Oil noodles and bean sprouts are the main ingredients in this Tainan specialty dish. The noodles are served in a small bowl and usually topped with meat or an egg boiled in soy sauce for an extra flavor boost.
These popular biscuits are named after their long, oval tongue-like shape. Yilan and Lugang are the best know areas for ox tongue biscuits in Taiwan. The two varieties, though similar in appearance, are in fact two distinct treats that reflect the different environments of the their birthplaces.
Yilan ox tongue biscuits are long, narrow, and thin. The ingredients are kneaded by hand into a dough, rolled flat, tapped down the center with a knife, and then baked to a crispy biscuit-like texture. The Lugang version, on the other hand, is thick and oval-shaped. The biscuits are flaky and lightly sweetened with a malt sugar filling and baked or fried.
According to legend, this bagel-like bread was invented by the Ming dynasty General Chi Chi-kuang as an easy-to-transport military ration since the bread could be strung together and carried around the neck. The bread is made with naturally leavened dough that is carefully kneaded to produce a solid and chewy bread. The dough is baked by sticking it to an oven wall. The oven walls can't get to hot or the bread will peel off and be ruined. The Matsu variety of jiguang bread is faithful to the northern Chinese style. The breads were originally served deep-fried, but a healthier oven-baked version now prevails. The bread is often served with ham and fried egg like a hamburger, and is therefore commonly known as a "Matsu hamburger."
Brown sugar cake evolved from a type of steamed sponge cake presented as an ancestral offering. The brown sugar version is believed to have been brought to Penghu by early immigrants from Okinawa, an island well known for its brown sugar. The brown sugar cake famous in Penghu today was first produced by a Ryukyu baker surnamed Maruhachi.
While brown sugar cake was originally used strictly as an offering, local bakeries now make this treat to meet growing tourist demand. Made with new techniques, the cakes today are softer and less sugary than their predecessors. They are also beautifully packaged, making them a popular souvenir gift in Penghu.