Taiwan offers a culinary experience like nowhere else, with an array of delectable (and affordable) specialties with origins in southern China and incorporating a wide range of local and Japanese influences. If there's a rule here it's that a variety of small dishes, eaten often, beats larger, less frequent meals. In fact, snacking is a national pastime, making Taiwan ideal for the traveller with a tight schedule, a body clock set to a different timezone and a steady appetite. You won't have to go far to find these iconic dishes, with many on offer either on streets lined with famous restaurants or at Taipei's numerous night markets.
Tips for tasting Taipei
- If you're struggling to choose a specific restaurant or food stall, look for places that are busy with locals or (even better) where you have to wait in line – you can be sure whatever they're serving is going to be good.
- Don't worry about etiquette too much (apart from waiting your turn to order), especially in cheaper restaurants and night markets, where the mission is to eat quickly and go. Be prepared for gruff service, or even to be rushed out, at peak times!
- Generally no tipping is expected or necessary in Taiwan, though some more upscale restaurants will add a 10 percent service charge to the bill.