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Indigenous cuisine

The cuisine of Taiwan's indigenous peoples traditionally was very different from that of the Chinese. Tribes living in the mountains lived off the mountains, meaning they depended on hunting and gathering. Primary game included wild boar, deer and Formosan muntjac. The meat was not always cooked, but sometimes preserved raw in salt. It is possible to find preserved wild boar meat in some restaurants serving traditional indigenous cuisine, but it is definitely an acquired taste. For cooking, traditionally meat was grilled on a piece of slate over an open fire.

Those tribes living near the ocean or rivers also fished. In April, for the Yami (Tau) of Orchid Island, it is flying fish season, and this is when it is possible to find this dish on indigenous restaurant menus.

But, no matter whether it was fish or game, the catch was shared among members of the village, as the indigenous peoples once practiced a sharing culture.

To go along with meat or fish, wild greens were gathered. Today, villagers still gather wild plants or grow their own. Betel nut flowers are also eaten, and now can be found served as salad.

Millet is a traditional staple of Taiwan's indigenous peoples. It was made into a glutinous mixture for eating or used to make millet wine. Alcohol was traditionally used very sparingly among Taiwan's indigenous peoples, strictly for festivals and ceremonies. There was no "drinking culture", and in fact, some tribes, like the Rukai, did not traditionally refer to millet wine as liquor, but as "water that makes one less shy".

In Taichung City, it is possible to try indigenous cuisine at Gulu Gulu Restaurant near the Taiwan Museum of Art on the WuQuan Parkway.

  • Data update: 2019-02-14
  • Publish Date: 2010-01-28
  • Source: Taichung City Government
  • Hit Count: 2655
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