What to Buy in Taiwan Supermarkets

person in taipei city, taiwan
Theodore
Travel Writer

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This is a list of all the best foods and snacks to buy from supermarkets and hypermarkets in Taiwan. Read on to learn more.

I’ve lived in Taiwan for over 5 years and have tried most snacks from Taiwanese supermarkets. I want to help any shoppers—whether tourists or expats—find the best munchies to buy.

Supermarket chains in Taiwan are as follows:

  • Wellcome: Owned by Carrefour
  • Jasons Market Place: Owned by Carrefour
  • Citysuper
  • Carrefour Market: Small Carrefour
  • PX Mart
  • Simple Mart

You’ll see supermarkets everywhere.

Taiwan’s list of hypermarkets include:

  • Carrefour Taiwan
  • A-Mart
  • Costco Taiwan
  • RT Mart
  • Don Don Donki Taiwan

If you’re from the US, Taiwan doesn’t have Walmart.


Best Food Souvenirs from Taiwan Supermarkets: Summary

Taiwan beerTaiwan-based spirits
Cheap pineapple & sun cakesChili sauce
Affordable mochiMr. Brown instant coffee
Crispy pork paperInstant noodles
Taiwanese nougat candiesKuai Kuai Corn Puff Snacks
Dried shredded squidI-Mei Mini Puffs
Cheap loose-leaf teaUnique Coca-Cola flavors
Taiwanese fruit jellyGreen onion cakes
Yakult Gummy Candies
Best snacks to buy at supermarkets in Taiwan.

Taiwan Supermarket Foods to Consider

The following sections will cover all my recommendations on snacks to buy at Taiwanese supermarkets and hypermarkets.

I’ve tried all the foods on this list, but not all the alcoholic drinks. Everyone’s taste preferences will differ, but so long as you’re not allergic to anything, I recommend at least trying it.

Mind you, many of these items will only list their ingredients in Chinese characters and not English. Consider this if you have allergies or dietary restrictions (e.g., kosher).


1. Taiwan-based Spirits

  • Avg. Price: NT$35–3,000

Various brewing companies and distilleries originate from Taiwan and produce some great-tasting spirits. Kavalan, for instance, is an award-winning malt liquor.

18 is Taiwan’s legal age of alcohol and consumption. If you buy drinks here, prepare to present the cashier with your passport or ARC (if you live here). If you’re coming from a country where the drinking age requirement is higher, practice caution when buying from Taiwan.

I don’t know how all customs agents will act, but I recommend against bringing alcohol from Taiwan to your home country if you’re considered “underage” at home.

BrandChinese Name
Kavalan噶瑪蘭酒廠
OmarNA
Kinmen Kaoliang高粱酒
Yusan Kaoliang Chiew玉山高粱酒
Matsu Tunnel 88 Kaoliang Liquor馬祖八八坑道高粱酒
Chyi Leh Wei琪樂薇酒廠
Taiwan Beer台灣啤酒
SUNMAI金色三麥
Taiwan Ale Brewery台灣艾爾
Taihu Brewing臺虎精釀
Bucksin 金車柏克金
Long Chuan龍泉
Le Blé d’Or金色三麥
Jolly Brewery+Restaurant卓莉手工醸啤酒泰食餐廳

The characters 臺 and 台 are the same word (Tai; like Tai-wan). 台 is the Simplified Chinese variation of 臺. Companies and organizations throughout will use these characters interchangeably, which often could lead to confusion among foreigners.

“Kaoliang” is a distilled liquor made from fermented sorghum and has a light aroma. Companies make this type of liquor will have “Kaoliang” in their names.

Most of the beer companies listed (except Taiwan Beer) are craft beers. Taiwan Beer is the most common and cheapest beer in the country.


2. Pineapple & Sun Cakes

  • Avg. Price: NT$50
  • Taste: Buttery, sweet, tart pineapple filling, crumbly pastry, fragrant with tropical notes.

Not all supermarkets sell packages of pineapple cakes. They’re hit or miss. And if you find them available, only buy if you don’t have enough money for higher-end, better-tasting cakes like those from Chia Te.


3. Sweet Spicy Chili Sauce

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  • Avg. Price: NT$30–40

If you’re looking for something to induce acid reflux or an unpleasant morning on the toilet, look no further. In all seriousness, this sauce tastes wonderful. If I could eat spicy stuff, I’d use it with every meal.

Treat yourself if you’re a spicy food lover, or gift it to someone who appreciates setting their stomach on fire.

This sauce isn’t actually that spicey. I’d say it’s mild.


4. Taiwanese Mochi

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  • Avg. Price: NT$40+

Taiwanese mochi is a mixture of water, sugar, rice flour, and glutinous rice flour. They come in various flavors like peanut (favorite), red bean, matcha, and more. An excellent treat for anyone who wants a great-tasting snack that isn’t too rich.

The specific box I got is Halal. If that’s a souvenir you’re after, there you go.


5. Instant Coffee

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  • Avg. Price: NT$150 for a pack of 20

Taiwan has a massive variety of instant coffee and bottled coffee compared to what’s available back in the States—in my experience. One brand I’ve never seen in the US is Mr. Brown (Taiwanese brand).

I hate their coffee’s taste, but taste is subjective. If you, or someone you know, loves instant coffee, buy these.


6. Crispy Pork Paper

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  • Avg. Price: NT$120+

Crispy pork paper, or pork jerky, is dried pork that’s often mixed with almonds and apples. You’ll need to use an image translator app like Google Translate to see whether you’re looking at pork or beef jerky.

