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Taiwan is famous for its night markets which offer lots of Street Food options from Taiwan and it’s nearby Asian Countries. I actually found it ok being Vegetarian in Taiwan as in all Cities I visited – Taipei, Hualien, Kaohsiung I found Vegetarian Restaurants or options after some googling, however the Night Markets in Taiwan are where I ate most nights because the atmosphere of them is great, they are so unique and one of the best things to do in Taiwan but they are very meat-heavy I won’t lie!
However, after visiting 5 Night Markets over 3 Taiwan Cities I did enjoy some good Vegetarian Food in the Taiwan Night Markets so here is what I ate and what other Vegetarian & Vegan options I saw in the markets so you know what to look for:
Language in Taiwan: Mandarin is spoken in Taiwan and most of the signs are not in English on the stalls, although if they are more ‘touristy’ stalls they will have some English. Either way, for the best experience at a Taiwan Night Market and in Taiwan in general as a Vegetarian or Vegan I would recommend saving this photo below to your phone so you can show people. I did this a few times and it really helped as English is limited in many places in Taiwan!
Corn on the Cob
You’ll see Corn on the Cob around Taiwan and it’s night markets in particular. You may be slightly put off as I was with the pale colour of the corn however it’s a pale yellow because this is not like corn as you know it, it’s fruit corn!
It doesn’t taste really sweet like fruit but it does taste differently after being cooked and with the sauce on top, it tastes really good! This corn can also be eaten raw which is very different too. I really recommend the Corn as a good Vegetarian and Vegan option in Taiwan Night Markets.
See My First Impressions of Taiwan at a Taipei Night Market:
Sweet Potato Balls
These do not resemble Sweet Potato that much as they are fried balls which are actually hollow inside but have a nice chewy taste to them with a hint of Sweet Potato-ness and were in all night markets I visited.
This is actually a Korean concept and can be found in Food Markets around the World. Potato Spirals are not the most interesting or unique Vegetarian option to eat in the Taiwan Night Markets if you’ve had one before elsewhere but it’s a good last resort option if you need one!
You may also see Fries in the Night Markets of Taiwan just in a different form than you may have seen before, like the below photo.
BBQ Rice Stick / Mochi
This is essentially what it sounds like, it’s simply a block of rice which has been BBQ’d with your chosen sauce/flavouring on top.
I had a Matcha one in Hualien Night Market at a stand which was called BBQ Rice Stick, and in Liuhe Night Market in Kaohsiung, I had a Sesame Seed one and the stand was calling Mochi.
To help you plan your trip around Taiwan, have a look at all of my Taiwan Blog Posts here!
I had one of these in Raohe Market in Taipei, I had an egg and a piece of cheese inside, although it was no way good for me and very oily, it was very good!
Dumplings / Wonton
Dumplings / Wonton can be found in Taiwan’s Night Markets however it can be hard to tell if they do have Vegetable ones rather than Pork which is most common but it’s worth checking out the signs or asking via your phone.
Hualien Night Market had this whole stall as a totally vegetarian Wonton place!
I feel like there’s a more local name for this but I don’t know what it is! I had 2 different types of stuffed bread, one in Shilin Night Market in Taipei and one in Liuhe Night Market in Kaohsiung, both were not amazingly tasty but they filled a hole and were stuffed with potato & cheese and vegetables.
I only saw this in Hualien Night Market and I did eat it with Tuna but they had a sweet vegetarian option if I remember rightly. It was essentially a tuna sandwich deep-fried but it was good!
Taiwan is famous for its Stinky Tofu so you need to try this in Taiwan, Vegetarian or not. I was kind of hoping I’d like it as it’s everywhere but after tasting it at my second night market and accidentally at my third (it was sold as Tofu French Fries and I thought it might be normal tofu!) I can confirm I don’t like Stinky Tofu!
This is a popular, quirky, local dish that as a vegetarian you can try, which doesn’t happen in many Countries so you should at least try it once!
Where are you visiting in Taiwan? Check out these posts to help you plan your trip!
Various types of Mushrooms are sold too at some stalls, I saw one being offered as BBQ’d and another offering fried Mushrooms. I didn’t try them but they would be a good vegetarian option in Taiwan Night Markets.
There are all types of sweet pancakes in Taiwan’s Night Market and other Sweet options, at least with something sweet you know it’s vegetarian!
Plus, a Sweet option does not need to be boring as you can get all sorts of flavours and some interesting ones like Red Bean and Bubble Tea inside the pancakes in Taiwan, and Pancakes shaped like animals!
You’ll also see various kinds of Ice Cream at the Night Markets in Taiwan from Fried Ice Cream to Ice Cream Rolls. Peanut Ice Cream is particularly common in Taiwan.
A Shaved Ice Dessert is one of the most popular things to try in Taiwan and luckily it’s Vegetarian as it’s a Dessert! You won’t find this being sold from a small night market stall but you will see it in the restaurants that line the streets too. Mango is apparently the original option although they offer them in all flavours making a popular Taiwanese dessert.
I hope this has helped you and now you know to look out for these Vegetarian Street Food options in Taiwan.
If you eat fish it will make life a bit easier and if you are Vegan in Taiwan it will be harder although a number of the options above do not have dairy in them.
The night markets are a great experience in Taiwan even if you go for 1-2 snacks and a drink and then get a real meal afterwards!
For more of my posts on Taiwan see: