Street snacks, banquet food and French fine dining all follow a parallel trend of the slow food life. The culinary artists of Eastern Taiwan use their unlimited creativity to transform the resources of the mountains and the sea into delicacies on the table.
This is no ordinary rotisserie chicken. The whole process from start to finish requires 8 hours just for slow marinating as this is the key to making sure the flavors are truly released during the roasting process. It might seem like a simple dish, but this rotisserie chicken combined both indigenous and french cooking techniques to bring out the tr ue “Taitung specialty”. All this hard work of cooking, prepping and buying his daily fresh ingredients is the true bliss to the master chef behind the kitchen.
While each vendor and shop has their own story, they share the same commitment to excellence. Their ideas and beliefs merge with their cooking so that when a meal is put on the table, you are not just swallowing food but also savoring the beauty, local customs and culture of Taitung. This is what motivates the chefs to work doubly hard and to avoid wasting ingredients, precisely because they cherish the high-quality agricultural products bred by the mountains and waters of Taitung.
Inexpensive and delicious Taitung snacks.
The Philosophy of Patience
The lifestyle in many Taitung towns and villages still very much resembles that of the sixties and seventies. Fish hawkers make their rounds through the neighborhoods peddling fish caught that mor ning. Tr ucks with vegetables, sundries, and even fresh bread will be at the same corner at the same time every day or can be flagged down as they pass.
The hand-made mochi truck comes on Monday and Friday at about eight in the morning. The tofu pudding and sweet mung bean smoothie truck comes at four in the afternoon Tuesday and Thursday. Make a note of the time, and when you have a real hankering for one of these things, it may be best to wait in your doorway for their arrival. If you are distracted for even a minute, you may end up having to race down the street in pursuit hollering for them to stop. Otherwise, you may have to wait until their next trip to assuage your desire. These are some of the hidden traditional flavors known only to locals.
In Taitung the shop owners who march to their own drummer’s beat are not in the minority. If you have your heart set on something, you will likely have to wait; wait for the snack truck to pass by, wait for the shop to open, and even wait for the boss to finish his surf session if the waves are good and return to work. Regardless of the store’s hour signs or their business hours posted on Google map or Facebook. If the surf forecast is good, some shops will unexpectedly be “not open” just because the boss wants to catch the perfect wave that day. Some stores will even remain closed on a heavy tourist weekend just because they want to spend quality time with their family. After all, this is the reason why people move to Taitung – to have a higher quality slower pace of life.
Leading the life they want to lead is the number one priority of many shop owners in Taitung no matter if they are from abroad or transplants from other areas of Taiwan. While work may be necessary, it does not need to be the primary focus of one’s life. Ideally, one would find the perfect balance between work and life. Rather than fuming about when the shop owner might return, wouldn’t it be better to simply consider it a blessing when you do get what you came for? Adopting this attitude will allow you to gradually become like the easy-going people of Taitung.