Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bubble tea

Bubble tea, also called "Boba" tea, is a tea that originated in Taiwan in the 1980s and migrated to Canada before spreading to Chinatown in New York, then to various spots throughout the West Coast of the United States. The literal translation from Chinese is ''pearl milk tea'' . The word "bubble" refers to "bubbling", the process by which certain types of bubble tea are made, and not the actual tapioca balls. The balls are often called "pearls." Drinks with large pearls are consumed along with the beverage through wide ; while drinks with small pearls are consumed through normal straws. Bubble tea is especially popular in many East Asian and Southeast Asian regions such as Taiwan, China , Brunei, Malaysia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and more recently popularized in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Perú.


The distinctive characteristic of bubble tea is the presence of chewy translucent balls of (, that sit at the bottom of the glass. Usually the pearls are "large pearl," larger than the "small pearl" that is customary in tapioca pudding. Cooked, large pearls have a diameter of at least 6 millimeters. Occasionally, "small pearl" tapioca is used. Both sizes of pearls are available in a variety of colors. The pearls are prepared by boiling for 25 minutes, until they are cooked thoroughly but have not lost pliancy, then cooled for 25 minutes. After cooking they last about 7 hours. The pearls have little taste, and are usually soaked in sugar or honey solutions.

Bubble teas are generally of two distinct types: fruit-flavored teas, and milk teas. However, some shops offer a hybrid "fruit milk tea." Milk teas may use dairy or non-dairy creamers.

The original bubble tea consisted of a hot black tea, brown large pearl tapioca, condensed milk, and honey. As this drink became more popular, variations were created. Initially iced versions with a hint of peach or plum flavoring began to appear, then more fruit flavors were added until, in some variations, the tea was removed entirely in favor of real fruits. These fruit versions usually contain colored pearls , the color chosen to match whatever fruit juice is used. Flavors may be added in the form of powder, fruit juice, pulp, or syrup to hot black or green tea, which is shaken in a cocktail shaker or mixed in a with ice until chilled. Cooked tapioca pearls and other mix-ins are addded at the end.

Today one can find shops entirely devoted to bubble tea, similar to juice bars of the early 1990s. Bubble tea bars often serve bubble tea using a machine to seal the top of the cup with plastic cellophane. This allows the tea to be shaken in the serving cup. The cellophane is then pierced with a straw. The straw may be brightly colored, and is oversize, large enough for sucking up the pearls. Other cafés use plastic dome-shaped lids.

Bubble tea kits for making bubble tea at home can also be purchased from online shops.


Each of the ingredients of bubble tea can have many variations depending on the tea house. Typically, different types of black tea, green tea, or even coffee can form the basis of this beverage. The most common black tea varieties are Oolong and Earl Grey while jasmine green tea is a mainstay at almost all tea houses. Another variation called 鸳鸯 originated in HongKong and consists of half black tea and half coffee. Decaffeinated versions of teas are sometimes available when the tea house fresh brew the tea base.

The milk in bubble tea is optional and many tea houses uses powder milk rather than fresh. Some cafes use a non-dairy creamer milk substitute instead of milk because many East Asians are . Soy milk options are widely available for those who avoid dairy products for various reasons. This adds a distinct flavor and consistency to the drink.

Different flavoring can be added to bubble tea. Some widely available fruit flavors include strawberry, green apple, passion fruit, mango, lemon, grape, lychee, peach, pineapple, cantaloupe, , . Other popular non-fruit flavors include taro, coconut, chocolate, barley, sesame, almond, ginger, lavender, rose, . Some of the sour fruit flavors are usually only available in bubble tea without milk as the acidity will curdle the milk.

Tapioca balls of big and small sizes are of course the prevailing chewy tid-bit in bubble tea, but a wide range of other options can add equally tantalizing texture to the drink. Green pearls have a small hint of green tea flavor, and are chewier than the traditional tapioca balls. Jelly, in small cube or rectangular strips, with flavors like , konjac, lychee ,, mango, green tea, or rainbow , has a pliant, almost crispy consistency. or mung bean mush, also typical toppings for Taiwanese shaved ice, give the drink an added subtle flavor as well texture. Aloe, egg pudding, sago, taro balls can also be found in most tea houses to complete the perfect cup of tea.

