During my previous trip to Tainan, I had some really authentic local food. Most of them have been around for at least 50 years; same old recipes owned by family businesses, passed down from father to son.
Listed below, are some of the food I had in Tainan worth mentioning.
Sha Cha Sauce
My first impression of that sauce is that it looks similar to the peanut satay sauce we have back home. It has a deep colour and a chunky consistency. Really added a lot of flavour to whatever random pieces of food I dipped into.
In that restaurant, customers have access to as much of that sauce as they want. I refilled my tiny bowl with sha cha sauce multiple times.
Hey Song Sarsaparilla
With my hot pot meal, I ordered the local soft drink. A little fuzzy drink always makes a meal more enjoyable. I was taken back by how strong the flavour was.
Also, it was not overwhelmingly sweet. That makes it healthier right?
I LOVE everything glutinous rice. Needless to say, I find this to be absolutely delectable.
On a bed of soft glutinous rice, there were slices of pickled radish, fish floss, some mushroom and braised fatty pork belly.
According to Constant Companion RR, this dish was served as a representative food to some foreign ambassador visiting Taiwan.
Till today, I regretted not ordering a second bowl that day. It is something I look forward to during my next trip to Tainan.
Random Tofu and Wraps
As a side dish with the migao, we had an order of random food items. Radish, sausages, tofu and eggs.
They were good. However, in the shadow of the migao, they are totally overwhelmed by its greatness.
Fried Sweet Potato Balls
Bought these from a street-side stall run by a solemn-looking elderly lady. She was making the sweet potato balls fresh next to the giant wok of hot oil, where an assistant was busy frying away.
A cheap and tasty snack with a crunchy exterior and a soft, gooey interior. Do take some time and let them cool off a bit before biting into one.
Taiwan Meatball (Ba Wan)
Within its chewy white skin, is a savoury meat-and-vegetable filling. Served with a slightly sweet, clear gravy drizzled on.
Various Hot Sweet Soup Dessert
Really comforting during the chilly weather. There are always a lot of options to choose from and each of them has a variety of ingredients, so each bite is a tasty mixture of textures and tastes.
In one shop, the lady boss went the extra mile to further heat up our orders (from warm to hot) because it was a particularly cold morning. That bowl of sweet soup dessert warmed my heart as much as my body.
Old School Popsicle
Another one of Constant Companion RR‘s recommended “traditional Tainan eats”, we had to walk quite a bit to reach the shop. Located deep in some alley way, the shop offers some unique flavours to choose from.
I chose the glutinous rice flavor (of course). It was sweet and creamy with bits of glutinous rice. Interesting.
Wanton and a Tea Egg
I was brought to this stall which specialises in selling wanton and noodles where I was told that it is from this humble stall, the family run business expanded internationally with their wanton recipe.
Judging from the eatery, I would never have guessed how well received are their wanton. Sure it was packed, a sign how good their food is, but wow… Internationally? Who would have thought?
Yes. Served in a light broth, their wanton are good. I have nothing to talk about the tea egg though.
I tried the famous “Coffin Bread” in a shop which claims to be the birth place of the morbidly named dish.
Basically, it is a thick slice of bread, deep fried, with its center cut out and filled with a white sauce with corn, carrot, peas and chicken.
To me, the filling tasted similar to the filling of a chicken pie I had before.
From the same shop which served the Coffin Bread, this eel noodle dish is also on the menu.
The gravy was starchy with a very slight tinge of spiciness and, if I recall correctly, tasted like ketchup.
The meat of the eel was firm and noodles, chewy. Yum.
Fried Century Eggs
Tried these fried century eggs at this massive night market and it was so disappointing that we could not continue past the first couple of bites. That is saying a lot coming from me as I always try to finish all the food infront of me (much to the dismay of Constant Companion RR).
I love century eggs, so when I saw a stall selling fried century eggs, I was naturally intrigued and made a beeline towards it. While I am always having the century eggs in porridge or right out of their shells, I never had them fried.
We bought this snack from a stall without a queue (or any customers), when all the other stalls nearby all drew huge lines waiting. It was a sign I noticed but ultimately, ignored.
After placing an order, the young stall attendant proceeded to scoop a portion right out from a pile of fried century eggs, left cooling and exposed on an aluminium tray. Then, she asked what kind of sauce would I like to have on my order, to which I said I would have her recommendation. From a bottle, she poured on some “garlic” sauce and scattered a handful of chopped spring onion before handing it over to me.
I took a bite and it was all wrong. There no taste of century egg nor the “garlic” sauce. The texture was all weird and the snack was cold. After a couple more attempts to change my mind, it was quickly disposed off in a bin.
In my mind, however, I am sure that this was just a one time fluke, a separated incident. No way something so delicious as century eggs can be made so horrible deep fried. The next time I see another stall selling fried century eggs, I will give it another shot.