Taiwan is a country of vibrant culture, unforgettable cuisine, and remarkable sights. Whether you are visiting for the first time or returning to explore some other parts of the country, buying souvenirs for yourself or your loved ones back home is a must!
Taiwan has a variety of unique souvenirs that you can buy to remind you of your trip. From traditional Chinese handicrafts to snacks and pastries unique to Taiwan, this article will provide you with some ideas on what souvenirs to buy in Taiwan.
Without further ado, here are my top recommendations for the best souvenirs to bring home from Taiwan (as well as where to hunt for them in Taipei)!
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18 Best Souvenirs To Bring Home From Taiwan
Handmade arts and crafts
Handmade crafts and artwork by emerging local artists are some of the best choices when looking for something special to buy in Taiwan.
The array of handmade arts and crafts available in Taiwan ranges from traditional craftworks such as paper umbrellas and bamboo sculptures, to modern art pieces created by local artists (such as leather goods, tote bags, candles, jewelry, home decor, postcards, and more).
Two of my favorite places to shop for handmade items crafted by independent artists/makers are Huashan 1914 Creative Park and Songshan Cultural and Creative Park.
You can easily spend a few hours browsing through all the individual stalls here if you’re serious about supporting small businesses!
Where to buy in Taipei:
- Huashan 1914 Creative Park
- Songshan Cultural and Creative Park
Traditional Chinese trinkets
Traditional Chinese trinkets provide an authentic way of bringing home a piece of Taiwanese culture. From jewelry and wooden cookware to traditional clothing and Chinese calligraphy, there’s no shortage of souvenirs to buy in Taiwan that will make for a special memento.
Jewelry with auspicious symbols are popular among travelers looking for good luck charms, while tea sets and pottery offer classic souvenirs representative of Taiwanese culture. Textiles such as embroidered clothing can be found in various markets throughout the country, along with hand-painted fan art which is not only beautiful but also functional.
One of the best things to buy in Taiwan is a lucky cat, also known as Maneki Neko in Japanese. This adorable figurine has become an iconic symbol of luck and good fortune throughout Asia.
While the original design was made in Japan, this beloved cat has since been adopted by the Taiwanese people, who believe it brings prosperity and happiness!
The most common design is a white cat with one paw raised, but you can find cats in all sorts of different colors, poses and sizes. Whether you’re looking for something small or something life-sized, there’s an option for everyone. Some cats even have accessories like coins or bells attached for extra luck.
Not really sure how peanut nougat became so popular in Taiwan, but here we are! Today, this little treat is one of Taiwan’s most iconic sweets.
Peanut nougat (牛轧糖) sweet little treat is made with honey, egg whites and nuts, making it a perfect blend of sweet and salty flavors. The combination of ingredients creates a soft yet chewy texture that will satisfy anyone’s taste buds.
Nougat comes in many different flavors including traditional walnut, almond and sesame. For those looking for something even more unique, there are some specialty flavors such as green tea or ginger sugar which combine classic Taiwanese ingredients with the flavourful nougat base.
If you’re looking for a brand to buy, check out Salico Foods — this brand has been spreading the love of Taiwanese Nougat since 1956, and has been named Taiwan’s No.1 Nougat.
Made with fresh local peanuts, New Zealand milk, Salico’s nougat packs a bunch of yummy Taiwanese flavors in a small piece of candy. In fact, the International Taste Institute awarded it the Superior Taste Award in 2022!
They even came out with a boba milk tea flavor for all the boba-obsessed people out there!
Chia Te (you’ll see their name mentioned here a lot) also sells a really delicious peanut nougat as well!
Not a fan of the nougat texture? Peanut candy or sesame candy is all the rage in Taiwan as well!
Despite it being called ‘candy’ it’s really just a bunch of nuts/seeds stuck together with a bit of sugar as the binding substance.
There’s also a different type of peanut candy that I like better than the peanut candy above, and that’s peanut crisp. This confection is PERFECT for people who like peanut butter but in ‘candy’ form. The consistency is basically like peanut powder compressed into a block of yummy goodness.
