Flour and taste enhance Taiwanese cuisine

Venkat Raman – 

New Zealand’s food importers will have an opportunity to consider a vast variety of foodstuffs from Taiwan as a trade delegation visits Auckland next week.


The Taiwan Food Trade Mission will be at Langham Hotel (83 Symonds Street) in Central Auckland from 10 am to 1 pm on Monday, September 19, 2016.

The Trade Mission is being organised by the Bureau of External Trade of the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in association with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and Taiwan Trade Centre, Sydney.

Wide Variety

The visiting companies will showcase a wide range of products including Rice & Cereals, Noodles, Frozen Seafood, Prepared Food, Preserved & Canned Food, Sauces & Dressings, Confectioneries, Drinks, and Tea varieties.

According to the Taiwan Council of Agriculture, the country’s main export food sub-sectors (in value) include fish & fishery products, cereals & cereal products, and fruits & derived products.

The main import sub-sectors contain cereals & cereal products, oilseeds, and livestock & poultry products.

The following is an extract from an article by Ratna Venkat that appeared in our December 1, 2013 edition following her visit to Taiwan as a part of a Youth Camp.

Global flavours

flavour-and-taste-enhance-ratna-venkat-webAs home to ethnic diversity, Taiwan has incorporated the essence and flavours of foods from all over the world and developed well-known food processing industries, ensuring consumers safe, quality, and healthy foods.

Food in Taiwan is surprisingly diverse to satisfy all kinds of appetites, whether vegetarian, non-vegetarian or gluten-free.

Being a vegetarian, I initially assumed that my food choices will be constrained, with little opportunity to indulge in pure meat-free Taiwanese cuisine.

However, as we visited various restaurants, I was astounded by the range of vegetarian dishes on offer, some of which can only be experienced when in the country.

Out of the 14 restaurants that we visited during our 10-day stay, Din Tai Fung, Hai Pa Wang and Silks Palace at National Palace Museum (Lunch) and Di Hokkaido Konbu Hot Pot, Du Hsiao Yueh, Lima Life Workshop and Jiufen (Dinner) were memorable.

Unique and healthy

From a vegetarian perspective, I exploited the types of food that are not heard in New Zealand: mushroom varieties such as Shiitake, Korean and Enoki: seaweed such as Kombu and Arame: and all kinds of tofu.

These were prepared in ways that were unique to each restaurant, served either as a spicy hot pot as in Di Hokkaido Konbu Hot Pot or as a whole meal consisting of Taipei’s well-known ‘small individual dishes’ such as soups, braised vegetables, hot noodles and cool salads.

For quintessential Taiwanese food however, Din Tai Fung is undoubtedly the best, voted by New York Times as one of the top ten restaurants in the world.

Another version

Lima Life Workshop is another restaurant that offers another version of Taiwanese cuisine, with a harmonious blend of Hakka and Aboriginal cultures. The dishes here too tasted as though they had been cooked in a Western way, with flavours being light and mild, and different to the Chinese aromatic dishes.

While restaurants such as Din Tai Fung and Lima Life Workshop are highly recommended for first-time visitors to Taiwan, individual specialties of Taiwan’s food culture should not be overlooked. These include ‘Steamed Dumplings’ and ‘Shaved Mango Ice’ found in and around Taipei City, Jiufen’s famous ‘Taro Balls’, and Taichung’s flaky pastries known as ‘Sun Cakes’. Refreshing drinks such as ‘Pearl Milk Tea’, and the ‘Taiwan Beer,’ which was of brewing interest to some of our Camp members, are among the ‘beverage icons’ of Taiwan!

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