Taiwan's culture   (Chinese culture in Taiwan)                                                                           this site's world No. 1 in   2017,   2016,  2015,  2014,  2013 2010~12     
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According to Taiwan's government, Taiwan's cultures include 12 categories ―    some are not today's Taiwanese cultures.

 Taiwan's massages (Chinese version) : A very popular culture in today's Taiwan ! ;   Taiwanese massage (English version)
 New Critiques:   Taiwan's tourism and travel,    Taiwan's hospitals and medical doctors  (unbiased views)                         

Taiwan cultures

Official views by
Taiwan's Government (GIO)

this website's view

The Aesthetics of Architecture  Major architectures of Taiwan :
◎ Taipei 101
◎ Taoyuan Int'l Airport (not GIO's rpt. )
◎ Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall,
◎ the Grand Hotel
◎ Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
◎ Main Stadium for the Kaohsiung
   World Games
have all taken their place in Taiwan's skyline.
◎ Taipei 101's appearance is not exquisite enough, was commented by western experts as an ugly building.
◎ Taoyuan Int'l Airport looks like US Washington Dulles int'l airport.  (ps: modified already, not reconstructed)
◎ Main Stadium for the Kaohsiung World Games is conceived of by Japan's Toyo Ito.
◎  Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall,  the Grand Hotel and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall are ancient Chinese style works
Popular Food Taiwan's cuisine includes eight main categories:

(1)Holo (also called “Minnanese,” or simply “Taiwanese”),
(2) Hakka, and vegetarian foods,
(3) the various cooking styles with long histories from the length and breadth of mainland China such as northern style, and below :
(4)  the province of Hunan
(5)  the province of Jiangsu
(6)  the province of Zhejiang
(7)  the province of Sichuan.
(8)  Hong Kong (Cantonese)

According to Discovery US, Taiwanese cuisine is endowed with some of the best culinary skills from mainland Chinese, Japanese, aboriginal food, etc, and has developed horizontally (more diversity), but not developed upward to make exquisite food.

Taiwan's night markets street/road snacks are very popular to Taiwanese and red Chinese tourists.  
Best-known night markets & popular stall-snacks include : 
(1) Taipei
Shilin (Deep fried chicken fillet stall, etc) night market
(2) Taipei
NingXia (best oyster omelet in taiwan )
(3) Kaohsiung
city ― LioHo  (seafood soft-rice, etc)
(4) TaiChung
city― FengChia (creative snacks)
(5) Taipei
HuaHsi Street ('Snake Alley' sometimes serves bizarre : snake blood & meat, deer penis wine, turtle etc )
(6) Keelung
city ― MiaoKou
(7) ILAN
Lotong
(Perhaps some of them are not
trans-fat-free ...till now middle 2011)

Taiwan's Chinese-cuisine restaurants:
(1) DinTaiFung(鼎泰豐) - but they admitted at May 9, 2012 that using MSG, as far as I know lots of Westerners don't like MSG.
(2) YinYih(銀翼): HuaiYang cuisines, 1951 till present
(3) Celestial (天廚): Beijing cuisine like roast duck (tel 02-25632380)
(4) PengYuan(彭園) : HuNan province cuisine (tel 02-25519157)
(5) ChinYuan(黔園) : Sichuan province cuisine (addr: 39 Ln.25, HunDin Rd.)
(6) RoonGi (隆記) : Shanghai cuisine 1952 till present (tel 02-23315078)
(7) Chili House restaurant (四川吳炒手) : Sichuan province cuisine (tel 02-27216088)
(8) BeefNoodle master(永康牛肉麵) (tel 02-23892369)
(9) 人和園 : YunNan, GuiZhou area cuisine
(10) ycyf.com.tw(億長御坊) - traditional cuisines (02-23930383)
(11) 5 star hotels usually have high class Chinese-cuisine restaurants.

Taiwan's "Pig's blood cake" was selected as "world's Top 10 weird food" by UK's <Virtual Tourist> in 2009.

Other widely known cuisines are stinky tofu (Western people think it tastes like athletic feet or some stinky cheese ), oyster omelet (so called Viagra for Taiwanese by Discovery TV program ), bubble tea/pearl milk tea (one store is popular in some city in Germany but bubble tea in Taiwan maybe too much sugar and ... top professor advised not drinking it )...