Bubble tea cafes will almost always serve drinks without coffee or tea in them. The base for these drinks is flavoring blended with ice, often called Snow Bubble. All mix-ins that can be added to the bubble tea can also be added to these slushie-like drinks. One drawback to Snow Bubble is that the coldness of the iced drink may cause the tapioca balls to harden, making them difficult to suck up through a straw and chew. To prevent this from happening, Snow Bubble tea must be consumed faster than regular bubble tea.


Bubble tea cafes are often popular hangouts for younger Asians. Consequently, they will often have stacks of magazines , Chinese manga, and show music videos of Asian pop music. These cafes will generally have a small food menu catering to its clientele.

Some bubble tea cafes in California include Quickly , Tapioca Express , Ten Ren Tea , Fantasia Tea and Coffee, and Verde Tea Cafe .


There are three shops that claim to be the first creator of bubble tea. One is Liu Han Chie who worked in Chun Shui Tang teahouse Taichung City, Taiwan in the early 1980's, and experimented with cold milk tea by adding fruit, syrup, , and tapioca balls. Although the drink was not popular at first, a Japanese television show generated interest among businessmen. The drink became well-known in most parts of East and Southeast Asia during the 1990s.

An alternative origin is the Hanlin Teahouse in Tainan City, Taiwan, owned by Tu Tsong He Hanlin. Bubble tea is made by adding traditional white ''fenyuan'' which have an appearance of pearls, supposedly resulting in the so-called "pearl tea." Shortly after, Hanlin changed the white ''fenyuan'' to the black, as it is today.

In the late 1990's, bubble tea began to gain popularity in the major North American cities with large Asian populations, especially those on the and and in Texas. The trend in the United States was started by Lollicup in the city of San Gabriel, California and quickly spread throughout Southern California. The beverage has received much attention from mainstream American media, including covers on National Public Radio ''Morning Edition'' and the Los Angeles Times. In the U.S., national and local chains are expanding into suburban areas, particularly those with large Asian populations. Bubble tea shops can now be found in shopping malls and shopping centers in the suburbs. It can also be found in a number of Chinese and Thai restaurants in and around large cities and college towns. Los Angeles and currently has one of the highest concentration of "boba" bars in the U.S., due to the region's large number of Asian residents.

Bubble tea has spread internationally through Chinatowns and other overseas Asian communities. It can be found in major European cities such as London and Paris. Bubble tea is also gaining in popularity in Canada, particularly in and around the cities of Vancouver, British Columbia; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Toronto, Ontario; Edmonton, Alberta; and Montreal, Quebec where there are large Asian-Canadian communities. It is also gaining popularity in Australia, especially in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne where there are also high concentrations of Asian immigrants and descendants.

More recently, bubble tea has quickly spread in the Mexican city of Monterrey, and the "Chinatown" neighbourhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Taiwanese communities have introduced it.


The term for this drink would be literally translated "''pearl milk tea''" . "Bubbling tea" in Chinese actually refers to a modern method of beverage preparation: to efficiently and homogeneously mix various ingredients in these drinks , drink makers often shake the tea up as bartenders do with cocktails. Thusly prepared, a layer of foam forms on the surface, and any tea so prepared can be called bubble tea. "Foam black tea" and "foam green tea" are also common drinks made by shaking sweetened tea. After bubble tea was brought to non-Asian countries, it was given the name "bubble tea." The pearls in "pearl milk tea," however, do refer to the tapioca "pearls."

Bubble tea has many other names, including:



* 泡沫紅茶 : "bubble red tea", used mainly in Taiwan

* 泡沫奶茶 : "pearl milk tea," in and usage
* 波霸奶茶 : "large pearls milk tea," used mainly in southern Taiwan for the large-pearl kind; tea with smaller pearls is called "pearl milk tea"
* 黑珍珠奶茶 : "black pearl milk tea"
* 茶珍珠 : " tea pearl"


* pearl tea or drink
* tapioca milk tea drink
* milk pearl tea or drink
* black pearl tea or drink
* tea pearl
* boba tea or drink
* tapioca tea or drink
* bubble tea
* bubble milk
* bubble cup


* Trà s?a tr?n ch?u : literally "pearl milk tea"
* ?? ???, ?? ?, ??? : transliterated "boba drink," "boba tea," "bubble tea"
* タピオカティー : ''tapiokatii'' transliterated "tapioca tea"
* ????????, ????? : literally "pearl tea"
* SAGO : literally "tapioca pearls"

Beer in Taiwan

Taiwan Beer is brewed by the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation . The brand, an icon of Taiwan culture, began as a monopoly product but has remained the best-selling beer on the island in the era of free trade.


