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Taiwan, dubbed as the “heart of Asia”, is famous for a lot of things: an abundance of natural parks and night markets, its giant IT industry, and of course, Taipei 101. But if you’ve been to Taiwan like me, you’ll know that Taiwan is famous for amazing, mouthwatering food. And yes, that includes delicious Taiwanese snacks.
Taiwan is home to some of the best cuisine in the world. Home-grown Taiwanese snacks are no exception – they’re yummy and very satisfying. With a dizzying array of choices, where do you even start?
Fret not! This list features some of the most popular and best Taiwanese snacks that you can buy online – classic Taiwanese snacks, sweet Taiwanese snacks, salty and savoury Taiwanese snacks, kid-friendly Taiwanese snacks, and even uniquely flavoured snacks and beverages. Read on and get snacking!
Best-selling and classic Taiwanese snacks
Sachima is one of the timeless Taiwanese snacks, a favourite across generations and even across nations. Originating in Manchuria, the snack is now popular throughout China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
This traditional snack that’s been around for centuries is made of fluffy fried batter, coated in syrup and various flavours, and then cut into tiny bite-sized pieces. It’s similar to the American Rice Krispie snack in its gooey texture. Depending on the flavour, it can be either sweet or savoury or both! it comes in sesame and raisin variants.
Some Taiwanese snacks are laced with nostalgia. Ke Xue Mian, or Science Noodles, is one of those. I’m not sure why it’s called Science Noodles but odd name aside, this is one of the most popular and long-beloved snacks in Taiwan. It’s been around since the 70s!
Science Noodles, which is a favourite among kids and adults alike, requires no cooking. You just have to crush the dry noodles, pour the powder seasoning, and eat it straight out of the pack.
No list of best snacks in Taiwan is complete without the ubiquitous pineapple cake. It’s not just one of the most famous Taiwanese snacks, it’s also one of the most commonly bought souvenirs from the country.
In the past, this delicious pastry did not have pineapples as an ingredient. The filling was instead made from winter melon and sugar. To give it a tangy, sour hint, bakers started using pineapple.
There are a lot of brands selling pineapple cakes all over Taiwan but Chia Te is undoubtedly the most famous one, mainly due to its ideal ratio of pastry and filling. SunnyHills is also a popular brand.
If you’ve read our list of Japanese snacks, you may remember senbei, the traditional rice crackers made of non-glutinous rice. The origins of this east Asian snack can be traced to China. In the late 1970s to early 1980s, food manufacturer Want Want worked with a Japanese senbei brand to create a rice cracker market in Taiwan. Today, Want Want senbei is one of the most popular Taiwanese snacks and comes in both sweet and savoury flavours.
Pork floss may sound strange for westerners but it is a quite common product in Asia, especially in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
For the uninitiated, pork floss or rousong is a fibrous, fluffy dried meat product that’s often used as a topping for congee, tofu, rice, and sweet buns. Often savoury but sometimes sweet, pork floss can be enjoyed on its own as a snack.
This is technically not a snack but hear me out: Taiwan is the undisputed boba capital of the world and is very much part of the Taiwanese lifestyle!
Boba, which also goes by the names bubble milk tea and pearl milk tea, is traditionally black tea, milk, chewy tapioca pearls, ice, and a varying amount of sugar. You’d be hard-pressed to walk a block in Taiwan, especially in Taipei, and not find a boba shop – it’s that common.
In recent years, boba has captured hearts and stomachs the world over. We can’t quickly fly to Taiwan for some authentic, local Taiwanese pearl milk tea but luckily, bubble tea kits are available online.
Sweet Taiwanese snacks
7. Egg Roll
A favourite souvenir and snack in Taiwan, an egg roll cookie is a thin wafer cookie rolled into a hollow cylinder with a sweet and buttery flavour. Traditional egg rolls are made using eggs, butter, milk, and/or cream. Crispy and crumbly, these rolls can also come with different fillings like peanut butter, pork floss, and chocolate.
