The purpose of writing this article is to convey my perspective of Taiwanese food, in terms of its pros and cons, so first and foremost, let me begin by simply stating the obvious, as I see fit. Truthfully speaking, there is no actual way, in my opinion of course, to determine the pros and cons of any cultural dish, per say, as the issue is extremely relative, and is a matter of perspective; in the sense that, opinions, regarding the pros and cons of any such dish, is somewhat volatile, and may vary indiscriminately, with respect to the individuals involved, within, as well as those apart from that particular culture. However, having said that, I must, as is momentarily required of me, undertake the task, to the best of my ability. In doing so, I must make a few things clear to the reader; as a foreigner here, I possess no in-depth knowledge of the Taiwanese food culture, and hence, must rely on my few experiences and encounters, however restricted to my own personal preferences they may be, as well as informative aid from some additional research, to better facilitate my opinions, in an effort to attain an accurately depicted perspective of the matter, on my behalf of course, so as to not make futile assumptions, the primary basis of my claims.

Now, with that being said, as far as most are concerned, food is one aspect of culture that most take pride in, as is very evident, here in Taiwan, and back home in Belize as well. What is noteworthy, however, is that, more so, many cultures have a recognizable cuisine, (I.e. a specific set of cooking traditions, using various spices or a combination of flavors, unique to that culture) which may evolve over time. Other differences include preferences (i.e. hot or cold, spicy or bland, etc.) and practices. Moreover, many cultures have diversified their foods, by means of preparation, cooking methods and manufacturing, which also includes a complex food trade which helps the cultures to economically survive by way of food, not just by consumption, a practice of which Taiwanese cuisine is a prime example. As I’ve been made to understand, during my short stay here, Taiwanese cuisine has several variations, in addition to representative dishes from the people of Hoklo ethnicity, Aboriginal, Hakka, and local derivatives of Chinese cuisine (of which beef noodle soup is a popular example). At this point, again, I must make a few things clear in reiterating my purpose, which is, as stated earlier in the article, to highlight the pros and cons of Taiwanese food. As I understand it, my approach to discerning this uncertainty, may be best described as methodical, in that, it doesn’t seem logical to examine each dish in general, for the holistic pros and cons they may seem to posses, but rather examine the individual components such as the ingredients of the average local Taiwanese cuisine. Whether or not it’s the best approach, remains to be seen at this point, nonetheless, its one I feel would prove to be very efficacious.
Apparently, Pork, seafood, rice, and soy, are very common ingredients. Beef is far less common, but partly due to the traditional reluctance towards slaughtering precious cattle needed for agriculture, conversely, however, the Taiwanese version of the beef noodle soup remains one of the most popular dishes in Taiwan, in spite of this traditional aversion. Taiwan’s geographical location also influences its cuisine, as the Taiwanese had to look for other sources of protein. Hence, seafood partly predominates most of their cuisine. Seafood here includes, but is not limited to, large fish like groupers, small fish like sardines, and even smaller fish like anchovies, crustaceans, squid and cuttlefish, not necessarily eaten in that order, mind you. Also, due to the island’s subtropical location, an abundant supply of fruit is available as well as other agricultural products in general.
So, with regards to the pros and cons of Taiwanese food primarily, let’s consider the individual ingredients of their cuisines, in terms of their nutritional value, upon consumption. Firstly pork, as a major ingredient in the Taiwanese cuisine will be considered here initially. Pork’s myoglobin content is lower than that of beef but much higher than that of chicken. Pork is very high in vitamin B1 (thiamin), and pork with its fat trimmed, is leaner than the meat of most domesticated animals. However, even so, it is still high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Furthermore, undercooked or untreated, the meat may harbor worms. Also, the pig is the carrier of various parasitic helminthes. With regards to seafood, research over the past few decades has shown that the nutrients and minerals in the seafood can make improvements in the brain development as well as reproduction, and has highlighted the role of seafood in the functionality of the human body. On the other hand, there is the potential for mercury poisoning if one consumes too much seafood. This is primarily due to the fact that fish and shellfish have a natural tendency to concentrate mercury in their bodies, often in the form of methyl mercury, a highly toxic organic compound of mercury. With regards to rice, I’m sure it is widely known as one of the most important staple foods for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in East and South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the West Indies. Rice is also considered to be the most important grain consumed worldwide by the human species. However, cooked rice can contain Bacillus cereus spores, which produce and emetic toxin when left at 4-60°C, resulting in rice related food poisoning. With regards to soy, the soybean is largely credited with the approval of the USDA as an official cholesterol lowering food, along with other heart and health benefits, however allergy to soy is common, and the food is also listed with other foods that commonly cause allergies, such as ,milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish. With regards to fruits, they are generally high in fiber, water, vitamin C, and sugars. Diets that include a sufficient amount of fruit and vegetable potassium also help reduce the chance of developing kidney stones, and may help reduce the effects of bone loss. Fruits are also low in calories, which would help lower one’s caloric intake, as a part of a weight loss diet. However, proper fruit handling and preparation is highly recommended to reduce the risk of food contamination and food borne illnesses. Unfortunately, that’s all I have to say about the pros and cons of Taiwanese food at this point.
Hope it helps!