It’s sweet, nutty, and complex in taste — sweet, but not TOO sweet!
Taiwan is known for its beautiful ceramics which make great souvenirs to take home. Whether you’re looking for something small like cup or mug, or a larger piece such as a vase, Taiwan has you covered. With centuries of history and craftsmanship behind them, it’s no surprise that Taiwanese ceramics are sought-after pieces from all over the world.
From traditional blue-and-white porcelain to contemporary works featuring intricate designs, Taiwanese ceramic art is among the best in the world. Heirloom quality items can be found in many cities across Taiwan with specialty stores full of unique handcrafted items made by local artisans.
Dried exotic fruits
Taiwan is a small island, but it packs a big punch when it comes to flavor that grows from the ground. If you’re in Taipei and looking for something fruity and delicious to cut the grease from all the night market eats, you’re in luck!
Regional fruits such as persimmon, pineapple, guava and dragon fruit add a unique sweetness to end any meal. And if you’re looking to try a fruit that’s uniquely Taiwan, opt for the Wax Apple! Taiwan’s Wax Apple is like a cross between an apple and a pear–it’s juicy, crunchy and sweet.
Looking for an edible gift to bring home to friends/family? Dried fruit makes for a great souvenir gift. In many supermarkets and gourmet gift shops, you’ll find various types of dried fruits such as guava, mango, pineapple, persimmon, and even dragon fruit.
Dried squid was one of my favorite snacks growing up as a kid. It still is today, and the only thing stopping me from gorging on huge amounts of it is how expensive it is in the USA! When in Taiwan, you should eat as much of it as possible–it’s so much cheaper!
Dried squid has been a part of Taiwanese cuisine for centuries, but recently it has become a popular snack food often eaten with beer or as an appetizer. It is made by salting, air-drying and seasoning whole squids before they are cooked over hot coals. The resulting product is both stringy and chewy and comes in many different flavors such as spicy, sweet, and savory.
For adventurous eaters who want to share the experience with their loved ones back home, dried squid makes for an interesting conversation starter when brought back home from Taiwan!
Dried squid can be found in various supermarkets and gourmet shops all around the country.
Tea is an integral part of Taiwanese culture and a great source of pride for the locals. If you’re looking for souvenirs to take back home from your Taiwan trip, tea should be at the top of your list. Not only does tea make for a memorable souvenir, but it’s also an affordable way to bring some local flavor back home with you.
Taiwan is known for its variety of teas, which range from oolong tea to green tea and even bubble milk teas. In addition to the many flavors available in stores, travelers can find other unique types like high mountain oolong at certain specialty shops or markets. One of the best (and perhaps priciest) is the Oolong tea from Alishan!
You can also buy traditional ceramic and glassware specifically designed for brewing and serving tea so you can recreate the Taiwanese drinking experience back at home.
Taiwan is a great place to explore if you’re a coffee lover. The third wave of coffee has taken the country by storm, introducing locals and visitors alike to new brewing techniques and novel flavors. Thanks to this growing trend, there are now plenty of souvenirs to buy in Taiwan related to specialty coffee.
These souvenirs range from unique blends and beans to various tools used for brewing third-wave coffee. Many local stores will offer t-shirts that support small-scale producers or promote specialty roasters.
You can also find mugs, postcards, ceramic filter holders, and other interesting items related to the world of specialty coffee. Shop around for exclusive products from Taiwan’s many independent cafés and roasteries – these make excellent souvenirs for friends back home!
Chances are, you’ll also find a huge variety of Kinto products beckoning you with their simple elegance!
Where to buy in Taipei:
- Coffee shops throughout Taipei
- Eslite Bookstore for other coffee-related products/gifts
Pineapple cake (鳳梨酥, pronounced feng li su in Mandarin) is a light, flaky pastry filled with an assortment of pineapple jam and buttercream on top. The crust contains a mix of flour and sugar that gives it a slightly sweet taste, almost like a delicate version of shortbread.
