12:00 – 7:00 pm | Aug 27th | West Corridor Bays
12:00 – 6:00 pm | Aug 28th | West Corridor Bays
The bento is the epitome of a family story. It is a warm, delicious meal, and also a basket for the fusion of different cultural backgrounds. This year’s “Let’s Savour Taiwan” will not only continue to tell the story of organic farmers, but also share a variety of dishes from multiple cultures within Taiwan. What could this bento taste like?
Taiwan is located at the junction of the Tropic of Cancer and the Kuroshio Current. The water vapour brought by the airflow has created a unique and rich natural ecology. Whether native or migratory, everything can live and take root here. Humans are also a part of nature, and it is human instinct to migrate towards suitable living conditions. The memory of our taste buds also accompanies the crossing of geographical boundaries, creating a flavourful, constant dialogue.
About the Artists
Two heartwarming and natural mushroom and rice dishes
“How far is the distance between nature and the dining table?”
Allie Huang, the head chef, relocated from Miaoli to Tainan, while Grandma laid down roots in Taiwan after coming all the way from Shandong. These two women from different eras have the same superpower: the courage and persistence to derive different recipes from various ingredients!
Allie sources her ingredients from farmers adhering to eco-friendly practices. The ingredients are stir-fried to retain their purest flavour, are added to rice to create “mushroom on rice,” then garnished with edamame—“green gold” from Kaohsiung. This dish made from painstakingly farmed ingredients is finally wrapped in lotus leaves. Grandma takes mushrooms farmed in the hills of Nantou, delicately cuts them into strips and coats them with special spices. It is then carefully stir fried at the optimal temperature with rice to create “dried mushroom fried rice.” Both dishes embody appreciation for family members and nature.
The Alley No.11:
This cozy shop hidden in the winding side alleys may not be adorned with lavish decorations, but instead exudes an authentic flavour of Taiwan, which gives you a pleasure akin to discovering a treasure. By listening to stories that detail the inspiration behind each dish, the origins of each ingredient, and the hard work of farmers, Allie Huang believes dining experiences like these can change the world. With a focus on quality over quantity, each guest is treated to a scrumptious meal, which hopefully can allow the land to flourish, and keep Taiwan eternally beautiful.
New Taipei City
The fox bento box from a Gongliao mountain village
“What did these people from a mountain village look to protect?”
During the 1950s and 60s, giant timber bamboo, which was slender in appearance and grew in abundance in Gongliao because of its optimal climate conditions, was in great demand. However, with the decline of industry that utilized this type of bamboo, collecting a year’s worth of bamboo shoots for cooking evolved into a habit of the village residents. Up to this day, the Gongliao terrace fields remain partially farmed by oxen, with farmers living in perfect harmony with nature as they rise to work at dawn, and return home to rest at dusk.
Hehe Terrace Fields:
In the mountains of Gongliao District, New Taipei City, a group of farmers never gave up on farming. Equipped with traditions and knowledge passed down for generations, they continue to believe that they will be blessed by the gods as long as they respect nature. That is why they never use pesticides, which allows many rare water-based plants to flourish. As younger farmers join this line of work, not only are they preserving traditional agricultural techniques, they are also tasked with observing and recording the ecological environment—a crucial responsibility for maintaining ecological diversity.
A romantic Vietnamese summer
“If a love for Vietnam became a cuisine, which dish would you pick?”
Josie is a Taiwanese girl with a Vietnamese soul, and her cuisine is always brimming with a romanticism for Vietnam. She is not merely trying to replicate Vietnamese cuisine, but is instead trying to build a bridge of friendship between Taiwan and Vietnam through people’s tastebuds. Her Vietnamese breads are packed with flavourful Taiwanese salted pork with maqaw (mountain pepper) and stir-fried bird-nest ferns is like a vessel carrying different cultures, sailing towards her dream.
Petit été Restaurant
Petit été Restaurant （小夏天) was established in 2011 as a platform for sharing the blessings of food, travel, and friendship. The elegance and beauty of Vietnamese cuisine, with a touch of flavours carrying the legacy of the French colonial era, is perfectly blended in with Taiwan’s local culinary traditions. We were deeply inspired by the simplicity and contentment of life in Vietnam, and we are building bridges to relay the feeling of blissfulness—about travel, kindness, life, culture, and every bit of affection among fellow human beings—to our friends from other countries and places.
