If you are a vegetarian or vegan traveling to Taiwan, don’t fret. Taiwan has plenty of places that cater to the vegetarian culture, whether you are after street snacks in Taiwan night markets or traditional dishes in restaurants. You will also discover how culturally and ethnically diverse Taiwanese cuisine is.
First, try their dumplings. Cabbage Dumplings, filled with steamed cabbage, are full of flavor! Note that the dough of some dumplings in Taiwan is not made of egg. You can always ask the vendor before buying dumplings. The soft, puffy vegetable steamed buns are made from rice. Inside are cabbage, corn, carrot, leek, mushroom, or a combination of these.
You will also love sesame buns. After biting their hard, crispy coat that is sprinkled with sesame seeds, savor the goodness of either warm black sesame paste or warm red bean paste.
Other street snacks that will satisfy your tummy are spicy fried tofu on a stick, baked yams, stinky tofu, fried mushroom on a stick, barbecued corn on the cob, Taiwanese vegetarian burritos, vegetables in a sweet peanut sauce wrapped in a burrito.
For your traditional breakfast, you can try sweet soymilk, rice and peanut milk, roasted sesame flatbread, steamed bread, Chinese donut, rice porridge, and sticky rice roll. If you are having lunch, taste some spicy vermicelli soup, bamboo rice dumpling, nori rice roll, soup dumplings, fresh steam spring roll, and pan-fried buns.
When dinner comes, you can order sticky rice sausage, deep-fried or braised veggie foods, roasted rice ball, veggie noodles soup, mochi, maki sushi, veggie Takoyaki, and fried sweet potato balls. Want desserts? Go for aiyu jelly, which is made from the seeds of creeping fig, herbal jelly, candied sweet potato, iced milk tea with tapioca balls, and shaved ice mountain with toppings.
Wonder where you can eat these veggie foods? Here are some vegetarian-friendly restaurants you can try in Taiwan:
Xiu Yuan Vegetarian
Standing next to Shang Ding Huang Jia Vegetarian Dumplings, Xiu Yuan Vegetarian is known for their egg fried rice and incredible noodles and vermicelli. Xiu Yuan also offers fried oysters and herbal vermicelli.
No. 72之32, Section 1, Zhongxiao West Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
Da Ci Vegetarian
Da Ci Vegetarian is home to classic vegetarian dishes. Most of them are home-made and use natural ingredients like soy and beancurd skin. The restaurant also serves delicious wanton soup.
No. 328, Section 1, Dongshan Rd, Beitun District, Taichung City, Taiwan 406
Guo Ran Hui
A salad bar filled with fresh organic vegetables beautifully arranged on a spread awaits you at Guo Ran Hui. Do not forget to try their herbal soup vermicelli hot pot, shitake mushroom chestnut with fruit sauce, and baked cheese pasta with broccoli and mushroom.
106, Taiwan, Taipei City, Da’an District, Section 4, Zhongxiao E Rd, 200號明曜百貨 Mingyao Department Store
Shan Shui Yuan Vegetarian
Shan Shui Yuan Vegetarian Restaurant, located near Cingjing farm, cooks Chinese-style homespun dishes that are made from original ingredients and use home-made mock meats made from beancurd skin or mushrooms. The restaurant can also serve as a guest house for foreign visitors.
54641, Taiwan, Nantou County, Ren’ai Township
If you are into milk tea, Nuttea sells vegan, lactose-free tea drinks. It uses a bit-based cream and truly satisfies the milk tea craving of customers.
Vegetarian Tomato Beef Noodle Restaurant
If you are strolling on the Elephant Mountain trail, you may want to sip some heavy tomato broth at the Vegetarian Tomato Beef Noodle Restaurant. The broth is marinated with king trumpet mushrooms instead of beef.
No. 302, Lane 150, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
Sweet Potato Ball
Sweet Potato Balls are crunchy outside and fluffy inside, and you can find this stall at the Ximending Shopping District.
If you want a complete vegetarian experience in a Taiwanese restaurant, sample well-crafted meal sets at Meimen Vegetarian Restaurant in Taipei. Relish in their Sauteed Dried Radish with Green Soy Bean, Curry Rice, Rice with Vegetables, Rosemary & Mushroom Sauce on Top, and Meimen Veggie Shawarma.
*Featured image from Jade Y on Shutterstock