What spices and other food items should I bring to Taiwan?


#1

I’m from South Africa, arriving in Taiwan at the end of the year. I’m just curious as to what spices and food items that wont spoil if transported by sea, should I take with me. I’m looking for items that are not readily available in Taiwan, or exorbitantly expensive.
The kind of foods that you will miss after staying about 6months in Taiwan. Any ideas? What would you bring?

Can one for example find vanilla pods, paprika, saffron, Parmesan cheese etc in Taipei?


#2

I’ve seen saffron, paprika and Parmesan cheese here. Don’t think I’ve seen vanilla beans here, though.

The only spice I’ve personally found absolutely necessary to bring is gumbo filé powder. Everything else I brought from the US I found here. But there may be some exotic spices (I think Dragonbones mentioned annatto) that need to be brought over.


#3

[quote=“Mr Stevens”]
Can one for example find vanilla pods, paprika, saffron, Parmesan cheese etc in Taipei?[/quote]

They have all that. Nothing, that springs to mind, but I guess the real foodies would have a list.


#4

[quote=“Buttercup”][quote=“Mr Stevens”]
Can one for example find vanilla pods, paprika, saffron, Parmesan cheese etc in Taipei?[/quote]

They have all that. Nothing, that springs to mind, but I guess the real foodies would have a list.[/quote]
True. All of those things are relatively easy to get and not too expensive.
You can bring me a bottle of Mrs Ball’s chutney!


#5

[quote=“Buttercup”][quote=“Mr Stevens”]
Can one for example find vanilla pods, paprika, saffron, Parmesan cheese etc in Taipei?[/quote][/quote]
All available here.


#6

Costco is your friend if you use a lot of it, especially vanilla pods which are otherwise very expensive here.
Saffrron is of course insanely expensive and only sold in a couple of the “import” supermarkets.
Parmesan cheese and paprika, is generally no problem, but again cheaper in Costco.


#7

Hmm…

From South Africa . . .

What you can’t find here . . .

potjie

bunny chow

and

a bottle of Amarula


#8

Lettuce? Have!


#9

Potjie: Is that Dutch for “small pot”? Just ask any Canadian

Bunny chow: I’ve had that a few times in Fresh. Freely available.

Amarula: Do you really want to drink from the same table as giraffes, elephants and baboons?


#10

[quote=“zender”]Hmm…

From South Africa . . .

What you can’t find here . . .

potjie

bunny chow

and

a bottle of Amarula[/quote]

Amarula is readily available here. The ingredients for bunny chow can also be found. (I had bunny chow once in Durban.)


#11

Fer Chrissakes. Just hollow out a half-loaf of bread and chuck in some curry.


#12

Paprika - Costco, cheap
Parmesan - supermarkets and Costco:
Parmesan Reggiano block 839NT/kg Costco
Parmesan bulk grated 329NT for 1135g Costco
Saffron - P&P: whole, Spanish: 紅花絲 $1380 for 10g
See also viewtopic.php?f=8&t=75948


#13

Thanks all for the help :slight_smile:


#14

I don’t see you offering that bottle of Mrs Ball’s chutney! :bluemad:


#15

Hi,

I’d like to add my own question to this thread if I may.
I’m arriving on Taipei on Tuesday and wondering if it’s worth me bringing some basil and coriander seeds so I can grow my own herbs on a balcony or are both theses herbs readily available fresh? I lived in South Korea for a year and couldn’t get hold of either of them so there’s no way i’m going without again.


#16

[quote=“ballsmonkey”]Hi,

I’d like to add my own question to this thread if I may.
I’m arriving on Taipei on Tuesday and wondering if it’s worth me bringing some basil and coriander seeds so I can grow my own herbs on a balcony or are both theses herbs readily available fresh? I lived in South Korea for a year and couldn’t get hold of either of them so there’s no way I’m going without again.[/quote]
You can get fresh coriander here in every supermarket and traditional market. As for basil, that’s readily available too but it’s Thai basil. I think Jianguo flower market might have some of the western kind, but why not bring some seeds anyway? (Well, presuming you’re allowed to bring them into Taiwan–I’m not sure about that.)


#17

What joesax said; they’re widely available (and cheapest in wet markets, pricier in supermarkets). Seed packets are tiny, so it won’t hurt to slip some into your suitcase. You can also buy the seeds here, though. What you can’t get is stuff like tomatillos, epazote, and various Latin American peppers, in case you cook Mexican or something. Tell us what you cook or bake and we can tell you more about what to bring, e.g. you can’t get pumpernickel flour, diastatic malt, or buttermilk powder here.


#18

Thanks, i appreciate the help. I mainly cook Italian stuff so it sounds like i’ll be ok. I’ll bring some seeds with me too. Also can I get Arborio rice there for making risotto?


#19

Italian is okay here; you can get Risotto Arborio, Scotti 義式長米 1KG/box NT$200 at P&P, and they also have 10kg packages, plus Risotto Carnaroni, Scotti. Some other import supermarkets have the former too. It’s not cheap, but it’s here. There’s a wide variety of dried pasta, and a tiny amount of fresh pasta. You can get canned Italian tomatoes at Costco, P&P and so on, too. There are even a few cheap, hand-cranked pasta machines locally, although IMO you’re better off bringing a nice motor-driven one with various attachments from home if you’re into that. Now that there’s no surface mail, postage on heavy items is outrageous, so if in doubt or if running low on luggage space but not weight, bring the heavy ones and box the light ones for family to mail you later.

You can also buy a wide variety of cheeses, even fresh pillow mozzarella at Costco. If you want to make your own, bring some cheesemaking cultures and kit with you, though.


#20

As Dragonbones said, risotto rice is expensive here, the import supermarkets want in excess of NT$340 for a box…

Costco has affordable hard Italian cheeses, at least compared to the supermarkets.

Pasta is very readily available and I’d suggest RT-mart for some of that stuff as they have their own store brand which imports a lot of stuff from Europe and the prices are better than Carrefour’s in-store brand.

Again I found a passable pasta sauce base in RT-mart, as it only had tomatoes, garlic and some spices in it, unlike some of the other pre-made stuff here that looks horrible.

Tinned tomatoes of any kind is quite expensive here, at least in comparison to Europe.

Carrefour has a selection of fresh pasta, but for over NT$200 a packet, but there’s a local guy (albeit a foreigner) that makes it as well and some of his stuff is at least for sale in Costco, but I haven’t tried his stuff, so dunno if it’s any good. He also makes pasta sauces that are on sale in Costco. All his stuff can also be found in Jasons.

The import supermarkets also carry a wide range of fancier pasta, for a price.

I tend to pick up odds and ends when I go abroad, Hong Kong is far more affordable than Taiwan for any speciality stuff, even though some of the shops are the same. Sometimes you just have to plan for a shopping trip there :smiley: