Taiwan is a tiny island, smaller than Switzerland, in fact. But you’d never know it from the breadth of its food culture. It ranges from the hearty, with thick, ramen-esque pork stews, to the savory, like the generously salty “oil rice,” to the adventurous — street-food staples include pig’s-blood cake on a stick and whole grilled squid. It’s said that the scallion pancake, now a takeout standard that every drunk New Yorker has at one point scarfed down in the middle of the night, originated in Taiwan and inspired the Italian pizza. History should give tonight’s panel, The Taiwanese Table: Cuisine and Identity, plenty to talk about. Cathy Erway, author of the new cookbook The Food of Taiwan, will lead a discussion between Brian Tsao of Mira Sushi & Izakaya, Ken Ho of Taiwanese-Mex restaurant Lucky Luna, sommelier Belinda Chang, and Matt Gross, author of the Times‘ “Frugal Traveler” column. After the talk, stick around as Erway presents a cooking demo of the decadently messy oyster omelette and three Taiwanese restaurants prepare tastings of classic treats.
Tue., March 24, 7 p.m., 2015