I am someone who loves to travel just as much as I love to try new foods and taste local dishes, traditional snack foods and street foods play a big part in my travel. I have been vegan for just over five years now and this has not hindered my travel experiences as there is usually many healthy and unhealthy vegan and vegetarian choices in every country.
After living in Hong Kong, a predominantly meat-eating society, it was a refreshing change to visit Taiwan where I was able to find so many vegan and vegetarian street foods that were super inexpensive! Here I have listed my favourite vegan and vegetarian street food in Taipei. I have listed the prices in NTD.
1. Steamed Rice Bun Filled with Vegetables – 12 NTD
I was presently surprised when so many street food vendors sold these vegetable only buns, as in Hong Kong only pork filled buns are sold. These rice buns are steamed, resulting in a soft puffy bun. The variety of vegetables inside varied from stall to stall, with some being cabbage-based, some leek, and others a mix of both cabbage and leek, with carrot, mushrooms and corn.
2. Baked Yams 25-35NTD
The family mart stores are just as common as the 7/11 stores, in Taipei you can find at least one of each on each block. Both stores offer a wide range of sandwiches, fruit salads, fruits, cakes, and hot foods such as corn. However, Family Mart sells baked yams in the self-service hot food section in all their stores. An easy, tasty, and quick snack thats readily available no matter what area of the city you find yourself in. The price is by weight.
3. Spicy Vegetable Wrap – 50NTD
These wraps are cooked in front of you, with a mix of root vegetables lightly spiced wrapped in a soft warm rice-based wrap. I only found a few vendors at the Shilin Night Market in Taipei that sold these, and did not see them in other night markets I visited.
4. Hot Potato Fries and Hot Potato on A Stick 20-60 NTD
These are sold at all the night markets as well as in many cafes and restaurants throughout Taipei. Not the healthiest option, but if you are a vego and every other option around you is stuffed full of animal corpses then hot potato fries is a pretty good choice!
5. Fried Tofu Squares On a Stick 15-40NTD
The name says it all, varying sized squares of tofu fried and flavoured, either served on a stick or in a paper bag. At many of the chicken and chip type stores, they offer different spicy or salty flavours. There are many vendor stalls that sell stinky tofu too if you have not tasted this before and want to try it, it is found in all the night markets.
6. Crispy Mushroom Crisps or Barbecued Mushroom Stems
At many of the markets, you will see vendors barbecuing mushroom stems over an open grill. These are served with either salt or a variety of sauces. Mushrooms are also an alternative to potato crisps, these mushroom pieces are fried, salted and packed as crisps are.
7. Barbecue corn 70-80NTD
Many street vendors at all the markets offer barbecued corn flavoured with barbecue sauce and sesame seeds or chilly sauce. Vendors make it fresh when you order – and this is a great healthy option for those veggie heads who first get to the market who feel hungry and want something quick to eat while walking around scoping out what's at the market.
8. Minder Vegetarian
Although this is a street food post, I will add a restaurant I found above the Taipei City Hall MRT Station, in the Eslite Bookstore (B2). This restaurant is in a clean, quiet and not too busy food court in the store, and offers a huge buffet of predominantly vegan foods. There were about five, out of approximately fifty, dishes that contained dairy. The cost is determined by the weight of your plate. It opens at 11:00 am until 5:00 pm, so it's best to go for lunch or late afternoon. My large plate cost 160NTD.
I hope this guide to vegan and vegetarian street foods in Taipei is helpful if you are vegan or vegetarian and looking to travel or relocate to Taiwan. I was inspired to visit Taiwan by two fellow bloggers, My Hot Pink Passport and fellow vegan Henya Mania
If you are heading to Southeast Asia, I wrote a post of my favourite vegan street food finds from Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. You can find the post here. Also, the region has great wonderful fruits you should try.