If you’re thinking about visiting Taiwan, you will need to prepare yourself. Not just for traveling, but for the food as well.
What could be so bad about the food?
Take Taiwan’s stinky tofu as an example.
Many have compared it to having a stench similar to rotting cheese.
Most Taiwanese love this food, though. They have also put in hours of work to make these dishes. To be polite, you will want to open your mind to new foods.
Despite their bizarre flavors, these foods don’t taste bad. When trying each of these foods, you may find that you love it more than what you’re used to.
Here are 10 weird Taiwanese foods.
1. Turkey Testicle Pizza
The story begins in a pizza shop in Chiayi. A small city in Taiwan’s southern region.
Sunny Queen Restaurant’s chef, Yu, posted a controversial promotion on their Facebook page.
It’s a pizza that has turkey testicles as the toppings. They claim that the topping is perfect.
Because it will not shrink once it leaves the oven. The ingredient’s large size gives you the most meat possible with your pizza.
Many video bloggers who have tried this pizza have mixed opinions. One claimed that once you take a bite, a mix of juicy flavors will burst into your mouth.
They also exclaimed that the dish tasted like hot dogs.
What is the texture like, though?
The turkey testicles themselves are chewy and have a stringy feeling.
2. Chicken Testicles
A theme among most Taiwanese food is that you will find it at a night market. Chicken testicles are no exception. They are high in protein and an affordable snack.
Most of the time, you will either find these deep-fried with breading or sauced and sautéed. Sauces and spices that compliment chicken testicles are sesame and pepper.
Many night market vendors will include separate bowls with salt and soy sauce. That way, you can dip your chicken testicles and experiment with different flavors.
Like the turkey testicles, the chicken testicles will erupt in your mouth. They will also leak a creamy and intense savory taste.
3. Pig’s Blood on a Stick
Pig’s blood cake, or pig blood curd, is a chewy, yet smooth and soft food. It’s made from coagulated pig blood. Cooks will also add salt to solidify it.
Many Taiwanese will fry, or steam these cakes and serve them at night markets.
Sometimes these cakes are not entirely made out of pig’s blood. When visiting night markets, these cakes will include sticky rice to hold them together.
These cakes are easy to digest and have several vitamins and minerals.
They are also high in iron. It’s theorized to help protect the Taiwanese from the effects of smog.
Taiwanese love to experiment with different pizza types. Even major pizza chains. In 2021, Pizza Hut Taiwan announced a pizza that mixes pig’s blood cake, peanut powder, cilantro, and century eggs.
They dubbed it cilantro century egg pig’s blood cake pizza.
Later in 2022, Pizza Hut took their cilantro and pig’s blood cake to the next level by adding pig intestines.
Once people taste the marriage of flavors, many will fall in love.
Throughout the country, you will find a combination of ingredients with peanut powder. This amplifies most dishes’ taste by adding a nutty taste.
For example, many night markets will complement blood cakes with cilantro and peanut powder.
4. Hornet Larvae
Out of all the weird Taiwanese foods, I’d say this one triumphs the rest.
Taiwan has many Asian giant hornets. However, they have transformed a problem into an opportunity. This is because many wasp species have edible broods.
One example is at a restaurant in Taiwan’s eastern city, Hualien. It’s there that you will find raw and fried pupae and hornet larvae.
Some customers have compared the murder hornets’ taste to French fries.
To enhance these insects’ tastes, restaurants will cook these bugs with sugar or soy. And you can either eat them plain or with greens.
Some foreigners say that these hornets make for great drinking food. Thus, if you try them, pair them with the clean taste of Taiwan Beer.
5. Century Eggs
These famous eggs have several names.
Some include the millennium egg, thousand-year-old egg, preserved egg, and the century egg. It’s a popular food throughout Taiwan and China.
Many will make them by preserving chicken, duck, or quail eggs for several months or weeks in a mixture. This mix of ingredients includes clay, quicklime, rice hulls, salt, and ash.
As the egg ages, the yolk’s color will transform into a grayish or dark green color. The whites will become translucent dark brown jelly. Some chemicals involved in transforming these eggs are ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and alkaline salt.