A salad made with passion from Indonesia
“Do you have friends who are at the same time close yet far away?”
There are currently over 650,000 Southeast Asian migrants in Taiwan, with Indonesians accounting for about 35%. They could be migrant workers in the fishing industry, or caregivers plugging the gaps amid Taiwan’s caregiver shortage. Karmila came to work in Taiwan from Indonesia. When she is not busy with work, she finds ways to express herself, and sometimes she makes snacks from home and shares them with friends! While she may not be able to speak the local language fluently, she always replies with an assertive “Yes, I can!” whenever asked for help.
We met Karmila in Taiwan, who hails from another island in the ocean, and have shared an honest friendship since.
The ultimate taste buds of Malaysia
“What does the wind of freedom smell like?”
Ask a Malaysian food lover: “What is at the heart of Malaysian cuisine?” They will always reply without hesitating: “It is definitely the sauce! The sauce is the essence, everything else is to accompany it!” While this may seem somewhat extreme, it exemplifies the delicate yet stringent use of heat and spices in Malaysian cuisine.
Sambal is a special homemade sauce popular in Malaysia which exhibits regional and familial differences. For restaurants, the quality of their sambal can determine the success of their business. After the 1950s, many Malaysians emigrated to Taiwan to pursue their dreams, enjoying the air of freedom with people coming from different places.
Food from Penghu
Red-braised octopus from Penghu
“How could you use a time capsule instead of a refrigerator?”
A limited variety of crops can be planted on Penghu’s barren land. In the early days before refrigerators were invented, most food had to be pickled or sun-dried to preserve their flavours for longer.
Dried octopus is soaked in water overnight, then cut into pieces along the grain. It is then lathered with spicy condiments and placed into a pot, and braised until it turns into a caramel color. A simple bowl of white rice is its perfect companion.
Food from Penghu
The bountiful seas of Penghu
“Is there a coral reef fish you can eat?”
Penghu is an archipelago consisting mainly of coral reefs, and it is easy to find coral fish at local markets. For the people of Penghu who are reliant on the sea, their main food source is the ocean. While coral fish are generally not recommended for consumption, for the people of Penghu, locally-caught coral fish are always in season. More importantly, only mature fish are chosen for consumption, so that the fish species have a chance to multiply and grow.
As only a limited variety of crops can be planted on Penghu’s barren land, local residents like to harvest and store cabbage in bottles, which are pickled into sour dried cabbage. Add some sliced ginger to remove the fishy odour and pair with washed sour dried cabbage to highlight the freshness of the fish, combining for a delicious marine dish.
Penghu Local Business
Penghu’s thumping beat of youth
“What is that salty-smelling thumping sound?”
Sun-drying freshly caught fish is an early shared memory for the people of Penghu, and making dried fish through a process where they are continuously beaten—like with a hammer, making a characteristic ”thump” sound—is the most iconic family business. In the summer, common species like round herring, noodlefish, and white-tipped mackerel scad are made into dried fish, where the scorching sun serves the crucial function of drying out the fish. When walking past fish-drying yards in the summer, you can always catch that savory smell in the air. Dried fish is further processed into fish meat chunks by beating them with hammers to separate the bone from the meat—this is the daily life of Penghu residents.
Garlic and chili are first added to the wok with oil to bring out their aroma, then sun-dried fish is added and quickly stir-fried at high heat, resulting in an explosion of aromas as strong as waves smashing into the coastline. The hardships of a grueling day’s work at sea instantly vanishes when this dish is enjoyed with an ice-cold beer and other drinking snacks.
Penghu Fish Says：
The narrow-barred Spanish mackerel is one of the most iconic fishes of Penghu and a classic dish in local cuisine. Penghu Fish Says was established to educate people through the consumption of fish, raising awareness on how fish make their way from the ocean to the dinner table. Fishing techniques, the stories of fishermen, and the culture of Penghu are also taught. It is hoped that humans can develop a closer bond with the ocean by appreciating the fish that they eat, and contribute to the sustainable development of oceans by choosing seafood that is procured through ocean-friendly methods, or as we like to say: “Fish for everyone! Long live the mackerel!”
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