2015: 政府經歷最大的選舉挫敗後不痛改前非根據 商業周刊No.1436(June 2015)評論: 「奇怪耶食安只管金針乾、菜脯與蜜餞」台大教授認為「完全沒有抓到重點」「三項都是非常低風險產品」。
2014: 國際主要媒體,如美國紐約時報與英國經濟學人雜誌,紛紛報導 一再出包的食安風暴,是導致國民黨政府自1949年退守台灣以來,最大的選舉挫敗原因之一Major world media like The New York Times and The Economist (11.29.2014) comment a series of food safety scandals is one of few main factors causing the KMT, Taiwan's ruling party, has suffered one of its worst electoral defeats since Chiang Kai-shek and his forces fled to the island at the end of Chinese civil war in 1949.The New York Times (9.8.2014): the new scandal  (Taiwan food-safety scare) shows that there is still not enough being done to eliminate lawbreaking production lines.  TIME  ( 9.8.2014): Gutter Oil' Scandal Raises Food-Safety Fears Once Again in Greater China.

 

Folk Beliefs Folk beliefs in Taiwan are a positive reflection of the people's wish for harmonious interaction, coexistence, and co-prosperity among heaven, earth, and mankind.
They also reflect Taiwan’s reverence for the basic social virtues of loyalty, piety, fidelity, and justice. These ideas are the most valuable assets enabling people to live on this earth.
(1) Taiwan's national CNA  (Central News Agency) reported an university's survey:
◎ 87.7% university students believe ghosts
◎ 64.7% believe : it's unlucky to swim in July (Lunar)
◎ 37% : Will encounter ghosts if whistling after sunset
◎ 32% : pregnant woman touching scissors will give birth to an abnormal baby
◎ 28.3% : Ears will be cut off if pointing to moon by one/two finger
◎ 31.9% : Chopstick plugging in bowl's rice will gather ghosts
◎ 22.3% : Will become a beggar if knocking the bowl

70% college students believe in religion, 35% of them are Buddhists.

(2)  According to <The Ugly Side of Taiwanese>  ( book author : G. Lee, published in 1988 & 1993 ) -  details ref to publisher in USA : 714-8631618  

    One of Taiwanese character/traits :   In bribery Taiwanese believe.    Taiwanese believe "money talks", and treat religion as trading or bribery, nothing to do with soul and spirits.

(3) Recently, one of best-selling products are Chinese-God (fortune god, etc) toys.

 

Chinese Medicine in Taiwan 

Chinese medicine, a set of medical theories and practices that originated and developed in China over several millennia, is an important aspect of Taiwanese culture.

It consistently proves efficacious in restoring and maintaining the health of countless millions of people over the ages.

Useful for health (at least, good for Chinese)

Music Taiwan’s popular music has been deeply influenced by the United States and Japan. Songs sung in Mandarin Chinese, Holo, English and Japanese comprise the mainstream of the pop music market today.

Musical styles today in Taiwan display an abundance of cultural diversity by incorporating not only local ethnic elements, but also musical elements from elsewhere in the world, such as rock ’n’ roll, hiphop and jazz.

An essay <China Tames Rebellious Side of Rock "n" Roll> in <New York Times>, likened today's Red Chinese pop music culture to the politically enforced conformity of the Cultural Revolution, the core of songs is "have fun", culture has become an empty vessel, there are few hints of angst, alienation , or any but the mildest expression of teenage rebellion.

Taiwan's pop music was tamed by political pressure in the past, the "opposition culture" in Taiwan's music field was almost eliminated.

Today's Taiwanese music environment is money-oriented.

 
The Art of Dance Taiwan’s myriad dance forms are intricately linked with the country’s ethnic composition and historical background, and each of the local dances draws their unique colors from the island’s rich cultural heritage.

Even Cloud-gate dancing shows are much less popular than Taiwan's heavy slapstick or funny actions in Taiwan's TV programs by funny actors/actresses.

An article in the United Daily News (Oct. 5, 2010) criticized Taiwan's TV programs  commercial, programs are not quite OK , news programs are astonishing low class ...   

Taiwanese people are rich (richer than Japan and Korea, according to IMF 2011) but spend very little on tasting arts,  a statistics a few years ago is attached as below :

  per person per year
movie NT470 (about US 15)
drama NT91 (US 3)
dancing show  NT65 (US 2) 

 

 
Chinese Calligraphy in Taiwan the gentle art of Chinese calligraphy can soothe the heart and mind.

calligraphy also exists in the “cultural circle of Chinese characters”—namely Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia — but in fact each of these systems descended from ancient China.
Nomenclature aside, they all refer in essence to the same art form.

Taiwan remains the only place in the world to preserve classical Chinese characters

 (1) Most youngsters in Taiwan don't practice enough so that they can't have good calligraphy by a soft, flexible brush-pen.

 (2) Many Taiwanese people can't write excellent calligraphy by a pencil.

 (3) The calligraphy by Japanese or Korean looks wild (lacks elegance), most of which are worse than those by Taiwanese or Chinese.

