My name is Juto Louis-Charles and my Chinese name is Zhu Sheng Jie. I come from Haiti, a country of 27,750 square km located in the Caribbean region between 18°00’to 20°02’N and 71°50’ to 74°25’W. I have been accepted for a scholarship in the Master Program for Environment Sustainable Development at the National Central University (NCU) and I expected to discover many things such as beautiful natural environment and food here in Taiwan and that idea was at once exciting and worrying.
So as to learn more about my welcoming country, I made sure to do some research about all aspects of that country whose food
I’ll learn to eat. Actually I learnt that Taiwan's cuisine has been influenced by several factors: historic, geographic, religious and climatic. For example I learnt that beef is far less common, because of the considerations of some Taiwanese Buddhists and some Taiwanese, particularly the elderly generation; still refrain from eating this meat, a traditional reluctance towards slaughtering precious cattle needed for agriculture, and an emotional attachment to such beasts of labor.
It’s always difficult to talk about taste or favorite color because it’s totally relative so are space and time in physics. In another hand, it’s often a very exciting adventure for all human beings to discover new things like new flavor of food. In my country, we often heard about different kinds of foods through the world. To almost each country in the world is attached an anecdote about food. For example in my country we hear often that American food is tasty but it makes fat, French people eats frog, African people eats very spicy traditional food with hands without spoons and Chinese people eats almost everything such as dog, snake and rats. So, before coming here for my scholarship, I had in my mind that general panorama about foreign food.
My first experiment with Asian food occurred in China Air Lines, the plane I took in New-York to Taiwan. During that long trip which lasted 15 hours, the air hostesses served me several meals. It was very amazing to discover that unfamiliar taste and the strange smell but I thought that if all the meals seem the same, I won’t have too much trouble with them because it wasn’t really bad. At this instant I knew that I’ll have to make effort for getting used to this type of food and eventually take one as my favorite.
Actually my favorite Taiwanese food is that meal “composed of rice, fried chicken and vegetables”, and I eat it almost every day for dinner. Not only has this meal good taste but also it is very nutritious. It is a good source of protein, of fibers, vitamins and mineral salts which our body needs. The way this meal is prepared reminds me a little bit Haitian food. I do mention also that Taiwanese drinks are very good such as fruit juice and particularly tea. After having my favorite meal, I’m used to drink orange juice and later tea so as to complete my food intake. In my country, our daily meal is made up of rice or grinded corn, bean, vegetables and meat. The flavor is quite different because we prepare rice with salt and it cannot be eaten without beans. Since I arrive in Taiwan I’ve never seen or eaten bean apart from one very odd ice bean cream offered to us during the ICDF orientation.
Furthermore, I was particularly surprised when I tried my first real Taiwanese meal. It was the day of my arrival at the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU); two or three hours later we were invited to have lunch. It was so amazing to see rice prepared without salt and flavored by leaves which gave it an odd smell.
Before my appreciation for “my favorite meal”, I had discovered many food flavors like Stinky tofu, chicken fillets, boiled dumplings and steamed pork dumplings. All those meals were very odd to me and I had many difficulties to breathe their smell and swallow them. It was an ordeal for me until I discover my favorite meal in the Seventh Gourmet, NCU’s restaurant.

Finally, those helpful experiments taught me two main things: first taste is relative and it has been evolved according to one’s own culture and secondly foreign food is a way to fit into culture in a foreign country when one is called to live in for a certain time

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