Hotelschool The Hague Gastronomy abroad
JUNE 2019 ISSUE 03
A cultural and culinary journey
Contents FOOD & DRINKS & CULTURE 04 The story of stinky tofu 05 The tea culture of Taiwan 07 OUNCE 08 Taiwanese night markets 10 The culinary history of Taipei 11 The impact of street food on the Taiwanese culture 12 Taiwanese bubble tea JUNE 2019
13 What can we learn from the Taiwanese hospitality culture? 14 The influenced Taiwanese cuisine 16 The history of the famous dumpling 17 SAKE 18 Din Tai Fung & Ichiran 20 A matter of taste: RAW
23 Chinese cooking tools 24 Interview with Mary - Student at NKUHT
Introduction Dear readers, Welcome to the fourth edition of the Gastronomy abroad magazine! We, a group of 20 from Hotelschool the Hague both The Hague and Amsterdam campus are elevated to share our experiences and stories. We all participate in this course for our personal growth and to gain as much knowledge as we can. Furthermore, the chefs and lectures who teach this course want to share their experiences and knowledge resulting in students who can: “Identify the ethical and sustainable issues and responsibilities in the context of gastronomy and generate a sharing dialogue with a vision towards striking a balance between social responsibility, value to the company and to the individual” This digital magazine has a dual purpose; first of all as an education guide about the beautiful country of Taiwan. Secondly, as a visualization of the collective memories and experiences of all students who have participated in this trip. But where did it all start? To make this trip possible, all students hosted a fundraiser dinner including an auction an a raffle, where traditional Taiwanese food was served to different people from the hospitality industry, and some amazing prices were won. We want to thank all of you who joined this dinner, because of you our trip became reality! On the 18th of April we flew to Taiwan. The first destination was Kaohsiung which is in the south, were we got welcomed warmly by the students and lectures National Kaohsiung University Of Hospitality And Tourism. Together with them, an amazing and extensive program was made. Every day, they made sure that we experienced as much as possible from their culture. Starting with 2 days full of cooking workshops from amazing chefs, visiting the most famous night markets, tea workshops and dinners in local sea food restaurants. Without the university nothing of this could be realized, thank you! After 5 amazing and intensive days, we took the train to Taipei, which is in the north. Here we had city tours, climbed mountains, temples and again some impressive night markets. The trip was ended very spectacular with a 15-course dinner at the 2-michelin star restaurant RAW, something we will never forget. I am happy to say that in this magazine, every experience is described in detail through the eyes and ears of the students. On behalf of all students who participated, we hope we can take you with us in our stories and experiences. Thank you and enjoy reading! Warm regards, The gastronomy abroad students
& d o o F s k n i r d “Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
The story of stinky tofu If you ever heard about Taiwan’s food culture, you probably know that 18 PM is a sacred time. Yup... the night market is open! It doesn’t matter where you are - Kaohsiung, Taipei or Taichung - somewhere in each city you will find hundreds of food stalls famous for its street food, gambling corners, music, and cheap clothing bargains. Traveling to Taiwan on a gastronomic mission, we couldn’t help it but indulge ourselves in its culinary roller-coaster: while strolling around Reuifong Night Market in Kaohsiung we expected nothing but famous Taiwanese delicacies such as braised pork on rice, dumplings and oyster omelets. Yet, an overwhelming smell of decaying garbage conquered kilometers of food stalls. WARNING: you may want to plug your nose for this one. I am talking, of course, about stinky tofu. Widely accepted and eaten by Chinese and Taiwanese people, stinky tofu is traditionally made from a fermented brine including milk, vegetables, meat, dried shrimp, amaranth greens, bamboo shoots, and Chinese herbs. As explained by one of the vendors at the Night Market, the tofu is soaked in the brine creating a highly potent flavour... and smell. Here’s how the magic happens: harmless white cubes are transformed into something terrifying, with bacteria doing their job for up to six months closed in ceramic jars. (Only at this point I realized that there is a fair reason behind the fact that stinky tofu is mainly served as street food: try to cook this at home and you will promptly be asked to move out; not just from your flat, but from the neighbourhood). Once the tofu has been sufficiently soaked in the fermented brine, vendors serve it in a variety of ways: from fried to stewed; braised, steamed, and even on ice cream. Stinky tofu devotees will be drawn by its distinctive “aroma”. Everyone else will run away (which is basically what we did). You can tell by the story that we were newbies at the Night Market. As we visited many more after this, I eventually developed self-defence against the smell, and, finally, got to try stinky tofu. I have to say that dumplings and fried rice remain my lifetime favourites. However, I would say that it was worth it to be part of the “stinky tofu mania” for at least a few minutes, as “you have to taste a culture in order to deeply understand it.”