 

Pottery and Porcelain During the 1960s, pottery and porcelain served as a channel for expressing creativity; and as artists poured their aesthetic viewpoints and original ideas into their products,

 Today, the art of pottery and porcelain has already become Taiwan’s most flourishing and developed craft,

 Taiwanese pottery and porcelain to possess rich and abundant connotations. Not only does it represent the continuation and development of the pottery culture of the Orient, but it is also a gateway into the pottery and porcelain culture of the world and a place where that global culture can be viewed in miniature.

(1) Pottery and Porcelain in InnGir city
 looks not as luxurious as those by artists in France or Russia, etc.

(2) In Taoyuan int'l airport or  National Palace Museum , I personally feel best pottery and porcelain are ancient China's style. 
  Maybe below is one example
of modern Taiwanese creativity  the present that ROC president Ma gave to Beijing China's envoy Chen Yunlin ( the most senior Chinese official visited Taiwan since the 1949 communist revolution).

Chinese Lunar New Year in Taiwan

 

“spring couplets” are paper scrolls and squares hung up around the house,   inscribed with blessings and auspicious words, such as “good fortune,” “wealth,” “longevity,” and “springtime.” The paper squares are usually pasted upside down, because the Mandarin word for “upside down,” dao, is a homonym of the word “arrival.”

For children, the most exciting part of the holiday comes when they receive their hong bao (紅包), red envelopes full of cash.

(1) Chinese Lunar New Year still excite today's Taiwanese, but the atmosphere wore off.

(2)  Today's children as well as gov. officials in both Taiwan and communist China receive lots of 'hong bao' (red envelopes full of cash) ―  bribery. 

Taiwanese Opera Singing songs (ge zi 歌仔) was the most important form of entertainment in Taiwan’s early agricultural society.

Taiwanese opera is part of daily life in Taiwan, reflecting the thoughts, feelings, and aesthetics of the people.

Not popular any more, perhaps its exotic flavor or new-formed version attracts western tourists, but not most Taiwanese any more.

The Art of Tea

 Aspects of the art of Taiwan tea—whether it’s the tea-flavor, tea water, tea sets, tea-serving techniques, tea connoisseurs, teahouses, tea refreshments, or tea feasts—have been developed to a consummate level in Taiwan. Thus, whether focusing on aesthetical theory or practice, every aspect of Taiwan tea can serve as a paradigm for both life and art.

 

(1) Having coffee is more popular than having tea in today's Taipei metro.  you can see coffee shops everywhere like US's Starbucks, as well as Japan's Ikari ... but tea shops are fewer. ( Taiwanese're still used to drink tea, various bottled tea and instant tea are available everywhere )

(2) Green tea is good for against some cancers... but too many tea were imported from Vietnam (US army dropped lots of poison-bombs in Vietnam War, poison may stay there for long long years) - may be dangerous ...

 

Glove Puppetry in the early 1960s, glove puppet shows were one of the island’s primary forms of entertainment. 

Glove puppet performances integrate various aspects of culture, including dialects, folk music, carving, color painting, embroidery, and puppet manipulation techniques. 

Taiwanese glove puppetry is constantly being reinvented.

... no longer Taiwan’s most important drama activity

Not popular any more in TV

 
Taiwan gov. info. (left column) are excerpt/extracts, you may read details from GIO website http://www.gio.gov.tw/taiwan-website/5-gp/culture/ ;  this page was updated Nov 10, '10

Taiwanese Opera,  Glove Puppetry, Chinese Calligraphy in Taiwan, and Taiwanese dance are not  popular to modern Taiwanese, so those stuffs are not today's Taiwanese mainstream cultures, their value probably lies in attracting international tourists by exotic flavors ( Taiwan needs to win world's heart by some real beef ).
Taiwan government's long-term strategy "focus on economy rather than culture" resulted in a "culture desert" status.

ps Culture of Taiwan ―  Wikipedia

The Culture of Taiwan is a hybrid blend of Confucianist Han Chinese, Japanese, European, American, global, local and Taiwanese aborigines cultures, which are often perceived in both traditional and modern understandings. The common socio-political experience in Taiwan gradually developed into a sense of Taiwanese cultural identity and a feeling of Taiwanese cultural awareness, which has been widely debated domestically. Reflecting the continuing controversy surrounding the political status of Taiwan, politics continues to play a role in the conception and development of a Taiwanese cultural identity, especially in the prior dominant frame of a Taiwanese and Chinese dualism.

