Taste Taiwan, Taste Culture
By Jim Yuan Zhou Photos by eriktengphotography
The Taiwan Tourism Bureau hosted the “Taste Taiwan” Culinary Tour Show Premiere at Executive Chef/Partner Michael Ferraro’s Delicatessen in Soho, New York, on January 9th, 2014. The Taiwan Tourism Bureau held the “Taste Taiwan” Chef Nomination in October 2013 and selected three award-winning chefs from Los Angeles, New York, and Vancouver, Canada. Chef Michael Ferraro was selected to participate in a culinary tour, along with Chef Bryant Wigger of Trattoria Neapolis in Los Angeles and Chef Thomas Heinrich of Mosaic Bar and Grille at Hyatt Regency in Vancouver. The three chefs recently returned from an 8-day culinary trip in Taiwan, which was documented and produced as a 30-min show to air on the Discovery Channel in February 2014.
Taiwan is one of the most unique international destinations for travellers. Taiwan, referred to as the heart of Asia, is also “Asian cuisine heaven.” Thanks to Taiwan Tourism NY’s generosity, Chef Michael Ferraro of Delicatessen was selected as one of the three top chefs in North America to travel to Taiwan to discover the culinary culture of the island for eight days from December 2nd to 10th, 2013. Asian Fusion Magazine was glad to attend the “Taste Taiwan” exclusive TV show premiere and join Chef Michael Ferraro from Delicatessen restaurant, located in Soho. After watching the premiere, chef Michael Ferraro did a live cooking demonstration, showcasing his culinary talents for all in attendance.
As Chef Michael shared with the guests his behind-the-scene photos and personal experience of the trip, he mentioned that Taiwan was the first country he had visited in Asia. He highly recommends Taiwan as a starting point: “My experience in Taiwan was a memorable one. I was fortunate enough to see many different sides of the country. We traveled from the east to west coasts, north and south, tasting different types of Taiwanese cuisine along the whole way and taking in the beautiful scenery. I was especially touched by how welcoming the Taiwanese people and culture is. For those looking to travel to Asia for the first time, I would recommend Taiwan. It is a perfect gateway country.”
Taiwanese cuisine brings together a mash-up of cultures, with messages behind each dish that have unique identities and tradition. Taiwanese food may taste totally different from others Asian food. Although it contains strong Chinese roots, it is from an island, so you can also easily find on the table raw fish that people will eat as well. In this very particular tour, you will see Michael, along with two other chefs, demonstrating western techniques when preparing tuna, stuffing pork belly with soy source, in addition to other Taiwanese-inspired dishes. The culinary dishes not only visually stimulate travellers from all over the world to come visit Taiwan, they also have their own local cultural values. A welcoming cultural message between east and west is communicated and experienced while on their food journey.
The event began with opening remarks from Taipei Ecomonic and Culture Office in New Yotk Mr. Alex Fan and Tourism Bureau NY Director Mr.Thomas Chang, introducing traditional Taiwanese food and travelling highlights, along with some recorded footage from Michael’s Taiwan journey.
Chef Ferraro briefly presented his Taiwan-inspired dish, soy sauce sausage with baby bok choy. He explained to the audience that this small dish has European root but also features eastern ingredients. It is a very cultured dish, and looks very attractive. The evening ended with Mr. Fan announcing the grand prize winner of a trip to Taiwan with EVA Airlines, a co-sponsor of the event. The lucky winner will have a chance to experience for themselves all the beauty, culture and culinary delights that are unique to Taiwan.
For New Yorkers, right now you are the lucky ones. Before you make that trip to Taiwan, you can right now enjoy a whole month of a Taiwan-inspired menu at Delicatessen!