MARIA CALDEIRA PIRES PORTELA
The tea culture of Taiwan History Tea is native to Taiwan and was used by the aboriginal inhabitants both as beverage and for its medicinal properties. From 1624 to 1662 the Dutch occupied Taiwan, introducing tea to Europe. They considered the opportunity of cultivating it there but did not manage as they were expelled beforehand. During this occupation tea was grown only on a small scale and mostly imported. During the Qing dynasty (1683 - 1895) large numbers of immigrants from China's Fujian province arrived to settle in Taiwan and brought tea seedlings as well as their tea culture. Large-scale production only started when the British imported tea seedlings from China in 1866, allowing farmers to grow it by provided loans. An oolong tea processing factory was established in 1868 and the first shipment of this tea was delivered directly to New York in 1869 (Teafromtaiwan, 2019). Tea ceremony The tea ceremony represents a vital part of the local culture. Mainly influenced by the Chinese one, it has been further developed and modified by Japanese and western influences. The ceremony itself has different stages, with some variations depending on the type of tea that is being used (Reeves, 2019). Main Varieties of Tea from Taiwan Despite all the varieties available, all teas are brewed from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Climate, altitude, water and soil, have an impact on the characteristics of the tea but it is the amount of oxidation to which tealeaves are exposed after the harvesting process that defines the variety of tea. The following are in order from least to most oxidized: White Tea ( ), Green Tea ( ), Oolong (Wulong) Tea ( ), Black Tea ) and Pu Er Tea ( ).Taiwanese Oolong Tea is considered to be Taiwan’s Best Tea and one of the finest oolong teas in the world, which currently represents 20% of the world production. The high altitude and humidity provide the perfect growing conditions for this tea
Taiwanese Oolong Tea is considered to be Taiwan’s Best Tea and one of the finest oolong teas in the world, which currently represents 20% of the world production. The high altitude and humidity provide the perfect growing conditions for this tea During the tea workshop at the Kaohsiung University, three were the teas that we tasted: Oriental Beauty tea ( ) This is a sweet semi-oxidized tea, with a fruity and floral aroma which make it one of the most distinctive teas in Taiwan Origin This tea was accidentally produced in the late 19th century in the Beipu County in Taiwan. The legend says that when a tea farmer realised that his plantation had been damaged by small crickets, he decided to still harvest the tea leaves and processed them anyway. The resulting tea was very good, reason why it was sold for double the normal price. Apparently, the name comes from the queen of England who, upon tasting this tea, named it Oriental Beauty
Baozhong ( ) Mainly produced in Taiwan, its name means "wrapped in paper", which refers to the unique way in which it is processed. This tea is made up of large dark green tea leaves with tiny white spots and twisted into a sticklike shape. Origin This tea was brought over from China in the 19th century, along with tea producing techniques. Today, this tea is among the most popular and finest teas in Taiwan.
High Mountain tea( ) This name is given to all semi-oxidized teas grown in tea gardens located above 800-1000 meters in altitude above sea level. These teas grow slower than others due to higher humidity and rain but less sunlight. The resulting tea is fatty and juicy, with unique floral aromas and flavours Origin These plants were first brought during the 17th century by Chinese settlers that brought also their knowledge about producing high quality oolong teas. Today these are considered by tea specialists as some of the best oolong teas around.
Health benefits All oolong teas are is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and caffeine, which give them quite a range of health benefits, such as:
OUNCE NO MENU NO RESERVATION NO SERVICE FEE
These are the first three sentences you will encounter when you enter the “hidden” cocktail bar OUNCE, located in Taipei. As mentioned, this bar is hidden, and we passed the bar the first 3 times. Eventually we found the entrance behind a small espresso-slinging café. This café is designed as a street café where you are able to enjoy a coffee, play some games and grab a drink to go, so nothing odd at first sight. However, on the right wall next to them there is doorbell hidden in the wall and once we have rung this bell, one of the bartenders opened the door. The whole bar was rented out, especially for us which gave us the opportunity to fully enjoy the experience the OUNCE bar has to offer. Normally they do not take any reservations or groups since it is difficult to seat these groups due to the limited space they have. Once we walked into the bar, this American industrial street style greets you, this is not strange since the thirty-seven-year-old Soong is from New Jersey and he started the bar five years ago. His dream was to bring the New York bar culture to Taiwan’s capital. He takes pride in serving handcrafted drinks that cater to the taste of each guest, and he also hopes to educate those who come to his bar on the art of cocktail making. OUNCE has around 24-30 seats available and people are only able to walk in since there is no reservation policy. In the first years the bar was only popular amongst locals since the location was shared mouth-tomouth. Nowadays the bar is not that “hidden” anymore and is in every tourist top-10 list of places to visit. Furthermore, the employees told us they do not want to be less exclusive. A bit of mystery, but no secrecy. As said, the bar has an New York street style, dark but warm atmosphere. We all got comfortable and the bartenders passed every single one of us to ask what type of flavours we prefer most. There is NO menu and therefore all their cocktails are unique and customized to the customers’ needs. The best feature of the OUNCE bar is the layout. We were able to see the bartenders work on our cocktails due to the open design of the bar and set-up of the seats. We could follow every step, ingredient and see the final handcrafted cocktail come to life. The bar is designed in a such a way that guests are able to learn and see what happens when their cocktail is being made. This perfectly fits Soong’s’ mission to educate those in his bar on the art of cocktail making. The cocktails were amazing, and the flavour combinations were unique. This is one of the reasons that in 2016, the OUNCE bar was ranked 40th in the Asia’s top 50 best bar. Nowadays many bars have entered the market as well, however OUNCE is about to open a new concept and bar at the end of May 2019 and hopefully we all will be able to visit their newest concept soon!