Taiwan Beer has its origins in the beer first brewed in 1922 when Taiwan was a colony of Imperial Japan. The government agency which produced it, the Monopoly Bureau of the Taiwan' Governor's Office, was established in 1901. The Bureau was responsible for all liquor and tobacco products in Taiwan as well as opium, salt, and camphor. In the 1940s matches, petroleum, and standard weights and measures were also monopolized.

After the end of World War II the incoming preserved the monopoly system for alcohol and tobacco. Production of beer was assigned in 1945 to the Taiwan Provincial Monopoly Bureau. The name Taiwan Beer was adopted in 1946. The following year, production of the beer was assigned to the Taiwan Tobacco and Wine Monopoly Bureau.

Taiwan entered its modern period of pluralistic democracy in the 1990s. Free trade and open markets became priorities as Taiwan prepared for admission to the World Trade Organization in 2002. Laws went into force that year that opened Taiwan's market to competing products. On 2002-07-01 the Monopoly Bureau passed into history. Its successor, the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation , is a private company that operates independently of government support. TTL introduced a new brew, Taiwan Beer Gold Medal, by the end of its first year.

Taiwan Beer remains the island's best-selling brew and is one of the most recognized brands in Taiwan's business world.


Domestic beer production is more than 400 million litres annually, with significant volume being used for local consumption. Local beer production accounts for over 80% of total beer consumption in Taiwan. A small proportion of the domestically produced beer is exported, of which a major part is consumed by Taiwanese living abroad.


Taiwan Beer is a light amber beer with a distinct taste produced by the addition of locally produced ponlai rice during the fermentation process. The beer is served cold and recognized as an especially suitable complement to and Japanese cuisine, especially seafood dishes such as sushi and sashimi. Taiwan Beer has won international awards, including the International Monde Selection in 1977 and the Brewing Industry International Awards in 2002.

Three brews, all amber, are sold under the name Taiwan Beer. The Original brew is sold in brown bottles and blue and green cans. The Gold Medal brew, introduced in April 2003, is sold in green bottles and cans. Both brews are 4.5% alcohol by volume and are regularly seen in Taiwan's convenience and grocery stores. The newest brew, Taiwan Beer Draft, is designed to be sold fresh. It is most often served in restaurants and bars, where it is available on tap or in its signature solid green bottle. Because of its early expiration date, it is rarely seen in stores.

Taiwan Beer is mass produced at the Taiwan Beer Factory in Wujih , Taichung County . It is also brewed on site at the Taiwan Beer Bar in .


The iconic status of the Taiwan Beer brand in Taiwanese society is reinforced by TTL marketing strategies. Ads feature celebrity endorsements by popular Taiwanese figures such as A-Mei. A named Taiwan Beer, popularly nicknamed 'The Brew Crew,' is sponsored by the company. The Taiwan Beer Bar and Beer Garden is a popular restaurant/brewery in . Restaurants and nightspots are also proliferating at the Taiwan Beer Factory in Wujih, Taichung County. The Factory, near the Wujih station of the Taiwan High Speed Rail, is the site of an annual Taiwan Beer Festival held every summer.

The 'Beer Wars'

Taiwan and China were admitted into the World Trade Organization simultaneously in 2002. Beer could now be imported and exported across the Taiwan Strait for the first time.

Foreign labels accounted for just 18 percent of the NT$45 billion beer market in Taiwan in 2004; Taiwan Beer accounted for all of the remaining 82 percent. Two years later the People's Republic of China refused to allow Taiwan Beer to be imported. Officials cited a law banning the use of county or regional names in commercial products. In Taiwan this argument was hardly persuasive, given the number of products in China already sporting such names, including China's , named for a city in Shandong province. The move was interpreted by many Taiwanese as an attempt to thwart the free trade China had pledged by denying Taiwan proper recognition of its trademarks. A boycott of beers from China was soon under way on the island. The controversy, widely reported in the international press, led to increased recognition of the Taiwan Beer brand.


*Case Study:




Ba-wan is a snack food, consisting of a 6-8 diameter disk-shaped translucent dough filled with a savory stuffing and served with a sweet and savory sauce. The stuffing varies widely according to different regions in Taiwan, but usually consists of a mixture of pork, bamboo shoots, and shiitake mushrooms. Changhua-style ba-wan is considered to be the "standard" ''ba-wan'' as it is the most famous and most widely imitated of all styles of ''ba-wan''.