 Cultural heritage

culture


      China's cultural heritage in UNESCO world heritage list:

  • Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang
  • Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
  • Mogao Caves
  • Mount Taishan
  • Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian
  • The Great Wall
  • Mount Huangshan
  • Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area
  • Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area
  • Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area
  • Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains
  • Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa
  • Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples, Chengde
  • Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu
  • Lushan National Park
  • Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area
  • Ancient City of Ping Yao
  • Classical Gardens of Suzhou
  • Old Town of Lijiang
  • Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in Beijing
  • Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in Beijing
  • Dazu Rock Carvings
  • Mount Wuyi
  • Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui – Xidi and Hongcun
  • Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties
  • Longmen Grottoes
  • Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System
  • Yungang Grottoes
  • Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas
  • Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom
  • Historic Centre of Macao
  • Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries - Wolong, Mt Siguniang and Jiajin Mountains
  • Yin Xu
  • Kaiping Diaolou and Villages
  • South China Karst
  • Fujian Tulou
  • Mount Sanqingshan National Park
  • Mount Wutai
  • China Danxia
  • Historic Monuments of Dengfeng in “The Centre of Heaven and Earth”

          News at Nov 16, 2010 - According to the Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),  a total of 13 traditional celebrations, healing techniques, crafts and culinary arts (i.e., The Chinese Peking Opera and acupuncture, Armenian cross-stone art, Colombian Marimba music and French gastronomic meal,  the traditional art of Azerbaijani carpet weaving, the Kirkpinar oil wrestling festival in Turkey, and Castells human towers built during festivals in Catalonia.) were newly inscribed into the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List.

 

ps:  Taiwan's food scandals again and again ...  For full text pls. read Taiwan food !!

◎ 2015 Taiwan food scandals / Illegal import of banned (suspiciously polluted) food products to Taiwan from five prefectures in Japan (included in 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant incident) prohibited by Taiwanese authorities.
       
 ● Taipei Times, 3-26-2015: Taiwan review Fukushima food ban under Japan's pressure
       
 ● Apple Daily 3-26-2015: already imported 4 yrs, Medical experiments were made on Taiwanese human beings as if they were guinea pigs. (輸台4年 "拿人民當實驗")
       
 ● Liberty Times 3-25-2015: Taiwan's member of the Legislative Yuan/ parliament: It's a premeditated murder, a willful murder!!

◎ 2014 Taiwan food scandals
        ●
The New York times (9.8.2014): The authorities in Taiwan are scrambling to control a tainted-cooking-oil scandal that has affected hundreds of manufacturers and raised fears about health risks posed in many commonly consumed food items... the new scandal shows that there is still not enough being done to eliminate lawbreaking production lines,” The Taipei Times said ...
          ● TIME (9.8.2014): Gutter Oil' Scandal Raises Food-Safety Fears Once Again in Greater China.  A Taiwanese food-safety scare has spread to Hong Kong...
          ● Bloomberg BusinessWeek  (9.8.2014): Tainted Lard: China's Latest Food-Safety Scare Comes From Taiwan       The case is the second major food-safety scandal by a Taiwan-based company in the past year,...The new gutter-oil scandal has “shocked local consumers” in Taiwan who expect more from their government, ...“I hope the law could be revised to impose tougher punishment on those who breach food safety regulations,”...   
       ●
The China Times (9.5.2014, head-page headline news): Disgusting ... Even pigs don't eat those tainted oil we Taiwanese ate !     

2013 Taiwan's food safety crisis or "poisonous food" panic
Taiwan's food were found some very bad materials, e.g., Cloudy Agents Contaminated by Plasticizer,
'Poisonous (toxic) starch',  maleic acid (an industrial material).
Ref.
Cover story of some popular Taiwanese magazines (in 2013) :
(1) <Business Weekly> no. 1334 ― "Eating in Taiwan, needs latest common sense" ! ("吃飯  需要新常識" !)
(2) <Business Today> no. 856   ― "Fatal & horrible materials in Taiwan's food, the secret that restaurants' boss won't speak out" !("要命的恐怖食材, 餐廳老闆不敢說的秘密" ! "黑心醬油毒害全台  夜市、小吃、餐館幾近淪陷"!)
(3) <Common Health Magazine> no.36  ― "How to survive in
'Poisonous (toxic) starch' storm in Taiwan" ! ("毒澱粉風暴下的生存術" )
(4)
<Business Weekly> no. 1331 "Focus News" ―  "Watch Out ! You are eating 'Poisonous (toxic) starch' all 24 hours", "Black-Heart food products on all the streets in Taiwan". ( "小心  你 24小時都在吃毒澱粉", "...滿街黑心食品".)
Ref. 2
<Apple Daily News> editorial (6.1.2013) : "We grew up by eating
poisonous food" (辣蘋果: "我們吃毒長大!" ): Taiwan food safety storm ―  poisonous food with industrial materials,  expired preservatives... Taiwan food problem now is a national security issue... government needs more active ...

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