Literally "shoulder pole noodle" in the Taiwanese dialect, dan zai noodles is one of the best-known snacks in Tainan, Taiwan. Minced pork and shrimp is used as the soup base, the dish is topped off with long-simmered meat sauce, pleasantly chewy wheat "oiled" noodles, and one lone ceremonious shrimp. A seemingly simple recipe, the snack has actually been given global recognition by serious foodies.
Zongzi is the exclamation mark on a historic festival, whose origin dates back to an ancient Chinese cooking technique, "wrapping and steaming." This culinary holiday centerpiece was said to be part of a dragon worship ritual; in another legend, this iconic, filling treat is linked with the dramatic drowning patriotic poet Qu Yuan over the fall of his country to an ambitious neighboring state.
Taiwanese zongzi's, flavored with innovative touches, are decidedly a cut above than the Chinese or southeast Asian varieties. These decadent treats promise to give the pickiest food critic a run for their money. A scrumptious piece of paradise of sticky rice, mushroom, peanuts, egg yolk, and sauteed pork is wrapped up with dried bamboo or reed leaves. The taste is so awesome that it should be outlawed!
(Photo by limin_chiu)
With its incredible versions and decadent taste, the oyster omelet are the year-round night market headliner in Taiwan, Hokkien, and parts of southeast Asia. The Taiwanese people, in the early days, put their resilience and creativity to test by inventing this incredibly savory dish with what little food source they had. They dipped fresh oysters into a gooey mixture of tapioca and sweet potato starch as filling, and quick-fried them with eggs, bits of squid or shrimp, and vegetables. Sauces are poured on top of the omelet for an irresistibly mouthwatering taste.
The treat began as a labor of love: huge chunks of ice were manually bladed and shaved into sleets of ice and piled on a platter. The finishing-touch on the snowy mound was a generous topping of sweetened beans and syrup. The modern version of shaved ice is a lot silkier, adorned with fresh fruit, mochi and ice cream. Traditionally a summer dessert, Taiwanese shaved ice is now a perennial crowd-pleaser among the world's pickest dessertarians.
(Photo credit toPhil Denton, CC by SA 2.0)
This Taiwan-originated tea is more than a drink; it's an attitude and a lifestyle.
The pearl tea recipes generally contain a tea base, mixed/shaken with fruit or milk. Chewy tapioca balls and/or fruit jellies are often added into the drink. The larger-variety of tapioca balls in the drink, nicknamed bb (波霸), is slang for "large breasts", and sounds much like "bubble." The drink's unique taste and texture quickly won over a large following. It also facilitated the development of leisure drink culture in Taiwan; many variants of the drink emerged as a result to redefine the country's tea culture.