Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

Beverages To Go With My Taiwanese Dinner

When I eat Asian food of any kind, I always crave a nice cold beer to go with it. Afterwards, I like to enjoy a sip of rice wine or sweet plum wine with dessert. Taiwan produces a local brew called (what else?) Taiwan Beer. There's also another local beverage called Shaohsing wine, served warm. First produced in southern China during the Ming dynasty (1386-1644), Shaohsing wine is made with glutinous rice, fermented in earthen jars before bottling.

In Taiwan, all alcoholic beverages are produced by the Taiwan Tobacco and Wine Monopoly Bureau (TTWMB), which was created when Taiwan was returned to China at the end of World War II, after 50 years of occupation by the Japanese. The TTWMB also produces whiskey and brandy, including Tea Brandy, flavored with Oolong tea, as well as a blend of brandy and grape juice called Pineau. Other wines include lychee wine, plum wine, white wine, red wine, rose wine, sparkling wine, and honey wine.

Alas, I hold little hope of finding beverages produced in Taiwan at any of our local retailers. So unless I can squeeze in a trip to San Francisco in the next few days, I will have to settle for the next best thing: a six-pack of China's Tsing Tao beer, and a bottle of Sho Chiku Bai plum wine. And of course, no Chinese dinner would be complete without a steaming pot of Oolong tea.