Taiwan is NOT famous for its food - and for good reason.

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Taiwan is NOT famous for its food - and for good reason.

Postby HeadhonchoII » Thu Nov 29, 2012 20:39

Big Vern, in another thread, wrote:All restaurant food in Taiwan is, at best, at the upper end of average. Unfortunately Taiwan is NOT famous for its food - and for a good reason.

There are many factors behind this, but the main one IMO is a race to the bottom price-wise. That's why ingredients that are easily available in places as close as Hong Kong are nigh on impossible to get in Taiwan. Thus the number of threads on WCIF.

As far as I'm concerned a review of any restaurant in Taiwan is never going to be outstanding because they don't have enough quality ingredients and/or they are forced to sell at too low a price to produce anything decent. This doesn't mean that I won't eat at any of them. It just means that when I do I won't be looking for 3 Michelin star service. I believe there are one or, perhaps, two restaurants with a single Michelin star in Taiwan. Compare that with the UK which is famous for bad food.
Taiwan not famous for its food? Depends who you ask doesn't it.
There's certainly a lot of great food in Taiwan, it's not usually western though.
But you got to ask yourself the question....what would astronaut Chris Hatfield do?
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Re: Taiwan is NOT famous for its food - and for good reason

Postby Bu Lai En » Thu Nov 29, 2012 21:07

HeadhonchoII wrote:Taiwan not famous for it's food? Depends who you ask doesn't it.
There's certainly a lot of great food in Taiwan, its not usually western though.


Yes, I'm no foodie, but I've known a couple of Epicureans who have lived in Taipei, Shanghai, Hing Kong, Singapore and Tokyo and declare Taipei the best of the lot for food.
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Re: Taiwan is NOT famous for its food - and for a good reaso

Postby Big Vern » Fri Nov 30, 2012 00:12

Oh, come on! Both of you.

Have you been here too long? Lost touch?

Go back to your home countries and ask anyone about Taiwanese cuisine. Try asking it in Ireland. Try asking it in wherever Bu Lai En is from.

Taiwan is famous for it's food? Fuck off is it.

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Re: Taiwan is NOT famous for its food - and for a good reaso

Postby Big Vern » Fri Nov 30, 2012 00:31

I'm going to push with this one.

Name one Taiwanese dish that you think is genuinely famous. I'm making it easy for you guys - just one. Turkey rice excluded.
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Re: Taiwan is NOT famous for its food - and for a good reaso

Postby Bunks » Fri Nov 30, 2012 01:58

Big Vern wrote:I'm going to push with this one.

Name one Taiwanese dish that you think is genuinely famous. I'm making it easy for you guys - just one. Turkey rice excluded.


None. But is egg fried rice and chow mein genuine Chinese when served in England? Well egg fried rice, yeah.
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Re: Taiwan is NOT famous for its food - and for a good reaso

Postby HeadhonchoII » Fri Nov 30, 2012 08:53

Big Vern wrote:I'm going to push with this one.

Name one Taiwanese dish that you think is genuinely famous. I'm making it easy for you guys - just one. Turkey rice excluded.


Use a bit of perspective Vern. I did say it depends who you ask didn't I? I didn't say to ask a westerner.
Taiwan is known as a good place to chow down by many Asians. Many of those people wandering around the night markets are Malaysians, Singaporeans, Hong Kongers, Chinese, Koreans and Japanese . They love it.

Plus there are plenty of people like me who live in Taiwan and enjoy good local food and some great Japanese and Korean food all the time here! Heck my wife and in laws are Hakka and these people know food, believe me. Its a massive part of their culture. It might not be to everybody's taste, but they are absolutely experts on the growing, selection, preparation and cooking of food! They do not waste anything. They can make almost anything appetizing. They often grow, kill and prepare their own animals themselves. They know intimately the importance of freshness. They NEVER eat frozen processed food. Ever.