The term "ba-wan" is a non-standard romanization of the pronunciation of "肉圓", as well as "" . In Lukang, ''ba-wan'' are known as "bah-h?e" because they take on a block-like shape as embodied in the shape of 回.

The gelatinous dough is made of a combination of corn starch, sweet potato starch, and rice flour, which gives it its chewy, sticky, and gelatinous texture and a greyish translucent hue. ''Ba-wan'' are initially cooked by steaming; however, they may also be served after being to give them a "skin" or gently ed in oil to heat them without drying them out.


It is believed that ''ba-wan'' were first prepared in the township of Taiwan by a student by the name Fàn Wànjū as food for disaster relief during the late Qing dynasty , when the Beidou region was struck by heavy floods. Since then, ''ba-wan'' had spread to different regions of Taiwan and is now considered by many as a national food.

Aiyu jelly

Aiyu jelly is a jelly made from the gel on the seeds of a variety of fig found in Taiwan and East Asian countries of the same climates and latitudes. The jelly is not commonly made or found outside of Taiwan though it can be bought fresh in specialty stores in Japan and in canned in Chinatowns. It is known as ''ò-gi?'' in and used in Taiwanese cuisine.


According to oral history, the plant and the jelly was named after the daughter of a Taiwanese tea businessman in the 1800s. The jelling property of the seeds was discovered by the businessman when he drank from a river in Chiayi, and found a clear yellowish jelly in the water he was drinking and was refreshed upon trying it. Looking above the river, he noticed fruits of vines hanging which contained seeds which exuded a sticky gel when rubbed. Upon this discovery, he gathered more of the fruits and served them at home with honeyed lemon juice or sweetened beverages. Finding the jelly containing beverage delicious and thirst-quenching, the enterprising businessman delegated the task of selling it to his beautiful 15-year-old daughter who was also named Aiyu. The snack was very well-received and became highly popular. To this, the businessman eventually named the jelly and the vines after his daughter. .


Fruits of the plant resemble large fig fruits the size of small mangos and are harvested in September to January just before the fruit ripens to a dark purple. The fruits are then halved and turned inside out to dry over the course of several days. The dry fruits can be sold as is, or dried aiyu seeds can then be pulled off the outside skin and sold separately.

Jelly making

The aiyu seeds are placed in a cotton cloth bag, where the bag and its contents are submerged in cold water and rubbed. A slimy gel will be extracted from the bag of aiyu seeds as it is squeezed and massaged. This is known as "washing aiyu" in Chinese . After several minutes of massaging and washing, no more of the yellowish tea coloured gel will be extracted and the contents of the bag are discarded. The washed gel is then allowed to set into a jelly either in a cool location or in the refrigerator. One must keep in mind certain things when making aiyu jelly or else the gel may not set:
#There must not be any grease in the container or water used to wash or set the gel
#Sugar must not be added to the aiyu prior to the setting of the gel
#Distilled water must not be used since the gelling depends on the presence of minerals in the water
#The seeds must not be rubbed so hard in washing as to rupture their shells.
Water will slowly seep out of the jelly some time after it sets and it will turn back to a liquid over the course of several days.

The jelly is usually served with honey and lemon juice but can also be included in other sweetened beverages or shaved ice and is particularly popular as a cool drink in hot summers. Since the gel does not dissolve in hot water, aiyu is sometimes used as an ingredient in hot pot.

The Wedding Banquet

The Wedding Banquet , is a film about a Taiwanese immigrant man who marries a woman to placate his parents and get her a . His plan backfires when his parents arrive in America to plan his wedding banquet.

The film was directed by Ang Lee and stars Winston Chao, Mitchell Lichtenstein, May Chin, Ah Lei Gua, Dion Birney, Sihung Lung, and others. ''The Wedding Banquet'' is the first of two movies that Ang Lee would make about gay characters; the second is ''Brokeback Mountain'' . Lee himself makes a cameo appearance in the film as a wedding guest attending the banquet. The film is a between Taiwan and the United States.

