If you’re anything like my friends or me, you travel to Taiwan for the food. Yes, family is important and the views are beautiful, but the food, now that’s where it’s at. One of my favorite meals to get in Taiwan is dessert (Yes, that is a meal), so I’ve definitely eaten my fair share. Here are 13 must-try desserts from this beautiful island country.
1. Snow Ice
Snow ice is my favorite dessert of all kind, yet I have a really hard time describing it. Flavored, cold clouds? Melt-in-your-mouth mango-flavored snow? The ice is just so smooth and so well-flavored that just thinking about it makes me drool.
2. Shaved Ice
Shaved ice is the better known cousin of snow ice. It has “shaved” particles of ice that are served with a variety of toppings. My favorite toppings are black sugar jelly, boba and taro dumplings.
Hand-made mochi is to die for. It’s incredibly chewy and needs nothing more than a coating of crushed peanut butter, black sesame and sugar. Head to Hualien for the real deal. The black sugar mochi is worth the trip.
4. Ice Cream Spring Roll
Ice cream spring rolls are a peculiar concept. They typically have a skin, peanut candy shavings and two to three balls of ice cream which make for a strange yet satisfying taste and texture.
5. Egg Tarts
Often found at dim sum restaurants, egg tarts are flakey goodness. What more is there to say? Pick one up, eat it and enjoy the texture in your mouth while savoring its sweet, egg taste.
So maybe bread isn’t a real dessert, but they are baked and all baked goods are desserts in my book. Plus, there are a number of award-winning bakeries in Taiwan to buy bread from. My personal favorite is Boulangerie Shakespeare & Co. Bakery, but Wu Pao Chun bakery is one of the most popular.
7. Sugar Cane Juice
I’m not a huge fan of sugar cane juice, but it’s a must-try because it’s hard to find elsewhere. The juice has a light sugar cane flavor, kind of like syrup and water, which is essentially what it is. It’s a unique flavor, especially if you’ve never tried sugar cane.
8. Avocado/Papaya Milk
People in the states, even Taiwanese Americans, don’t completely understand the concept of avocado and papaya milk. It tastes like a milky, so less strong, avocado or papaya. The drink is essentially avocado or papaya, honey and milk blended to create a glorious creamy concoction.
9. Fresh Seasonal Fruits
Fruits in Taiwan are to die for. Honestly. They grow so many fruits on this tiny island, and each fruit is delicious. I promise you: mangoes, lychees, guavas and pineapples taste better when you get the Taiwanese variety. Plus, if you visit at the right time, you can also eat delicious wax apples.
Taiwan, the land of pearls. There are as many boba stores in Taiwan as there are Starbucks and McDonald’s in the US, so I had boba pretty much every day while in Taiwan. #addicted. My favorite boba place in Taiwan is Presotea.
11. Sweet Rice Dumplings
From tangyuan, sweet potato, taro, black sesame and yam dumplings to green and red beans, this cold dessert hits the spot on a hot, humid day in Taiwan. It’s served with delicious chewy dumplings and beans and crushed iced, so it’s cool and refreshing but not overwhelmingly sweet like some other desserts can be.
12. Tofu Pudding
Tofu pudding, aka dou hua, is really, really soft tofu. Like typical tofu, this pudding doesn’t have much taste, so it’s usually eaten with ginger-infused sugar syrup.
13. Pao Pao Bing
It’s probably safe to say that Taiwanese people really enjoy iced treats. This is yet another form of ice with a texture in between ice cream and shaved ice that comes in a variety of flavors including peanut, sesame and pineapple.
Now, go forth and go on a dessert adventure! When there are this many options, you definitely can’t only eat one.