These give the egg its strong flavor and creamy consistency.
The Taiwanese will eat these eggs in various ways.
Some include stir-frying them with vegetables or cutting them into chunks. Or they will drizzle soy sauce over them and serve them with freshly chopped spring onions.
Despite their preservation and the chemicals involved, they are safe to consume.
That’s unless you get one from a factory with contaminated machinery.
6. Phallic Waffles
While exploring the labyrinth of alleys in Taipei’s Shilin Night Market you will find an interesting sight. Vendors who sell penis-shaped waffles known as Gaykes.
Many vendors throughout Taiwan will sell waffles shaped like various cartoon characters and animals.
However, this is one of few places where you can find their phallic counterparts.
When ordering one of these cakes, you can choose from various fillings like hot dogs or cream. If that’s not enough, you can coat your waffle with other flavors.
These include chocolate, sprinkles, and other sugary flavors.
You can also find penis-shaped at Taipei’s Ximending Pedestrian Area. It’s the city’s youth shopping district.
At these shops, you can buy boxes of these cakes in different flavors like green tea, chocolate, and regular.
7. Stinky Tofu
When walking through Taiwan, you’re bound to take a whiff of what many tourists have labeled as ‘foul.’
The culprit of that odor is likely stinky tofu or chou dou fu.
It’s a dish that’s fermented for days or months in brine. The marinade includes a mixture of meat, vegetables, and other flavors the chef decides to add.
In Taiwan, there is no universal way to cook stinky tofu. Some vendors or restaurants will deep-fry their fermented tofu, while others will serve it uncooked.
In Taiwan night markets, most vendors will serve fried stinky tofu.
If you make your way into Taipei City’s Shenkeng District, you can find barbequed fermented tofu. This has a sponge-like texture on its skin and a smooth, yet nutty, center.
When trying stinky tofu, many recommend that you try the barbecued variation first.
That’s because of its more pleasant odor.
You can also try stewed stinky tofu, which has its scent masked by a spicy broth.
You will want to avoid steamed tofu, unless you’re brave, though. This is because steamed tofu has the most pungent odor.
When eating fermented tofu, Taiwanese will accompany this dish with greens, soy sauce, garlic sauce, pickled cabbage, or chili sauce.
8. Duck Tongues
Most of the world eats pig, sheep, and ox tongues, but not duck tongues.
That’s because they don’t have much meat. But these are packed with flavor. This tasty dish is common in restaurants and night markets throughout Taiwan.
The most famous place to find them is in Ximending’s Laotian Lu duck store. They sell every duck piece you can think of; hearts, livers, gizzards, heads, and more.
You will mostly find duck tongues fried, and it has a texture that’s crispy and similar to skin-hugging bones.
Once you taste the duck, its creamy and slightly fatty flavor will melt into your mouth. If you’ve tried chicken feet, then trying duck feet may not bother you much.
9. Oyster Vermicelli: Intestine Noodles
300 years ago during the Qing Dynasty, Chinese migrants brought Intestine-Flour-Rice Noodles from Fujian in China to present-day Taiwan.
This delicacy includes wheat- and rice-based noodles. They sit within a broth made from small segments of pig intestines, oysters, or a combination of the two.
This combination of ingredients gives this dish a savory flavor that comforts the Taiwanese. It also helps keep them warm during cold snaps or rainy days.
Sometimes, they will also add basil or coriander to amplify the meal’s flavor.
10. Chicken Butt
Taiwanese don’t like to waste any parts of animals.
This includes chicken butts, or Ji Pi Gu. While they don’t add much nutritional value, they add an extra chewy texture to whatever dish you’re eating.
Depending on the sauce that you choose, you will also have a slightly sticky and sweet taste that makes for a tasty combination. Restaurants and street food vendors will cook these by throwing them into oil and frying them.
Would You Try Any Of These Weird Taiwanese Foods?
While on the outside, these weird Taiwanese foods may seem too bizarre to try, but they’re not.
Most of them taste amazing. As long as you don’t have any allergies, I recomend trying some of what I’ve listed—especially the pig’s blood cake.
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