Drinkipedia: The Lowdown on Taiwanese Drinks

TRADITIONAL TASTES

Hot Grass Jelly / shao xiancao 燒仙草 /

Hot Grass Jelly is a grass jelly (made from mesona tea) served with toppings such as taro tapioca balls, sweet potato tapioca balls, red beans and roasted peanuts. From its name, you can tell that the best way to have it is to “drink” it when it’s hot (though it’s almost like you’re eating it as you need to use a spoon, not a straw). The dessert is easily found in any night market in Taipei while you might also find it served in different ways, e.g. grass jelly juice, grass jelly on shaved ice, and grass jelly with milk. 

Savory Soy Milk Soup / xian doujiang 鹹豆漿 /

Savory Soy Milk Soup, or Taiwanese-Style Soy Milk Soup, is a common item you can find in any traditional breakfast restaurant. It’s a bowl of hot soy milk curdled with vinegar and flavored with sesame oil, green onions, pickled radishes and most importantly, the crispy youtiao! Some stores will add dried shrimp to create even more flavor. It might not be the typical “drink” as you imagine, but it’s certainly a popular option for breakfast, brunch or even late-night supper for Taiwanese. (Read more: Breakfast in Taipei: Start Your Day Like a Local!)

Taro Sago Soup / yutou ximilu 芋頭西米露 /

We all know sago is a common dessert in East and Southeast Asia. Most people have it with coconut milk, but here in Taiwan the combination of taro and sago is totally bravo! The sweet taro is cooked in sugar water for hours to create a soft but firm texture. Meanwhile, sago is like mini tapioca balls that melt in your mouth before you chew. Some stores use sugar water as the soup, but you can’t go wrong enjoying it with milk. 

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This article is reproduced under the permission of TAIPEI. Original content can be found at the website of Taipei Travel Net (www.travel.taipei/en).