February 07, 2013

The Taiwanese and their food

The Taiwanese and their food

Crabs - ak-thenextchapter.blogspot.com
Crabs in Tainan
One of the things that I had learnt before I even started to think about moving to Taiwan was that they Taiwanese are passionate about food. It was a Taiwanese-American friend who first hinted at it, but it was through reading and researching and through friends who visited Taiwan that it was confirmed to me that it really is the whole country and not just a limited group of people, a group of people that I happen to be in touch with, that share this passion. It wouldn't have been strange if it was just the people I met  because as a foodie I am naturally drawn to people that share an interest in in food,  we have so much in common, so much to talk about.

 Food is indeed one of my greatest passions; Not food en masse, but good food, well prepared, where you take care of the ingredients, and combine them well, in a way that brings the meal to the next level - that is what I am passionate about. Well prepared food, it doesn't have to be fancy, but it needs to be cooked with a heart, and that is what you find in Taiwan. 

Fish in the local fish market
Food seems to be a passion that we can share, me and the Taiwanese - the whole of Taiwan seems to be crazy about good food. In a country with access to so many delicious ingredients, it is easy to cook well; Fruits, vegetables, gorgeous seafood, rice, meats. I have a feeling that almost anything you can think of, you can find it in Taiwain, as long as it is in season. And unlike Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia where it is too cold and more important, too dark in the winter, you can grow fresh fruits and vegetables all year around, it is just that what you get when varies. I am a strong believer in eating as much as possible of what is in season, it is as a general rule better for the environment to eat what grows close and doesn't have to be transported long distances.

Excellent local food markets
As always when I travel - and I am an avid traveller, I have travelled, mainly alone, for years - I ended up going to the local markets. I do this also when I don't have a kitchen, just to look around, but in Taiwan I theoretically had access to one, which made it even more fun, and even if in the end I didn't have time to cook this time around, I will soon be back for real, and by then it will be very useful to be familiar with the markets and the traditions, as well as the various ingredients.

The fascinating Taiwanese ingredients that in so many cases are so different from what you see in a normal/standard food market anywhere in Europe; Various kinds of tofu, dumplings of all sizes and types, skewers, fish, meats, noodles (pre-cooked as well as completely fresh), cabbages, tomatoes - I bought batches of cocktail tomatoes and ate them as sweets - apples, oranges, wax apples (Syzygium samarangense, see this link from the Taiwanese government  to find out more about the wax apples, or use Google), Buddha's Head fruit (Cherimoya), bananas, and so forth.  I still dream about the food markets! I know that I will be happy in Taiwan, simply based on the food! Because a country full of people that loves their food as much as the Taiwanese simply must be a good country to inhabit.   

No comments :