There is absolutely no doubt that one of my favourite words in the world is ‘dessert’. I fall into the terrible category of believing that a meal is never really finished until it has been rounded off with a little sugar hit. It’s not the best of habits, and certainly one that would be better to kick, but life’s too short blah blah blah and frankly life just wouldn’t be as sweet (apologies for the absolutely awful pun).
I was under the impression, before I came to Asia, that the UK had a pretty bad reputation for the amount of sugar it consumes. Let’s be honest, what’s a cup of tea without a chocolate digestive to dip in it, and what’s a roast dinner without a fruit crumble drowned in custard to round it off. Britain has its desserts nailed – we do our sweets well.
But coming to Taiwan has made me realise that I might not be as bad as I had first assumed. Here I ask for my drinks with 30% sugar in rather than 100%. Sometimes even a main meal can be a little too sweet for me to actually want to finish. So here in Taiwan, I feel like if anything, I only have a mild sweet tooth compared to the rest of the population.
And then I went to Tainan – a beautiful, old city in the south of Taiwan, known for its abundance of temples, old streets and most importantly, its food. Reputedly here not only has the sweetest food in Taiwan, but even the sweetest food in Asia, and that reputation, I can now confirm, is the truest reputation to ever plague the planet. There is sugar in everything.
There’s little to no need for dessert when the main course often already tastes like it has had a few tubes of sugar poured into it. A trip to Tainan is basically a trip from food stand to food stand with a temple thrown in now and again.The food is amazing, every stand deserves a bite, but sometimes a bite is all you need to get your days worth of sugar.
The Tainanese will argue that their city has the best food in the whole country. It’s pretty great, but the real reason they say this is because they have been hit with a terrible sugar addiction that can be satisfied in no other place in the entire world besides Tainan.