Taipei is known as a melting pot of cuisines, where a night out for dinner could entail anything from Nepalese vegetarian dishes to a burger and fries. But it’s the street food that really grabs food lovers’ attention.
臭臭锅 stinky tofu casserole
You’ll know you’re near the night market when you can smell the stinky tofu! Some people find the smell just too much to bear but it actually tastes great. No traveler can leave Taipei without trying this unique food.
While most of the stinky tofu are deep fried, I recommend you try this spicy and numbing casserole. Stinky tofu casserole (stinky tofu stew) was originally made of stinky tofu and pork large intestines. Nowadays, it includes duck blood curd, fillets, and/or vegetables. The pungent tofu has been neutralised by the spicy soup based, but the soup base also gets the pungent tofu. Strangely, they complement each other in a very satisfying way. Try it, you will not regret it.
锅贴 pot stickler
You can find this almost everywhere there’s a bus stop. I have no idea why they are associated with bus stops, but most dumpling stores are found there and they would also see pot sticklers.
The regular dumplings are simmered in a thin layer of water, and eventually the water evaporated. Oil is added to fry the dumplings. The result is a layer of crust that formed as the base of the pot sticklers.
Then when you turn them over, you get the regular hot and soft dumpling. Best of both worlds.
黑白切 “As you wish”
As the name suggests, you can order whatever you want, but they are all offals. We ordered in this instance, goose liver, goose intestines, water cress with pork lard, noodles with pork lard, and perennial favourite, the pork belly mince with rice 卤肉饭.
You take a piece of paper and tick whatever your want and pass it to the counter – the most common way you order in Taiwan.
“Into the water” is the way they describe the pig intestine soup. In a clear ginger chicken stock, pig intestines get “into the water”. As simple as it gets.
The last item is not exactly a traditional street food, but this cafe in Ximenting has been around for many years and offer this really traditional cake that many Taipei folks grew up with. It is a very dense vanilla cake with heavy whipped cream. Once would not say it is delicious – they are many Japanese-style cake shops in Taipei that serve better cake – but it does invoke lots of memories. 哥吃的是记忆.