Lola’s Food Travel: THINGS I ATE IN TAIWAN (PART 1 – STREET FOODS)

Taiwan was one of those places that I had never thought of visiting despite its proximity to the Philippines. Admittedly, I didn’t know much about it prior to my trip aside from its famous skyscraper, the Taipei 101. Needless to say, I had no regret spending almost two weeks on this island because of one thing—food. Delicious, gratifying Taiwanese food.

Before deciding to go to this beautiful country, my initial choices of destination to take my holiday break were India, Vietnam, or Indonesia. I ended up going to Taiwan because it had the cheapest flights that I could find at that time. I am a frugal traveler which translates to I want things cheap. It was a fortunate accident, so to speak, because I had an amazing time discovering this nation that is rich in ancient history, friendly people, and delicious foods.

And delicious food it was! I was floored by the variety of tastes and flavors that this small country has to offer. Taiwanese street food is simply one of the best in the world. A myriad of Taiwanese dishes—greatly influenced by Chinese, Japanese, and other neighboring Asian countries—envelops every street and corner of every city and county on this tiny island. Each one boasts of its unique version or speciality. And for a good reason. Every food scene showcases the best and freshest ingredients that the local communities can offer to its hungry visitors.

Shilin Night Market
Shilin Night Market

The Shilin Night Market is arguably the most famous night market in Taipei, but I spent my first night of food tripping in a less touristy place—the nearby Shipai Night Market. My Taiwanese/Canadian friend, John Leno, toured me around and introduced me to the local street food scene. I met John in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia a few years back during one of my backpacking trips. He took me to Shipai Night Market where many of the locals go (less touristy too!). In this market, I had my first taste of Taiwanese cuisine, such as spring roll, shaved ice, and stinky tofu!

Ita Thao Village (伊達邵) at Sun Moon Lake
Ita Thao Village (伊達邵) at Sun Moon Lake

Ita Thao Village can be found in Sun Moon Lake, one of the popular tourist attractions in Nantou County. It’s a charming village along the magnificent lake, surrounded by the rolling mountains of central Taiwan. Its laid-back streets are lined with shops and restaurants which offer a variety of local specialties that I wish I can all devour.

Jiufen Old Street
Jiufen Old Street

Another popular tourist destination is Jiufen Old Street, about two hours east of Taipei. This village is a labyrinth of hilly streets and staircases. Lots of popular food to eat here, such as tea eggs, taro balls, and peanut ice cream roll. Jiufen became popular because of its resemblance to the setting of the Japanese animated movie Spirited Away.

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It’s almost impossible to travel to Taiwan and not experience their street food and night market scenes. It would be like traveling to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. To give you an idea on what street foods to try in Taiwan, here’s a list of the ones that I was able to taste and enjoy:

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Blogged: On TV, Print, and Gratitude

Hello, everyone!

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for your continuous support of this blog. It has been almost five years since this food blog started. There were some challenges along the way to the point that I almost gave up on keeping it updated. But because of my faithful readers throughout the years, I am inspired to stay to keep it up and running.

Creating a food blog (or any kind of blog, for that matter) and maintaining it are two completely different things — the former being easier that the latter. Keeping it active is not an easy task, especially for someone with a really busy schedule. However, there’s a sense of reward and fulfillment every time I hear (and read) really nice words from you. For that, I thank you.

Mga Luto ni Lola
The blog’s old logo with the original Blogspot URL.

And because of your constant support, I’m proud to share with you that Mga Luto ni Lola has consistently been one of the highest [Google] ranking food blogs in the country, sometimes even beating many of the really well-known food blogs. In fact, this blog is even more popular than the blogger behind it. And that’s okay, because it was never my intention to be popular anyway.

Mga Luto ni Lola also paved the way to so many doors for me — from social media management to job opportunities to even writing a book. I also had my own share of failures though, but at least I get to meet really amazing people who believe in me and in what I am capable of doing. And I guess that’s the best thing that happened to me more than anything else. Not to mention, all the sponsors and media companies who have supported me all the while.

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Of Holidays and Birthdays

Considering that several holidays were celebrated in the past couple of months, I feel that I failed to deliver what this blog was supposed to provide. Most food blogs had shared with their readers some great recipes for the holidays. I wish I had also done so. But unfortunately, time did not permit.

So many things occupied my time and kept me from updating this blog for the past couple of months. I’m actually amazed that there are still people visiting my blog and sending me e-mails even if there were no recent postings. Juggling my time with work, school, and personal life is not easy — to say it mildly — despite that I’ve been working and studying from home for more than three years now.

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