No, Taiwanese gastronomy is not limited to bubble tea , this tapioca pearl tea . Extremely rich, its culinary heritage bears witness to a complex history, drawing its influences from the many ethnic groups that have come to populate the island. Starting with the pre-existing aborigines of Chinese colonization, close to the Indonesian or Malay populations: Amis, Bunun, Kavalan (like whisky, yes!), Puyuma… To this have been added the dishes of Chinese immigrants for four centuries Han (Hoklo or Hakka ethnic group), landed from the southeastern provinces of China (notably the neighboring one of Fujian) and the period of occupation of the island by the Japanese (1895-1945).
1949 marked another decisive turning point. When the nationalist Kuomintang party flees mainland China, losing the war against the Communists (who hasten to proclaim the People’s Republic of China), it is in Taiwan that it takes refuge, continuing to proclaim itself the only legitimate government of China. (Republic of China or Nationalist China). As a direct consequence, chefs from all the provinces of mainland China then found themselves gathered on this small island. This explains why today in Taiwan you can savor the best traditional dishes from famous regions: Guangdong, Jiangxi, Chaoshan, Shanghai, Hunan, Sichuan , or Beijing!
Until now it was in Taiwan that you had to go to taste these delights. In Paris, there was only Zenzoo , then 37 m2 as coolosse ambassadors of the island-nation. But since the democratic opening of 2016, which saw Tsai Ing-wen (candidate of the DPP, the main opposition party), become the first female president of the island, intercultural exchanges have intensified. Unmistakable signs, a host of new restaurants are setting up in Paname. After the Levantine wave , discover the next big culinary trend!
At Time Out, all establishments are tested anonymously by our journalists, paying the bill each time, like any customer!
What vibe? In her pocket canteen a stone’s throw from the Canal St-Martin, Scarlette Chen makes Taiwanese street-food. It is the only one in Paris to offer the famous local “crêpes”… Copiously stuffed with a whole heap of good things, closer to a burrito than a Breton pancake, they are then rolled up for ease ( but we still managed to stick it everywhere).
Cult dish? A pancake with marinated beef (€8), garnished with salad, red cabbage, onion, carrot, cucumber, bean sprouts and coriander…
What vibe? A cozy and spacious cabin in white wood, in the heart of the Marais. With Taiwanese beeper, to place an order! From 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., it’s the ideal spot for co-working in peace with a good tea and a pastry, wi-fi and chargers galore. For curious minds: food conferences to educate yourself while eating, Taiwanese cinema screenings… The boss has plenty to tell about the history of her island.
Cult dish? The Lo bah bang (€8): pieces of confit pork belly, mustard leaves, star anise, cinnamon…
What vibe? A three-minute walk from rue Mouffetard, in the heart of the Latin Quarter, hides a turquoise facade with misted glass. The address is in a pocket handkerchief: twelve cutlery tucked in with the forceps. The young Taiwanese chef Christina Huang serves fusion meals full of intelligence and great precision. Her own thing? Revisit the street food of your country in a high level gastronomic way . Cult dish? The gua bao, brioche buns kneaded à la mano (extremely rare in Paris), steamed and stuffed with tender braised pork belly… Simmered for five long hours at low temperature!