Saturday, April 15, 2006

Which of these things is not like the other?

One of the more exciting lotteries you can play on The Beautiful Isle is the food lottery: is it real? or is it fake? Shown here are two bottles of extra virgin olive oil I bought in a local supermarket. On one hand you have living proof of the laudable advance in food availability in Taiwan, when even small-town supermarkets offer imported foods (olive oil has become a bit of a fad here). On the other, this is just another chapter in the ongoing saga of "the more things change...."

The bottle on the left is darker oil of Spanish origin, according to the label. It's not exactly top-shelf oil, but it gets the job done. The right-hand bottle, however, is a light-colored oil of dubious origin. The oil seems to be a product of "Tatung" company and is labeled "extra virgin olive oil." It, however, is no more virgin than I am. Rather, it appears to be some cheap vegetable oil, probably soybean oil, with an acrid bite and a used car-salesman sliminess, instead of a lip-slippery buttery flavor. According to my wife, who was highly amused by my ineptitude in the oil department, the Tatung oil brand has been mentioned in the local Chinese-language media several times for fraudulent oils. The moral of the story should be obvious: consult wife before stepping out the door to buy stuff.....


Anonymous said...

I actually know the daughter of the owner of Tatung. Their factory was within minutes from my childhood home. And can I add a note that I was never impressed with the appearance of Tatung's factory in Taichung? A little too "industrial" to be a food manufacturer.

Oh, and once upon the time I thought that girl was cute.

Michael Turton said...

I some of their stuff at RT Mart today. I wonder if the bottles i have are cleaned refills from another source. What they had there packaged as extra virgin olive oil certainly looked the part.