On this Easter Sunday it is time again to pass judgement on two world cuisines on The World Cup of Food. One of Taiwan and Lebanon will be eliminated form our competition and one will advance to meet the winner of Switzerland and Hungary in the round of thirty-two.
Japanese colonization of Taiwan (from 1895 to 1945) left a lasting impression on Taiwanese culture. Loan words from Japanese pepper the Taiwanese dialect, and like Japan, Taiwan has had a more Western-friendly attitude than some of its neighbors. Food traditions, of course, were also left behind by the Japanese, and today a hungry visitor to Taiwan is about as likely to find sushi or ramen noodles as he or she is more traditional Taiwanese fare.
After trying our hand at the foods of Taiwan and Cambodia to gain a better understanding of the cuisines, we have reached a decision in their first qualifying round matchup for The World Cup of Food.
As a special bonus feature, we’d like to share a Taiwanese beverage we found to go with the rest of our Taiwanese meal:
Lu rou fan (recipe follows) is a popular pork dish in Taiwan, both at home and served from the stalls of the night markets. It’s briny, rich savoriness comes from dried shrimp and mushrooms and from a healthy dollop of Japanese miso, a lingering influence from the Japanese Empire’s rule over the island.
Taiwan, like many other nations in the Pacific, has been under the rule of several different flags over the course of its history. The aboriginal Taiwanese people, related most closely to the aboriginal groups of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Polynesia, are thought to have first arrived on the island around eight thousand years ago. Dutch colonization in the seventeenth century opened up the transportation routes for Han Chinese (from whom the majority of modern-day Taiwanese are descended) to emigrate to the island. Japanese conquest in the late nineteenth century, which lasted until the conclusion of World War 2, created another wave of influence. Today’s Taiwanese government is the direct continuation of the pre-Communist Republic of China (a name still in use by the Taiwanese government), which fled to the island after the Chinese Civil War of 1949. Most recently, immigrants from Southeast Asia have made their mark on Taiwanese culture.
Continue reading Taiwanese Cuisine — Bok Choy and Shiitake Mushrooms