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“THE CHINESE KNOW: ________________________” By Shirliey Fung


If you run into someone you know on the street in Taiwan, he’s likely to greet you by asking, “Have you eaten?” The polite thing to do is say yes, but even if you haven’t, it’s likely that you’ll be having a real meal soon. In Taiwan, good food is never hard to find. Restaurants are three or four to a block, and outdoor grocery markets flourish like dandelions after a rainstorm. Outdoor cafés line the streets during the day, while stands selling snacks are a big attraction of the popular night markets, where you can buy anything from Hello Kitty toasters to leather shoes. Cities like Paris and Florence come close to competing on the food front, but they can’t surpass the sheer variety that a walk down any street in Taipei reveals. From one direction comes the rich smell of frying bread, from another the aroma of boiled pork dumplings and from yet another fermented or “smelly” bean curd, a Chinese favorite. Even the raw fruits and vegetables in the markets give off their own sweet smell.



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