Taiwanese Cuisine: Overrated?
19 Nov 2006
Prince Roy in Taiwan:
> 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.
> I couldn’t have made this argument thirty or even twenty years ago, but the simple fact is that time has marched on and left the culinary world of Taiwan behind….
I’m not much of a gourmet. The problem is I tend to like most things I eat. I’m just not critical enough. The way I see it this works out in my favor in the long run, but it’s a reason I don’t normally shout my opinions on food from the rooftops. It’s interesting then, to see Prince Roy’s take. When I was in Taiwan I found the food good, but not amazingly good. The scene seemed similar to Shanghai’s: plenty of mediocre offerings, but also plenty of great food if you can afford it and know where to go.