Taiwanese CuisineTaiwan is home to an ethnic and cultural diversity that affects its dietary culture as well. Taiwanese cuisine has been strongly influenced by foods rooted in mainland China’s Fujian province, and also by the cuisines of Fuzhou, Chaozhou and Guangdong. During Taiwan’s half-century of Japanese colonial rule, Japanese-style cooking techniques also began to color Taiwanese food. Such classic Japanese foods as fried prawns and raw fish have been transformed into Taiwanese specialties. “Hostess club cuisine (酒家菜),” which developed in the Beitou area at social clubs and entertainment venues, and “bando (辦桌)” culture, a form of boisterous eating around a round table in an open space, were significant in the development of Taiwanese cuisine. When the Republic of China government relocated to Taiwan, Taiwanese cuisine began to incorporate the hometown dishes of people who arrived from the various mainland Chinese provinces, resulting in a still greater diversity. With a rich array of dishes, Taiwanese cuisine offers a style unique in the Chinese-speaking world. Taiwanese foods place an emphasis on ingredients’ original flavor. A light taste and fresh ingredients are their main features. As Taiwan is an island, seafood is in ready abundance and has become a major focus of Taiwanese dishes. As to cooking styles, sautéing and stir-frying are used widely as they have been found to best preserve ingredients’ freshness and nutritional goodness. From past to present, Taiwanese cuisine has continued to incorporate the essence of dishes introduced from abroad and to absorb the influences and flavors of Western dishes. The Taiwanese cuisine of today is the fruit of a long, continuous process of evolution and innovation.
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