Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Changhua's Bawan 彰化肉圓

We're currently on assignment in central Taiwan. Today, we visited Changhua 彰化 and of course had 肉圓 bawan (Taiwanese). I'll usually have about two of those a year, or even less, but I had three this afternoon. I really was stuffed, but it was quite good! Bawan is roughly translated as "meatball," but to me, it's more like a dumpling because of the skin around the pork filling. The outside layer is made of sweet potato flour, which is a little chewy when cooked and holds everything together. First, the entire bawan is steamed and then it is then fried at a relatively low temperature. You can practically touch the oil with your bare hands and not be burnt. The frying makes the outermost part of the bawan skin a little dry and just a little bit tough, making it chewier. You can get it simply steamed or boiled in other places, but people in Changhua like their bawan chewy and oily. The sauce that goes on the bawan is also very important. There are two parts to the sauce. One part is usually made of glutinous rice flour and it is very thick and a little bit sweet. The other part is thick as well, but savory. Each restaurant has their own secret sauce recipes. Both sauces are dropped onto the bawan and the sweet and savory flavors mix in your mouth.

In this particular luxurious bawan, in addition to pork, there's also bamboo shoot, mushroom, a salted duck egg yolk and scallop. The sauce at this restaurant has peanut in it, giving it a nutty, almost sesame-ish flavor.

The young women in this picture are the great grandchildren of the man who first started selling bawan in Changhua. They were both studying in the States, (one studying to become an occupational therapist) but decided to come back when their father fell ill and thought about closing the store for good. They came back to take care of their father and to continue the family business of selling bawan. They said it's a tough and messy job, but they feel that continuing the tradition and the family business is their responsibility, and as far as I could see, they do it willingly and happily. I was really touched.

This is my cameraman who wanted to take a picture with them but was too shy to smile. Haha..

+886 4 722 7868
They deliver!


Paul said...

The 肉圓 bawan there looks delicious. We have had it many times here in Taipei but would definitely try it if I went there. Thanks for sharing the post.

翁郁容 Michella Jade Weng ミシェラ・オング said...