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    Many visitors come to Tainan just to taste all kinds of food from morning until night at restaurants and snack stalls. It's no wonder that Tainan has a reputation as a foodie capital. The coast of Tainan is famous for fresh seafood, such as shrimp rolls (xia juan), eel noodles (shan yu yi mian), oyster rolls (ke juan), fish noodles (shan tou yu mian), and squid rice noodle soup (xiao juan mi fen tang), which are made from the day's fresh fish catches and retain the naturally fresh sweetness of seafood, regardless of the cooking method. Dan-tsu noodle (dan zi mian) and "coffin bread" (guan cai ban) are street snacks that originated from Tainan. 

    Eat authentic local dishes in this cradle of culinary delights and give your taste buds an unforgettable flavour of Tainan. When travelling in Tainan, you can follow the local custom of getting up early to have a bowl of strongly flavoured beef soup (niu rou tang) and eat popiah (chun juan/run bing) in the afternoon, together with a cup of white gourd tea (dong gua cha). Visitors always want to prolong their trips in Tainan by a couple of days to fully experience the charm of this gastronomic capital and taste all the local dishes, before continuing on to their next destination.

    1

    Shrimp Roll (Xia Juan)

    Shrimp rolls are one of the most popular local dishes in Tainan. These morsels are crispy and delicious and can be eaten as a snack or as part of a meal. Shrimp rolls are made from a popiah "skin" filled with shrimp paste and fried in oil. You can use chopsticks to pick up the roll, then bite into the golden, crispy coating, allowing the delicious shrimp paste to ooze in your mouth. The key ingredient for delicious shrimp rolls is good-quality shrimp. 

    The best shrimp roll vendors in Tainan use only the freshest shrimp. After the shrimp intestines have been carefully removed, the shrimp are mashed into a paste, which is then used as the filling for tasty shrimp rolls. Customers will know whether or not the shrimp is fresh as soon as they take their first bite. Fresh shrimp rolls are sweet and delicious. A Tainan delicacy that is popular with all ages, they make a perfect snack on their own or served with rice or noodles.

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    2

    Dan-Tsu Noodles (Dan Zi Mian)

    Dan-Tsu noodles originated in Tainan and used to be served at the state banquet at the presidential palace. They're a must-try when visiting Tainan. It is said that Hong Yutou, a fisherman from Tainan in the Qing dynasty, would carry cheap noodles on a shoulder pole and sell them in front of the Shuixian Temple in Tainan during hard times, so that everyone could have a meal without spending too much money. Hence the business has been called "Du Hsiao Yue's Dan-Tsu Noodles" since then, with due hsiao yue meaning 'surviving through hard times' in Chinese. Over a hundred years later, people's lives have greatly improved and they no longer need to find ways to manage through hard times. Even so, Dan-Tsu noodles remain a firm favourite among the people of Tainan. 

    Dan-Tsu noodles have simple ingredients. Cooked noodles are combined with bean sprouts, coriander, minced garlic and minced pork. They are usually served in a small bowl and are ideal as a snack. While the recipe for Dan-Tsu noodles is not complicated, it is a highly regarded Tainan dish. Simple and refreshing, the noodles take on the wonderful aroma of the minced pork. It is a snack rooted in the history of the ancient capital, recalling the hard times when the fisherman of Tainan had to come up with creative ways of earning money during the off-season.

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    mynd frá Blowing Puffer Fish (CC BY 2.0) breytt

    3

    Coffin bread (guan cai ban)

    Coffin bread is a special snack from Tainan that was created by Xu Liuyi, a native of Tainan who owned a stall in Kangle Market. At the time, a customer who tasted the dish thought it looked like a coffin, so Xu Liuyi named it coffin bread. Despite its ominous-sounding name, the dish was an immediate hit and is now a typical street food in Tainan. To make coffin bread, a thick slab of bread is fried until golden, then hollowed out to make room for a creamy filling made with ingredients such as chicken, radish and cuttlefish. 

    A toast lid is added before serving. Before eating the snack, customers have to lift the lid of the box, which resembles a coffin – hence the name 'coffin bread'. If you come to Tainan, make sure to try authentic coffin bread. It is a dish that is visually interesting and rich in flavour. The thick, crispy toast provides the perfect contrast for the creamy chicken sauce, making it delicious to eat. No wonder it has become an enduring Tainan delicacy.

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    4

    Eel noodles (shan yu yi mian)

    Eel noodles (shan yu yi mian) are very popular among the locals of Tainan. There are basically 2 types: dry-fried eel noodles and eel noodle thick soup, depending on the vendor. You can choose between rice noodle, egg noodle or wheat noodle. There are many eel noodle restaurants and stalls in the streets of Tainan. Everyone in Tainan has their own personal favourites, and visitors are encouraged to ask the locals to recommend a place that serves the best eel noodles. 

    With eel noodles, it's all about the eel. Many well-known sellers use only the freshest eel and prepare it with the utmost care so that there no bones or fishy taste remain. The chewy eel and handmade noodles have an enjoyable salty taste. The dish is served in a small bowl, but will certainly leave you satisfied.

