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11 Muslim-Friendly Street Food In Taiwan You’d Regret Not Trying

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Nasreen Nasir  •  Jan 21, 2019

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[Updated 17 January 2020] The night markets in Taiwan are an inherent part of the culture and you’ll see them almost everywhere on the island. Between checking out the shopping districts and taking in the amazing sights around the cities, it’s a MUST for every visitor to stop by the local night markets. Credit: Giphy While the markets are filled with good food, it can be pretty tricky to locate those that are Muslim-friendly. Fret not, you lucky Muslim travellers as we found 10 drool-worthy snacks you HAVE to try in Taiwan 🤗 You can also check out these 9 delicious Muslim-friendly Taiwanese snacks to bring back home as souvenirs! Disclaimer: Do note that we've tried these snacks at Ningxia Night Market, Shihlin Night Market, Ruifeng Market and Jiufen Old Street and personally checked with the store owners on the ingredients including the oil used for fried foods. As none of the food items is halal-certified, we advise our readers to consume at their own discretion. Additionally, you may also equip yourself with these useful phrases to ease your food hunt:
  • Is there pork/lard in this? - 请问食品里有猪肉或猪油吗? (qing wen shi pin li you zhu rou huo zhu youma?)
  • I can’t eat pork - 我不能吃猪肉 (wo bu neng chi zhu rou)
  • I can’t consume alcohol - 我不能喝酒 (wo bu neng he jiu)
  • I can't consume gelatine - 我不能吃吉利丁 (wo bu neng chi ji li ding)
  • Is there plant-derived gelatine in this? - 请问食品里有植物來源吉利丁吗? (qing wen shi pin li you zhi wu lai yuan ji li din ma?)
  • Is this vegetarian-friendly? - 请问这是素食吗 (qing wen zhe shi su shi ma?)
Alternatively, you can also look for the 素食 (su shi) sign on stalls as it indicates vegetarian options! Vegetarian options may include alcohol so do check the ingredients and dine at your own discretion.
1. Peanut Ice Cream Roll
For any sweet tooth, this is THE ultimate snack! Whether you’re coming during winter or summer, the Peanut Ice Cream Roll is a local favourite. If you’re wondering what it is, it’s actually a thin flour crepe that is filled with peanut candy shavings and 2 scoops of ice cream. The edges are then folded in and rolled like a burrito - yummy! It’s commonly served with tiny coriander leaves too but if you’re not a fan, you can always opt that out. Where we tried this: Jiufen Old Street.
2. Seafood
An immensely popular nightmeal, you can see seafood stalls in almost every corner of the market. From the fresh shrimps to oysters and other shellfishes, seafood lovers will definitely stop by for a little feast. Choose your favourite and have the vendor grill it in front of you. Sprinkle a little salt on your dishes and eat away. We personally recommend the oysters and shrimps. 😊 Do note that condiments such as soy sauce may contain ingredients such as alcohol, but you can usually request to have it cooked condiment-free.Where we tried this: Ningxia Night Market.
3. Deep Fried Stuffed Squid
No, we’re not talking about the cute little squids you usually eat. The deep-fried squids in Taiwan are no joke - they’re pretty humongous! What makes them unique is the squids are stuffed with celery, carrot and cucumber sticks before being deep-fried to perfection. We know what you’re thinking - it’s very filling but the combination is fantastic. You can find these in almost every food district and night market, so don’t worry about missing it, you can’t! P.S. Do note that some stalls may stuff the squids with meat so check what ingredients they're using! Where we tried this: Ningxia Night Market.
4. Fried Mushrooms
Chunky, juicy andflavourful - this is what you can expect from the fried mushrooms. If you call yourself a mushroom lover, you can’t possibly walk by vendors frying fresh wild mushrooms without wanting to try one. Available in a variety of seasonings (our favourite is the simple salt!), you’ll find yourself wanting more. It’s definitely a taste you can’t miss! 😋 As a bonus, many of these fried mushroom stalls tend to be vegetarian, meaning they use only plant-based oil too. Do check what condiments or toppings they may offer, as sauces such as soy sauce may include alcohol.Where we tried this: Ruifeng Night Market.
5. Sweet Potato Balls
The locals can’t get enough of this popular street snack and neither can we! For light bites, you can count on these sweet potato balls! Made with grated sweet potatoes and tapioca starch, these small puffs are crunchy and sweet. You can tell that they’re perfect for kids too. Look out for the 'vegetarian' sign on these stalls! Where we tried this: Ruifeng Night Market.
6. Fried Ice Cream
Next up, fried ice cream! Not particularly groundbreaking but it is a common sight at the night markets these days, especially during summer. Each ice-cream is hand-crafted carefully wherethe chef will ensure the ice cream will be kept intact while flash-frying it, ensuring that the outside is light and crispy without jeopardizing the ice-cream inside. Choose between vanilla, chocolate or strawberry - they’re all quite good!Where we tried this: Ruifeng Night Market.
7. Mashu/Mochi
Familiar with mochi? Now THIS is the Taiwanese version of it, but with a little twist. Known as mashu, these snacks are made with glutinous sticky rice balls which are then coated with peanut, sesame or other flavours. Lightly sweet and topped with desiccated coconuts, the mochi melts in your mouth like snowflakes while retaining that chewy texture. We loved it so much we ordered another batch! 😜 Where we tried this: Ruifeng Night Market.
8. Stinky Tofu
One of the vegetarian stalls is famous for their stinky tofu, known to be Taiwan’s national snack. At first smell, the fermented tofu might put you off and really, the hardest part is putting it in your mouth for the first time. But once you do, you’d be pleasantly surprised! We personally thought it tasted like fried tofu with plenty of soy sauce and garlic. P.S. Do note that this is a fermented product. Where we tried this: Shihlin Night Market.
9. Taro Balls
Just like glutinous rice, taro balls are also popular amongst the locals. These sweet and chewy desserts are perfect for when you’re looking to unwind after walking all day. They’re served either hot or cold and you also have the privilege to mix them with other condiments like red and green beans. The best part is - they’re quite light so you don’t feel completely overwhelmed by the taste. If you’re in Taiwan during summer, best to enjoy them with a bowl of shaved ice. 😉 Where we tried this: Jiufen Old Street.
10. Fruit juices/milkshakes
There will always be at least one stall selling fresh fruits, or fruit juices for a sweet and refreshing snack. Papaya milk (木瓜牛乳) has become a popular trend in Taiwanese street markets recently, along with pomegranate or lemon juice too. Where we tried this: Liuhe Street Night Market
11. Fried Shrimp with Egg Roll
If it can be deep-fried, you can guarantee it'll appear in a Taiwanese street market. 😉 We tried this combination of prawns, egg, and flour (topped with mayonnaise) that was crunchy and savoury at once! You can also request for no mayonnaise, and do be aware that some stalls might offer a teriyaki-type saucethat may contain alcohol.Where we tried this: Liuhe Street Night Market So, with all these options available, don’t you worry about going hungry in Taiwan! There are lots of Muslim-friendly options available. Just come with an empty stomach and you’re ready to venture out on your street food adventure 😉