Header image courtesy of klairelee, Mirror Media, Food Tracer Taipei, iCarry
Taipei is full of delicious food, and there is no way that you won’t miss the food after taking a trip there. One way to ensure that doesn't happen is to buy enough food souvenirs to take home to your friends and family, to share the joy! Even though the shops at the Taoyuan International Airport carry many of the popular snacks, there are some good ones that might not be available and you should definitely take a special trip to buy them before departing from this lovely city. Here are the essential food souvenirs to get, and where to find them.
While not everyone is a fan of offal, this odd-looking and hands-on delicacy is probably the best-known food souvenir from Taipei. Marinated with spices and soy sauce, the duck tongue is braised with the flavour completely soaked in. Without much flesh to eat, it has a chewy mouthfeel that many have described the experience as resembling “French kissing a duck.” If you are trying to be adventurous but still have hesitations, just so you know that duck tongue is usually available in different sizes and portions.
Where to get it: Lau Tien Lu, No. 55, Section 2, Wuchang Street, Wanhua District, Taipei | (+886) 02 2361 5588
Pork paper is a unique Taiwanese invention that involves a meticulous and time-consuming production process. The marinade is black bean soy sauce, which is only made with native Taiwanese black soybeans, salt, water, and sugar. It is a traditional form of soy sauce that requires six months of fermentation and contains no MSG, gluten or food colouring. As for the pork, it is first mixed with apple and almonds and then marinated in black bean soy sauce for one and a half hours. After cooling, it can be sliced into thin sheets and be hand baked.
The final product is a crispy pork paper that is only 0.01 centimetres thick, which presents a huge contrast in flavour and texture from the conventional juicy and meaty pork jerky. Pork paper is highly addictive and goes extremely well with beer, so remember to buy more for yourself, family, and friends!
Where to get it: Kuai Che, 1/F, No. 55, Section 2, Hangzhou South Road, Da’an District, Taipei | (+886) 02 2396 5528
Originally from the Tamsui District, the iron egg was an accidental invention that turned out to be a great success! With the choice of chicken, pigeon, or quail egg (with the latter being the most popular), an iron egg has to be repeatedly boiled in a mix of spices and air-dried to achieve its dark brown colour and chewy texture. It is characterised by its shrunken size which also contributes to the intense savoury, sweet, and slightly spicy taste. Aside from getting them fresh, vacuum-packed iron eggs are also available for eating at home or on the run!
Where to get it: Grandma’s Iron Eggs, No. 135-1, Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District, New Taipei | (+886) 02 2625 1625
Here’s another Taiwanese original. Suncake is a round flaky pastry that typically comes with a maltose filling. Consisting of two layers, this snack offers contrasting textures between a crunchy buttery crust and a soft sweet inside. Aside from the traditional version, vendors have become increasingly innovative and offer a variety of flavours, such as honey, rose, cheese, and black sesame.
Where to get it: Ruyi Sunny Cake, No. 22, Section 2, Kaifeng Street, Wanhua District, Taipei | (+886) 02 2361 3399
Despite the namesake, Taiwanese nougat is nothing like Italian or French nougat but is, in fact, a soft and chewy milk candy embedded with peanuts. It has been rated as one of the must-buy food souvenirs from Taipei. Aside from the original flavour, vendors have also gotten creative and released numerous flavours, such as pearl milk tea, strawberry cheesecake, matcha almond, bamboo charcoal, sweet potato, and even salted egg yolk!
Where to get it: G12•Zamen, No. 30, Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei | (+886) 02 2885 4500