Tainan, the former capital of Taiwan, is the oldest city in Taiwan. The city was first built in the 1620s and has since then became a major hub for Taiwan’s cultural, political and economic development. It is definitely not wrong to say that this place is the origin of many iconic Taiwanese dishes and this is the place to visit to experience the “old” Taiwan.
Everyone is familiar with night markets but the best food is not necessarily found during night time. For me, a great way to live and eat like the locals is to hit up the traditional morning markets. You will find amazing food with less crowds or shall I say different type of crowds.
The first stop after checking in to our hotel is to hit up the Guo Hua Street. On this street you can find a lot of food stalls surrounding a traditional morning market.
Deep fried shrimp fritters, oyster fritters, sweet potatoes and chicken nuggets.
Oyster fritters (蚵嗲), basically assorted vegetables (bean sprouts, cabbage) with the local small oysters (the best oysters ever in my opinion) mixed with pancake like batter then deep fried. The softness of the oyster mixed with the crunchiness of the vegetables is the perfect combo. The white pepper seasoning and the in house dipping sauce make these oyster fritters extra flavorful.
Another famous dish from Tainan, squid vermicelli soup (小卷米粉).
The squid is not the typical large kind eaten in the North America. It is a species that is often found off the coast of Taiwan. Tainan, being a port city, is well known for this dish. The light soup base and a bit of Chinese celery brings out the natural sweetness of the squid. It was a refreshing dish in the hot summer days.
Fried egg pancake (炸蛋餅)
Unlike the traditional egg pancake that is pan fried, this one is deep fried with the egg inside. The egg yolk flows over the fried dough as you bite into it and acts like a flavorful sauce.
Tofu Dessert, plain with simple ginger syrup (扁擔豆腐）
Traditional home made tofu dessert with ginger syrup is so refreshing after eating all those fried foods. I ordered the original flavour without any other additional toppings. The dessert has a strong soy taste and the softness of the tofu instantly melted in my mouth. The best thing is that the dish cost only NT25 (about $1 CAD).
Taiwanese Mochi (麻糬)
Street side freshly made mochi with sesame and peanut flavor is one of my childhood favorites. Unlike Japanese mochi, the traditional Taiwanese version doesn’t have fillings in it other than sugar and peanut powder. The sesame and peanut powder are coated outside after.