Taiwanese night markets Amongst the several activities the students of Hotelschool The Hague had the chance to experience, exploring the Taiwanese night markets was surely one of the most memorable. Night markets are inherent part of the culture and you can easily find them in every city in Taiwan. Open 365 days a year, they feature a mixture of individual stalls and stores hawking clothing, electronics, speciality drinks like bubble tea, but most importantly street food and snacks. Although some restaurants with full menus can be found, the night market stalls are known for mastering one signature dish and serving it over and over. From the famous dumplings to the delicious scallion pancakes, every single xiaoye (midnight snack) represents not only the attentiveness of the cook but mostly the conservancy of maintained and passed on family traditions. The most fascinating aspect of the Taiwanese food markets is the transparency of the stand owners and cooks. You can find freshly cut fruits, fried mushrooms, blow-torched steak, grilled octopus and sweet milk tea with tapioca pearls; all prepared in the open and in front of drivelling customers for their viewing satisfaction. Additionally, as a result of the country’s colonial Spanish, Japanese and Dutch influences, the utter variety of snacks and dishes one can find in Taiwanese night markets is enough for people to cruise around continents without stepping a foot out of the land. Moreover, the elements of the country’s Chinese historical past bringing regional dishes from every province of the mainland enabled the development of a splendid cuisine. Aside from the never-ending amounts of food items night markets have to offer, their captivating “hot and noisy” feature illustrates the Taiwanese community’s strongly rooted social phenomenon (Warden and Chen, 2008). Referred to as renao, it addresses you with an atmosphere of animation and thrill. Night markets can therefore be described as lively places, boasting a holy grail of powerful smells, bright colours and lights, as well as urging you with a sense of belonging streaming from the big crowds. Visiting Tonghua night market in Taipei and Rueifong in Kaohsiung allowed us to try many of the Taiwanese specialities and have a taste of the country’s culinary wealth. Hence, here is a selection of must try treats: · Grilled or fried squid: served on a stick with a variety of sauces you can choose from · Popcorn chicken: delicious small pieces of fried chicken · Takoyaki: succulent deep-fried squid balls with a crispy skin and soft center · Scallion pancakes: filling and savoury green onion fried pancakes · Dumplings: famous pork and cabbage filled pot-stickers · Stinky tofu: deep fried fermented tofu with a smell that makes your trip memorable · Filled pancakes: Japanese-style pancakes filled with custard, red bean paste or cream cheese · Mochi: soft and sticky rice cake prepared with different fillings and toppings All in all, night markets are the place to enjoy the Taiwanese rich and flavourful cuisine while experiencing the culture through the five senses. Henceforth, if you are ever planning on visiting Taiwan, experiencing its night markets has to be on the top of your to-do list.
The culinary history of Taipei Distinctive culinary traditions have not merely survived the struggles of recent centuries but grown more complex and appealing. Taipei is a city where people still buy fresh products at local markets almost every morning of the year; where weddings are celebrated with street side banquets; and where baristas craft cups of world-class coffee. Wherever there are chopsticks, there is curiosity and adventurousness regarding food. Like every great city, Taipei is the sum of its people: Hard-working and talented, for sure, but also eager to enjoy every bite they take. if you like to eat, Taipei — considered the world’s most underrated capital city, according to Monocle magazine — blows mainland China away. Its food incorporates more influences and spans from street food to haute cuisine with great nonchalance and is considered more delicious than that of its mainland counterpart. Not to mention that its people are perhaps the most food-crazed Asians outside of Singapore — no excursion is complete without, say, a bag of fresh dumplings and fried chicken. Defining this superlative cuisine, however, is tricky, since Taiwan is a melting pot of different cultures. Basically, every cooking style of the mainland is represented, thanks to the waves of immigration that began in 1949, when Mao Zedong’s Communists defeated Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists. Moreover, Japanese ingredients and techniques have a long history in Taipei as well, since Taiwan was a Japanese colony from 1895 to the end of World War II. Sushi is as common in night markets as oven-roasted buns stuffed with sweet, peppery pork; teppanyaki has advanced far beyond Benihana; and humble tempura is a fixture, transmogrified into batter-free tian bu la. For Shanghai soup dumplings, there’s the world-famous Din Tai Fung, and if you love the fiery food of Sichuan province, check out the retro Chuan Guo for hot pot (a bubbling communal soup in which you cook meats and vegetables) Side by side with these influences lives Taiwanese cuisine. To some extent, it resembles the food of China’s Fujian Province, from which much of Taiwan’s population immigrated beginning in the 17th century: heavy on pork, seafood and vegetables, with an emphasis on textures that may seem odd to Westerners. Soups tend to be extra thick, and Q, a springier analogue to the concept of al dente, is essential, whether you’re chewing noodles, fish balls or the tapioca in your sweet milky tea. To find these flavours and textures in one place, follow the crowds to Ay-Chung Flour- Rice Noodle, a Ximending staple since 1975, where dozens of people stand, slurping from bright-green plastic bowls. They’re all eating Ay-Chung’s signature dish — actually, it’s only dish — mian xian: thin rice noodles in a vinegary, glutinous broth, studded with needle like bamboo shoots and Q-y curls of pig intestine, and topped with sprigs of cilantro, chopped garlic and chili sauce. Taiwan is the absolute dream for foodies, due to the fact that Taipei’s cuisine is a melting pot from different cultures, that brought all of its great food to the country a very long time ago.
