Food in Taiwan

Restaurants in Taiwan can be very expensive. If you want to eat out and still maintain your budget, try the night markets and cafeterias. Night markets offer a variety of quick, inexpensive foods and goodies at reasonable prices. Be forewarned that the Taiwanese waste few animal body parts in their cooking. If this head-to-hoof culinary conservation principle makes you queasy, you should probably stick to vegetarian dishes.

Taiwan has excellent vegetarian food, partly because the large Buddhist population does not eat meat. Western food is considerably more expensive and harder to locate than Chinese food, so it is better to eat local dishes than to search for the familiar. Rice or noodle dishes are usually inexpensive and nutritious. When in doubt, keep these tried-and-true choices in mind:

Chow fan. Fried rice. You can order this dish with egg, with vegetables, with seafood, or with various types of meat. (fan means rice)

  • Chow mein. Pan-fried noodles with vegetables and/or meat.
  • Ji si tang mian. Soup noodles with chicken.
  • Shui Jiao. Boiled dumplings with pork and/or vegetables.
  • Xian yu tang. Fish soup.
  • Zheng Jiao. Steamed dumplings with pork and/or vegetables.

Groceries

In all major cities in Taiwan you can find the Welcome chain of supermarkets. The prices are fair and they offer a good selection of both Western and Chinese foods. Although these stores are becoming more popular and convenient in Taiwan, morning markets, which are prevalent in the smaller cities and rural areas, are still an excellent place to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

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