A Foodie's Guide To Eating In Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Juicy pork meatballs, stinky (but delicious) tofu, mountains of fresh seafood and unique aboriginal dishes; sampling the best eats in Kaohsiung is a pleasantly extensive experience not to be missed by any food fanatic visiting the city.
As one of the largest and most important port cities in Taiwan, Kaohsiung is first and foremost a seafood destination, known for its wonderfully fresh seafood dishes, encompassing everything from oyster omelets to delectable indigenous fish dishes. Additionally, the city is just 3.5 hours from Singapore with a direct flight by China Airlines, making it as convenient as flying to Hong Kong.
If you don’t have a local to guide you to the best food spots in the city, it can often feel a little overwhelming, especially if you are new to Taiwanese cuisine. Between the countless snacks on offer at various night markets, to the various food influences from China, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to Taiwanese cuisine.
So to help you decide what to eat when you visit Kaohsiung, we’ve put together this helpful foodie’s guide to eating in Kaohsiung, Taiwan:
NIGHT MARKETS OF KAOHSIUNG
Taiwan’s night markets are such an inherent part of the culture of the island that it would be a huge shame to skip a visit to these lively nightspots during a visit to Kaohsiung. Soak up the distinctive atmosphere, sample lots of delicious cheap eats and come away with a happy belly full of the best Taiwanese food made right in front of you with fresh ingredients.
Kaohsiung’s most loved and popular night markets include Guanhua, Liouhe, Rueifeng and the Jhongsiao and Singjhong night markets. Each market has its own appeal, whether in the cheap prices, the sheer quantity and range of dishes on offer, or in the friendly atmosphere that welcomes both tourists and locals alike.
One of the most popular dishes in the night markets is ‘stinky tofu’. You will definitely smell it before you see it, but don’t let the smell put you off, as its surprisingly tasty flavor (which has been likened to that of blue cheese) has converted many skeptical tourists into devoted fans. Made from a brine of fermented milk, vegetables and meat, stinky tofu comes in many forms including deep fried, spicy, soft and stinky tofu shashlik; the latter of which is popular with first-time tasters.
Stinky tofu – Taiwan’s most famous snack!
What else can you expect to sample on a visit to Kaohsiung city? Lots of seafood delicacies, conveniently chopped up into bite-sized snacks, plenty of fried and greasy goodness, and a few local favorites to get tongues wagging and mouths drooling!
Pig’s blood cake is a particularly standout Taiwanese delicacy made from, you guessed it, pigs blood steamed with rice and coated in a peanut powder. Sticky rice rolls, dumplings, mochi (glutinous rice cakes), pork ball soup and oyster omelets are just some of several other must-try traditional Taiwanese dishes, all of which can be easily found across Kaohsiung.
Pig’s Blood Cake is a common dish found in Taiwan
Another of the most interesting aspects of eating in Kaohsiung is being able to experience the unique Hakka-style cuisine; a cooking style, which originated in the Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Fujian. Ingredients in Hakka-style cuisine include lots of salt, pickled vegetables and plenty of oils, making it quite heavy and filling.
Taiwan’s Hakka traditional cuisine – Stewed pork belly with pickled vegetables
Aboriginal cuisine is also noticeably unique and distinctive to Taiwan, and Kaohsiung certainly has no shortage of unique native dishes. Aboriginal food can include lots of raw meat, such as fermented pork, and uses predominately natural ingredients such as wild vegetables, plants and seafood. Tourists should not miss out on the opportunity to try the amazing selection of aboriginal cuisine available in Kaohsiung, as it’s one of the most interesting and rare aspects of Taiwanese cuisine, which has been surprisingly well preserved in the culture.
For desserts, try the famous Mango Shaved Ice, a notoriously delicious and popular treat that can be spotted in almost everyones hands during the hot summer months. Papaya milk is another common drink that can be seen all over Kaohsiung, and feels wondrously refreshing under the hot sun.
The popular Mango Shaved Ice dessert
There’s no end to the amount of amazing food that can be found in Kaohsiung, and all over Taiwan. It’s possible to spend days or even weeks just sampling all of the amazing dishes and special foods that Taiwan has become so famous for. If you’re a foodie, you’ll instantly fall in love with this little island, and be blown away by the quality, richness and taste of the local cuisine. In fact, it’s so good, we’re sure you’ll be craving it once you’re back home!
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(Source: www.holidayssg.com, 21 April 2014)