Plot summary

Wai-Tung Gao and Simon are a happy living in Manhattan. Wai-Tung is in his late 20s, so his Taiwanese parents are eager to see him get married and have a child. The early part of the movie is madcap comedy. When Wai-Tung's parents hire a dating service he and Simon stall for time by inventing impossible demands. Chinese opera singers are always men, so they demand an opera singer and add that she must be very tall, must have two Ph.D.'s and should speak five languages. The service actually locates a 5'9" Chinese woman who sings Western opera, speaks five languages and has a single Ph.D. She is very gracious when Wai-Tung explains his dilemma. At Simon's insistence, Wai-Tung decides to get married to one of his tenants, Wei-Wei , a penniless artist from mainland China in need of a green card. Besides helping out Wei-Wei, Simon and Wai-Tung hope that this will placate Wai-Tung's parents.

Surprisingly, Mr. and Mrs. Gao decide to fly in from Taiwan, bringing US$30,000 to hold a magnificent wedding ceremony for their son. Wai-Tung dares not tell his parents the true situation, because his father has just recovered from a stroke; they go through with the wedding. However, the heartbreak his mother experiences at the courthouse wedding prepares the story for a shift to drama. The only way to atone for the disgraceful wedding is a magnificent wedding banquet. After the banquet, Wei-Wei seduces the drunken Wai-tung, and becomes pregnant. Simon is extremely upset when he finds out, and his relationship with Wai-tung begins to deteriorate.

In a moment of anger, after a fight with both Simon and Wei-Wei, Wai-Tung tells his mother the truth. She is shocked and insists that he not tell his father. However, the perceptive Mr. Gao sees more than he is letting on; he secretly tells Simon that he knows about their relationship, and, appreciating the considerable sacrifices he made for his biological son, takes Simon as his son as well. Simon accepts the '''' from Wai-Tung's father, a symbolic admission of their relationship, but Mr. Gao makes him promise not to tell anyone; without everyone trying to lie to him, he points out, he'd never have gotten a grandchild.

After making an appointment to have an abortion, Wei-Wei decides to keep the baby, and asks Simon to stay together with Wai-Tung and be the baby's other father. In the final parting scene, as Wai-tung's parents prepare to fly home, Mrs. Gao has clearly forged an emotional bond to daughter-in-law Wei-Wei, but dismisses Simon; in contrast, Mr. Gao accepts Simon and warmly shakes his hand, but appears to consider Wei-Wei's contribution as little more than a business transaction. In the end, though, both derive some happiness from the situation, and they walk off to board the plane, leaving the unconventional little family to sort itself out.


Due to the low budget, most of the film was shot using natural or available light .


The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It won the Golden Space Needle of the Seattle International Film Festival and the Golden Bear of the Berlin Film Festival in 1993.


In December 1993, a novelization of the film was published in Japan, written by Yūji Kon'no.


is a classic dish of vegetables or seafood.


Batter and Frying

A light batter is made of cold water and wheat flour. , baking soda or baking powder, starch, oil, and/or spices may also be added. Tempura batter is traditionally mixed in small batches using chopsticks for only a few seconds, leaving lumps in the mixture that, along with the cold batter temperature, result in the unique fluffy and crisp tempura structure when cooked. The batter is often kept cold by adding ice, or by placing the bowl inside a larger bowl with ice in it. Over-mixing the batter will result in production of wheat gluten, which causes the flour mixture to become chewy and dough-like when fried.

Specially formulated tempura flour is available in Japanese supermarkets. This is generally light flour and occasionally contains leaveners such as baking powder.

Some varieties of tempura are dipped in a final coating, such as sesame seeds, before frying. Tempura generally does not use breadcrumbs in the coating. Generally fried foods which are dipped in breadcrumbs are considered to be ''furai'' .

Thin slices or strips of vegetables or seafood are dipped in flour, then the batter, then briefly deep-fried in hot . Vegetable oil or canola oil are most common, however tempura was traditionally cooked using sesame oil. Many specialty shops still use sesame oil or tea seed oil, and it is thought that certain compounds in these oils help to produce light, crisp batter.

When cooking shellfish, squid, or hard-skinned watery vegetables such as bell pepper or eggplant, it is important to score the skin with a knife to prevent the ingredients from bursting during cooking. Failing to do so can lead to serious burns from splashing oil.

Oil temperature is generally between 160 and 180 degrees Celsius, depending on the ingredient. In order to preserve the natural flavour and texture of the ingredients, it is important not to overcook tempura. Cooking times range between a few seconds for delicate leaf vegetables, to several minutes for thick items or large ''kaki-age'' fritters.

It is important to scoop out the bits of batter between batches of tempura, so they do not burn and leave a bad flavour in the oil. A small mesh scoop is used for this purpose. Tenkasu are often reserved as ingredients in other dishes or as a topping.


