Taiwan’s 10 most popular street foods over the last decade

By Daisy Chung, Ivy Chen Eva Huang, and Julia Janicki

Welcome to Taiwan, an island where, despite its small geographic size, is truly a giant in the world of food. From its festivals to night markets, bountiful 7-Elevens to street vendors, Taiwan’s many delicious offerings remain one of the top reasons for tourists to visit.

We wanted to see how Taiwan’s most iconic street snacks shifted in popularity over the past 10 years (were some always popular? Did some have a huge rise in popularity?), so we dove into Google Trends data. Since Taiwan’s street foods run the complete gamut of flavor, we separated the data to look at the top five sweet snacks and the top five savory snacks.

Just how much do these tasty dishes cost nowadays? And are the calories worth it? For a closer look, we did on-the-ground research at a night market in Taipei to find their current prices as of 2022 and calorie data from MyFitnessPal! Though much depends on serving size, street vendor, additional toppings and variations, among other variables, we used our best judgment to show representative numbers.

Meet Taiwan's savory street foods

To make it easier to eat fried chicken on the go, a couple created small boneless chicken pieces with basil, pepper, salt, and chili powder.

If you can get past stinky tofu’s pungent smell, you’ll find a soft, silky center and delicious taste—truly an unmatched delicacy!

This gelatinous treat’s outer layer is made of sweet potato starch, corn starch, and rice flour. Inside is pork, bamboo shoots, and shiitake mushrooms.

Imagine butterflying a chicken breast. Pound it flat, marinate it in spices, bread it, and then deep fry it. The result: a crispy outside and juicy, tender inside.

The beloved scallion pancake is a non-leavened flatbread with scallions. You can flavor it with spicy sauce, an egg, and many other toppings.

Meet Taiwan's sweet street foods

Enjoyed hot or cold, this soft tofu pudding often comes with mung beans, red beans, peanuts, sweet syrup, soy milk, fruit, and taro balls.

Sweet potato balls are famously “QQ”—crispy on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside. Fun fact: they’re also a vegan snack!

Here’s Taiwan's most famous concoction: black tea, milk, ice, and tapioca pearls, all shaken together like a martini. Enjoy with a wide straw!

Just like you might expect, this nutritious drink is made with ripe papaya and milk. It’s creamy, mildly sweet, and often a little frothy.

Often eaten with local syrups and fresh fruit, shaved ice is the perfect way to cool down during Taiwan’s hot summer months.