Taiwan's sweet peanut soup is delicious and simple to make. All you need is three key ingredients: water, sugar, and peanuts. The key to success in preparing this delicacy is to simmer the peanuts until tender. This sweet soup goes well with other Taiwanese delicacies including deep-fried dough sticks, douhua and tangyuan.
Made of duck or pig blood and glutinous rice, blood rice cake is considered strange by foreigners, but it is popular in Taiwan. Some people like it steamed and coated with peanut powder and coriander and served on a stick. Others like to cut it into cubes and mixed with sauces and served as appetizer or a drinking snack.
Mochi is a popular snack in Taiwan. It is a chewy glutinous rice ball often stuffed with sweet red bean paste or black sesame paste. Taiwan's Hakka people, however, like mochi plain without filling. Instead, they like it sprinkled with peanut or black sesame powder. Taiwan's Ami tribe also have a similar snack, using millet instead of glutinous rice as the main ingredient.
Papaya milk is a smoothie made from papaya, milk, crushed ice, and sometimes sugar. This “must-try” Taiwanese beverage, which can be bought in shops and from vendors on the streets and night markets, is very refreshing on hot summer days. It is best to consume as soon as it is served, before it coagulates into a tofu-like texture.
The meat-filled Taiwanese traditional snack, gua bao is also called “hu ya ju” (tiger bites pig) because it looks like the jaw of a tiger biting a piece of pork. The Taiwanese eat gua bao at the end of the year to signify eating up all the misfortunes from the past year and leaving a clean plate for good things to come.
The name of the pastry Gû-lı̍k was transliterated into Taiwanese from the last word of the French pastry on which it is based, the “biscuit à la cuillère,” during the Japanese ruling period. Gû-lı̍k have a taste and texture reminiscent of their European predecessor. They can be discovered sitting on shelves of Taiwanese style pastry vendors.
Aiyu jelly is a traditional summertime dessert loved by the Taiwanese. The jelly is made from a yellowish transparent gel found in jelly fig seeds and usually served with honey-sweetened iced lemonade in a bowl or cup. It is a refreshing thirst-quenching remedy for a hot summer day.
Taiwanese Oyster Fritter
The Taiwanese oyster fritter is a local street food delicacy easily found in the coastal cities and towns of western Taiwan. Several oysters are deep fried in a batter containing various chopped vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, Chinese chives, and spring onions. Top a fritter with some chili sauce, and it will wow your taste-buds!
Text｜Wei-Lin Lee Illustrate｜Wanyun
Originating from the Japanese snack, imagawayaki, the Taiwanese wheel pie is one of the commonly found street snacks. It is often stuffed with either a sweet or savory filling and served freshly baked. The most frequently seen fillings are red bean paste, custard, pickled radish, sweet taro paste, or cheese.