A Guide To Vegan Street Food In Taiwan

Taiwan, renowned for its vibrant street food culture, offers fairly small, yet very tasty vegan options in terms of street food.

Breakfast: A Fresh Start

  1. Doujiang and Youtiao: Start your day the Taiwanese way with doujiang (soy milk) and youtiao (fried breadstick). This classic combo is a vegan staple, offering a comforting and filling breakfast. The soy milk is often freshly made, rich in flavor and nutrients.
  2. Cong You Bing (Scallion Pancake): These crispy, flaky pancakes laced with scallions are a popular breakfast item. Ensure they’re made without eggs or butter to keep them vegan-friendly.

Lunch: Midday Delights

  1. Gua Bao: Traditionally filled with pork, the vegan version of this fluffy steamed bun is stuffed with mushrooms or marinated tofu, and garnished with pickled vegetables, cilantro, and crushed peanuts.
  2. Lu Wei: A variety of vegetables, tofu, and noodles are braised in a flavorful broth. This dish allows you to select your ingredients, making it easy to keep it vegan.

Dinner: Evening Indulgence

  1. Stir-Fried Noodles with Vegetables: A simple yet satisfying dish, featuring noodles stir-fried with an assortment of vegetables like bok choy, carrots, and mushrooms.
  2. Tofu and Mushroom Skewers: Grilled or barbecued skewers of tofu and various mushrooms, seasoned with spices and soy sauce, offer a delightful umami experience.

Dessert: Sweet Finale

  1. Sweet Potato Balls: These chewy, lightly sweetened balls made from sweet potato starch are a delightful treat, often found at night markets.
  2. Mochi: Soft, chewy mochi filled with sweet bean paste is a vegan-friendly dessert, coming in various flavors like red bean, peanut, and sesame.

Common Misconceptions

  • Bubble Tea: Often perceived as vegan, but be wary of milk powder in the tea base. Even if a substitute plant-based milk is used, be aware of non-vegan sweeteners.
  • Vegetable Dumplings: They may contain non-vegan dough or fillings with hidden ingredients like eggs or shrimp.
  • Stinky Tofu: While tofu is inherently vegan, some versions use a brine that contains shrimp or other seafood.

In conclusion, Taiwan’s street food scene is a paradise for vegan food enthusiasts, offering a wide range of options that tantalize the taste buds without compromising on flavor or tradition. As with any cuisine, it’s essential to ask about ingredients to ensure the dish aligns with vegan principles. As Taiwanese street food vendors are so friendly, they will happily answer you.