Hong Shanhui, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Center for General Education, National Central University
“About Breakfast” appeared in Jiao Tong’s essay collection Binge Eating Everywhere (2009), the culmination of eighteen years of dining experience. Twenty essays – the titles of which all begin “About…” – discuss foods, the origins of various foods and drinks, restaurants, chefs, and memories of eating and drinking.
“About Breakfast” begins with the Chinese-style omelets at Dong He breakfast shop, located behind the National Central University, and Suspender, a Western-style breakfast restaurant near Fu Jen University, both patronized by the writer for many years. Because breakfast is the daily repast Jiao Tong most looks forward to, he regards it as a full meal and not simply a snack. His favorite breakfast is rice and soup, the sumptuous day-starter filling him with energy and putting him in a bright, chipper mood, turning the world into a beautiful place.
Breakfast choices in Taiwan are many and varied, a veritable carnival for the taste buds. Western-style breakfasts feature coffee, milk, fresh fruit juice, eggs-over-easy, sandwiches, hamburgers, French toast, and pancakes. An impressive array of tasty local offerings include soy milk, baked sesame seed cakes, deep-fried dough sticks, steamed stuffed buns, mantou (steamed bread), congee with side dishes, pig’s tongue with cellophane noodles, rice noodles with swordfish, beef-noodle soup, fried chive turnovers, pan-fried stuffed buns, Fuzhou noodles, lurou fan (stewed meat over rice), milkfish congee, oyster soup, and stir-fried noodles, to name just a few. Taipei’s Yong Le market and the South Airport community are two other places where Jiao Tong often partakes of the matinal meal. Classic choices include the Yong Le Chicken Wrap King’s pork congee, chicken wraps, and starchy thread-noodle soup; Happy People Swordfish Rice Noodle’s rice noodle soup, deep-fried shrimp, deep-fried braised pork, and deep-fried oysters; and the many mouthwatering delights at Qiu Family Milkfish stand, located in the South Airport area.
In “About Breakfast,” Jiao Tong’s depicts Taiwan’s heterogeneous breakfast landscape, depicting the people and foods in traditional markets and long-established communities. “I like to sit by the street, listening to the hawkers, watching the shop owner cook for customers, his movements smooth and graceful, confident that no matter how many patrons there are, he can accommodate them all,” writes Jiao Tong, portraying the vitality of Taiwanese street culture. Unlike earlier food writing – much of which tended to be superficial and limited in scope – “About Breakfast” breaks new ground, adding depth and dimension to the discussion of foods and diet. Thus, food writing is no longer simply the lyrical expression of personal emotions or the recollections of flavors – Jiao Tong has broadened the field to include cultural discourse and aesthetic values.
Jiao Tong, Associate Professor, Department of Chinese Literature, National Central University
Jiao Tong (1956- ) is the penname of Ye Zhenfu, a native of Kaohsiung. The writer holds a master’s degree from Chinese Culture University’s Graduate Institute of Fine Arts, and was enrolled in a doctoral program in comparative literature at Fu Jen University. He is the founder of Fish & Fish International Co., Ltd. and Diet magazine. He has studied drama, made experimental films, and written and directed a stage production that was performed in Taipei. He has been in charge of a long running literary radio show, and has served as assistant executive director of the China Times literary supplement group. He has also served as consultant to Media Chinese International, and is currently an associate professor at National Central University’s Department of Chinese Literature.
For the past twenty years Jiao Tong has promoted the development of Taiwanese food culture. In 2007 he launched an annual Taiwan restaurant evaluation project, convening the judges’ committee; he has also served as director-general of the Taiwan Dietary Culture Association. The writer has sponsored a number of international academic symposiums on diet and culture, and has held state banquets and themed banquets, e.g. “Spring Banquet,” “Impressionist Dinner Party,” “Hakka Banquet,” “Literary Banquet,” and “Indigenous People’s Banquet.”
As a student, Jiao Tong received the China Times Narrative Poetry Excellence Award, first prize in the United Daily News Reportage Awards, first prize in the National Students’ Literature Award for Modern Poetry, and second prize in the essay division. Binge Eating Everywhere (2009) won the Golden Tripod Best Book Award,
Jiao Tong’s publications include: the poetry collections Collected Poems: 1980-1993, and Erotic Recipes: A Complete Menu for Male Potency Enhancement; the essay collections On the Edge of the World, Binge Eating Everywhere, Taiwan Flavor, Taiwan Belly, Taiwan Tongue, Yunnan Flavor in Long Gang, and Formosan Flavor; the children’s book Black Swallowtail A-Qing’s Travels; and the studies Early Postwar Taiwanese Drama, and Taiwan’s Literary Street Movements: 1977-1999. He has published over thirty works. His poems have been translated into English, Japanese, and French. He has also edited over fifty volumes of selected writings on food, as well as poetry, fiction, and essay collections.
|Anthology：||Binge Eating Everywhere|
|Publisher：||Taipei: Fish & Fish International Co., Ltd.|
|Ordering information for original work(Link)：||http://www.books.com.tw/products//0010443927|
Ordering information for original work(Note)：
|The “book.com.tw” Internet Bookstore|
|Ordering information for translation(Link)：|
|Ordering information for translation(Note)：||No English Translation|