Now, the Pineapple has turned a politically charged token after China’s prohibition on the import of Taiwan’s pineapples on March 1. The ban was after citing pests in the fruit. After the ban, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen cracked a social media challenge called “Eat Taiwan’s pineapples until you burst,” calling on people to support the island’s farmers
As a part of it, Taiwan’s classic beef noodle soup has taken on a sweet and sour twist. A very famous Taipei chef, Hung Ching Lung has made a pineapple beef noodle soup at his restaurant Chef Hung, saying that it is a humble attempt to help Taiwanese pineapple farmers.
The campaign has initiated a pineapple media furore, as Taiwanese politicians started to show their support for farmers as well as Taiwanese agriculture. The politicians from both the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the opposition Nationalist Party crowded to farms to post photos with pineapples.
Taiwanese restauranteurs like Hung hastened to make pineapple-infused dishes. Pineapple shrimp balls, a betel nut pineapple salad, and classics like fried rice with pineapple are just some of the dishes being sold out by restaurants and hotels in the country.
The chef and his team fought three days experimenting with ways to infuse pineapple into beef noodles. It took about 10 attempts.
“The first time we tested it when we cooked it in the soup, it was very sweet, it was inedible and tasted completely of pineapple,” he said. The thriving attempt was based on departing the juice from the fruit during cooking, which removed the sweetness that would otherwise subjugate the beef flavor.
China said that the ban on Taiwanese pineapples was not politically intended, with a spokesperson for Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office saying that the decision was a “normal biosafety measure, and fully reasonable and necessary.” Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called the move one that “flies in the face of rules-based, free and fair trade.”
China has most recently anchored its extensive market in a trade war with Australia. It hindered the imports of beef, coal, barley, seafood, sugar, and timber from Australia after that country backed the need for scrutiny into the source of the coronavirus pandemic, which was kicked off in China in late 2019.
A day after the ban was instituted, Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang told local media that the purchase by domestic businesses and citizens surpassed the amount that would have been sold to China. The government also pledged subsidies worth 1 billion New Taiwan dollars ($35 million) to support the farmers.
By this time the incident has rendered a patriotic feeling out of some residents.
“We are all trying to find a way to help the farmers,” said Alice Tsai, who stopped in Hung’s restaurant on Wednesday to try noodles that she said were surprisingly tasty.
“The other day I went to the supermarket and found that all the pineapples were sold out, and I felt very touched,” she said. “Everyone has this feeling of solidarity.”