cover image The Food of Taiwan: Recipes from the Beautiful Island

The Food of Taiwan: Recipes from the Beautiful Island

Cathy Erway. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30 (240p) ISBN 978-0-5443-0301-0

In this appetizing collection, Erway (The Art of Eating In), an acclaimed blogger at Not Eating Out in NY, takes readers on a cultural and culinary tour of Taiwan that will engage armchair travelers and foodies alike. American born and half Taiwanese, Erway details the rich and diverse history of the country and explores the social and recreational habits of modern-day Taiwan. From pantry staples such as chili bean sauce, ginger, and rice wine to the vibrant night markets that take over entire streets, she offers an insider’s perspective of the Taiwanese lifestyle and reveals what makes a dish distinctly Taiwanese. In addition to chapters on appetizers, vegetables, meat, and seafood, she explores the lasting culinary influences of military villages, train bento boxes, and Taiwanese tea. Recipes for fried pork chop noodle soup, shredded chicken over rice, and Hakka-style sweet green tea convey cultural insight as well as instruction. But Erway does not shortchange on the recipe front. Taiwanese pork belly buns, steamed eggplant with garlic and chilies, and pan-fried whole fish with garlic, ginger, and scallions are just a few tempting examples from a multitude of appealing offerings from an island nearly obsessed with food. Photos of everyday people, the diverse landscape, and alluring dishes complete this engaging and delightful collection. (Mar.)