Whether eager to sample the food while traveling or traveling for the food, Taiwan should have a top spot on any foodie’s list. Taiwan may not be on everyone’s radar yet, but with an exploding food scene that won’t last long. Filled with everything from night markets to award winning hot-spots, this island is truly a food lover’s paradise. Taiwanese cuisine is a melting pot of many great culinary traditions and sure to please any taste. Still not convinced? Read below for 5 great reasons foodies should visit Taiwan.

1. Beef Noodle Soup

Taiwan: Beef Noodle Soup

If there is one dish you must eat while in Taiwan, it is beef noodle soup. Referred to as Taiwan’s national dish, beef noodle soup is readily available just about anywhere in Taiwan. Still, don’t think its ubiquitous presence means this staple is taken for granted. A popular festival, the appropriately named Taipei Beef Noodle Festival, celebrates the dish annually.

2. Stinky Tofu

what to eat in taipei: Stinky Tofu

Adventurous foodies should not leave Taiwan without trying stinky tofu. This fermented bean curd can come stewed, braised, deep-fried or even grilled. Some foreigners compare the scent to smelly feet or cheese but don’t let that scare you away from stinky tofu- it is said that the stronger the smell, the better the flavor.

3. Bubble Milk Tea (Pearl Milk Tea)

Bubble Tea (or Pearl Milk Tea)

Bubble milk tea may be popular around the world but there is no better place to enjoy it than its birthplace. Invented in Taiwan in the 1980s, the tea-based drink contains “bubbles” or “pearls” that are actually chewy tapioca balls. Bubble milk tea comes in a variety of flavors with a variety of ingredients so try a few to find a favorite.

4. Pineapple cake

Things to eat in Taiwan: Pineapple Cake

Pineapple is widely grown in Taiwan so it is no surprise to find it in this iconic Taiwanese pastry. With a crumbly crust and chewy fruit filling, the pineapple cake is a delicious mini-pie.

One of Taiwan’s best-selling souvenirs, pineapple cakes are also great to bring home to friends and family as they are inexpensive, easy to carry and keep well.

5. Night Markets

Ningxia Night Market Taipei night market

Taiwan is chock-full of night markets frequented by locals and tourists alike. Each city has its own night market (there are many more in Taipei though) and each night market has its own traditions and characteristics. While there are some constants, such as stinky tofu and bubble tea, the food selections do vary from market to market. Hit more than one market to sample the various xiaochi “little eats” offered. Not sure where to start? Pick the stalls with the longest line.

Although I listed 5 reasons why foodies should visit Taiwan, there are many more reasons, dishes, restaurants and desserts that foodies should experience.

On a related note, if any foodies find themselves in Taiwan next month, check out the 25th Taiwan Culinary Exhibition held August 5-8, 2016 at the Taipei World Trade Exhibition Center. This year’s theme is “Taiwan’s Era of Pure Food” and the exhibition is a great opportunity to learn more about Taiwanese cuisine.

This post was sponsored by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau but all opinions are my own.
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