It also sometimes contains pine nuts for crunchiness and texture. The combination of both pineapple jam and buttercream makes this dessert irresistible for anyone that has a love for all things pineapple flavored.
Pineapple cakes are usually available all year round and can be found in many bakeries across Taipei. You can even buy them super last minute as the TPE airport is littered with them across its various duty-free shops!
However, if you’re looking for extra delicious and world-renowned pineapple cakes, buy the ones from Chia Te Bakery or Sunny Hills!
Where to buy in Taipei:
- Chia Te Bakery – Songshan District
- Sunny Hills Taipei – Songshan District
If you decide to go to Chia Te Bakery, there’s something else you should keep an eye out for too!
Nougat Green Onion Crackers by Chia Te
Chia Te’s Nougat Green Onion Crackers are so unique and delicious. This innovative snack combines the sweet flavor of nougat with savory flavors of green onion. Somehow, it just works. You’re definitely not going to find this flavor combo in many other places around the world!
The crackers are made from a crispy and flaky pastry dough, which is then filled with a rich and creamy nougat filling and flavored with the bold and aromatic taste of green onion.
The combination of the sweet and nutty nougat filling with the savory and slightly spicy taste of green onion creates a flavor explosion in your mouth that is both satisfying and addictive! The crackers are also lightly dusted with a layer of sugar on top, which adds a subtle sweetness that complements the other flavors perfectly.
While you’re at the bakery (which can be a bit out of the way to get to but is SO worth the effort), be sure to pick up a bunch of other pastries that sound interesting to you! Chia Te is known for using only the freshest and highest-quality ingredients in their products, which ensures that each bite of whatever you choose will be packed with flavor and texture.
You can check out their website to get an overview of what they sell.
Sun Cake (Taiyang Bing – 太陽餅)
Sun cakes, or taiyang bing (太陽餅) in Mandarin, are a traditional Taiwanese pastry made from syrup, lard, and flour. This combination gives the cakes their signature golden color, which is why they’re referred to as “sun” cakes.
Despite its name, they’re definitely more of a flaky pastry as opposed to a cake.
The texture of the inside can vary depending on the recipe used; some recipes call for more flour to create a flakier texture while others use more maltose syrup to create a softer consistency. No matter how it’s prepared, sun cake is sure to be a hit with any pastry lover visiting Taipei.
Personally speaking, I like taiyang bing so much more than I like pineapple cake. I’d recommend you get one of each to try out to see which you prefer.
As with pineapple cakes, these are sold at a lot of traditional bakeries and make great souvenirs to bring home!
Where to buy in Taipei:
- Ruyi Sunny Cake – Ximen District
- Yu Jan Shin – Songshan District
- Chia Te Bakery – Songshan District
Prized for its timeless beauty and longevity, jade has been a part of Chinese culture for centuries. Meaning “precious stone” in Mandarin, jade is believed to bring luck and prosperity. Taiwanese artisans are now crafting a variety of jewelry and decorative pieces from this timeless material.
Today, you can find all sorts of keepsakes made out of jade, from charms, bracelets, and necklaces to even entire sculptures for the home.
When purchasing jade items in Taiwan, it is essential that buyers understand the different grades of quality available as well as how to spot imitations. There are three distinct qualities – high-grade gemstone, semi-precious gemstone and regular grade gemstone – each with different features and price points.
Where to buy in Taipei:
- Jianguo Jade Market
- try your luck at the Fuhe Bridge Flea Market or the Tianmu Creative Market
Mini sky lanterns
If you’ve never heard of Taiwan’s annual Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, now you have! This event is a cultural activity of lantern launching, where people write their wishes on the lanterns and then launch them into the sky. I
f you’re lucky enough to visit Taiwan during this festival, why not commemorate your trip with a mini lantern you can bring home?
These small, colorful paper lanterns are lightweight and easily portable, making them the perfect souvenir! Though they’re only a few inches tall, mini sky lanterns have become one of the most popular items to buy while visiting Taiwan.
