Taiwan’s cuisine is full of staples and complete rice meals; it is rich with the flavours of history and bits of different cultures mixed together.
Unlike other nations with a distinct taste and/or ingredient to represent the nation’s cuisine, Taiwan is known for its fusion. Its dishes feature heavy influences in both ingredients and cooking techniques from its surrounding regions and foreign powers that have previously occupied the island.
Knowing its origins
To understand the depth of Taiwan’s cuisine is to learn its origins. It is impossible to talk about Taiwanese cuisine without discussing its past and how it all came to be. The earliest record of Taiwanese cuisine dates back to its indigenous people, who prepared and ate bamboo rice for weddings. This tradition continues in Taiwan til this date!
Migration from China
The political atmosphere in the 16th century has caused people from the surrounding regions of China to flee to Taiwan, bringing with them their cultural values, norms and of course, cuisine.
After World War II, the political turmoil caused a second wave of migration from mainland China to the nation of Taiwan. Both migrations have led to years of misunderstanding that Taiwanese cuisine is under the many schools of Chinese cuisines. To outsiders, Taiwanese cuisine shares plenty of similarities in taste and cooking techniques to certain regions of China.
It was not only the Chinese who have made an impact on Taiwanesecuisine – the Dutch and the Portuguese have also colonized the country throughout its history. This period introduced the island of Taiwan to western culinary techniques still used by local residents today.
The Japanese occupation of Taiwan during World War II helped shape the infrastructures and agricultural practices of the nation. Taiwanese locals have also adapted the Japanese practices of making bento (boxed lunches), rice balls, and miso soup. It was during this time that the Java coffee plants were introduced into the country. Since then, Taiwan has developed a strong culture for tea and coffee.
The beauty of Taiwan goes beyond its locations and activities. With so many influences and adaptations from so many different cultures, Taiwan is a haven for gastronomic adventures. Every dish is worth exploring, but popular eats are Oyster Omelette, Taiwanese-style Beef Noodle Soup, and of course, Boba Tea.
This intrinsic nature of fusing different tastes and techniques have inspired Taiwanese restaurant, Tai Feng Wei to incorporate fusion dishes in their menu. One of its many popular dishes is its Sambal Shrimp & Petai Fried Rice – a fusion dish combining Sambal, a chili sauce/paste that Singaporeans love, and a classic egg fried rice specially cooked in the Taiwanese method.
Tai Feng Wei took a classic egg fried rice and mixed it with spicy Sambal, fresh shrimp, and Petai – Malaysia’s must-try exotic food that’s also known as “Stinky Beans”. The chilli in the Sambal complements the bitter taste of Petai, and enhances the flavour of shrimp in the stir-fried rice.
The Sambal Shrimp & Petai Fried Rice is just one of the many fusion dishes in Tai Feng Wei. It also shows how Taiwanese cuisine is a melting pot of different cuisines, Asian and Western. Try out Tai Feng Wei’s fusion Taiwanese food, and taste the different flavours and techniques of different cultures.