Common ingredients in traditional tempura include:
* Seafood: Prawn, Shrimp, squid, scallop, ''anago'' , ''ayu'' , crab, and a wide variety of fish
* Vegetables: bell pepper, ''kabocha'' squash, eggplant, carrot, , green beans, sweet potato, , potato, ''renkon'' , shiitake mushroom, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, okra.

Nearly any food may be used so long as it does not release water into the batter before or during frying. Rice and other cereals, processed foods such as tofu, and watery foods such as cabbage and fruit are generally not used, although some versions of agedashi dofu resemble tempura.

Serving and presentation

Cooked bits of tempura are either eaten alone with dipping sauce or used to assemble other dishes. Tempura is commonly served with grated daikon and eaten hot immediately after frying. The most common sauce is tentsuyu sauce . Alternatively, tempura may be sprinkled with sea salt before eating. Mixtures of and salt or yuzu and salt are also used.

''Kakiage'' is a type of tempura made with mixed vegetable strips, such as onion, carrot, and burdock, and sometimes including shrimp, which are deep fried as small round fritters.

Tempura is also used in combination with other foods. When served over soba , it is called ''tempura soba'' or ''tensoba''. Tempura is also served as a donburi dish where tempura shrimp and vegetables are served over steamed rice in a bowl and on top of udon soup .

History and variations

Tempura was introduced to Japan in the mid-sixteenth century by early and missionaries and traders. The word ''tempura'' may be derived from the noun ''tempero,'' meaning a condiment or seasoning, or from the verb ''temperar,'' meaning "to season."

It is thought that as the term "tempura" gained popularity in southern Japan, it became widely used to refer to any sort of food prepared using hot oil, including some already existing Japanese foods. Today, the word "tempura" is also commonly used to refer to satsuma age, a fried fish cake which is made without batter.

In Japan, restaurants specializing in tempura are called ''tenpura-ya'' and range from inexpensive fast food to very expensive five-star restaurants. Many restaurants offer tempura as part of a set meal or a bento , and it is also a popular ingredient in take-out or convenience store bento boxes.

Outside of Japan, tempura is often used a filling in . A more recent variation of tempura sushi has entire pieces of sushi being dipped in batter and tempura-fried. The ingredients and styles of cooking and serving tempura vary greatly through the country, with importance being placed on using fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Outside Japan, restaurants sometimes use broccoli, zucchini and asparagus. There are many non-traditional and uses of tempura. Chefs over the world include tempura dishes on their menus, and a wide variety of different batters and ingredients are used. Variations include using panko or corn flour, however, the consistency is crisper using panko as opposed to tempura batter, and frying unusual ingredients such as nori slices, non-watery fruit such as banana, and ice cream.

In northern Taiwan, tempura is also known as or and can be found at night markets such as Shilin Night Market and Keelung Temple Night Market, where it is famous. The ingredients and method used for making Taiwanese tempura are completely different from Japanese tempura, and they share only the name. In southern Taiwan, however, it is known as or and is more the counterpart to oden. Oden is generally known as or "Kwantung cooking" in reference to the Kwantung region of Japan.

Taiwanese cuisine

Cuisines in Taiwan have several variations. In addition to the following representative dishes from the people of ethnicity , there are also , , and local derivatives of Chinese cuisines .

Taiwanese cuisine itself is often associated with influences from mid to southern provinces of China, most notably from the province of Fujian , but influences from all of China can easily be found. A notable Japanese influence exists due to the period when . Traditional Chinese food to be found in Taiwan, alongside Fujian and Hakka-style as well as native Taiwanese dishes, includes dishes from Guangdong, Jiangxi, Shanghai, Hunan, Sichuan and Beijing.

Ingredients and culture

Pork, rice, soy are very common ingredients, as with many Taiwanese cuisines. Beef is far less common, and some Taiwanese still refrain from eating it. This is in part due to the considerations of some Taiwanese Buddhists, a traditional reluctance towards slaughtering precious cattle needed for agriculture, and an emotional attachment to such beasts of labour.

Taiwan's cuisine has also been influenced by its geographic location. Living on a crowded island, the Taiwanese had to look aside from the farmlands for sources of protein. As a result, seafood figures prominently in their cuisine. This seafood encompasses many different things, from large fish such as tuna and grouper, to sardines and even smaller fish such as anchovies. Crustaceans, squid, and cuttlefish are also eaten.

