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21th issue by NTU on December 2009

Taiwan Culture is very unique to the world, it has many interesting and new stuff to try and experience which is exciting to look forward to while here in Taiwan. Apart from the friendly, kind and generous people in Ping Tung that help us in anyway possible, we also have a variety of aromatic food. These foods varies from stinky tofu, fried rice, fried chicken, fry noodles, rice and noodle gratin, barbequed squid, dumplings and the list can go on.

        I have a healthy appetite, any one who knows me will not hasten to differ, but I have found that my pallets were aroused to one of Taiwan’s yummy soups. I must admit though that I am not a big fun of soups, but that decision was instantly changed when I was introduced to a rich white, creamy, thick, milk like corn soup with beef filled, juicy white flour dumplings.  If one had said to me prior to coming to Taiwan that I would be indulging myself in a bowl of soup with no remorse I would gladly say, “I don’t think so!”

Talk about something so common in the everyday life is quite difficult, and more over when somebody suddenly asks you; it is not because you don’t know the topic, but because you have never stopped to think about it… not until now, at least. It has past three months since I arrived Taiwan and although I have already tried so many Taiwanese dishes the opportunity to decide the favorite one never appeared, maybe because there was always a new dish to try or because among those who just came to Taiwan it is not possible for us to say that we have already tried everything, and I think we are always expecting a new Taiwanese culinary surprise. Well, focusing again in the initial question, what my favorite Taiwanese food is?, I think my response can start with a little background for the reader to be able to understand my final choice.

 
Cambridge Advanced Learner’s dictionary defines food as something that people, and animal eat, or plant absorb, to keep them alive”. Based on the aforesaid definition, I will describe Taiwan as a nation that has enough food for her people, animals and plants. There are multitudes of food for human consumption. The same assumption is true for plants because the fruit stores are, always jam-packed with a spectrum of varieties of fruits

It is pretty difficult for many like me to select one Taiwanese food as my favorite. As a “foodie”, I have eaten a lot of palatable Taiwanese food –indeed I do not know the names of some of those foods. Once the food looks nice and is not outside my “choice of food band range”, I eat it and always found out that it is delicious.

There is lot to eat in Taiwan. Since I arrived to this beautiful country, in August 2008, I am always considering how to manage my overweight. Frankly, I do not have any problem eating Taiwanese cuisine.

 
I enjoy eating fried rice with chicken (雞肉炒飯); wonton with noodles (餛飩麵);  tofu with wood ear mushrooms (黑木耳燜豆腐); hot and sour soup (酸辣湯); diced pork with soy sauce (醬爆肉丁); duck with rice (鴨肉飯); fish stir-fried with peanuts and pickled vegetables(小魚花生); and the famous fried tofu or “stinky tofu” (臭豆腐), is a great opportunity to taste a variety of dishes.

It’s a great pleasure for me to have such an opportunity to write about my favourite Taiwanese food. Food is never just food. It’s also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been and who we want to be. It’s a fact that nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet that is why my favourite Taiwanese food is “Roasted Sweet Potatoes”. The Chinese name for my favourite Chinese food is Digwaa or Fanshu and I enjoy it very much to have it as breakfast with tea. In Swaziland I was used to boiled sweet potato up until I arrived in Taiwan to have a nice taste of roasted sweet potato. Another thing I like about my favourite Taiwanese food is the fact that it never gets spoiled easily and you spend less energy to prepare it. Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. Thanks.

 The traditional Gambian dishes cooked in homes are mostly rice with a covering of various spicy sauces, and stew made with fish, chicken, beef, lamb or goat. Therefore, to me discovering the food in Taiwan has been a very different experience, even different from the Chinese food you can pick up at a Chinese joint back home.  However it has also been a great gratification since my arrived here in Taiwan about four months ago.

 What is this smell?

 Don’t be distracted by the smell, go rather towards its origin.
I had already perceived this food in many menus without trying it yet. One day, on the way to the church with my friends, we stopped in one of the very popular and renowned night market in this country; Keelung night market. We stopped just to buy a "Zhēn zhū naĭ chá". Drinking and walking with the multiple tones in this market, a sudden smell was felt. Later I realized that my friends were familiar with this smell. This smell rose as we advanced. We were at the angle of the street when this flavor was so amplified. I was surprised that we stopped at the source of this not really pleasant smell. But we decided to take a sit in this restaurant. I was more surprise when suddenly; as if somebody had passed the command without me knowing it, we received on the table a dish well covered.

 DELICIOUS CHINESE DUMPLING, I do like it!!!!

 Each person has his own taste but some foods do not let a choice to those people having opportunity to get them on their dining table. It’s the case of DUMPLING that I enjoyed so much since the day I had a chance to discover it with one of my friends in a restaurant not so far from the department of Aquaculture (NTOU).I know that many people like it as well as me and the proof is that I have met several people there, both Taiwanese and foreigners.
 
For those people (particularly international students) who didn’t account for this delicious Taiwanese dish, I invite them to try, I’m sure they will enjoy it maybe more than me and why not the Taiwanese themselves. I tried to know how DUMPLING is cooked but for now, my Chinese is not so strong to understand.