Julie Taiwan 11 Comments

Stinky tofu, pig’s blood soup, and chicken feet, oh my!! We ate some weird things while in Taiwan and believe it or not, we even ate out of a toilet. Our two weeks in Taiwan was a culinary adventure and tons of fun. We wandered through night markets, ate at delicious Japanese restaurants, and feasted on Dim Sum. Here is our Taiwan food tour.

Taiwan Food Tour

Modern Toilet

Our food adventures began at a classy restaurant named “Modern Toilet.” It was a rainy day, we had spent all morning visiting a museum, and Tyler and Kara were ready to have some fun. We ate chicken curry out of a toilet, chocolate ice cream out of a squat potty, all while sitting on toilets ourselves. It was tons of fun and one of our crappiest meals yet.

Toilet Bowl Food

Crappy Desert

Raohe Night Market

The night markets in Taiwan are legendary. Personally, I was a huge fan. Where else can you try foods you’d never see in the US for as little as a dollar?

Raohe Night Market in Taipei was our first Taiwanese night market tour and looking back it was also our favorite. At Raohe there were enough new (for us) foods mixed in with more recognizable and enticing foods, something to keep everyone in my family happy.

Raohe Night Market Sign

Food Stand

Tyler Taiwan


Grilled octopus…yum!

Grilled Squid


Hotdogs, Taiwan style

Hot Dogs


Kimchi French Fries

Kimchi French Fries


Minced pork rice

Minced Pork Rice


And here’s the pig.

Porky Pig


Strawberries in a crunchy, sugary shell. They had tomatoes, too, but these seemed a bit odd.


Conveyor Belt Sushi

For dinner one night we ate at Sushi Motto and where Kara discovered her new favorite food was sushi. She was a huge fan of the conveyor belt with tiny plates of raw fish that kept passing in front of her. I am still a big fan of enormous bowls of noodle soup.

Udon Soup

Shilin Night Market

Our second night market was the biggest and supposedly the best in Taipei, the Shilin Night Market. We found it to be overcrowded, turning what should have been a fun experience into something more like torture. We didn’t stay long, just long enough to sample some new foods.

Frying Milk

Shaved Ice

Keelung Night Market

We hit our third night market in Keelung, a city just north of Taipei. We stayed here specifically to visit the night market. 

Pig’s blood soup was on my list of things to try and we found it right away here. So, what is pig’s blood soup? Floating in chicken broth are cubes of congealed pig’s blood, reddish-brown spongy blocks of blood. Honestly, the cubes did not have much taste but the broth was delicious. Tim, Kara, and I tried it and I was the biggest fan.

Pigs blood soup sign

Pig's Blood Soup

Keelung Night Market 2

Taiwan Night Market

Din Tai Fung

One of our favorite restaurants in Taiwan, and perhaps during our entire trip, is Din Tai Fung. This Taiwanese restaurant is one of the most popular places to eat in Taipei. We ate dinner here, having dumplings, wontons, noodle and rice dishes, and the food was amazing. This is a chain restaurant and voted as one of the best places to eat in Asia. During our tour of the island we also stopped to eat here in Kaohsiung.

Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung Chefs

This restaurant was so clean and so efficient. The chefs wore head coverings and face masks, so there’d be no stray hairs in our food. While we waited to be seated at our table we placed our order from the menu (in English and Chinese), making our wait time very short, and allowing them to feed as many people as possible. We need one of these in Maryland!

Taitung Night Market

Our Taiwan food tour ended at a night market in Taitung. As a side note, we were amazed at the number of cities that started with Tai…Taipei, Taitung, Tainan, Taichung.

Anyway, it was at the night market in Taitung that we tried stinky tofu for our first time. You can smell stinky tofu before you get to it. There is a terrible smell that permeates the air around the food stalls selling stinky tofu. Tyler didn’t even like to stand near them.

But we were in Taiwan, we had to try stinky tofu!

Well, none of us liked it, and Tim and Kara were completely disgusted by it. It does have a taste of food past its expiration date. While we were just trying to sample the stinky tofu, people around us were gobbling it down.

Stinky Tofu

More Information for Your Trip to Taiwan

TAIWAN: Here are 10 interesting facts about Taiwan. Journey through Taipei in photos and learn how to hike Teapot Mountain.

JAPAN: Learn about the best things to do in Kyoto, how to day trip to Hiroshima, how to watch Sumo wrestling, and journey through Tokyo in photos.

