Sunday, February 12, 2012

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Food in Tainan

2/12/2012 Taiwan Explorer

Food in Tainan is truly something special and famous throughout Taiwan. Tainan used to be Taiwan's center of the sugar industry, which was initiated by the Dutch in the 17th century and later continued by the Qing. Sugar cane farms dominated the area for few centuries, but were later turned into rice paddies. And that left a lingering effect on Tainan's cuisine of today, which tends to be sweeter than the one in other parts of the country. A lot of popular local dishes are said to have their origins in Tainan, where they were either created or made popular, such as the oyster omelette 蚵仔煎, danzi noodles 擔仔麵, coffin sandwich 棺材板, bowl rice cake 碗粿, milkfish 虱目魚, oily rice 油飯, eel noodles 鱔魚意麵 and many more. In this post I will try to list some of the most famous dishes I tried and popular shops I've visited during my short stay in Tainan. For your reference, there are links to Google Maps, so you can find the shops yourself. This uncompleted list will be expanded once I have the pleasure to visit Tainan again. If you know of any famous shop I've haven't seen, please drop a comment below.

1. Oyster Omelette 蚵仔煎

This dish is found in many places all around the city. It's very common on night markets in Tainan and its popularity has spread all over Taiwan.

2. Danzi noodles 擔仔麵

This rich common man's dish is very popular in Tainan. There are a lot of excellent stalls serving this distinctly local delicacy. It's also popular in Taipei's Huaxi Street.

3. Coffin sandwich 棺材板

This interesting dish originates in Tainan and has become a common staple on night markets around Taiwan. It's French toast filled with meat or other ingredients.

4. Babaobao 八寶包 near Confucius temple at 克林台包

This is a famous baozi near Tainan's oldest temple. To find it, check this map.

5. Milkfish belly soup 虱目魚肚湯 at 阿堂鹹粥

The famous shop, who's name could be translated as Ah-Tang's Salty Porridge, can be found here. It's usually very crowded, but truly worth the wait.

This is their famous Milkfish belly soup or 虱目魚肚湯.

Shrimp rice with a very salty pickle or 蝦仁飯. Very delicious!

The milkfish belly from close. Very mild in taste and smell, but very tasty.

Mixed salty porridge or 綜合鹹粥. My wife liked it a lot. Bits of the milkfish are inside.

6. Beef soup 牛肉湯 at 阿村

Ah-Cun's shop is famous for his beef noodles and can be found here.

This soup was not bad, but very plain for my taste. My wife likes it a lot, though.

7. Soup 浮水虱目魚羹湯 at 阿鳳

This is Ah-Fong's milkfish soup shop - it's located right next to Ah-Cun's beef noodle shop.

The soup is rich and delicious.

The noodles make it a very fulling breakfast.

8. Bawan at 台南許家肉圓

This is one of Tainan's most famous bawan shops. You can find the restaurant here.

Bawan on the left, thick soup 香菇肉羹 below and taro cake or 芋粿 on top.

9. Anping bean jelly or douhua 安平豆花 at 同記

This is one of the most famous bean jellies or 豆花 in Tainan. This small shop was opened, because the main one was too crowded. We were lucky to find it. Find the real shop here.

It's truly one of the best douhua I have ever tried - sweet and soft - a pure delight.

Tainan City also has a very rich night market culture. I will go deeper into that in a separate post, so stay tuned.

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