In recent years there has been some fantastic Chinese food documentaries coming out of China and Taiwan. Not only are their contents great, their cinematography and pacing is also impeccable.
While it seems that everyone and their grandma has heard of CCTV’s “A Bite of China” (舌尖上的中国) and all six episodes of the first season were voluntarily translated and easily found in Youtube, the same cannot be said about a Taiwanese production known as “The Taiwanese Banquet Hall” (台灣食堂)
The latter series is produced by Taiwan’s public television station, and has been very well received in Taiwan. A second season has already been made. Sadly, almost no one outside of the country (yes, country) knows about it. Watching it and listening to the interviewees speak of their love for their food and work, their children, and their struggles, all in that marvellous Taiwanese accent, I can’t help but be filled with pangs of longing and nostalgia for the place. It’s so touching it can make a grown man cry. Almost. Production of this level of quality and “flavour of human love” (人情味) deserves more attention.
Of the episodes that you can find online on found on Youtube, you can watch them all in less than 5 hours. And if Mandarin Chinese is not your language, well you’re out of luck. Here are two episodes:
So, 公視 PTS, if you’re reading this, maybe put the episodes online so that more people can access your content. Perhaps somebody who was sufficiently moved by your series will take them and translate them for you, free of charge. This would be a fantastic way to get Taiwan and Taiwanese food more exposure internationally, and direct more love from the internets your way. And yes, you need it.
Oh sweet sweet pineapple cake, how do I love thee… Let me count the ways…