The impact of street food on the Taiwanese culture
One of the many things that caught my attention about Taiwan ́s food scene is the street food culture. Street markets are in every way special as they offer cheap, easily accessible, nutritious and varied traditional dishes for every taste. But it is particularly interesting to look at the social environment of these locations. Consumers come from every social class and businessmen are often seen eating their lunches next to construction workers from the countryside. On the other hand, when talking to one on the chefs from NKHUT I learned that street food businesses are sometimes seen as a deterrent to “modernization”, they are often labeled as dirty and criticized by licensed establishments. During our trip to Taiwan we were lucky enough to visit three very different street food markets and I was able to carefully observe the crowd and the local ́s behavior while they bought and ate their food. After this careful observation work on-sight and in-depth research I came to understand that street food has many positive social, economic and nutritional aspects. It has been found that street food plays a crucial role in the social and economic inclusion of the so-called vulnerable groups in the big cities. Due to the phenomenon of urbanization, a considerable amount of Taiwanese people who originally lived in the countryside, have been pushed to move into the cities. Street food enterprises are easy to start as they require a small initial investment, limited and basic facilities and have low fixed costs, benefiting those Hawkers who come from outside the big cities and need to start over. The street food industry has also had a great positive impact on women ́s incorporation to the labor market, offering employment opportunities to prepare, market and sell street foods, empowering them to make a living of their own. To continue with, a result of the rural migration to the cities and their consequent expansion, there are many working people that need to eat out, resulting in an increase in demand for cheap, quick and nutritious foods. Thus, the Street Food Industry becomes an important provider, allowing workers to eat tasty food while saving time in cooking for themselves and prevents workers with a low economic power from falling into poverty. Lastly, apart from the role that street food plays in Taiwan ́s cultural and social ancestry, from a more practical point of view, it is crucial to the population ́s food supplies and it has been proven to be a key element in maintaining the nutrition status of large parts of the population. In fact, citizens that don’t enjoy a high income relay, almost completely, on street food as it is cheaper and more accessible than buying the ingredients from a supermarket. To sum up, the Street Food Industry in Taiwan is not only part of its ancient culture but has also a huge impact in its current gastronomical and social picture.
Taiwanese bubble tea The origin of Taiwan Milk Tea dates back to the milk tea produced by the Dutch. In July 1604, Holland colonized Taiwan. From the year of 1636, Dutch businessmen started to use Taiwan as the location to transport their teas to Iran, India, and Indonesia. At the same time, the milk tea was imported to Taiwan as well. The market of Tea in Taiwan also grew as the planting techniques improved. Taiwan turned into a haven of various kinds of teas Taiwanese bubble tea, also known as ‘boba’ tea, is a highly caffeinated drink made of milk tea with tapioca peals and syrup. The tea has its roots in 1980s. Bubble tea was invented at the traditional tea store Chen Shui Tang, where owner Liu Han-Chien sold his high mountain oolong tea. He got his first experience of people drinking cold coffee. Inspired by the cold coffee, he experimented by putting traditional milk tea in a cocktail shaker with ice. Taiwanese people thought he was crazy, but the young people were a big fan of the chilled tea because of the hot weather. Then Mr. Liu set up a challenge for his staff to add something new to the chilled milk tea, to make it different. His product development manager brought her favorite desert to work with Fen yuan, which are tapioca balls (also called: ‘boba’). Just for fun, she poured the tapioca to her tea and that created the bubble tea. The name bubble tea described the layer of foam that forms on the top of the drink after it is shaken. The addition of the pearls, gave the name ‘black pearl’ to the drink, which is how the tea is known in Taiwanese. The drink is served cool, with the tapioca pearls sitting on the bottom of a transparent cup. The drink can be made with fresh fruit, milk, and crushed ice. It can also be made of powdered flavoring and creamer. The pearls can be either black or white. The white pearls are made of starch in the natural form, and the black pearls include the cassava root, brown sugar and caramel. The consistency of the pearl is described as a gummy bear texture. Due to the tapioca pearls, it is not just a drink but really something you can eat. Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava root. The starch consists out of sweet potato powder, potato powder, or jelly. By adding different ingredients, tapioca balls can be made to vary in color and in texture. Lines of customers wanting to get their hands on the highly caffeinated drink, can reach a far distant. People are willing to wait for their bubble tea for one hour. Stiff competition in the drinks market boosted the quality of bubble tea and the number of flavors offered. The all-time favorite of the HTH students is made with pure cream instead of milk, and pearls blanketed in a thick brown-sugar syrup.
