A quirky little film that does a decent job of showing some of the nuance and passion for food in this island nation. At times, it gets a bit political; however, food is political. There are passionate people opposed to the impeding urbanization of Taiwan and do not want the country concreted over. Noble yes, but it would seem futile in this day and age. I feel the nihilism and quest for profit nowadays makes the 80’s seem like life on the prairie
The narrator (director) takes a journey around the island and makes 7 stops. Each locale focuses on a type of cuisine and lifestyle. From the glitz of Taipei; to Buddhist monasteries; to Hakka style restaurants; to produce/chef driven “haute” cuisine; one can get a nice culinary glimpse at this unique place.
I have to say that in my brief time spent in and around the capital city, I was struck by the level of food at every turn. Life there, is vastly different than mainland china. There is more finesse, it’s cleaner, more organized, friendlier and often tastier. What I found was that many of the Chinese disciplines are executed, there, at a much higher level than on the mainland. I had better Sichuan and Hunanese food in Taiwan, than I did on the mainland; as well as dim sum that would give the best house in Hong Kong a run for its money. It’s a place I need to go back to and get deeper into.
Writer: Monika Treut