Many of Taiwan's widespread and popular snacks trace their origins to Tainan and no visit to the city is complete without sampling some of the area's traditional dishes. Love them or loath them, nearly all are guaranteed to leave visitors with the true taste of Tainan.
A must-see for visitors is Chou's Spring Rolls (周氏蝦捲). Established half a century ago, Chou's was one of Taiwan's earliest fast-food joints and is such an icon today that on any given lunchtime office workers cross the city in order to chow down on Chou's
delicious shrimp cakes, fish ball soups, rice noodle dishes.
Diners can choose to eat either in a fast food environment or a more upscale restaurant-styled dining area. Regardless of where you opt to dine, Chou's fried specialties are guaranteed to leave you satisfied. Even better, the cost is no more than NT$150.
Other places to sample traditional Tainan fare are the city's night markets. Noisy, crowded and filled with the odors of boiling, broiling and simmering foodstuffs, Tainan's night markets may have waned in popularity in recent years, but they are still worth a visit if you fancy getting to grips with some down-to-earth fare.
Traditional Tainan night market foods include tai nan dan zi mien (台南擔仔麵), which is a steaming bowl noodles topped off with a simple meatball; small selections of seafood served up in a meaty/fish stock soup; yi mien (意麵), a thick, fishy, salty stock topped with slices of fried eel and guan tsai ban (棺材板) or coffin board, which is a slice of bread stuffed with a thick meaty, or creamy sauce, which is either toasted or deep fried.