Taiwanse Gourmets & Delicacies
Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung is a restaurant originating in Taiwan, specialising in xiaolongbao (soup dumplings).The original restaurant is located on Xinyi Road in Taipei.
DinTaiFung was named one of the top ten restaurants in the world by the “New York Times” on January 17, 1993.
According to Tourism Bureau statistics, shopping represents 50.6% of consumption by foreign tourists in Taiwan. And the top item that these foreign shoppers purchase is pineapple cakes.
In Taiwan’s local Holo language, “pineapple” is a homonym for “prosperity arrives,” meaning rising fortunes and abundant posterity. This fruit makes for an auspicious gift and is often used as a religious offering during holidays and the Lunar New Year.
With unique flavors and reasonable prices, beef noodles are a popular dish among the Taiwanese and a must eat for visitors from abroad. In Taiwan, the soup base for this dish comes in two main varieties—clear or soy sauce-based. For either version, most stores use select boneless ribs and tendons for their tenderness and chewiness. As for the noodles, one may choose the wide or thin type; both absorb the broth and yield a robust flavor and a chewy texture in every bite.
Taiwan is surrounded by the sea, and ocean currents flow past and converge just off the island's coast, creating good fishing grounds and enriching Taiwan's marine resources. In addition, research on and advances in breeding technology have improved the variety and quality of seafood available in Taiwan, giving people more choices when selecting seafood as an ingredient. Seafood has thus become an indispensable element of daily fare in Taiwan. Considering Taiwan's seafood recipes and its map of marine products, a great variety meets the eye. Creatures such as lobster, red frog crab, swimming crab, grouper, and bigeye tuna, which is rich in DHA, as well as fish suitable for eating raw, can all be found in Taiwan. The richness of littoral landforms and the convergence of ocean currents have literally turned Taiwan into a seafood kingdom. The style of cooking seafood in Taiwan is influenced by those of Fujian, Guangdong and even Japan. It puts an emphasis on natural flavors rather than complex seasonings. Dishes often highlight refreshing and mellow flavors. When cooking, whether stewed, stir-fried, steamed or boiled, dishes tend to be light and often limit the need for flavoring to a variety of delicious sauces. Taiwan's fishing harbors, whether north or south, are the best places to savor seafood dishes. Shops offering fresh seafood ring the harbors. Here, diners can select the fish or crustacean they wish to eat, which is then cooked on-site. These fresh products, together with the house specialties of different restaurants, will satisfy even the choosiest of gourmets.
Indigenous Peoples' Dishes
The food culture of Taiwan's indigenous peoples is encapsulated in the phrase "living off the mountains and seas." Traditionally a fishing and hunting society, the indigenous peoples lived a carefree life eating naturally flavored foods and drinking millet wine. Their primary sources of food included wild edible plants, mountain boar, wild deer, and freshwater fish and shrimp. The main principle in indigenous cooking is to retain as much of the original food flavors as possible. Most ingredients are obtained from the natural environment, such as the peppercorns of the aromatic litsea tree on Mount Qilan, the leaves of the decaisne angelica tree, and the pigeon pea, which is said to promote health. Traditionally, indigenous cooking methods comprised chiefly steaming, boiling and roasting. But along with changes in modern lifestyles, indigenous foods are no longer limited to the exotic tastes of mountain produce. Nowadays, these traditional dishes can be seen only at major festivals such as the flying fish festival and annual harvest celebrations.
Pig Intestine Vermicelli
A popular street food in Taiwan, Pig Intestine Vermicelli consists of silky vermicelli noodles and chopped, braised pork large intestines in a thick, rich soup. In a hunger pinch, a bowl of the soup always hits the spot.
Stinky tofu—some find it malodorous while others consider it aromatic. Beloved and feared by tourists, this famous night market food may be deep fried, steamed, stewed with mouth-numbing spices, or barbecued.
Flat and round in shape, Taiwanese meatball dumplings consist of a jelly-like wrapping stuffed with a pork-based filling. In early times when food was scarce in Taiwan, pork was a luxury only to be enjoyed on Lunar New Year's Eve and other special occasions.