Sunday, November 19, 2006

Taiwan Lags in Chinese Food

The well-traveled Taiwan blogger Prince Roy argues that Taiwan is falling behind in the Chinese food race:
I consider it one of my biggest tasks to dispel the myth that Chinese food in Taiwan is ‘the best in the world’. It is one that many foreigners living in Taiwan buy into uncritically. For instance, in the No. 5 issue of Taiwanease, Albert Creak, author of the article “In Search of the Pu Pu Platter”, enthusiastically agrees with a guy named Mr. Lin who tells him: “Once you’ve tried the Chinese food in Taiwan, you’ll never want to eat at another American Chinese restaurant again.” Not only does this perpetuate a harmful vicious cycle which overrates the quality of Chinese food in Taiwan, it is woefully and demonstrably inaccurate. It’s high time we take off the blinders and face the truth: yes, Chinese food is good here, but it’s no great shakes, especially compared with the PRC, and it now lags behind the USA as well.
Interesting analysis. Don't miss his commentary on beer in Taipei, either. I've found that a good antidote to the western foreigner bars -- which I usually find dull and overpriced -- are the local cantinas for foreign laborers, which often serve interesting ethnic food, and are noisy enough to be interesting but not so noisy as to be obnoxious.


Prince Roy said...

hey, the local cantina approach is an excellent suggestion. Are they mostly Thai, Filipino or Vietnamese? Where can I find these in Taipei?

Michael Turton said...

The ones I've been in have all been either Thai or Filipino. Never been in a Vietnamese one. I especially like the Filipino ones because the KTV has tons of songs in English -- last night sang Simon and Garfunkel, Eric Clapton, and Moody Blues at the Filipino cantina. Lotsa fun, driven by Red Horse and fueled by deep fried squid and dipping sauce.

I can't imagine where you'd find them in Taipei, perhaps where the Filipino maids gather on Sundays on Chungshan N. Road, and of course in
the factory districts in the 'burbs.

Good luck


MJ Klein said...

Michael, I totally agree with you. i didn't move to Taiwan just to find a duplicate of some place back in the US that i wouldn't frequent when i was there. i find "pubs" completely boring, as well as most of the people who frequent them (nothing in common, to speak of). Hey, when is the last time you were in a CID raid, looking for un-documented workers? lol you can't find anyone to talk trash with in Chinese at those Westernized places either! i always prefer socializing in local places, even when my foreign friends visit (as you know).

check out my flickr photo album entitled "Taiwan Part" for some photos of us in those places, as well as several blog entries on the subject.