Taiwan Cuisine

(P.S. If you have the good fortune to be invited to a "Pan-Toh," accept!)

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Taiwan Cuisine

Taiwan Cuisine

What do lotus roots, gingko fruits and ginger slices have in common? Recently, they played supporting roles at a Pan-Toh, a traditional 12-course Taiwanese banquet held in Los Angeles, California and hosted by the Taiwanese United Fund. Key ingredients, they appeared in three celebratory Taiwanese dishes: "Lotus Roots with Kumquat Sauce," "Silver in Gold" (abalone with mushrooms) and "Boiled Free Ranch Chicken Taiwanese Style," respectively.

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.

"Good Eating" tours are rampant in Taiwan. To whet your appetite for one, check out the
Two-day Tour of Tainan Snacks

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 Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley: A guide to regional Chinese cuisine (newly published second edition)

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
When it comes to Chinese Food...no one knows more than Carl Chu...
"'San Gabriel is the epicenter of where the Chinese community is today,' said Chu, who insists that the only place to find authentic Peking Duck not deep-fried in Southern California is in San Gabriel."
"San Gabriel Explodes as Region's New Hub for Chinese Community" Los Angeles Times March 31, 2006

To purchase Carl Chu's books, click: Chinese Food Finder

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