Pheww, already February and four days into the New Chinese Year! Happy Year of the Horse Everyone!
Things have been quiet for the past two weeks for the good reason that I was out and about , entertaining a friend visiting Taiwan for the first time. Finally, I crossed off a bunch of places on my to-visit and to-eat lists, most of them did not disappoint, and thanks to the Taiwanese Gods for blessing us with a stellar weather throughout most our escapades. For Chinese New Year Eve’s, we booked an airbnb room in Taipei, and the landlord who went back home celebrate with his family graciously trusted us, leaving the apartment to ourselves. It had a kitchen, so I hauled a few ingredients to throw a respectable Chinese New Year Eve’s dinner, it was quite nice to eat a home-cooked meal again after two straight weeks of eating out. More details about all these culinary adventures in future posts!
➤ This article was written in June 2013, for updates on the subject, check here.
If you follow the news from the China Post or the Taipei Times, you may already be familiar with the controversy surrounding soybean imports in Taiwan. Namely, it has come to the public attention that 90% of the imported soybeans are actually GMO, and are originally meant as pig feed. This information is not a recent discovery, but has gained more traction since last year, 2012.
For the conscientious globetrotting consumer, GMO regulations are quite a headache, with each country having a different legal stand on the subject. Are GMO products allowed for human consumption? Is it allowed to feed GMO crops to livestock? How about GMO labelling, in which countries is a legal requirement? If so, at what threshold (you’ll be sad to learn there’s no such thing as 100% Non-GMO) is the GMO label defined?
Sure, this is not everyone’s first worry when moving abroad, especially in places like Taiwan, where figuring out daily necessities is already puzzling enough, but it doesn’t hurt to be a better informed consumer. If you care about what you’re eating, and avoiding GMO soybean, then read on. I’ve tried to condense relevant information, gathered from various Taiwanese articles and my own experience, so I hope you enjoy the reading and learn something useful from it.
The season of transplanting rice seedlings has begun not long ago, and soon coming to and end. An opportunity for farmers to organize educational activities around it by inviting kids and adults alike to experience that process for themselves. Rice harvest will take place in a few months, in July, another good time to venture in the countryside.
Blog update: the farmer’s market page has been updated with all five markets from the New Taipei City Farmers’ Market Association, 新北市農夫市集.
While planning for a future post, I searched for pictures of Taiwanese fruits online. As usual, I mechanically turned to flickr for its vast selection, and more importantly, allowing filtering of pictures with Creative Commons sharing rights.
I stumbled on a set named “果然台灣 Fruitful Taiwan” by user crazydean, and found myself captivated by the first picture, seen above. As I continued peering through the rest of the set, I felt the same intensity emanating from each pictures. Each slide catching the story of the two protagonists: the farmer and the fruit. So, crazydean, whoever you are, thanks for allowing everybody to use and share your pictures.
I don’t know if those pictures ever made it to some sort of exposition, but the author behind them definitely has some material. Enjoy!
Une superbe série de photos représentant des farmiers taïwanais et les fruits qui font la fierté de l’île. Merci à son auteur, crazydean, de les avoir mis en partage avec les droits de diffusions Creative Commons. À consommer sans modération!
Aside from health issues such contaminated meat could bring, importing pork would also undermine Taiwan’s food security and agriculture. Let’s hope the Taiwanese governement will make wise decisions on this issue.
The issue of U.S. pork imports is more complicated and challenging than the beef one, opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang said Saturday, advising the authorities to handle the issue prudently.
The government has assured the people again and again that it will handle the two issues separately, Su said while answering reporters’ questions about American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt’s call the previous day for Taiwan not to treat U.S. pork imports differently from its beef imports.
If the pork import becomes an issue, President Ma Ying-jeou’s promise will be strongly questioned, he said. Pork is very popular in Taiwan and there are many hog farms in the country, he added, warning that the pork issue is “much more complicated and challenging” than beef imports.
In response, Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji stressed that the government won’t open its doors to imports of pork containing residue of ractopamine…