Food Preparation Customs

Taipei 101

Fresh juice

At the market in the basement of Taipei 101, I ordered a fresh juice from a juice stand. The young man who was making the juice rapidly measured and assembled the ingredients in a blender. As he was blending the fruit, he began to pour in honey. After a moment, he grabbed a long spoon, stuck it in what was becoming my drink, tasted and took a taste. Then with one hand he threw the spoon in the sink and with the other he added more honey.

Fruit, of course, is inconsistent. If you want to prepare food to a certain sweetness (or other taste attribute), and the ingredients aren’t exactly the same, how else can you do it without tasting?

In the west, at least, fast food is typically based on sourcing consistent ingredients and building a trainable process so the staff don’t have to use subjective judgments like taste in order to prepare a good product. As well, we don’t expect that people preparing our food would be eating it. In this case, the spoon was clean and was disposed of right away, so there was no chance of contamination, but the whole concept that this person consumed something and then gave me the rest was just so unfamiliar.

Yet another standard that I hadn’t even questioned until I saw it play out differently in Taipei.


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