You say Taiwanese spring roll, I say exotic burrito

various fillings including shredded cabbage, lima beans, shrimp, bean curd in metal bowls at a street food stall in Taiwan
Lima beans, shredded cabbage, bean curd, shrimp, sugar: some of the fillings available in these Taiwanese wraps, a delicious street food.

As a general rule, the Taiwanese people are a ‘live to eat’ bunch.

Recently, I was chatting about dating and societal norms with a divorced lady here in Taiwan. We aren’t in the same age demographic, but I was curious – now that she’s solo dolo, is she at all interested in mingling with available suitors?

“No. I have two priorities: The children I teach, and eating.”

I have barely scratched the surface of eating in Taiwan, and I doubt I will get much further than that in five weeks. It’s a fragrant and delicious mishmash of street food, market vendors and a complete spectrum of restaurants, from the hovel to the high brow. So far, my game plan has been to amble around and not-so-subtly eye what people are gorging themselves on. Then I apologetically mime my way to my meal. For dessert I sometimes ask if I can be that person and take photos of the staff doing their thing in the kitchen.

Additionally, I’m in possession of a food list written in English and Mandarin. At this point I am most intrigued by “longevity peaches.”

a long written list of popular Taiwanese food, in English and Traditional Mandarin characters
A list of Taiwanese food that was thoughtfully prepared for me soon after I arrived. I’m working my way towards horse hooves, I guess.

There’s lots of things on offer here that might appear strange to someone used to a North American diet. But let me just say I thought there was something uniquely eccentric about the wrap I ate for lunch recently in Tainan. I’ve been told it is referred to as a Taiwanese spring roll. Debatable. I’m of the opinion that it moreso belongs to the burrito family, considering size (hand-held), dippability (lacking), and the nature of the fillings (diverse, chaotic). Burrito building is more like the wild west of wrap construction. Spring rolls – you have to at least look like you have a plan.

Semantics, really. It was weird, it was delicious, and it was 35NT.

a woman with a hygienic face mask fries a Taiwanese spring roll at her stall
A woman preparing Taiwanese spring rolls. I didn’t enjoy them as much as Mexican burritos but maybe I just had the wrong expectations

I got all possible fillings. They were, in no particular order (because I love a tasty list):

Dried Bean Curd

Lima Beans

Shredded Cabbage

Fried Egg, cut into matchstick strips


Pork, of some sort


Garlic Paste, and

A mixture of white sugar and peanuts (?)

A Taiwanese spring roll on a plate, filled with bean curd and cabbage and peanuts and sugar
Enjoying my weird spring roll

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.