LAURA VAN VEEN
What can we learn from Taiwanese hospitality culture? “People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The quote above describes perfectly the hospitality culture in Taiwan, where the role of the host is an important task. Everyone is in the position of a host; from being a shop assistant, a student, a waiter, chef or manager; the guest is treated equally, equally well. Why? To answer that question, the culture and etiquette of Taiwan needs to be studied. The main reason for their friendliness is the belief that if good is done, good will return. Buddhism and education play an important role in the way the Taiwanese is such a natural host. In Taiwanese culture, behaving in a way that causes someone to be embarrassed in front of others, pointing people’s mistakes in public, losing your temper is related to the proverbial “loss of face”. In Buddhism, kindness is an antidote for suffering. It is viewed that it is more important to be kind than to be right. Buddhism and etiquette are two reasons a Taiwanese will help you without expecting anything in return. The most surprising reason was that even when the language is a barrier for communication, the way they make someone feel and position them in the center of their attention is unforgettable. What can we learn? From my personal experience, we, Europeans can learn a lot from Taiwanese hospitality culture. From the beginning of our trip, I realized that in Taiwan hospitality, respect and modesty are interlinked. There is an interesting shyness and politeness in their acting and dressing. I felt very welcomed, as a guest from the airport until Kaohsiung. When people saw us struggling the immediately “jumped” to help us and try their best to explain how things work here. For example, when we were in the train a man lowered his chair on our luggage. The old man next to us immediately told him to be careful and just smiled at us. It impressed me how observant they are and will help you without you asking. They are as busy as us, have the same worries and maybe they are not always having the best day. However, they have hospitality in their nature, is an inherited trade passed from generation to generation. It is not forced and I can promise that the “Do not worry, I can help” feeling they create remained in my memory also after leaving Taiwan. When thinking of hospitality most of us only associate it with the work environment, the interaction with a client. In Taiwan hospitality is everywhere, is part of their culture, education and belief. Students working in the hospitality industry should once in their life visit Taiwan, interact with the locals and experience the way they make you feel. After re-read this article and everything will be clear. It is a feeling hard to describe but I would say Taiwan is at the heart of hospitality.
The Influenced Taiwanese Cuisine ’Sugary, aggressively herbal, and deeply umami flavors permeate the local cuisine in a visceral way, a sensation that’s only amplified in Taipei by its setting — often a bustling street corner, a jam-packed night market, or a steamy hot pot palace.’’ Many of the dishes in the Taiwanese cuisine today wouldn’t exist without successive eras of global trade, colonialism, and hegemony. ‘Salty-Sweet’, the trademark of the modern Taiwanese cuisine evolved by local indigenous flavors and culinary waves from abroad, where nearly every dish includes basil, garlic and green onions. This article will shortly brief the history of the Taiwanese cuisine, considering which influences created Taiwanese modern dishes, including the Chinese,Japanese and maybe American influences.
中國的影響 – Chinese influences
The immigration from Southern mainland China, particular from Southern Fujian, to Taiwan between the 17th and 19th Century caused the first major influence. As Taiwan has the same weather conditions, lengthy coastlines and mountain ranges it was easy for the new settlers to continue eating their native food in their new home. Due to this the Taiwanese cuisine is often classified as ‘Southern Fujianese cuisine’, however influences from all of mainland China can be found in the Taiwanese cuisine. After the surrender of Japan, Taiwan became part of the Republic of China causing another immigration wave from China from 1947 to 1949. Again, the Chinese migrants carried their eating habits which were often quite different from the local Taiwanese. Nevertheless, Chinese chefs discovered products different from those they were used to back in mainland China and started to adapt their cooking accordingly. Resulting the birth of the Taiwan's famous beef noodle soup, a Sichuan specialty transformed by local ingredients. - Japanese influences As the surrender of Japan was mentioned before, a notable Japanese influence exists in the Taiwanese cuisine as well, due to the period when Taiwan was under Japanese Rule from 1895 to 1945 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China, 2011).They brought an array of ingredients ranging from seaweed and raw fish to tempura and miso. They ingredients happily blended with the simple cooking styles of the first immigrants, from Southern mainland China, of Taiwan. Now a days, Taipei’s streets reveal Japanese lettering even though few people can read it, where ramen and sushi are as common as Chinese food (Jennings, 2017).
美國的影響 - American influences
Due to the use of Tomato ketchup in the Taiwanese cuisine, it is considered an American influence. The chef at the National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism stated ‘’we have been influenced by the Americans with their ketchup’’. However, the word ‘ketchup’ originally meant ‘fish sauce’ in a dialect of Fujian province (Jurafsky, 2012). Due to the Fujianese immigration to the United States, you can now find Fujianese dishes in Chinatowns in America, paired with the homemade red rice wine that is a specialty of the Fujianese (Ibid). The history of the red rice wine is intertwined with that of ketchup, but while the wine has stayed largely the same over the centuries, ketchup has undergone quite a transformation. Due to the popularity, countries started trading it and changing it to their own liking (Ibid). The great expense of this Asian import soon led to recipes in British and then American cookbooks for cooks attempting to make their own ketchup. Now a day’s ketchup is seen as something very American and therefore perceived as an American influence. However, when looking into the history it is much more a traditional product than most Taiwanese people think. As ketchup is originally created by the Fujianese people, who were the first immigrants of Taiwan. Nowadays, chefs of the new generation incorporate Western techniques so that Taiwan’s cuisine continues to evolve. In 1986, Danshui Technical College created a program specialized in catering. Then, in 1995, National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism was born, becoming a key player in the field. To be concluded, all the different influences of the past resulted in Taiwan's tasty and creative cuisine, an array of culinary sensations such as oyster omelets, tan tsai noodles, meat or vegetable buns, spicy grilled sausages, cold noodles in sesame sauce and stinky tofu.