Because of the island's sub-tropical location, Taiwan has an abundant supply of various fruit, such as papayas, melons and citrus fruit. A wide variety of tropical fruits, imported and native, are also enjoyed in Taiwan. Other agricultural products in general are rice, corn, tea, pork, poultry, beef, fish, and other fruits and vegetables. Fresh ingredients in Taiwan are readily available from markets.

In many of their dishes, the Taiwanese have shown their inventiveness in their selection of spices. Taiwanese cuisine relies on an abundant array of seasonings for flavour: Soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, , pickled radishes, peanuts, chili peppers, cilantro , and a local variety of basil . The resulting dishes thus combine and form interesting tastes which make Taiwanese cuisine simple in format yet complex in experience.

Regional specialities


Turkey rice bowls are bowls of rice with shredded turkey layered on top, often accompanied by pickled daikon radish. The rice is drizzled with a kind of gravy made from the turkey drippings and soy sauce.


Hsinchu is famous for its pork balls, which are often eaten in soup.

Rice vermicelli are another Hsinchu specialty. They are often eaten 'dry' with mushroom and ground pork.

Dasi, Taoyuan

Dasi dried tofu , of which there are two basic kinds, plain dried tofu and flavored dried tofu. People eat dried tofu as a dish or snack in Taiwan.


Suncake is the most noted pastry in Taichung. It is baked layered pastry with a sweet center that is often made with honey or molasses.

Tainan City

Pork knuckles , Tainan dan dan noodles , shrimp and meat dumplings , and shrimp crackers/biscuits are among the most notable local dishes. Another popular dish originating in Tainan is "oily rice" , a rice dish containing savoury oils and shredded pork meat, mushrooms, and dried shrimp.

Coffin Bread is similar to French Toast, but filled with savory fillings, such as black pepper beef or chicken. Thick cut bread is dipped in egg, deep fried, cut along three sides, opened and filled, and eaten.


Changhua is famous for Ba-wan, literally meaning 'meat circle'. They are a kind of large dumpling made from a gelatinous dough and stuffed with pork and vegetables, most commonly mushrooms and bamboo shoots.


Nantou is famous for Yimian, which is tasty, soft noodles in sou, and Rou-yuan, which is similar to Ba-wan. Rou-yuan has dried mushrooms and bamboo along with the meat.

Typical dishes

* ji?-h? ke? - thickened soup with cuttlefish wrapped in fish paste.
* ?-á-chian - Oyster omelet made with eggs, oysters and Garland chrysanthemum leaves. It has a soft, sticky texture, and is eaten with a sweet and mildly spicy sauce, topped with cilantro. This dish is very common in night markets as it is the most popular snack in Taiwan.
* ?-á mī-sòa? , or oyster vermicelli, a thickened soup containing small oysters and Chinese vermicelli.
* o· bí-ko - a dish made from pork blood and rice. It is usually cut into a rectangular piece and served on a stick, dipped in soy sauce, with the option of adding hot sauce, then topped with powdered peanut and cilantro.
* ló·-bah-pn?g - minced, cubed, or ground fatty pork, stewed in soy sauce and spices, then served on rice.
* tōa-tn?g pau sió-tn?g , or small sausage in large sausage, a Taiwanese pork sausage placed inside a larger sticky rice sausage which has been slit down the middle.
* - a chicken dish which literally translates as "three cups chicken", named because the sauce is made of a cup of rice wine, a cup of sesame oil, and a cup of soy sauce. Alternately, the sauce can also be made of a cup each of rice wine, sugar, and soy sauce.
* chhài-pó?-nn?g - Taiwanese Style preserved white radish omelet.
* koe-á bah - Steamed pork patty with Taiwanese Style pickled cucumber.


* bubble tea, aka boba milk tea; also known as pearl milk tea - tapioca added to milk tea.
* - grass jelly
* ò-gi?-peng - a gelatinous dessert, aiyu jelly, made from the seeds of a fig-like fruit, probably ''Ficus pumila var. awkeotsang''. Served on ice.
* ō?-á-peng - a dessert made of frozen taro root paste.
*chhú-khak-ké, chháu-á-ké - Cakes made with a dough from glutinous rice flour and combine with a ground cooked paste of ''Gnaphalium affine'' or ''Mugwort'' to give it a unique flavour and green colour. The dough is commonly filled with ground meat or sweet bean pastes.

