Nom Nom Taiwan: the Story of Dietary Culture
About the Exhibition
What is the most impressing dining scene for you? Is it a noisy stir-fry restaurant? Is it a graceful fancy restaurant? Or is it a dining table at home with someone waiting for you? And what are the memories came along with the scenes?
“Eat” is an instinct in our nature. However, the action is more than easing hunger, providing nutrition, and satisfying taste; in fact, every choice and action toward “eat”, such as obtaining and trading of material, cooking methods, dining habit and preference, can reveal cultural characters of a race or a generation which leads to common memories of a group. This exhibition allows us to explore the value of eating culture from multiple angles, and it also makes us think deeply about effects toward society and the nature from the aspect of the new dining habit.
This exhibition was planned and first held by the National Museum of Natural Science, then modified by the National Museum of Taiwan History. We will like to invite you to explore dietary culture from multiple perspectives of human affairs and nature, and also reconsider from the perspective of newer dining styles how "eating" affects society and our natural environment.
From Land to Table
There is a saying described that human beings will choose to live with the obtainable resources. Nature provides vital materials for our survival and also directly affected food type and selection of human beings. Moreover, as being affected by the same culture, it is very likely to have a development of a unique dining system and flavor. People can easily recognize characters of a certain area, by its food selection, preference, trading habit, cooking method, and taboo. This food recognition could also be applied to concepts of beliefs, universe, classification, and body. Even dining manner can become a symbol of specific status, popularity and power. You can give a good observation of these details and think about what are they trying to reveal when next time you are at a dining table.
Flavor of Generation
Development and evolution of Taiwanese dining culture were deeply affected by immigration culture, politics, and social change of different historical periods. Immigrants who came to Taiwan during different periods had brought their own flavor of food. Those flavors blended, evolved, and innovated with Taiwanese ingredients and materials, and was finally become the well-known Taiwanese cuisine.
Since 17th century, immigrants of Han came in Taiwan with cuisine of Fujian, Canton, and Hakka; during the half-century of Japanese colonial period, Japanese cuisine and western food was introduced; after WWII, immigrants from all over China had moved in with their own cuisine and taste; with the raise of economy, western fast food reached Taiwan in the 1980s while local food also became popular at the time; in current years, new immigrants started to move in and their exotic flavors had also blended in and made the taste of Taiwan become even more multi-cultural than ever.
The most obvious difference between human beings and animals is that human beings are able to change their food chain according to obtainable food. Have you ever thought about how we obtain our food, how we eat, and the waste and leftover we made are actually affecting the environment while we eat? A wise choice of food can eliminate source exhaustion problems. With actions of buy less, buy local, eat appropriate volume, and make good use of leftover, we can change our future by our way of eating!