Originating in 1853, one of the most famous Pan-Tohs, celebrated at Taipei's Riceyard, annually draws thousands of people to the feasting. The throngs of participants have prompted some to dub the event, "people-watching May 15."
Tiny Taiwan, located in the Western Pacific about 100 miles off China's southeast coast, midway between Japan and the Philippines, has drawn upon the best of neighboring cooking. After the Second World War, it absorbed cuisines from many localities, including: Zhejiang, Hunan, Guangdong, Yunnan, Shanghai, Beijing, and Sichuan. Today's Taiwan cuisine is a culmination of past influences blended with an abundance of local ingredients and creative cooking techniques. Notable delicacies include: Chinese meatballs, stinky tofu, eel with yellow noodles, and rice with stewed ground pork.
Snack food is a tasty Taiwanese specialty! (Unique Taiwanese snacks range from oyster omelets to fried rice noodles, tempura, Tainan Tan-tze noodles, Taiwanese spring rolls, rice tube pudding, and braised pork rice.) You will find an enormous variety at vendors' stands alongside busy markets and in towns throughout Taiwan.
A staple of Taiwan's renown night markets, snack food is also available in more elegant surroundings — commercial districts of big cities, hotels and food streets attached to many department stores. Prices are always reasonable!
For a more extensive selection of Taiwan's Gourmet Tours, click: gourmet guide
Can't wait for a trip to Taiwan toacquaint yourself with its cuisine? You're in luck — especially if you reside in Los Angeles or New York or the San Francisco Bay Area — or are planning a visit.
(Actually, wherever you live, you're fortunate if you can get your hands on any of Carl Chu's books on Chinese food! If Chinese food is a pleasure, it will become a passion as you enhance your understanding of the regional cooking styles of China.)
Carl Chu, a Taiwan native who grew up in Downey, California, has recently published a couple of incredibly interesting and helpful books:
Chinese Food Finder — New York: A guide to regional Chinese cuisine
Chinese Food Finder — San Francisco and the Bay Area: A guide to regional Chinese cuisine
Mark Bittman, New York Times