This post is a continuation of Eating Vegan In Taiwan: Part 1. I have tons more info to share about vegan food in Taipei, so get ready! Let’s dive back in.
Fried Tofu is very popular in Taiwan. If you’re like me and you love (fried) tofu, then you’ll find Taipei to be a great place to eat! It was at nearly every restaurant we went to. We often ordered it as a side dish with our meal.
One of the more interesting places I had it, was at a Thai restaurant. We ordered the Fried Tofu appetizer, which came with an onion soy-sauce to dip them in. What was so unique about this dish, was that it was fried silken tofu, not fried firm tofu. Weird, right? So basically the outside had a nice crispy crunch to it, and the silken tofu on the inside was hot, and melted in your mouth like a mozzarella stick. I haven’t actually had one of those in years since I became vegan, but I swear this fried silken tofu melted in your mouth like a mozzarella stick. It was very unique!
I’ll write a quick sentence or two about “stinky tofu.” Stinky Tofu is a traditional Taiwanese dish that was served many places we went, and often found in the street markets. I was curious to try it, but at the same time it smelled SO BAD. Like, one of the worst smells I’ve ever encountered, lol. So if you’re ever in Taiwan and curious to try a traditionally vegan dish called “Stinky Tofu” go right ahead! You’ll be braver than I was.
One of the things I really wanted to do in Taipei was visit one of their many vegan bakeries. That’s right, Taipei has MULTIPLE vegan bakeries! I considered my options, and ended up paying a visit to a bakery called Vegan Heaven.
Vegan Heaven was a 10 minute walk from the Taipei 101 tower, so pretty accessible to a fun part of town with other things to see in the area. The shop owner was so friendly and nice to us. She offered us multiple free cookie samples as we looked over her selection of treats for the day.
I ended up trying the lemon cake, the pineapple cake, and the tiramisu (along with all the free cookie samples). The lemon cake was definitely my favorite. It was so moist, fluffy, and bouncy. Perfect cake consistency! The pineapple cake was more on the dry side, and had a fig/date type filling. It was good as well, but I prefer moist cakes. The tiramisu was amazing. Rich, creamy, chocolatey, light-coffee taste, and so smooth.
She had some cream/fruit tarts and a few other cakes out as well. I wish I had tried everything but unfortunately I ran out of money! I highly recommend a visit to this cute little vegan bakery if you’re ever in Taipei. The owner also gave us a map to take with us, that listed other vegan-friendly businesses in the area. It was so kind of her to give that to us, and I really hope to go there again one day.
Other Foodie Finds In Taipei
This is my “miscellaneous” section of the post. Here are a few other foodie-type activities you can do in Taipei, Taiwan that are vegan friendly!
Buy Fresh Fruit
Our free breakfast at the hostel each day was pretty awesome (Meander Hostel, for those who are curious – cheap, clean, great location). It usually consisted of rolled oats, fresh fruit, various breads for toast, peanut butter, jams, etc. Back home rolled oats and fruit is usually what I eat for breakfast, so I was pretty happy I could eat that every day in Taiwan as well!
On one of our first days of the there we made a trip to a grocery store for some snacks. I stocked up on extra fruit for my morning breakfasts. If a free breakfast at your hotel/hostel is not an option, then finding a grocery store for some fresh fruit is incredibly easy. Also, it is insanely cheap. I bought a big bag of apples, oranges, and star fruit for the week, all for about $5 USD equivalent.
Go Tea Shopping
One of our many fun side activities was visiting a fancy tea shop for Oolong tea tasting! We went to the Shing Hwa Tea Shop because it was recommended to us by some of Cruise’s Japanese friends. I’m really glad we did, because it was a pretty memorable experience! The owner sat and talked with us for a long time. She walked us through the entire process of how to make tea the right way, explained all of its tradition, explained the difference in tea leaves when they’re harvested at various altitudes (something new I learned – apparently various altitudes impact the strength of the flavor and aroma of the tea!) and let us sample many different kinds of teas. I definitely recommend a stop here if you get the chance.
If you’re a foodie like me and enjoy small food + drink adventures like this, I recommend going tea tasting in Taipei! There are tea shops and cafes all throughout the city, so finding one will not be hard. Just hop on Google Maps the next time you have WiFi and check out the local tea cafes/shops in your area.
Visit A Local Craft Brewery
Taipei has multiple small breweries in the city where you can taste good local beers. My friend Cruise and I found one tucked away off a side street near Dahn Park called Zhang Men Brewery. They had a huge selection of local, craft Taiwanese beers to try!
My favorite was the fruit beer (golden-colored beer on the right). It wasn’t sweet like most American fruit beers, but had a strong citrus flavor (think lemons + tangerines). It was great! I like citrus + sour tastes, so it was the perfect beer for me.
Try The Side Dishes
Side dishes are a big part of dining out in Asian countries. I’ve noticed this to be especially true in Japan and Taiwan so far. Often times the menu has a ton of side dish options that you can make an entire meal out of.
Some of my favorites were daikon (winter root vegetable that is very popular in Asia) stewed and served with a sweet & sour sauce. I also really enjoyed steamed/boiled leeks and bok choy in garlic sauce, which was common everywhere we went. So if it looks like there are few vegan options on the menu, you can always order multiple side vegetable dishes and ask for plain steamed rice to eat them with. I enjoyed it because how they prepare vegetables over there is so different from America, so it was still a unique experience!
Being a vegan in Taiwan wasn’t 100% effortless, but overall I still give it a rating of “easy.” I tried so many amazing local flavors and tried so many amazing new things. I can’t wait to start creating new recipes in my kitchen that are influenced from the food I tried there.
If you are vegan and looking to visit Taipei or Taiwan, you will have no shortage of amazing things to eat. I hope this post, and Part 1 of this series, helps anyone planning a trip over there, now or in the future!