Ingredients and culture
Pork, rice, soy are very common ingredients, as with many Chinese cuisines. Beef is far less common, and some Taiwanese (particularly the elderly generation) still refrain from eating it. This is in part due to a traditional reluctance to slaughtering precious cattle needed for agriculture, and an emotional attachment to such beasts of labour.
Taiwan 's cuisine has also been influenced by its geographic location. Living on a crowded island, the Taiwanese had to look aside from the farmlands for sources of protein. As a result, seafood figures prominently in their cuisine. This seafood encompasses many different things, from large fish such as tuna and grouper, to sardines and even tiny fish the length of a thumbnail. Crustaceans and squid/cuttlefish are also eaten.
Because of the island's subtropical location, Taiwan has an abundant supply of various fruit, such as papayas, melons and citrus.
Some of Taiwan 's agricultural products in general are rice, corn, vegetables, fruit, tea; pork, poultry, beef and fish/seafood.
The scarcity of natural resources has made for hard living on the island. As the Taiwanese had to make do with very little, they showed remarkable adaptiveness, craftiness and creativity when it came to preparing food.
From many of their dishes, the Taiwanese have shown their inventiveness in the selection of spices. Taiwanese cuisine relies on an abundant array of seasonings for flavour: Soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil, Black beans, pickled radishes, peanuts, chili peppers, parsley, and a local variety of basil ("nine story tower"). The resulting dishes thus combine and layer interesting tastes which make Taiwanese cuisine simple in format yet complex in experience.
Famous dishes and snacks in each of the main cities
Dasi dried tofu, a snack
Suncake (taiyangbing) is the most noted snack in Taichung .
Pork knuckles (POJ: ti-kha-bah), Tainan noodles (POJ: Tâi-lâm tàn-á-mi), shrimp and meat dumplings (Pinyin: xiarénròuwán, POJ: hê-jîn-bah-oân), and shrimp crackers/biscuits are among the most notable local dishes.
Coffin Bread (Pinyin: guancáiban) is similar to French Toast, but filled with delicious fillings, such as Black Pepper Beef or Curry Chicken. Thick cut bread is dipped in egg, deep fried, cut along three sides, opened and filled, and eaten.
- Oyster omelet.jiû-hî ken (Pinyin: yóuyú geng) - thickened soup with cuttlefish wrapped in fish paste.
- ô-á-chian (kézai jian) - omelet made with tiny oysters.
- ô-á mi-sòan (kézai miànxiàn), or oyster vermicelli
- o· bí-ko (heimi gao) - blood curd rice cake.
- ló·-bah-pn¯g (luròu fàn) - minced fatty pork served on rice.
- toa-tn^g pau sió-tn^g, or small sausage in large sausage
- san bei ji - a chicken dish which literally translates as "three cups chicken", named because the sauce is made of a cup of rice wine, a cup of sesame oil, and a cup of soy sauce. Alternately, the sauce can also be made of a cup each of rice wine, sugar, and soy sauce.
- bubble tea, aka boba milk tea
- sian-chháu (xiancao) - grass jelly (Mesona procumbens)
- ò-giô-peng (ài yù bing) - a gelatinous dessert made from the seeds of a fig-like fruit, probably Ficus pumila var. awkeotsang. Served on ice.
- o-á-peng - a dessert made of frozen taro root paste.
Many of the non-dessert dishes are usually considered snacks, not entrees; that is, they have a similar status to the Cantonese dim sum or the Spanish tapas. Such dishes are usually only slightly salted, with lots of vegetables along with the main meat (or seafood) item.
Vegetarian restaurants are commonplace with a wide variety of dishes.
There is a type of outdoor barbecue called khòng-iâu. To barbecue in this manner, first build a hollow pyramid with up dirt clods. Next, burn some charcoal or wood inside until the temperature inside the pyramid is very high (the dirt clods should be glowing red). Finally, place some taro, yam, or chicken in cans in the pyramid and topple the pyramid over the food. Keep the items under the hot dirt clods until they are thoroughly cooked.
Taiwanese people also eat a lot of fruit, both local and imported.
Night market dishes
Taiwan 's best-known snacks are present in the night markets. Stinky tofu (chhàu tau-hu, chòu dòufu) is one example; the aroma of stinky tofu is intimidating at first but can be an acquired taste. In these markets, one can also find fried and steamed meat-filled buns, oyster-filled omelets, refreshing fruit ices, and much more.