[This post was contributed by Vi Phan, and was written for the blog back when it was known as “Taiwan Savvy”]
Tamsui, or Danshui, is a northern port town, and a district that’s part of New Taipei City. This harbor is a foodie’s paradise and a popular weekend getaway for city dwellers, being just a straight shot from Taipei Main Station on the Taipei Metro’s red line. With its proximity to the sea and rich cultural history, visitors will never be at a loss when it comes to things to do, sights to see and of course: places to eat. Read on to discover my top 5 recommendations for street snacks and restaurant fare in the port city of Tamsui.
Being so close to the sea, of course the seafood at Tamsui is some of the best in Taipei (but not in all of Taiwan – that title goes to the skilled cooks and fishermen of the southern port town of Tainan). Grilled, fried or stewed, you’ll find all sorts of tasty morsels from the sea just waiting to be sampled by hungry visitors. Pictured here, a generous helping of grilled octopus and squid with spicy chili sauce and crunchy sesame seeds.
Tamsui Iron Eggs
The big types are made from chicken eggs and the small types are quail eggs. The eggs are stewed for a long time (around 1 week) till the egg gets really firm and the outer part turns a dark color, almost black. That’s why they are called iron eggs! The egg whites are almost a little bit crunchy, but not dry, while the yolks are very soft and creamy. The interesting textures make them all the more tasty. Iron eggs are very famous and widely sold throughout Taiwan, so you can easily buy them in convenience stores. However, Danshui’s iron eggs are said to be the most delicious ones. Don’t forget to buy some as souvenirs if you have a chance to visit.
A-Gei or Ah-Gei
A-gei is originally from Japan (deep-fried tofu wrapper). However, instead of being stuffed with natto (fermented soy beans) or minced pork, Danshui a-gei is often stuffed with soft rice noodles, also known as glass or cellophane noodles, and served with a special sweet-and-sour sauce. Although it is a little bit oily, the noodles are very soft and easy to eat.
Sour Plum Tea or Juice
The red color and the sweet-and-sour, almost salty taste of plum juice tea make tourists feel very refreshed and relaxed, especially in summer. Judging from its appearance, many people think this drink is very sweet or that it contains alcohol. But when drinking it, you will be surprised to discover its moderate, pleasant taste. Most of the tourists and visitors to Danshui will opt to enjoy this drink instead of pearl (bubble) milk tea.
Tamsui Shrimp Rolls
Shrimp rolls are deep-fried and skewered onto a small stick for easy snacking. When eating, you should coat them with a little bit of soy and chili sauce. The crispy wrapper and delicious shrimp will definitely win your heart.
Danshui is full of delicious eateries and creative food vendors just waiting to be discovered. From fresh seafood and authentic Taiwanese recipes to surprisingly refreshing herbal tonics and fusion cuisine, this charming port town has it all. And with this list in hand, you won’t be at a loss as to what to choose to satisfy your stomach on your next visit.