ORNELLA VAN RIETBERGEN
The history of the famous dumpling Something that is well known in the Asian cuisine and loved by almost everyone; the dumpling. As many might think or believe, the dumpling does not own it’s origin to the Asian cuisine. On the contrary, the dumpling comes in many forms; the Italian ravioli, Polish piroshky and Chinese pot stickers are all dumplings. The first dumpling recipe appear in a Roman cookery text. Back then, it was simple a roasted pheasant, chopped finely and mixed with fat, salt and peper and moistened with broth after it was poached in seasoned water. Almost all of these approaches are nowadays still used to cook or steam a dumpling. Filled dumplings were probably later developed in Europe, as in Austria where they are still common in the form of stale bread soaked in milk and mixed with other leftover ingredients. Not only is it a delicious snack or addition to your meal, it mostly is also highly sustainable as it can be prepared with leftovers and many varieties of a vegetable. The Chinese have been enjoying dumplings for more than 1800 years. According to legend, Chinese dumplings were invented during the Han Dynasty (206 bf Christ – 220 af Christ). The story goes that when Zhang Zhongjing, one of the most famous practitioners of Chinese medicine, returned to his village during the winter, he noticed that many of his villagers suffered from frostbite, mainly around the ears. As a way to solve this problem, he started to cook up a batch of mutton (sheep meat), chili and healing herbs and wrapped them in dough, looking like little ears. The story does not say if this cured the frostbite, but it does say that because the villagers loved them so much, they continued the recipe and passed this on to future generations. Later, the recipe would be copied and people varied with types of vegetables and meat as fillings. Originally, dumplings were only a local snack in North China, but gradually it has spread to the rest of China and the rest of the world. It still has a far more significant meaning then merely a delicious snack. The unique symbolism of medicinal qualities, celebratory significance and the representation of happiness and celebration are tightly connected to the dumpling. During new year evening, birthday celebrations and tradiontional dinners the dumpling cannot be missed. As the dumpling is all around now, especially from what we have seen in Taiwan, one could argue that everyday is a celebration. Connecting the dumpling to a celebration is beautiful and stimulates to celebrate the little things in life. Maybe the Chinese or Taiwanese do not particularly see it this way, but it sure is a great thing to keep in mind when enjoying a dumpling.
SAKE Sake, also referred to as Japanese rice wine, is an alcoholic beverage made by fermented rice. In Taiwan, it is seen as a national drink/image and in every city a different sake is produced. Where normally alcohol is produced by fermenting sugar that is naturally present in fruit, sake is produced by a brewing process more related to that of beer. The rice that is used in this fermenting process is different from the regular rice we eat. In Japan and Taiwan, people drink sake as a wine, but it is also served at special ceremonies, where it is gently warmed in a small porcelain bottle and sipped from a small porcelain cup called Sakazuki. During our trip in Taiwan, we had a sake class at NKUHT University where we were educated on the basic theory of sake. The biggest part of this class was covered by the explanation on the fermentation process. As said, it is different from the regular fermentation process. First, the rice needs to be polished to make sure that the outer layer, which is fat, does not disrupt the fermentation process and therefore, this layer needs to be removed. The next step is to steam the rice. This is followed by Koji making (fermentation starter) which will be mashed and will eventually be pressed into sake. There are two categories of sake: pure rice sake (no alcohol added) and less pure (alcohol is added). Next to two categories, there are four basic types of sake, where of each requires a different brewing method: - Junmai-shu: this is the premium sake where no alcohol is added - Honjozo-shu: distilled alcohol is added - Ginjo-shu: highly milled rice, with or without added alcohol - Daiginjo-shu: more highly milled rice, with or without added alcohol These four are combined in what is known as Special Designation Sake which is in Taiwanese; Tokutei Meishoshu. Many things come into play when making sake: the rice, the water and of course the skill of the brewer. Currently, sake is also used in cocktails. Sake’s unique umami flavour offers a cocktail an experience unlike any you have ever had. Despite the complexity of sake, sake can be a very approachable ingredient, and can therefore breathe new life in the creations of cocktails. It can be a very difficult ingredient to work with when ones’ not familiar with the taste, but in general, sake can be switched for Vermouth in existing recipes. It allows the bartenders to experiment with this ‘new’ flavour. To conclude, sake can add textures and flavours that cannot be achieved with any other ingredient.