Many of the non-dessert dishes are usually considered snacks, not entrees; that is, they have a similar status to dim sum or tapas. Such dishes are usually only slightly salted, with lots of vegetables along with the main meat item.

Vegetarian restaurants are commonplace with a wide variety of dishes, mainly due to the influence of Buddhism.

There is a type of outdoor barbecue called khòng-i? . To barbecue in this manner, one first builds a hollow pyramid up with dirt clods. Next, charcoal or wood is burnt inside until the temperature inside the pyramid is very high . The ingredients to be cooked, such as taro, , or chicken, are placed in cans, and the cans are placed inside the pyramid. Finally, the pyramid is toppled over the food until cooked.

Night market dishes

Taiwan's best-known snacks are present in the s, where street vendors sell a variety of different foods, from finger foods, drinks, sweets, to sit-down dishes.In these markets, one can also find fried and steamed meat-filled buns, , refreshing fruit ices, and much more. Aside from snacks, appetizers, entrees, and desserts, night markets also have vendors selling clothes, accessories, and offer all kinds of entertainment and products.

* small cakes - batter is poured into hot-metallic molds and gets quickly cooked into small cakes of various shapes. Countless variations exist. Sometimes the cakes have fillings ranging from cream, red bean paste, to peanut butter.
* Various drinks are also often sold, ranging from bubble tea stands to various juice and tea stands.
* Stinky tofu - the aroma of stinky tofu is intimidating at first but can be an acquired taste.
* Ba-wan - a sticky gelatinous dough filled with pork, bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms, and served with a savory sweet sauce.
* corn - vendors may specialize in one type of corn or they could offer varieties between savory/salty and sweet corn. Sometimes the corn is steamed.
* Taiwanese sausages - fatty pork sausages with a sweet taste. There are several different kinds. Kaoliang is sometimes used in the sausage recipe. In night markets they are often served on a stick with many different condiments. Sometimes, they are wrapped in glutinous rice. In the very early 1980s, when resources were still relatively scarce, the standard serving is one sausage link on a toothpick garnished with a clove of garlic.
* Scallion pancakes - flour pancake with many thin layers, made with scallions. A snack originating in the Chinese mainland.
* Candied Crabapples - red candy coated bite-sized fruits served on a stick. Sometimes the crabapples are stuffed with preserved plums, and then candied.
* Squid or fish on a stick - often marinated, then grilled.
* Shaved ice - popular dessert consisting of shaved ice and a variety of toppings to choose from.
* Tempura - made from starch and minced meats. It has a soft yet chewy consistency and can be either sweet, salty, spicy, or all of the above.
* Taiwanese Crepes , also known as popiah - semi-cispy super-thin flour crepe filled with a variety of filling, such as powdered sugar, peanut powder, egg, pork and even seafood. Taiwanese crepes are the made from the same dough as in Taiwan .
* Crepe - Similar to the french original but made on the spot. Very popular in the early 2000s.
* Fruit or bean smoothies - milk or ice is blended on the spot with fresh papaya, mango, watermelon, azuki bean, or mung bean.
* Fried glutinous rice balls - slightly sweet in flavour.
* Fried chicken pieces - thumb-size chunks of deep-fried chicken sprinkled with pepper, chilli and fried basil.
* Shawarma - A sandwich usually made from spiced, grilled chicken and served on a leavened, white flour bun with cabbage, a slice of tomato, sliced onions, ketchup, and mayonnaise. Brought over from Turkey decades ago, the seasoning is quite different from the seasoning used in making shawarma in Turkey.

Artistic Food

The last timeframe when these foods were in style was the early-to-mid-1980s, before one of many construction booms.

Although not strictly an artistic good, sticks of two or three plums, speared, and covered in a hard, red candy shell were usually sold by the same vendors due to supplier overlap and common ingredients--and as such disappeared at the same time.

sugar painting - Warm sugar liquid is poured onto a metallic worktable, and the vendor quickly carves the thin layer of sugar into whatever imagery requested by the customer before the sugar inevitably harden. These exquisite pieces of art are then consumed by the customer. Common shapes include animal heads and popular objects. Masters of the trade are capable of crafting enormous pieces that is created in parts and then connected together at the end.

dough dolls - dough rolled in sugar and various food coloring replaces clay to create small delicate dolls that usually resemble characters from Chinese fables, though other types of dolls are usually made to attract modern customers. Though technically edible, the dough is difficult to digest.