Pork black pepper buns are a very popular food to eat in Taipei, with good reason. It’s crispy and flaky on the outside, juicy and full of flavor on the inside. If you’ve read any Taipei food guide or have seen Food Wars, the black pepper bun is a food you should try!
What is a black pepper bun?
Hújiāo bǐng or Pepper bun (Chinese: 胡椒餅; pinyin: Hújiāo bǐng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: hô͘-chio-piáⁿ; literally: ‘black pepper cake or biscuit’) is a type of baked bun that originated in city of Fuzhou, the capital of China’s Fujian province. It is a street food that has become quite popular in Taiwan and can be found in night markets or mini food stalls throughout Taiwan. The common ingredients are flour, water, and a leavening agent for the outer dough shell, and a meat protein (usually pork or beef) marinated with sugar, soy sauce, white pepper or black pepper, and scallion for the inside filling.
Why is it popular?
It’s in the Michelin guide classified in the bib gourmand section for affordable street food. Michelin rating are some of the most respected ratings a restaurant could get. Just being on the list means that restaurant is going to have amazing food!
Although some places are Michelin rated, when they become chain restaurants it’s difficult to maintain the high quality of the original. I’ve seen this first hand with places like Hawker Chan and Tim Ho Wan.
On the flip side, I’ve also been to places that are not Michelin rated and they’ve been incredibly delicious.
Black pepper buns were also featured on the anime Shokugeki no Soma (Food Wars). The Food Wars Black Pepper bun is pretty much exactly what you could expect. My reaction was similar, but please keep your clothes on. If you watch Shokugeki no Soma (Food Wars), you’ll understand that when a character really likes a food, they internally go to a new dimension of deliciousness were their clothes explode.
Where Do I Get The Black Pepper Buns in Taiwan?
The most popular place is in Raohe Street Night Market. It’s right at the entrance and most people get there via Songshan MRT station.
How Delicious Are The Pork buns?
8/10 for overall deliciousness. It’s juicy, crispy, flaky and full of flavor. It’s not filling as a meal, but great for a snack when on-the-go.
How Do You Eat A Black Pepper Buns?
SLOWLY. It’s also going to be SUPER hot. The bun holds in all the flavor and the heat. When you get these baked pork buns, they literally come out right from the oven. It will be difficult to even hold in your hand for the first 15 minutes, that’s how hot it is!
Then you take a SMALL bite of the exterior to begin letting some of the heat out. Don’t take a big bite because you may burn yourself with that level of heat.
Lastly, don’t wait for this thing to cool down. The longer you wait, the more the pork bun cooks. It changes from having a thin, crispy, flaky exterior to having a hard exterior (like a bagel). For optimal flavor, eat the black pepper pork bun as soon as you can take the heat.
How Much Is It?
Each black pepper bun is only $50 NTD ($1.62 USD) at Raohe night market. Don’t worry if you don’t speak the language. Just use your fingers to indicate how many you want. They only sell pork black pepper buns so you can’t accidentally order anything else.
What should I expect when I get there?
Expect a line! If you don’t get to Raohe night market once they open, the expected wait time is 30-90 minutes during primetime hours 7-9pm. Personally, I wouldn’t wait more than 30 minutes for black pepper pork bun. It’s good, but not “wait over 1-hour good.” If you really want one, check out my recommendation at the bottom of this post.
Roahe street night market is a collection of street stalls, restaurants and shopping. The black pepper bun is sold from a street stall. Once you make your purchase and get your food, you get out of line. There’s no seating for customers at this stall. Since this is street food, you eat it on the street.
If you’re a messy eater, be sure to grab a napkin before leaving the stall.
How Many Black Pepper Buns Should I Buy At Raohe Street Market?
Just one. If you’re trying to get a full meal, about 3-4 of these will fill an average adult. But this is Raohe Street Night Market! There’s so much other food! You SHOULD only buy one and then try other foods. It will probably take you at least 30 minutes to walk to the other end of Raohe nightmarket.
How Do I Get To Raohe Street Night Market? Songshan Station To Raohe Night Market
The easiest way is by MRT. If you take the green line to Songshan station, there’s a Raohe Night Market MRT exit. As soon as you exit, you’ll be right at the entrance to Raohe street market.
Where else can I get these Taiwanese Buns?
It’s actually very difficult to make these Taiwanese buns, because you need a Chinese oven. I’ve seen less than 5 places selling black pepper buns in Taiwan (and I’ve been here for 6 months). There have been other places I’ve tried, and even though Taipei Food Guides tell you about the one in Raohe night market, there’s also a branch by Taipei Main Station!
Fuzhou Ancestral Pepper Cake (Black pepper bun Taiwan)
By Taipei Main Station, visit 福州世祖胡椒餅 (Fuzhou Ancestral Pepper Cake) and get their delicious black pepper pork bun for $55 NTD ($1.78 USD). I know, it doesn’t have a Michelin star and isn’t as well known as the one in Raohe Night Market, but it’s just as good! The bonus is, this place is open all day! From 11am to 9pm every day. The typical wait time here is 0-15 minutes.
If I were to compare the black pepper pork buns at Raohe street market and at Taipei Main Station, I would rate them both an 8/10 on deliciousness. It’s a very satisfying snack, but not enough for a full meal. Eating 3-4 of these for a full meal is too much meat and bread for me.
Black pepper pork buns are delicious. Not many street vendors offer this food in Taipei, because it’s difficult to move around with a large Chinese oven. The few that do make pork buns, have to do a good job to maintain their street credibility.
With an average price of $50-55 NTD (Less than $2 USD) you can try one of Taipei’s best street food at Raohe Street Market or by Taipei Main Station.
If you’re on a diet, don’t watch Food Wars (Shokugeki no Soma). They teach you about all the delicious foods in the world with an entertaining story of cooks learning to make the best food in the world.
Are there any foods in Taipei that you love or plan on trying? What’s on your Taipei Food Guide?
For more Taipei related activities, check out all my Taipei Travel Posts.