JULIA VAN VREESWIJK
Din Tai Fung Whenever the name Din Tai Fung is mentioned, the first thing that comes to our minds is the perfect xiao long bao (steamed buns): fresh and juicy, thin and delicate skin, and complete with 18 folds. The taste surprised us al and everyone loved it! Din Tai Fung was founded in Taiwan in 1958, and has grown from a mom-and-pop restaurant into an internationally recognized restaurant. Throughout their journey wihtin the global culinary world, they have insisted upon using natural ingredients, handmade dough, and top quality filling. It is this insistence that has made the delicious and famous xiao long bao worldrenowned and allowed them to open the restaurants globally. They hope to continue to satisfy taste buds around the world, so hopefully they will expand to Amsterdam soon! As mentioned before, Din Tai Fung became popular because of their Xiao Long Baos. They are basically, as we know them, dumplings. However, these baos are with soup inside combined with the type of meat, vegetables of meat up to your likings. You can either bite the bao a little bit and sip the soup out of the dumpling and then eat the dumpling, or for the real dare-devils; eat them in once. But be careful, it is big bite, the soup will burst out in your mouth and the soup can be really hot. But my goodness, the taste will be worth it. Within one area of the restaurant, the open kitchen can be seen. You can observe how these bao’s are fold and it really looked like a machine. We were super impressed since we all tried to make these at the NKHUT university together with the chefs. And I have to admit; we need a lot more practise to make them as perfect as they serve at Din Tai Fung.
HOW TO ENJOY THE MOST POPULAR RAMEN OF TAIWAN? Everyone knows about the 1 euro noodles packages that students survive on in college. That is not what real ramen tastes like. The real ramen, and the most popular ramen is delicious. So if you never had real ramen before, please continue reading because is something that will stick to your mind! Ichiran is founded in Japan and described as the best ramen noodles of Asia. The Japanese food service business is specialized in the so called “tonkotsu ramen”. The chain started off really small in the Fukuoko in 1960. Back then, it was a small stall with only a few people working there. Later on, in 1966 it got the new name Ichiran, which literally means “one orchid”. After three decades of serving the popular noodles in japan, they decided to expand. Ichiran as mentioned before is specialized in tonkotsu ramen, which are ramen based on a pork broth. Next to this, they make their own flour-based noodles, and they have their special red spicy power, which is a chef’s secret. Going to this restaurant, is next to eating their delicious ramen an experience itself. When you arrive at the restaurant, most of the time you have to stand in a queue. But believe us, its worth it. While waiting, you fill in a paper with all youre preferences. This goes from the spicyness, to the way the noodles are coocked and extra ingredients such as egg, vegetables and spices. This is one of the best things, as you can design your own ramen exactly the way you want! So when you have choosen, you are escorted to the dining area. You would expect a cozy Asian style restaurant where you can dine togheter with your friends, but this is not the case at all! Every person got their own little “booth” to eath in peace and silence. One of the main reasons for this is that they want you to focus on your food, instead of getting distracted by friends or phones. The simple bowl of noodles, will have a flavour explosion in your mouth as you never have tasted before. During your meal, it is still possible to ask for more ingredients and ofcourse tea. If you want to experience something different than a regular Asian ramen place, we highly recommend Ichiran!
DEMI VAN DOORN & DAABA KHOUMA
A matter of taste: RAW These days, one of Asia’s best restaurants is located in Taipei, and is conceptualised by one of the best chefs in the world. In 2014, Taiwanese chef Andre Chiang opened his second restaurant Raw. At Raw, the kitchen is serving Bistronomy style dishes. Bistronomy cuisine is a style from Paris where seasonal and locally sourced ingredients are prepared by using gastronomy techniques. It is fine dining but presented in a less formal and intimidating way. Also referred to as accessible fine dining. Chef Chiang certainly excels in giving you this feeling. A part of chef Chiang’s mission is to bring ‘The new interpretation of Taiwanese flavour’ to your table. In his kitchen, chef Chiang and his team are creating innovative dishes where food meets art. Mixing the Taiwanese kitchen with international modern influences, Taiwanese street food is transformed into fabulous fine dining dishes. The ambiance of his RAW restaurant is contributing chef Chiang’s mission; a 60-seat design restaurant created by the Dutch Architect Camiel Weijenberg. When entering the restaurant, the first eyecatcher is the wooden fluid-looking borderless bar. This bar goes hand in hand with the mission of Raw. Besides the magnificent interior, the illumination is well thought out. It is designed in such a creative way, that it will only shine on the dishes on tables. When dining at Raw, even a visit to the bathroom is a highly recommended treat. The industrial design shows floor-to-ceiling metal capsules, where each capsule has a toilet inside. Not only the innovative created dishes from Chef Chiang, the exquisite design of the restaurant and the bathrooms are an experience. When the evening comes to an end, you are leaving the restaurant wishing the night was not over yet. The staff at duty includes energetic young local people who know what they were talking about. The cherry on the cake brings a smile to your face when fine dining protocols are slightly pinched with a twist and being ignored with a small boldness e.g. the cutlery is stored in a drawer under each dining table. People travel from all over the world to experience the innovative tasting menu of restaurant Raw. Not only are more than 5,000 requests for reservations made per day, all tables are daily booked within three seconds. Chef Andre Chiang distincts himself by serving playful, yet simple artful dishes using seasonal and local ingredients presented in an accessible fine dining manner and in a striking interior.