The origin of nougat is a source of debate. But nougat bars are one of the best snacks to buy in Taiwan. These sweet, nutty treats are sold in almost every souvenir shop in the country.
Taiwanese nougats are made from milk, sugar, butter, egg whites, nuts, and sometimes, dried fruit bits. The texture can be soft and gooey to almost crunchy. Milky variants are common but these also come in different flavours like strawberry and toffee.
A lot of sweet Taiwanese snacks come from the food company I Mei, and this popular custard pudding puff is one of those.
This one has a bite-size, light, crispy, puffy outer shell. Inside is a soft, creamy filling that comes in different flavours: custard pudding, milk, strawberry, chocolate, lemon, and vanilla choco. This snack is best enjoyed with a cup of tea. Some find that it tastes even better after you freeze it.
10. Gummy Choco Ball
Another one by I Mei, these chocolate-coated balls of gummy jelly are perfect for sweet lovers. The chocolate shell is slightly hard and crispy, encasing a fruit-flavoured candy with a gummy texture. Flavours come in strawberry, grapes, and mango. Go for chocolate-covered almonds, if you’re looking for something a little less sweet.
A traditional Taiwanese snack, walnut-date cakes are more like candies than cakes. Toasted walnut bits are mixed with a paste made from dates, maltose, sugar, and agar (jelly). This process creates a sweet, nutty, and chewy bar. Like some Taiwanese snacks on this list, this is a common souvenir item, too.
You might be familiar with Chinese mooncakes, but aside from the round shape, they share no other resemblance with Taiwan’s sun cake.
Tai Yang Bing, or sun cake, is a popular Taiwanese pastry that’s originally from Taichung. It is round, flaky and crumbly, and typically has a delicious, maltose filling. Other fillings include green tea, sesame, and pork floss. This is one of the best Taiwanese snacks for breakfast or afternoon tea.
Savoury Taiwanese snacks
A medieval castle, a cherub, some fusilli-like potato twists, and the words “Lonely God” – if this isn’t strange, I don’t know what is. But strange packaging and name aside, these potato chips by Want Want are very popular among kids and adults. Tasty and crispy, it’s great for snacking while watching a movie.
If you’ve ever been to Ximending or any of Taipei’s night markets, you’ve most likely come across the famous oyster omelette. As its name suggests, it is made of oysters, with some greens, pancake batter, and an umami sauce that’s hard to replicate.
Most famous local dishes inevitably get a chip version (case in point: Korean snack tteokbokki chips). These oyster omelette potato chips are sweet, salty, and have pronounced flavours of oyster and egg. If you can’t get your hands on the yummy oyster omelettes of Taiwan, you can at least buy these chips online.
Every country seems to have its rendition of soda crackers. Most are plain, slightly salted but Taiwan’s version isn’t plain by any means.
One of the healthiest Taiwanese snacks, vegetable soda crackers are low on sodium and has no artificial flavouring or preservatives. Light and fragrant, these are made more flavorful with bits of scallions (green onions) or seaweed.
One of the most iconic savoury Taiwanese snacks, North Sea Fishnacks are dried fish strips. The strips are made by drying fish with salt and then cut into long, thin strips. Salty and chewy, this is great as a drinking snack.
Being a nation largely surrounded by the seas, Taiwan has an abundance of sea products and seaweed is one of those. Like other Asian countries, Taiwan loves dried seaweed. It is used in soups, rice, noodle dishes, and yes, even as a snack. This roasted rice bar is dusted off with shredded dried seaweed, giving it a savoury kick.
One of those popular Taiwanese snacks that come in cute packaging, Lucky Star Potato Chips are crunchy, salty with hints of pepper and a bit of sweetness. They’re very tasty and quite addicting. Despite its name though, these do not come in star shapes.
Okay, this one’s technically not a snack but more of a full meal, and it might as well be, given its hefty price tag.
At the height of Tseng Noodles’ popularity in late 2016 to 2017, it would take about three months to get a pack of these noodles. It became a whirlwind sensation, thanks to Taiwanese celebrities and American critic blogger, Hans Lienesch, who shared their reviews.