CHINA: Learn how to visit Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, the best things to do in Yangshuo, what it is like to hike the Great Wall of China, things to do in Beijing, and get essential travel tips for China.

TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD: Learn more how to plan a trip around the world in our Around the World Travel Guide. You can also read our 13 Month Around the World Itinerary and a recap about our around the world trip.


Are you planning a trip to Taiwan? Read all of our articles about Taiwan in our Taiwan Travel Guide.


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Comments 11

  1. Avatar for Galene Wong
    Galene Wong

    Looking through these pictures brings me back to my childhood spending summers in Taiwan with my grandparents! The sugar coated “tomatoes” are likely hawthorns, the original fruit of tanghulu.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  2. Avatar for Yuan Weigel
    Yuan Weigel

    Love how adventurous the kids are! Wished my son is more willing to try new food and experiences. Can’t wait to go in December. Great blog!

  3. Avatar for Phoebe

    Hi! This post was really interesting to me especially because I’m going to Taiwan next week. One major factor that is making me anxious and scared is my severe allergy to peanuts. Are there a lot of peanuts in Taiwanese dishes? How was it communicating the severity of nut allergies at restaurants and night markets? I heard the night markets use a lot of peanuts, and often don’t understand the severity of nut allergies. I don’t want to be too scared to try anything that I don’t try at all, but I definitely don’t want to get in the mess of an anaphylactic shock.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Phoebe. I can understand your concern. I don’t remember having a hard time communicating in Taiwan but you are right, not everyone there understands the severity of a peanut allergy. Tyler has a peanut allergy and we were very careful about what he ate. He did try some foods. Some stalls focus on one type of food so it’s kind of easy to tell if they use peanuts or not. He did try stinky tofu, not that he liked it. You will have to walk through the markets, and once there you might feel more comfortable once you see the food stalls. In this situation, it would help to have a translation card just so you can accurately let the chefs know about your allergy. But there is such a wide variety of foods at these markets and there will be safe foods for you to try. Cheers, Julie

    2. Avatar for Phil Hall
      Phil Hall

      Try to make down to Tainan and check out their Light Bulb Alley. Great city _ the old capitol. Great remnants from the Dutch occupation era as well as the oldest temples on the island.

  4. Avatar for Charles

    > As a side note, we were amazed at the number of cities that started with Tai…Taipei, Taitung, Tainan, Taichung.

    Not a lot of visitors pay much attention to the names of the cities. But, you apparently notice the “pattern”! 🙂

    Tai-pei: North (pei, 北) of Taiwan
    Tai-nan: South (nan, 南) of Taiwan
    Tai-tung: East (tung, 東) of Taiwan
    Tai-chung: Center (chung, 中) of Taiwan

    You might ask: where is West of Taiwan? In fact, there is a place with such a name (Tai-si). But, it is not a city, albeit a small township!

    Stinky tofu is fermented. Like other fermented food, e.g. kimchi and sour cabbage, they smell spoiled and awful. But, the chemical links of the food have been broken down and transformed to something much easier to digest by the human body. Another famous fermented food is Nattō (なっとう). If you are not a Japanese, you can’t really tolerate its aftertaste in your mouth. But, part of longevity of Japanese is contributed by these fermented soybeans! Once you overcome the smell and the fear factor, it is just like cheese, another famous fermented product, which you might have enjoyed since childhood.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      It’s interesting, when we were talking to a man from Malaysia, he loved things like stinky tofu and Durian but he couldn’t get past the taste of cheese, particularly the stronger cheeses like blue cheese. Just goes to show that what we have a preference for has to do with our exposure to different foods. I would love to return to Taiwan and try more foods there…the night markets are my favorite memory from Taiwan. Thanks for explaining the origins of the city names…we were wondering!! Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Sue

    Julie, I just came across another blog about food in Taiwan. This makes me sooo hungry!


    I have totally enjoyed following your travels this past year. I will be sorry, as I am sure you will be, that this fantastic experience will come to a conclusion. But, there will be follow-ups, I’m sure. Life is an adventure. Thank you for your wonderful posts.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      That is a GREAT article! I wish I had read that before we went to Taiwan. So many times we were wandering around, eating “mystery food!” Now I want to go back. The street food and these night markets with their “small eats” is one of my favorite memories of Taiwan.

      Thanks for following us. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of follow ups and posts once we are home, I still have a lot to write about. And who knows, maybe we will go around again!!

  6. Avatar for Yin Jun Li(Celine)

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