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    To say that Yilan is the hometown of fine food is not an exaggeration. You can enjoy a lot of tasty food here at any given time. Street foods such as spring onion pancake (cong you bing), thick rice noodle soup (mi fen geng), meat fritters (bu rou), Yilan style sausage (fen chang), and deep-fried tofu skin roll with pork filling (zha rou jjuan) all reflect the rustic taste of farm fare. For those who like strong tastes, Yilan's thick pork soup with garlic (suan wei rou geng) and red yeast cuttlefish (hong zao you yu) will definitely satisfy you with its distinctive flavour.

    Cherry duck (ying tao ya) is a dish served in large restaurants. Crispy roast duck (kao ya) can be enjoyed in many ways with each being full of surprises. After a meal of salty dishes, you can stroll around the night market to taste delicious local desserts like shaved ice with tapioca (bao xin fen yuan) and peanut roll with ice cream (hua sheng juan bing qi lin). The taste of Yilan is hidden in every seemingly ordinary street and alley, where surprises abound. When you come to Yilan, you can follow the footsteps of the local people and experience the fun of finding food among the alleyways.

    1

    Spring onion pancake (cong you bing)

    Sanshing Township in Yilan County is famous for Sanshing scallions. Thanks to its pollution-free water and fertile soil, the scallions grown here have a rich and delicious taste, making this one of the most representative agricultural products in Yilan. Gourmets who come to Yilan for Sanshing scallions must not miss the spring onion pancakes (cong you bing). As spring onion pancakes are found all over Yilan, chances are that you'll come across a stall making them on the street. 

    With hot oil, spring onions give off a strong aroma, tempting any passers-by. Spring onion pancakes are generally made in the same way in that a crispy pancake filled with the Sanshing scallions is pan-fried in a flat pot of oil. There are also some deep-fried versions. The pancakes burst with flavour from just one bite, and are sure to leave a lasting impression. Spring onion pancakes are cheap. You can choose to add eggs or not based on your preference. Eating crispy spring onion pancakes with locals on the streets is a must-have experience for any foodie visiting Yilan.

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    2

    Yilan style sausage (fen chang)

    Agriculture is an important part of the economy in Yilan. Given poor conditions, farmers in the early years invented many distinctive cuisines with simple ingredients at hand. Yilan style sausages (fen chang) are the most iconic. Sauté the pork with tapioca starch, stuff the mixture into casings made from small intestines, then finally boil the sausages in water for a delicious, al dente delicacy. Tapioca starch is added to make you feel full and satisfied. This perfect combination of starch and pork is one of the common daily servings on farmers' tables. 

    Sausages are served in many stores as a side dish, an appetising complement to noodles and rice. When you cut into a sausage with a knife, you can immediately see the consistency of the meat made with a combination of tender pork and springy tapioca starch. Just add a little sauce, and the distinctive and unforgettable taste really comes out. Considering the low price, the sausage is real gourmet dining on a low budget.

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    3

    Peanut roll with ice cream (hua sheng juan bing qi lin)

    Peanut rolls with ice cream (hua sheng juan bing qi lin) are a traditional dessert in Yilan. The ice cream spring rolls filled with peanut brittle, coriander and taro are refreshingly cool and enjoyed by people of all ages for their salty and sweet flavour. The main ingredient of the peanut rolls is peanut powder. The cook will grind up the richly fragrant peanuts with maltose into a powder that is then sprinkled onto a spring roll pancake. 

    This is then wrapped around a ball of medium-sweet taro ice, and garnished with coriander as a finishing touch. Take a big bite and enjoy the perfect blend of peanuts and ice cream, with a delightfully peanutty aftertaste. This dessert is very suitable for after-dinner enjoyment. Many Yilan locals will enjoy this street food in a hot afternoon. In recent years, many shops have created new versions of this dessert by replacing traditional taro ice with different flavours of ice cream.

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    Foto: 羽諾 諾咪 (CC BY-SA 2.0) retusjert

    4

    Shaved ice with tapioca (bao xin fen yuan)

    Shaved ice with tapioca (bao xin fen yuan) is a local snack from Yilan. Its name comes from the red bean filling encased in a traditional tapioca pearl. It looks exactly the same as the normal tapioca you can get at the market, but the red bean filling that oozes out when you bite into it is a pleasantly flavoursome surprise. When you come to Yilan to visit the night market, don't forget to go to the shaved ice with tapioca stall and experience the chewy taste of this street dessert. 

    There are many ways to enjoy shaved ice with tapioca. You can have it with red beans, mung beans, tofu pudding, longan or white fungus. The tapioca is paired with hot soup in winter and shaved ice in summer, and can be eaten either hot or cold. It is also available in a gift box so visitors can take this delicious Yilan night market delicacy back home with them.

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    Foto: othree (CC BY 2.0) retusjert

    5

    Thick pork soup with garlic (suan wei rou geng)

    The Taiwanese love their thick pork soup. It's a popular national dish comprising thick soup and fresh meat. However, the people of Yilan like their thick pork soup with garlic, which has a strong garlic flavour and is a popular street food. The best-known restaurants serving the dish are packed every day, so hungry customers looking for a bowl of delicious hot soup have to take a number and wait patiently for a seat. 

