Food and Drink in Taiwan

A guide to food and drink in Taiwan: the national cuisine, eating out and street food, local specialities, tea and beer...

Cuisine in Taiwan reflects the island’s cultural diversity and history. It has been strongly influenced by the cuisine of both mainland China and Japan, which ruled the island for half a century. Japanese cooking techniques and classic choices, such as raw fish and fried prawns, have been reworked into Taiwanese specialities. A classic Taiwanese take on a Japanese dish is miso-grilled fish; the pungently flavoured fish is served with a slightly sweet sauce and plain rice. Hakka influences are also evident.

Chinese Influences

Taiwan is a popular culinary destination for tourists from all over the world. It is said to offer some of the best Chinese cuisine to be found anywhere. The main styles of cooking reflect China’s different regions:

  • Taiwan, where the food is lightly seasoned and simple. Dutch and Japanese influences have led to both raw and boiled foods being widely used
  • Guangdong cooking, which uses a large number of ingredients prepared by baking, stir-frying or steaming
  • Fujian cooking, which is dominated by steamed seafood dishes with sweet and sour flavours
  • Shanghai dishes, which are usually served with plenty of sauce
  • Hunan, where the food is often rich, sour and hot. The region is known for its smoked bacon and use of red peppers
  • Sichuan, known for its spicy food; fish and other seafood dishes are popular
  • Hakka cooking is known for its strong flavours and use of dried and preserved ingredients. The dishes tend to be heavy and can be salty, fatty and well done