As a Taiwanese, local Taiwanese food is the most unforgettable cultural identity of most Taiwanese people. When I show my eager of Taiwanese food, I am asked frequently by friends in London, what is Taiwanese food? Is there different from Chinese food? Well, basically, being one of Chinese-speaking countries, Taiwanese food is included in Chinese food. However, it could be local and cultural characteristics which differ from other Chinese-speaking area. Today, I am going to introduce the most representative Taiwanese food, and restaurants where you can try these cuisines in London.
1. Taiwanese Beef Noodle in Soup
Compared to stewed beef noodle in soup, Taiwanese style is cooked in red braised beef with spicy. Normally, it includes both meat and tendon just like it shows above. But for some reasons of food taboos, such as people who from traditional agricultural family or prepare for examination, restaurants also offer beef soup noodle which only includes noodle in broth but no beef.
Xianlongbao is a type of steamed bun which is identified with thin skin covering soup and pork with minced crab meat and roe. The most famous xianlongbao restaurant in Taiwan is Din Tai Fung, which is well known for the 18 folds wrapping. There are several branches in USA, Australia, and other Asian countries. Unfortunately, it has not expanded to Europe. Hopefully it will soon open its branch in London.
3.Minced Pork Rice
Minced pork rice is a common cuisine in most of local restaurants. With the sauce, even basic rice can be delicious. Like most of Italians claimed their mother has the best recipe making pizza, most of Taiwanese family has their secret recipe of cooking the sauce with minced pork. Basically, the ingredients are minced pork mixed fat and lean meat, sliced red onion and garlic, crystal sugar, rice wine and soy sauce.
Gua Bao, or steamed sandwich, is a traditional street food in Taiwan. It made of pork belly with pickled mustard, cilantro, and ground peanuts in steamed bread. The most recent Gua Bao bar is located in SOHO called Bao London. The information is:
Open Time: Mon-Sat 12-3pm, 5:30-10pm
Address: 53 Lexington Street Soho, W1F 9AS
5.Taiwan Fried Chicken
Taiwan fried chicken is commonly seen in night markets and street snacks. It made of bite-sized pieces of chicken, coated and fried with flour and seasoning mixture. Mostly, the vendors who sell Taiwan fried chicken offer other choices, such as mushroom, cauliflower, sliced sweet potato, and turnip cake. The vendor looks like this:
How to order at Taiwan fried chicken vendors? Firstly, take a small blanket to store your choices from ingredients they offer. Once you finish, pass the blanket to the servant and pay for it. They will fry what you picked and add basil in the pan to increase the flavour. In the end, they will ask if you would like spicy, such as paper or paprika, and load them up in food paper bag. All you need is use the attached bamboo sticks to enjoy this wonderful taste.
6. Peal Milk Tea
Peal milk tea, or bubble tea, is the world famous Taiwanese drink. There are several bubble tea shops around Soho and China town. Even though Chatime has the most branches in UK, the most traditional taste of peal milk tea is from Sharetea based on my own experience. Here is the information:
Open Time: Mon-Sat 12-11pm, Sun 12-10pm
Address: 65 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6LD
The traditional Taiwanese restaurant in London – Old Tree
Old Tree, as the well-known Taiwanese restaurant, offers most of cuisines that I have mentioned above. If you would like to taste what Taiwanese food is, try these most famous and popular from the list.
Open Time: Mon-Sat 9:30am-10:30pm, Sun 9:30am-10pm
- Piccadilly 26 Rupert Street, London, W1D 6DH
- Sloane Square Unit A2 Moore House, Grosvenor Waterside, Gatliff Road, London, SW1W 8QN
- Golders Green 105 Golders Green Road, London, NW11 8HR