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Taiwan: The Kingdom of Fruit

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If you’ve travelled much of Asia, you’ll have observed the generous diversity of fresh fruits these countries have on offer – Taiwan is certainly no exception. There’s a reason it’s coined ‘The Kingdom of Fruits’.

The Kingdom of Fruit

 

Taiwan’s subtropical climate is favourable for horticultural production. The mountainous island offers a range of humidity and temperature conditions that allow for a variety of fruit to be accessible in markets at any given season. 180 hectares of land throughout Taiwan cultivate fruit for both domestic and international trade. As of 2023, Japan are the biggest importers of Taiwan-grown fruit.

 

Where to find fruit in Keelung

You hardly have to go out of your way to find fruit in Keelung. Walking the streets of Keelung in the daytime, you’ll inevitably come by stalls with a number of different fruits neatly displayed in segmented shelf areas. Dried fruits are also displayed on the shelves of sweet stores, they’re a popular snack among locals, perfect for gifting and offering to guests.

At Keelung’s famous Miaokou night market, you’ll notice that the street food incorporates a lot of taiwan-grown fruit, such as in the popular baobing (shaved ice dessert), juice or tanghulu (candied fruit on a skewer). Our Miaokou Night Market Tour gives you a deeper insight of the best local street food and the history behind it. The market has many stalls with quesues of people at the most popular – it all puts your head in a spin if you dont know what foods to look for. If you have an adventurous spirit, this article shares all the top “weird foods” you can try at the market. 

 

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Pineapple are considered the national fruit of Taiwan, but other familiar faces you’ll notice are bananas, apples, oranges, passionfruit, watermelon and rockmelon/cantaloupe. And, being a kiwi, I was excited to see kiwifruit stickers crediting my home country (though they won’t taste the same as the ones fresh from a Te Puke orchard back home).

pineapple

But if you like to think of yourself as an adventurous traveller looking to put an exotic twist on your breakfast fruit salad, why not get acquainted with some new fun foods? Here are a few to get you started.

 

1. Guava 芭樂 (Bālè)

There are many varieties of guava grown in Taiwan at different times of the year. A popular kind is the pink guava, which as the name implies has pink flesh within a light green outer skin. Guavas are not particularly sweet, but you’ll likely come across them in Taiwanese baked goods.

Guava 巴樂 (Bālè)

2. Mango 芒果 (Mángguǒ)

Who doesn’t love mango? Mango was introduced to Taiwan by Dutch settlers in the 17th century. Today, there are 135 varieties on market, coming in different sizes and colours. Mango are perfect eaten fresh or blended into a cold drink.

Mango 芒果 (Mángguǒ)

3. Dragonfruit 火龍果 (Huǒlóng guǒ)

Dragonfruit are the colourful aesthetic you want for your food photography. They’re had to miss at a grocery shop, boasting a bold pink skin and a spotty patterned pulp when cut open.

Dragonfruit 火龍果 (Huǒlóng guǒ)

4. Wax apple 蓮霧 (Lián wù)

Wax apples can’t be likened to your basic Java or Royal Gala; they are closer in shape to a bell than a sphere. Though crunchy, these apples have a much higher water content and reduced flavour, but are very satisfying on a hot Taiwan day!

Wax apple 蓮霧 (Lián wù)

5. Durian 榴槤 (Liú lián)

Their reputation for being incredibly smelly doesn’t place durian in an appealing light to the common tourist visiting Taiwan. But there’s a reason these are so popular among the local communities – I don’t know, maybe give them a go and you’ll understand why?

 

6. Lychee 荔枝 (Lìzhī)

The dry winters and wet summers of central and southern Taiwan make conditions perfect for growing lychee, a fruit enjoyed by chinese for two thousand years and introduced to Taiwan in the 18th century. They are round and pink in colour.

 

[It’s important to note that many produce stalls will package fruit in plastic bags, so to keep your environmental footprint minimal, it’s a good idea to reuse plastic bags you already have or bring your own fabric bags.]

 

The list of fruits grown in Taiwan is extensive, but we hope this has guided you on where to start in getting familiar with some new sources of nutrients. If you want to learn more about Taiwan’s top 5 world reknowned fruits, this video is a good one to check out!

If you stay in Taiwan, you should be at no risk of deficiency in Vitamin C, protein and antioxidants. While local meals tend to be heavy with meat and starches, the fruits of Taiwan are a great addition to have in your diet.

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