Taiwan has always been famous for the night markets with all sort of famous delicious local street food but there is one dish that I would encourage tourists to try out during your holiday - Taiwanese Railways Bento 鐵路便當/台鐵便當.
便當 - Pronounced as "Bian Dang" in Chinese, it was translated from "Bento" = lunch box in Japanese.
Taiwanese Rails Administration (TRA) and other private kiosks sell various lunch boxes at the major train stations for the convenience of the travellers. I would say most Taiwanese have tried those lunch boxes in their lives - especially those who travelled by trains for work or moved around in the era (1945 onwards) that trains as major transportation while domestic flights or expensive cars were not a popular option.
This traditional lunch box usually contains one meat, a braised hard boil egg, two vegetable and one type of pickle in a cardboard box. The prices are ranging from NT50 - NT100, it is very affordabe. Besides the meals with meat, there are vegetarian options too. The lunch box was designed to feed the people with affordable low cost meal, now it has become a trend for the nostalgic meal to remember the old days.
If you would like to experience the Taiwanese Railway Lunch box, remember to buy one when you are on your train journey to anywhere in Taiwan.
Authentic local experience!
Braised pork belly, braised hard boiled egg and two vegetables on Taiwanese chewy rice.
TRA Pork Chop Boxed Meal
Taiwanese chewy rice, prime pork chop, braised hard boiled egg, vegetable and pickle vegetable.
Checken Drumstic Boxed Meal in an Octagonal Box
Aromatic chewy rice, stewed chicken drumpstic, dried small fish with honey sauce, braised hard boiled egg, two types of seasonal vegetable, a slice of ham and some seasoned pickle.
P.S.: These lunch boxes were hot meals while the Japanese Bento at the Japanese rail way stations are mainly cold meals.
I love this small little island, Taiwan. Besides the rich culture and scnenic places, the people were very friendly. It is one of the countries in Asia to check out if you are adventurous to explore with limited English speaking environment.