Most of the packaging I found only has Chinese characters and made differentiating the meats difficult.


7. Instant Noodles

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  • Avg. Price: NT$10–60 per pack

Taiwan’s famous for its massive variety of instant noodles. Whether Taiwanese, Chinese, ramen, or Korean styles, you’ll find noodles having various makeups. More expensive ones include real meat. While some super cheap ones don’t require water to make.

Grocery stores will have many of their instant noodles in packs of 4 or more. If you’re wanting to experiment with flavors or save money, buy individual packs from convenient stores; e.g., 7-Eleven and Family Mart.

I put together a list of all Taiwan’s most popular noodles (plus pictures). Keep reading to learn more.

Wei Lih Men

Shuang Xiang Pao

Shuang Xiang Pao

Ke Xue Mian

Ah Q

Man Han Da Can

Shui Yuan Vegetarian

Prince Noodles

Science Noodles

l Taiwan’s best instant noodles:

Noodle Name (EN.)Name (ZH)Avg. Price
Wei Lih Men維力炸醬麵NT$20
Shuang Xiang Pao雙響泡鹽味豚骨NT$28
Tung-I統一蔥燒牛肉碗NT$19
Ke Xue Mian統一科學麵NT$30
Ah Q Tong Mian統一阿QNT$30
Man Han Da Can統一滿漢蔥燒牛NT$51
Shui Yuan Vegetarian味丹隨緣素肉骨NT$78
Hua Diao Ji Mian台酒花雕雞麵NT$48
Wei Wang Prince Noodles味王王子麵NT$31
Science Noodles科學麵NT$10

The Shui Yuan Vegetarian noodles are vegetarian. I couldn’t find single packets of Science Noodles at supermarkets; only at convenience stores. But they’re around NT$50 for a pack of 4 or 5.


8. Taiwanese Nougat Candies

taiwanese peanut nougats from Salico
  • Avg. Price: NT$150 per box
  • Texture: Soft, chewy, sticky, with crunchy inclusions like nuts or seeds.

Taiwanese nougats are traditional candies that come in varying flavors like peanut, green tea, and more. Salico is a popular brand you may find at supermarkets.


9. Kuai Kuai Corn Puff Snacks

20230801 1931072
  • Avg. Price: NT$28 per bag
  • Chinese name: 乖乖
  • Taste: Creamy coconut
  • Superstition: Believed to make electronics behave

These creamy, crunchy corn puff snacks taste pretty good, but most Taiwanese buy them for its superstitious value. Look beside computers, servers, and other monitoring systems throughout Taiwan, and you’ll see a bag of these crackers sitting beside it.

乖乖 (guai guai) translates to “well-behaved.” It’s believed that these snacks make electronics behave. Partially due to the bag being green. Since green lights on electronics (e.g., routers) indicate it’s properly working.

Whether you get the Kuai Kuai for superstitious value or to eat, ensure you get the green ones. When experimenting with flavors, also try for the yellow and red ones.


10. Dried Shredded Squid

20230801 1937352
  • Avg. Price: NT$115

Think of shredded squid as squid jerky. If you like squid, or seafood in general, try these. Look for any packaging in the jerky aisle that has a squid on it.


11. I-Mei Snacks

20230801 1941002
  • Avg. Price: NT$30+

I-Mei is a Taiwan-based snack company with many stores throughout the country. Their candies don’t have the most varying tastes, but they’re great snacks for kids or adults who want an ass load of sugar.


12. Loose-leaf Tea

  • Avg. Price: <NT$100

You’re better off buying loose tea from any of the thousands of tea shops throughout Taiwan. They often don’t cost too much and have more flavor and aroma.

If you’re after something cheap, and happen to find yourself at a supermarket, get the tea from here.


13. Unique Coca-Cola Flavors

  • Avg. Price: NT$30–35

Coca-Cola frequently releases unique flavors in Taiwan, and grocery stores will keep them in stock. For instance, there was the Coca-Cola and Bleach (anime) collaboration for the Soul Blast drink. All that artificial sweetener really blasted my soul.

Find these in the soda aisles. Taiwan doesn’t often keep drinks by cash registers like many western stores to for impulse buys.


14. Taiwanese Fruit Jelly

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  • Avg. Price: NT$49

Fruit jelly packets come in varying flavors (I got guava) and are an excellent snack for someone who wants a fruit-like snack that doesn’t taste too sugary. I recommend leaving these in the fridge several hours before consuming. They’ll taste better when chilled.


15. Green Onion Crackers

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  • Avg. Price: Less than NT$73
  • Taste: Savory, mild onion flavor, crisp texture, with a light saltiness.

These green onion crackers taste great, don’t cost much, and make for nice snacks when on a flight or bus ride. They’re typically made of yeast, baking soda, white flour, flavoring, and sprinkled sea salt.

They’re also not vegan. As some include milk. Pay attention to the packaging if you have dietary restrictions. Some of them will have English translations.


16. Yakult Gummy Candies

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  • Avg. Price: NT$21

Yakult is a yogurt drink commonly found around Taiwan. To allegedly make more money, the company made these into bite-sized snacks and sprinkled them with sugar to “enhance” their “health” benefits.

I was very disappointed by the amount of gummies I received in my pack (around 5) and don’t actually recommend them. I placed them on this list as something for y’all to consider, since they’re unique.


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About Theo

Theodore began first experienced the wonders of traveling when visiting Vietnam. Afterward, he went crazy and ventured to at least… More about Theo