If you like tofu Taiwan has an awesome amount of tofu type products. This part is not appreciated by most westerners. If you are into fruit it's hard to go wrong too, just buy it it in the fruit shops, not the supermarket. Do you know how much a melon costs in Japan? The Japanese literally go bananas over the fruit here. If you like seafood...there are few better places.
Into asian style desserts, there are few places that will rival Taiwan due to the use of fresh fruits such as mango, melon, pineapple and the use of fresh douhua and freshly prepared red bean and green bean and Xian Cao. In south east Asia on the otherhand they use canned crap for their desserts.
Into coffee and tea? There are few better places than Taiwan in the region. There are individuals and chains all over the island roasting their own coffee and you can get good coffee everywhere now. Some of it is even grown here. The Ali Shan tea and Taiwan oolong are rightly famous. Into bread? Things have changed a lot and there are now many great bakeries putting out decent bread.
In Ireland we know what is fresh and good quality food. Dairy and seafood and meat are of high quality.
But we often don't know how to cook it and we don't have a tenth of the variety in terms of fresh foodstuffs and dishes. It's just a fact of cold climate and being an expensive country.

In Taiwan, I can go into a kuai chao place, order from a menu of a hundred dishes of fresh food cooked the way I like and I can afford to eat five or ten dishes of it washed down by a couple of beers. I've been to Singapore and Hk and China and Vietnam and Taiwan's kuai chao restaurants are the best by a running mile!

You hear about HK being a great place to eat all the time. I can't even find restaurants in HK when I'm there. They seem moved them all indoors , to the 2nd floors or into the suburbs. Their street food culture seems to have died.

It may not be the case that Taiwanese food as a cuisine is famous. But Taiwan is very well known indeed for it's fresh, quick and tasty food all over the region, and for it's creative and fun food culture, and rightly so.

The obsession with Michelin stars is frankly embarrassing. Do you need a snooty guide focused on French cuisine to tell you what is good food?
But you got to ask yourself the question....what would astronaut Chris Hatfield do?

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Fox (Sun Sep 15, 2013 03:46) • Hobbes (Fri Dec 07, 2012 22:12) • thelostswede (Fri Nov 30, 2012 19:53) • ChinaCat (Fri Nov 30, 2012 14:08) • Tempo Gain (Fri Nov 30, 2012 13:55) • Omniloquacious (Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:10)
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Re: Taiwan is NOT famous for its food - and for a good reaso

Postby Omniloquacious » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:16

Very well said, HH! That deserves a place in a guidebook. Maybe MM can borrow it for LP.

As a vegetarian and very finicky eater, who prefers food very natural, clean and simple (with minimum oil, seasoning, garnishing, spice and whatnot), there's not an awful lot in Taiwan to suit my palate. But even I can see that there's plenty here to whet the appetite of more omnivorous and adventurous eaters.
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Re: On Restaurant Reviews and Reviewers

Postby Bunks » Fri Nov 30, 2012 14:04

Many people in the west think Taiwan is Thailand. Many people think of cheap plastic trainers, sandy beaches and lady boys if you ask them to name 3 famous things about Taiwan. What well known food is from Taiwan? Nothing. At dinner the other night I ordered some food on skewers. I used a fork to push the food off and was left with two skewers. My uncle said, "go on, show us the chopsticks thing." I picked up the skewers and lifted up a bit of chorizo with them. The family applauded. My uncle asked me to pick up a pea. I did it. They applauded. My dad then said, "Why don't Chinese men have any respect for women? Don't they like the colour green or something?" I love my family, though. I must say.

Anyway.

Writing a restaurant review is wanky and self serving. In MY opinion. Reading a restaurant review is the sign of boredom, isolation, habit, pretense, fashion, caution, lack of ambition. It's the same as reading about what clothes a model is wearing. Food is food. It is subjective. It involves too many factors and language is too limited for any review to be of any use. n (always)=1. Do the stats. Company is all that matters in a restaurant, if you ask me. I don't care too much what The Swede writes because for me a review is just a giant splash of self indulgence no matter who writes it.

From the jumbled brain of Bunkle.

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Re: On Restaurant Reviews and Reviewers

Postby sandman » Fri Nov 30, 2012 14:46

Bu Lai En, in another thread, wrote wrote:I understand wanting to support efforts by the expat community (really I do), especially those that raise the bar, but these ludicrously positive reviews can actually do the places a disservice. I get my expectations all raised for a superb meal and am then disappointed with something rather mundane. I remember when everyone was raving about the new curries at Carnegie's. Man was I let down. If I'd just expected a run-of-the-mill curry maybe I would have eaten again there since.
I LOVED the curries at Carnegies. LOVED 'em. Had no 10 pints of lager beforehand, either.
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Re: On Restaurant Reviews and Reviewers

Postby Bunks » Fri Nov 30, 2012 14:52

sandman wrote:I LOVED the curries at Carnegies. LOVED 'em. Had no 10 pints of lager beforehand, either.


