Taiwan Style Honest Graft

Frozen Garlic wrote an article on the Taiwanese take on corruption, drawing a parallel with the practice of honest graft, a concept dating back to 19th century American Political History. The article is a short read and provides an interesting insight into the Taiwanese state of mind.

I once candidly asked a Taiwanese acquaintance about the currently-in-jail ex-president Chen Shui-bian and the scandals he was involved in, and just like in the case of Frozen Garlic, I was fascinated by his reply, along the lines of “It’s ok if he took some money,  we can turn a blind eye on it, as long as he pushed the country forward and worked for the common people”.

And now, I am feeling a tad smarter knowing that what he described was a case of honest graft 8-) .

[FYI] Updates on GMO Soybean in Taiwan

Pledge to remove GMO food in public school lunches. (fb/校園午餐搞非基)

When news of the last food scandal about the use of animal feed broke out, I was appalled like everyone else, and then, thinking about it further, as the news and consumers were crucifying Ting Hsin, I just wanted to yawn. After all, the food oil company didn’t have to go too far to fetch such a malicious idea, since last year, it is a known fact that livestock feed soybean is imported and used to produce an array of soy-based food (tofu, soy milk, etc..). I seriously can’t believe it every time I type it, and reread the articles in Chinese a thousand times, but no, I am not reading it wrong.

Continue reading

美食人‧情‧味 The Raw and the Cooked – A Culinary Journey Through Taiwan

A few months ago, I inquired about the availability of the German/Taiwan produced documentary The Raw and the Cooked – A Culinary Journey Through Taiwan in Taiwan, but ended empty-handed. Yesterday, I went back on the hunt,  and tada, look what I found to share with you :) .

The movie was uploaded on the Public Television Service channel, so I can only assume that it’s 100% legal, haha. Unfortunately, the Taiwanese version has been edited down to 50 minutes (to satisfy an hour slot of TV program I imagine) in comparison to the original version which lasts 83 minutes. And since it’s the Taiwanese version, dialogues in Chinese are not translated, which means more listening and reading practice for you ;) .

The documentary was released in 2012, so if you are already very familiar with Taiwan, the movie may not hold too much novelty as you’ll likely already have heard of the places featured, and now made popular thanks to TV shows and the written press. But you’ll maybe have a sting of nostalgia with the few glimpses (at 1:00 and 3:55 <= cool aerial view) of the edible community garden that used to exist near Taipei 101. I actually never realized that the garden almost took up almost the entire block, and to think it’s now covered in concrete :'( .

At any rate, familiar or not with Taiwan, if you like this little piece of land, its food and scenery, and have 50 minutes to kill, then it should be a pleasant watch. Enjoy! :)

Foncha 楓茶記 (khh) – Keep Calm and Drink Some Hong-Kong Style Milk Tea

Hong-Kong style afternoon tea.
Hong-Kong style afternoon tea, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Actually, calm isn’t really the state I am in whenever I head to Foncha, no, I am rather EXCITED! Yes, that excited. :D

When did I first discover Hong-Kong style milk tea? I don’t remember, but I know that in the land of milk teas, Hong-Kong style milk tea reigns supreme for me, closely followed by Indian masala chai, trailed by a tie between Taiwanese bubble tea and Thai iced tea, and Tibetan butter tea to close off my ranking. Tibetan butter technically doesn’t have any milk but the butter gives it the appearance and a bit of the taste of milk tea, it is an acquired taste, and I am still working on acquiring it. Am I missing out on another variation of delicious milk tea out there? Oops, I digress!

See, whenever I’d follow my Hong-Kong pals at a Cantonese restaurant, I’d always let them order dishes, as long as I had my cup of Hong-Kong style milk tea, I was a happy cat; although I was always disappointed that it never seemed to last long enough in comparison to those never-ending cup of Taiwanese bubble tea. Continue reading

[FYI] Taiwanese people vs Ting Hsin Intl Group

So, another food scandal has again hit Taiwan. Again, it’s about tainted oil, and again, it involves subsidiaries operated by Ting Hsin 頂新. It’s the third time in less than a year, and as the press briefly mentions it in the latest articles, Ting Hsin was also behind the case of the poisonous PCB-tainted rice bran oil in 1979. Back then, they retreated to China, launched a few food ventures there before coming back to Taiwan in 2002.

With so many frequent food scandals, I sometimes feel like people, myself included, become simply oblivious to it and carry on as usual, but this time, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, pushing some organizations and businesses to call for a boycott of products from all Ting Hsin’s 頂新 subsidiaries.

A facebook event (now closed), currently counting 141 thousands participants at the time of this writing, has been was set up and united 162.1K people in support of the boycott and call for a complete withdrawal of all Ting Hsin operation in Taiwan. If you wish to continue partaking in the boycott, check for the list of Ting Hsin’s subsidiaries here and here.

Eat safe and Happy Monday to you all! :)

This article is sponsored by the Union of Concerned Taiwanese Consumers. ;)