Taiwanese Diet


Taiwanese foods such as fried rice noodles have had many influences
Photo by: “highlimitzz “, Creative Commons

Just like the food of any other country in the world, the Taiwanese diet came out as a result of its geographical location, topography, natural resources, climate, and history. So in order to appreciate the diversity of foods that they eat, one has to take a closer look at these different contributors.

Geography
Taiwan is located in the South China Sea just off the coast of China. It is slightly above the equator and thus experiences a mild climate characterized by two predominant seasons, summer and winter. As a result of its geography, Taiwan’s cuisine is very similar to the Chinese owing to its close proximity to the Asian giant. But despite the noted similarities in preparation and some ingredients, the Taiwanese have incorporated in their dishes local flavors such as the predominant use of seafood in the dishes.

Topography
The topography of Taiwan is best described as a mountainous island. Because of the abundance of coastal areas, Taiwanese diet consists heavily of fish and seafood. Indigenous people in particular have grown on just fish and the occasional meat plus the use of millet wine in their dishes. Arable lands are very limited in Taiwan and thus grazing areas for cows and other sources of meat are quite limited.

Natural resources
Though rich in seafood and fish, the lands of Taiwan are very limited. Rice is imported from other countries or grown in some remote area. Owing to the Chinese, rice became the staple food in Taiwan and is prepared in a number of ways. There is the traditional steamed rice, the restaurant favorite fried rice, rice vermicelli, rice with toppings, and rice noodles. Indigenous tribes in the area have also made different snacks out of rice in the form of mocha and other treats commonly served during New Year.

History
Taiwan’s history is marked by a period of immigration from China and a period of occupation by the Japanese. These events have led to the popularity of dishes such as miso soup and sushi in Taiwan as well as the Chinese influence of beef noodle soup and ba-wan, a favorite snack of tapioca dough filled with different fillings.

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