    Yilan is the birthplace of thick pork soup with garlic. The sellers who originally sold ordinary pork thick soup listened to their customers' suggestions and added rich garlic to the pork thick soup, making this a typical Yilan dish that is enjoyed by locals and foreign visitors alike. The soup has a spicy taste and delivers a fresh, strong garlic hit in every mouthful, making it the ideal dish for those who like bold flavours.

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    Foto: Yawen Lin (CC BY-SA 2.0) retusjert

    6

    Red yeast cuttlefish (hong zao you yu)

    Red yeast cuttlefish (hong zao you yu) is a perfect example of a highly creative dish produced by adding unexpected seasonings to ordinary ingredients. Cuttlefish is enjoyed everywhere in Taiwan and is eaten steamed, stir-fried, boiled and fried. Even so, Yilan is known for its unique and creative practice of adding red yeast to the preparation. Red yeast is the lees produced when red yeast rice is fermented and which is considered good for health. 

    The owners of Yilan snack stalls marinate the cuttlefish in red yeast until it develops a special red colour, then fry it in a pan until crispy. Red yeast cuttlefish has a unique red yeast flavour, which makes it totally different from other cuttlefish dishes. This dish can be paired with wine, as well as mushroom porridge and salty porridge. The fresh taste of the cuttlefish is enhanced by the unique aroma of the red yeast and is a typical street seafood dish in Yilan.

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    Foto: 羽諾 諾咪 (CC BY-SA 2.0) retusjert

    7

    Cherry duck (ying tao ya)

    Cherry duck (ying tao ya) is a must-try if you've come to Yilan in search of delicious food. Cherry duck is a delicacy that is combined with exquisite ingredients to create dishes such as the famous 'one duck, five dishes. Fresh duck paired with local Sanshing spring onion is highly popular. Cherry duck is bred in Sanshing, Yilan, and is raised in a wet environment. Its meat is soft and tender, making it perfect for crispy roast duck. 

    Yilan's chefs select the best cherry duck and roast it until it becomes dark brown and crispy. One duck is used to create 5 dishes so that customers can taste the delicious duck served in different ways. It starts with stewed duck tongue, flippers and wing. Next comes cherry duck sushi. The third dish is pancake roll with Sanshing spring onion and duck meat. This is followed by lettuce-wrapped duck meat, with a soup made from duck bone broth to finish. Each dish is exquisite, offering amazing flavours and textures.

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    8

    Rice noodles in thick soup (mi fen geng)

    Rice noodles in thick soup (mi fen geng) is one of Yilan's popular street foods. Prepared using a broth made from pork or chicken bones, the soup is thickened by adding rice flour and black fungus. The fragrant rice noodles soup is garnished with coriander or celery before being served. Many Taipeans make the journey through the Hsuehshan tunnel to Yilan just for an authentic bowl of the thick soup. The soup's addictive power draws visitors from far and wide. 

    There are subtle differences in Yilan's thick rice noodle soups. Some are made with coarse rice noodles and oden, while others contain fine rice noodles. Each variation has its own unique, delicious flavour. If you're looking for an afternoon snack that won't fill you up, a bowl of thick rice noodle soup is a perfect choice. Oden and black fungus make the rice noodle taste richer, delivering a delicious surprise in every bite.

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    9

    Meat fritters (bu rou)

    Meat fritters (bu rou) are a popular Yilan delicacy. There are always long queues before the most famous meat fritter sellers. Locals waiting patiently alongside visitors for meat fritters are a common sight on the streets of Yilan. The name for meat fritters stems from a unique Taiwanese dialect used by the people of Yilan. 

    To make this fried pork dish, the sinew of the tenderloin is removed and the meat is then cut into long strips, coated with batter and fried quickly in a pan. The oil is then drained before the deliciously crispy, aromatic pork is served. Meat fritters come in long, crispy strips with an attractive golden colour. The pork is tender and chewy and makes a delicious snack on its own or served with rice or noodles. Some popular sellers of meat fritters also serve fried vegetables. Local Yilan vegetables are coated and deep-fried. Dipped in sesame, pepper and salt, they are the perfect accompaniment to meat fritters.

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    10

    Deep-fried tofu skin roll with pork filling (zha rou jjuan)

    Deep-fried tofu skin roll with pork filling (zha rou jjuan) used to be one of the dishes on the state banquet menu in Taiwan. Nowadays, it's one of the common street foods on the streets of Yilan. The long tofu skin rolls are fried until crispy and are served cut into small pieces together with ginger, parsley and sauce. Each mouthful contains a deliciously tender nugget of pork. 

    The dish was once a palace delicacy, mainly because superior cuts of pork are used, and the taste of the fried pork (coated with a flour mixture before deep frying), is both refreshing and fragrant. Tourists visiting Yilan can enjoy tofu skin roll with pork filling from one of the many popular vendors during their visit and can even take uncooked rolls back home to cook for themselves. The uncooked rolls can simply be fried in hot oil or baked in the oven at home. This delicious souvenir of Yilan is one that you will want to keep all to yourself.

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