Where to buy in Taipei:
- Ningxia Night Market
- the souvenir shops in Shifen
These inexpensive keychains are perfect for the boba lover in your life!
Boba-themed items are available all over Taiwan, from large shopping centers to small street vendors. Aside from the traditional boba tea drinks, tourists can purchase boba keychains, stuffed squishy dolls, mugs and even phone cases that feature Taiwanese bubble tea characters.
The best part about these boba trinkets is that they don’t break the bank; most of them come at incredibly reasonable prices so visitors on any budget can take home a piece of Taiwan with them!
Where to buy in Taipei:
- vendor stalls in Ximending Shopping Area
- any basic souvenir shop
Essential Travel Tips For Taipei
- If you plan on using the internet for Google Maps, and even random internet searches when there’s no WiFi around, I’d highly recommend picking up a Taiwan prepaid SIM card OR an eSIM via Airalo. I did Taipei without a SIM card (just used T-Mobile’s free international roaming) and while Google Maps worked fine, even basic Google searches would take ages to load. Local SIM card = super fast internet!
- You should get a contactless IC card (EasyCard) OR a pass that provides unlimited transportation (like the Fun Pass for tourists). These will save you the hassle of needing to purchase individual bus/subway tickets and with the EasyCard, it’ll even save you money as the fare is discounted when you use an EasyCard.
- Consider getting the Unlimited Fun Pass, which includes entrance to 25 popular attractions, as well as unlimited MRT and bus rides in Taipei and New Taipei City.
- For public transportation, you will probably use the bus as much as you use the train. In both instances, you’ll need to tap your transportation card upon getting ON and OFF. So in total, you’ll be tapping twice per ride.
- The MRT (subway) system is clean, timely, and super affordable, with trains running every few minutes. The bus system is a bit less reliable than the train, but still pretty good. There is good digital signage that lets you know when the next bus is arriving at your stop.
- Make sure to download Google Maps and Google Translate on your phone. That way, you can check bus/train schedules, access maps, navigate to your stops on foot, and read food menus easily.
- Upon arrival at TPE Airport, allocate at least 1 to 1.5 hours to get from the airport to Taipei. When traveling with lots of luggage or traveling with larger groups, we prefer to book a private airport transfer to get us from the airport to our hotel and vice versa.
- The weather in Taipei can be quite unpredictable, and rain is not uncommon. Make sure you pack a lightweight travel umbrella when visiting during typhoon season (from May to November).
- Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes as you’ll be doing a ton of walking in Taipei.
- Don’t forget to bring some cash with you while you explore the city, as some vendors (such as at night markets) don’t take credit card or EasyCard payments.
Taiwan Travel Insurance
This is a no-brainer. When traveling internationally, be sure to get yourself some travel insurance.
I’ve heard of too many unfortunate experiences where friends and family have had baggage lost/stolen, hotels canceled, or have had unexpected medical emergencies while traveling where they’ve had to cut their trips short.
True story alert — in 2022, my partner even had his shoulder completely dislocated while surfing in Mexico, resulting in a $950 USD emergency room bill that we had to pay out of pocket for! Not fun and not cheap.
Without travel insurance, you would have to pay out of pocket for these mishaps. This is why I get travel insurance for all my international trips now!
One of the best budget-friendly travel insurances for those traveling outside their home country is SafetyWing.
SafetyWing Insurance provides coverage for unexpected illness or injury, including eligible expenses for hospital, doctor or prescription drugs. This means that if you get ill or injured, THEY will cover the medical expenses.
In addition, it provides emergency travel-related benefits such as:
- emergency medical evacuation – very much needed if you like to go hiking / trekking in the wild
- travel delay
- lost checked luggage
- adventure sports coverage (add-on) – so you can rappel down waterfalls, cave dive, mountain bike, scuba dive, etc. with peace of mind.
- electronics theft (add-on) – get reimbursed if your laptop, phone, camera or other electronics get stolen.
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