In this last part of my Asia food tour blog series (see also Part 1: Mainland China – Beijing & Guangzhou and Part 2: Hong Kong & Macau), I’ll share with you some of my food experiences in Taipei, which is the capital of Taiwan, a large island/state located east of China. Taiwan is home to delicious food, hot springs, and Taipei 101 (2nd tallest building in the world).
Did you know that bubble tea was invented in Taiwan? Bubble tea is a popular iced tea drink often fused with milk, and mixed with tapioca “pearls” or “bubbles.” There are many flavors to choose from. When I was shopping in the Ximending district of Taipei, I came across Orange Tea shop and ordered the classic milk tea flavor. The tapioca pearls had the perfect texture and consistency, and the milk tea was a perfect blend. In Boston, bubble tea is sold at various juice bars, Chinatown bakeries, cafes, and some Asian restaurants.
One of the must-try Taiwanese treats is the pineapple “cake,” which is very similar in texture and taste as (Fig) Newtons, a soft cookie with a fruit jelly interior. My cab driver took me to the famous Chia Te bakery in Taipei. I knew I was in the right place because the shop was crowded with local pastry lovers; there was a long line of customers buying (several boxes of) pastries; and there was a counter solely for bulk orders! Although pineapple is the classic flavor, there are many others to choose from; my favorite is strawberry. The pastries are individually-wrapped and make great souvenirs to bring back home.
One of my favorite desserts is shaved ice, also known as baobing. It is the Taiwanese version of an ice cream sundae – huge pile of ice cream covered in sweet toppings. The ice cream, however, is more icy than creamy, yet each bite still melts in your mouth. The toppings are typically fresh fruit, red bean, or candy, and drizzled with condensed milk or chocolate. At the night market, I tried the green tea flavor shaved ice with red bean & condensed milk for topping, as well as the mango one. Both were fresh, icy, and delicious.
Have you traveled to any part of Asia before? Share with us your favorite food and travel memories!