknowned restaurant, so here it is. The reason why it is not in my top 5 is because I don't really visit Din Tai Fung when I go back to Taiwan. Mainly because there are Din Tai Fung restaurants right here in Southern California where I live. Din Tai Fung now has many international locations with fairly consistent quality, I personally think it's ok to skip the long lines if there's one in your own country.
Lastly, my personal favorite of all, is this "meat ball" eatery nearby my parent's house.
I go there probably every other day if not every day during my visit. But it is a bit out of the way from most tourist spots
see http://[Taiwan] 伴隨我長大的永和潮州肉圓
(sorry this one was written in Chinese. Use Google Translate)
So here it is. This is the list.
I know I know. I have left out a whole bunch of other well-known Taiwanese food here.
For example, no Beef Noodle Soup???
There is an easy answer, I don't like Beef Noodle Soup.
And of course, there is always the night markets. I can't pin down any one specific food to have in night markets. You just have to go and experience this ultimate Taiwanese gourmet adventure. Try what Chris does in the video below, be brave!