A pack contains wobbly, ribbon-like instant noodles that become chewy when cooked and two sachets of liquid seasoning that includes the Sichuan pepper flavouring. It’s spicy and very tasty and might be worth considering if you’re not budget-conscious.
Taiwanese snacks for kids
20. Fruit Jellies
Candied fruits are common street food snacks in Taiwan. You won’t be able to find those online but fruit jellies, which are some of the most omnipresent Taiwanese snacks, are the next best things.
They come in different shapes and packaging, from square moulds to squeezable straws. These sweet treats are chewy, not too soft, and bursting with flavour. Grape, green apple, lychee, pineapple, plum, and strawberry are some of the most common jelly flavours.
Taiwanese kids sure love noodle snacks. Aside from the best-selling Science Noodles, another famous dry noodle snack is Little Prince Noodles. While Science Noodles only comes in one variant, Little Prince has innovated with other flavours like seaweed, bacon, Mexican pizza, and Korean kimchi.
One of the meanings of xiao in Chinese is “small” while mantou is a steamed bun that’s popular in Northern China. Put together, a xiao mantou is a small steamed bun. A bit crispy, light, and not too sweet, these cute little buns are a childhood favourite in Taiwan.
23. Plum Lollipop
One of the best Taiwanese snacks to buy if you’ve got a sweet tooth is the sweet-sour plum lollipop. Loved by children and adults alike, these are made of preserved dried plums encased in hardened honey or caramel. At first, it tastes sweet but as the outer layer dissolves, the sourness of the plum comes through.
Unique Taiwanese snacks and drinks
This one’s an OG and a highly popular Taiwanese snack that comes in unique, sometimes shocking, flavours.
Made with real peas and shaped like spiral pasta, Koloko Pea Crackers are crispy, savory, sometimes spicy (depending on the flavour), and highly addicting. The savoury garlic flavour is standard but if you want something different from the usual snacks you’ve tried, go for lemon pink salt, Szechuan spices, or Taiwanese sausage.
Taiwan is not just milk tea capital – it’s also got a vibrant tea culture. While green and white teas are also available, you’ll do yourself a favour by trying Taiwan’s oolong and black teas, which are known to be the best in the world.
Oolong tea from the Alishan Mountains are most especially famous. It was even dubbed the “champagne of Oolong”. The elevation and climate results to tea that has a light orchid aroma and a fruity sweetness.
Sarsaparilla is a soft drink, originally made from the sarsaparilla vine. Hey Song Sarsaparilla is one of Taiwan’s most iconic beverage. It tastes like black cherry root beer. It can be a bit polarizing, but if you’re a frequent Taiwan visitor, you’ve most likely seen this canned drink.
More thirst-quenching drinks! This time, it’s coconut juice. Chiao Kuo’s canned coconut milk drink is made from real coconuts, delicious, and not too sweet.
The Taiwanese people love beer and they love fruit. Whoever came up with the idea of combining these two is a genius. Infused with different fruit flavours like mango, lychee, pineapple, and grapes, these canned drinks are partly sweet and partly bitter. They also have low alcohol content of about 2.8 to 3.5% but still, it’s best to drink in moderation.
29. Taro Cakes
Taro is a starchy root crop that’s common in Asia and it has made its way into not just soups and stews but also desserts and drinks.
A popular pastry in Taiwan, taro cakes are like mooncakes, but are often lighter and flakier, and with taro paste inside. Along with pineapple cakes and sun cakes, these are some of the common Taiwanese snacks that tourists love buying as souvenirs.
The final entry in this list of best Taiwanese snacks (and drinks) to buy online is Apple Sidra, a carbonated drink with hints of, you guessed it, apples. Don’t mistake it for an apple cider though; it’s not. It’s light, crisp, and refreshing. Definitely a good pairing for any of the snacks above, especially the savoury ones.
And that’s a wrap! If you’ve finished reading this list of yummy Taiwanese snacks you can buy online without purchasing anything, mad props to you. Also, how?! It’s not too late though, you can still order these snacks and explore a world of flavours.