Taipei Promotion: Another piece from WSJ promoting Taipei: Eating in Taiwan beyond Din Tai Fung. Just makes me want to rant so brace yourselves -- there are many food bloggers in the city who know the place well, innumerable knowledgeable foreigners who are regularly published in major international media, yet, once again, a major western publication sources its information from someone located in Beijing with obvious and powerful Chinese biases and who doesn't appear to know Taipei very well. She writes in her usual excellent style:
It is, in other words, no longer that special. Don’t get me wrong: Din Tai Fung is my standby in Beijing. It’s where I can count on good service and a decent meal without having to worry about the provenance of the ingredients. But in Taipei, DTF—even the original shop on Xinyi Road, which aficionados claim produces superior dumplings—is not on my hit list.Argh. I've been eating in Taipei for twenty years and here's a sentence I have never heard: "Let's go to Din Tai Fung, it's special!" I've been there once, it was totally forgettable. Going to Taipei for good food and then debating the relative merits of Din Tai Fung vs Kao Chi is like going to New York City for Italian and then arguing about whether The Olive Garden or The Spaghetti Factory has better pasta. If you look in the comments there my man Feiren, who knows some fantastic places to eat in Taipei and isn't hung up on comparing Taiwan to China, leaves a few suggestions.
With just three branches in Taipei, Kao Chi isn’t seeking global domination. And despite the swish décor at the Fuxing South Road restaurant (my preferred choice), it feels resolutely local. No tourists were in sight the night we popped by.
Yes, the xiaolongbao are a must, but Kao Chi dabbles in other Shanghainese snacks as well as specialties from other regions in China. (One of the many joys about eating in Taipei is that menus aren’t limited by geography.) At the Fuxing branch, you can order Northern-style pancakes stuffed with beef with Cantonese claypot chicken and Wuxi braised spareribs.
Note how the piece relates everything to China in the best "Taiwan is an outpost of China" fashion, even to the point of focusing on two chains run by mainlanders. Like this...
As a coda, make sure to have the lianghuang jianguo bing—a chestnut-paste-filled, sesame-encrusted pancake, a rebuttal to those who think Taiwanese desserts are just mountains of shaved ice with stuff piled on top.It's only a "rebuttal" if it is "real Chinese", because the standard is the production of "authentic" Chinese dishes (that implicit claim of superior authenticity itself is a pretentious colonial construct, one that has long been used to attack Taiwanese culture as inferior). Sorry, but it's the other way round: a real Taiwan mango ice made by a sturdy old machine in its third decade of productive work is a rebuttal to a pompous lianghuang jianguo bing any day; god knows what goes on in the kitchens of chain restaurants, and anyway shaved ice is a real Taiwan treat. It would be nice after some excellent local restaurant food like Japanese-style eels with Taiwan beer, or a heaping bowl of beef noodle in some serious hole in the wall where the old husband's hands tremble as he carries the bowl of steaming soup across the room to you and if you work hard, you can make his wife cackle at one of your jokes.
- Making the rounds: Camera lost in Hawaii, found in Taiwan.
- Yet another KMT official busted for corruption. Changhua and Nantou local government heads busted in recent months. Not going to blog, the litany goes on.
- Taiwan, the bridgehead for the Vatican's assault on China
- Drew on the Tour of Taiwan's future being in doubt.
- Hear in Taiwan with a couple of pics of the recent quake
- F-16s. Jokes on you, Taiwan supporters. Gov't says it may suspend efforts to acquire F-16 C/D fighters. There was never any "effort" on the part of the Ma government and the US government never wanted to sell them. Hopefully this dance is now over. Time to build lots and lots of missiles.
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