Whereas I didn't. Poor meat quality, no spice, awful naan. :grin: However, they were great relative to any other curry I had in Taipei. Still not very good, though. :grin:
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Re: On Restaurant Reviews and Reviewers

Postby sandman » Fri Nov 30, 2012 14:55

Bunks wrote:
sandman wrote:I LOVED the curries at Carnegies. LOVED 'em. Had no 10 pints of lager beforehand, either.


Whereas I didn't. Poor meat quality, no spice, awful naan. :grin: However, they were great relative to any other curry I had in Taipei. Still not very good, though. :grin:

Oh, POOH! :lol:
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Re: On Restaurant Reviews and Reviewers

Postby HeadhonchoII » Fri Nov 30, 2012 14:58

Bunks wrote:At dinner the other night I ordered some food on skewers. I used a fork to push the food off and was left with two skewers. My uncle said, "go on, show us the chopsticks thing." I picked up the skewers and lifted up a bit of chorizo with them. The family applauded. My uncle asked me to pick up a pea. I did it. They applauded. My dad then said, "Why don't Chinese men have any respect for women? Don't they like the colour green or something?" I love my family, though. I must say.



Got a good laugh out of this.
But you got to ask yourself the question....what would astronaut Chris Hatfield do?
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Re: On Restaurant Reviews and Reviewers

Postby sandman » Fri Nov 30, 2012 15:07

if you ask them to name 3 famous things about Taiwan. What well known food is from Taiwan? Nothing.

Oh! OH! OH! An anti-Taiwanese in our midst! Its true, of course, but you're not really allowed to say it, I don't think.
Stinky tofu!!!! "Huh?" TAROKO GORGE! "Eh? What? Is Emmerdale on yet?"
TaiWAN! dude! TAIWAN! "Oh. Right. Cheap crappy shoes made in Vietnam. Shark fins. Got it. Taiwan."
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Re: On Restaurant Reviews and Reviewers

Postby Bunks » Fri Nov 30, 2012 15:14

HeadhonchoII wrote:
Bunks wrote:At dinner the other night I ordered some food on skewers. I used a fork to push the food off and was left with two skewers. My uncle said, "go on, show us the chopsticks thing." I picked up the skewers and lifted up a bit of chorizo with them. The family applauded. My uncle asked me to pick up a pea. I did it. They applauded. My dad then said, "Why don't Chinese men have any respect for women? Don't they like the colour green or something?" I love my family, though. I must say.



Got a good laugh out of this.



Yeah, being the other side of the curtain can be hilarious sometimes. They were so amazed I could use a couple of skewers like they were extensions of my fingers. Had there been more skewers around they'd have wanted to have a go, you can count on it. :lol: It would have ended when my dad skewered my mum somehow! Anyway, I guess the point is that aside from the chicken being processed crap chunks, and the chorizo being burnt a bit and my family being a bit backwards in this matter, I loved being with them in that place. That was what mattered. That is what I will remember in a years time. The restaurant was a convivial host to our being together.

Sandman, the carnegies curries were actually ok really. 6/10. Nothing amazing, nothing crap. Just a bowl of curry. I'd probably give everything 6/10, even my famous spag chilli bolognaise. It's all fuel for the old crap factory.

EDIT: When the waitress asked my dad if he wanted chips or new potatoes he said, "I want chips. The last time I came here the new potatoes were disgusting." He hadn't been there for over a year and he had never mentioned the spuds up until then. But he gave that waitress his full and frank review. I was gobsmacked. Why say something a year later? Why say it to her? I asked him and he said something like, "I'm justifying why I want the chips."
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Re: On Restaurant Reviews and Reviewers

Postby John Ross » Fri Nov 30, 2012 20:37

Big Vern wrote:I'm going to push with this one.

Name one Taiwanese dish that you think is genuinely famous. I'm making it easy for you guys - just one. Turkey rice excluded.

If I could hug you I would (a bear hug mind, not one of them decadent continental-style hugs); Yes, finally, praise for Jiayi Turkey Rice. Yes, it needs to be excluded because it is indeed genuinely famous. World famous. And not just World Famous in Sanchong kind of famous.

Oh happy day!! After years of cruel mockery at the hands of the likes of Mr Sand "I subscribe to BBC Food Magazine" man, I have vin...vino, yes, that too, but vindication.
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