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    mynd frá uemura (CC BY 2.0) breytt

    5

    Beef soup (niu rou tang)

    Beef soup for breakfast? Many visitors to Tainan want to follow the local customs and have a local breakfast. However, when they learn that many people in Tainan have beef soup for breakfast, they might frown a little. Tainan people are very particular about beef soup. Beef ribs, onions and cabbage are cooked slowly overnight. Only the freshest beef is used. Hot soup is poured over the slices of fresh beef before serving. The beef slices in the soup are pink and delicious. 

    As soon as the beef soup is served, you should begin by taking a sip of the soup to taste the perfectly balanced flavours of the broth. Then, when you move on to the deliciously soft and tender slices of beef, you can't help but take another bite. Having beef soup for breakfast gives your body much-needed protein and you'll be brimming with energy and vitality for the rest of the day.

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    mynd frá Sinchen.Lin (CC BY 2.0) breytt

    6

    Fish noodles (shan tou yu mian)

    Fish noodles are a famous street snack in Tainan and many foreign visitors are prepared to make a special trip to Tainan to try them, even if it means queuing up. Although the dish is called 'fish noodles', it actually contains no noodles. The 'noodles' in this case are the fish. The dish is a fish soup made using fresh fish from Chichin fishing port. 

    A small bowl is filled with fresh fish, with no fishy smell or fish bones. Fish noodles are often served garnished with seaweed and celery. The combination of green vegetables and snow-white fish makes the dish look particularly appetising. The vegetables and fish are fresh, sweet and refreshing... One bowl is often never enough.

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    mynd frá Blowing Puffer Fish (CC BY 2.0) breytt

    7

    Oyster roll (ke juan)

    The oyster roll (ke juan) is a perfect example of the seafood delicacies in Tainan cuisine. Oysters are abundant along the coast of Anping in Tainan, resulting in many famous oyster dishes. The oyster roll is crispy and delicious and is very popular among the locals of Tainan. Some of the most popular sellers obtain their oysters from special stalls where they are shucked and cooked, so visitors can be assured of their freshness. 

    The chef adds pork, vegetables and other ingredients to the oysters, and the coated ingredients are fried in the pan until crispy. The crispy batter and the soft, chewy filling are fresh and sweet. The oysters taste as fresh as if they had just come from the sea. If you come to Tainan for oyster rolls you won't be disappointed as the oysters here are caught locally.

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    mynd frá Andrea Nguyen (CC BY 2.0) breytt

    8

    Popiah (chun juan/run bing)

    The ingredients for Tainan popiah – cabbage, white radish and red radish produced in Lishan – are placed in the wrapper along with other ingredients such as dried tofu, egg, coriander, peanut powder and bean sprouts. The seller's unique sauce is then added before forming a long roll to create fresh and delicious popiah. It is said that in order to mourn Jie Zitui, who was killed in a fire, Duke Wen of Jin ordered that only cold food be eaten. Later, the practice became associated with the Tomb-Sweeping Festival during Qingming, where many families would strictly observe the tradition of eating only cold food. 

    The popiah, a delicious roll prepared without lighting any fire, was thus born. Popiah is available all over Taiwan. In Tainan, the popiah roll is flavoured with sugar and then heated after it is made. If you don't like it too sweet, you can ask the seller to add less sugar when placing your order.

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    mynd frá ProjectManhattan (CC BY-SA 3.0) breytt

    9

    White gourd tea (dong gua cha)

    A cup of fragrant Tainan white gourd tea is the perfect way to settle your stomach after a big meal. Tainan's white gourd tea is made entirely by hand without any machines. Ripe winter melon is carefully selected and cooked in boiling water with sugar for many hours using a traditional method. The freshly prepared tea is well worth the long wait. Many people believe that white gourd tea can reduce fever. 

    Drinking a cup of cold white gourd tea has a soothing effect on the body and mind, and its sweetness is comforting. There are also many interesting variations on Tainan's white gourd tea. Ingredients such as grass jelly, tapioca pearls, glutinous rice or coconut can be added. You can even get winter melon soybean milk, winter melon milk tea and winter melon latte. These creative preparations are much loved by the Tainan locals.

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    mynd frá 竹筍弟弟 (CC BY-SA 2.0) breytt

    10

    Squid rice noodle soup (xiao juan mi fen tang)

    Squid rice noodle soup is a must-try for seafood lovers visiting Tainan. The dish may sound like a simple family meal, but it is quite a very popular street food in Tainan. Expect long queues at the most popular restaurants and stalls. If you want to try it, you'll have to get there early or else take a number and wait patiently for your turn. 

    The sellers would select the freshest squid, which has no fishy smell and bright, attractive colour. The chef adds the prepared squid to the rice noodle soup. The soup looks light but has a rich flavour and the squid tastes absolutely delicious. The sellers usually chop the squid into bite-sized pieces. You can also enjoy the soup without rice noodles. The soup delivers a pure, sweet burst of flavour in your mouth that's sure to be an unforgettable highlight of your culinary journey.

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