The mission of RAW is to bring â€˜The New Interpretation of Taiwanese Flavorâ€™ to your table by highlighting beautiful Taiwanese seasonal produce through innovative food and drinks.
Chinese Cooking Tools During our first cooking class at NKHUT, a number of essential Chinese cooking utensils were introduced to the group. These utensils are very different from what is used in the Western kitchen and although they seemed intricate at first, we soon realized how convenient some of these tools were. The most convenient and important tool of the Chinese kitchen is by far the Wok. The wok is a large, deep pan that can be used for frying, sautéing, boiling and more. One of its best features is its ability to reach extreme temperatures, giving food that indescribable, flavorful edge known as “wok hay”. With every good wok, comes a sturdy metal spatula. Although this tool is not essential for stir-frying, it will definitely come in handy when preparing things such as fried rice or any dish in a large amount in order to scrape the sticky bottom bits with only one flick of your wrist. The most essential tool, and certainly the one that will save you the most headaches is the rice cooker. Rice cookers are truly indispensable and come in all different shapes and sizes. Whether it is in your restaurant or in your own kitchen at home, I strongly recommend everyone to purchase one of these in order to always have perfectly cooked rice ready to use. Another must-have is the bamboo steamer. Bamboo steamers can also be found in a wide variety of sizes and can be stacked on top of each other, allowing you to make multiple dishes at once. This utensil is most often used to steam dumplings and buns and automatically makes an impressive serving platter! In Chinese cuisine, if you cannot handle chopsticks, then I would say… get out of the kitchen! Here, chopsticks are used for everything. Stirring, whisking and flipping are all activities done with bamboo chopsticks, and beware of the laughter if you are not able to use them. Another utensil which I found interesting is the earthen clay pot. These are used to serve hearty winter stews, soups as well as sizzling hot dishes such as the three-cup chicken which we were taught. These pots are convenient when serving hot dishes as they go straight from the stove to the table and thus prevent the food from cooling down. When using these, we were also taught to pour some rice wine on top of the lid in order to enhance the flavors of the dish it contains. All in all, it is clear that Chinese cuisine requires a specific set of utensils so don’t be discouraged if your homemade fried rice, sweet and sour pork or dumplings taste different, you might simply be using the wrong equipment! Using these utensils was a great experience and especially for the wok, is much more difficult than it seems. One thing is for sure, we all learnt a lot about the importance of these tools in creating the original and distinctive flavors of the Chinese cuisine.
Interview with Mary - Student at NKUHT Until now, there have been several articles about the differences between the Netherlands and Taiwan. Therefore, we decided that it must be interesting to also get a clear view of how they think about us. During our time at NKUHT, we met many wonderful and interesting people, among others our dear Mary. Mary was one of the group leaders during our first days in Kaohsiung and she decided to join us to a full moon beach party, which turned out to be a great night! On the way back, when we shared a taxi, we asked her about her life in Kaohsiung, life at school and her opinion about us. It turned out that she was one of the few people that went to HTH – Campus Amsterdam during the Genio Worldwide Innovation Summit and therefore the perfect interviewee for this article. Just like us, Mary attends a hospitality management school, which she chose based on her personality. She loves interacting with people, and learning about different cultures and the relationship between people. In her own words, she told us: “I am always amazed by the fact that two complete strangers can be connected by a courteous smile, small conversation, and kind acts”. As mentioned before, Mary visited our school about a year ago. We asked her opinion about the Netherlands, our culture and people. She explained how at ease she felt in our school, because she feels that we share the same spirit of being hospitable to people. She noticed that the Dutch are people that are always smiling. Also, she liked that everyone was greeting her. She mentioned that people at our school overall speak a higher level of English than her peers and that we tend to be more outgoing. She said that in Taiwan, most students are too shy to spontaneously greet people, especially foreigners. This is something we also noticed whilst walking over NKUHT campus. Moreover, she stated that at NKUHT, the majority of the students are less engaged during class and only a few dare to ask questions to the teacher. Lastly, we asked Mary the similarities and differences between the facilities at HTH and NKUHT. She found it remarkable that we both have an on-campus training programme, something which we all believe is one of the aspects that makes our education so strong. Moreover, both schools have their own hotel, Skotel at HTH and Elite House at NKUHT. Regarding those trainings, the difference is that at HTH, students have to gain practical experience in every outlet whereas at NKUHT, the different outlets are separated and only the students who follow that particular field are allowed to work in that part of the school. E.g., F&B outlet students are not allowed to work in front office. Lastly, she believes that her school might be a little more disciplined than ours, something which we all can agree on.
WILLEMIJN TROMPERT & ISIS VAN DER HARST
Last April, a group of 20 students and 4 lecturers from Hotelschool The Hague travelled to a special gastronomic destination for their Gastr...
Published on Jul 16, 2019
Last April, a group of 20 students and 4 lecturers from Hotelschool The Hague travelled to a special gastronomic destination for their Gastr...