Jump to main content

Local Specialties

Kumquat Preserves

Kumquat preserves are a well-known Taiwan specialty. The kumquat variety used in making this treat originally came from Oujiang County in Zhejiang Province and in Taiwan is grown most widely in the Yilan area. The townships of Jiaoxi, Yuanshan, and Sanxing are also major growing areas for kumquats thanks to their rainy climate, good drainage, and shelter from sea winds and storms, resulting in local yields as high as 90%. The fruit is harvested from November to February, with peak production in December and January. Kumquat rinds have a tangy taste with a natural sweet finish. They also promote salivation, help digestion, and sooth the throat, making them a popular snack and refreshment.

Mullet Roe

Mullet roe processing has a history of over a hundred years in Taiwan. Production begins with the selection of female mullet and removal of the roe. The roe is then cleaned, drained of blood, salted, desalted, pressed, dried, and then shaped in a process that takes about a week. The quality of mullet roe can be judged from its appearance and taste. High-quality mullet roe has an attractive color, uniform thickness, and translucence; and the taste and texture are well balanced in terms of saltiness, moisture level, and hardness. In Taiwan, this popular delicacy is generally roasted and flavored with sorghum wine. Mullet roe can be purchased at most department stores and specialty shops. It is especially popular as a gift during the Lunar New Year and other festivities.

Pig's Knuckle

In northern Taiwan, pig's knuckle is generally stewed in light broth, whereas soy sauce braising predominates in the south. The best-known version of this dish is the soy-stewed pig's knuckle Wanluan Township in Pingtung County. Wanluan pig's knuckles are braised in soy sauce using special techniques and ingredients to give them their delicious taste. All of the pig's knuckles used are selected from the foreleg portion and then carefully stewed. The meat is tender and juicy meat and can be eaten hot or cold. In Taiwan, it is said that eating pig's knuckle with noodles can dispel bad luck and turn sorrow into joy. Although science hasn't yet confirmed this, it is still a comforting thought.

Brown Sugar Cake

Brown sugar cake evolved from a type of steamed sponge cake presented as an ancestral offering. The brown sugar version is believed to have been brought to Penghu by early immigrants from Okinawa, an island well known for its brown sugar. The brown sugar cake famous in Penghu today was first produced by a Ryukyu baker surnamed Maruhachi.
While brown sugar cake was originally used strictly as an offering, local bakeries now make this treat to meet growing tourist demand. Made with new techniques, the cakes today are softer and less sugary than their predecessors. They are also beautifully packaged, making them a popular souvenir gift in Penghu.

Jiguang Bread

According to legend, this bagel-like bread was invented by the Ming dynasty General Chi Chi-kuang as an easy-to-transport military ration since the bread could be strung together and carried around the neck. The bread is made with naturally leavened dough that is carefully kneaded to produce a solid and chewy bread. The dough is baked by sticking it to an oven wall. The oven walls can't get to hot or the bread will peel off and be ruined. The Matsu variety of jiguang bread is faithful to the northern Chinese style. The breads were originally served deep-fried, but a healthier oven-baked version now prevails. The bread is often served with ham and fried egg like a hamburger, and is therefore commonly known as a "Matsu hamburger."

Ox Tongue Biscuits

These popular biscuits are named after their long, oval tongue-like shape. Yilan and Lugang are the best know areas for ox tongue biscuits in Taiwan. The two varieties, though similar in appearance, are in fact two distinct treats that reflect the different environments of the their birthplaces.
Yilan ox tongue biscuits are long, narrow, and thin. The ingredients are kneaded by hand into a dough, rolled flat, tapped down the center with a knife, and then baked to a crispy biscuit-like texture. The Lugang version, on the other hand, is thick and oval-shaped. The biscuits are flaky and lightly sweetened with a malt sugar filling and baked or fried.