Thin noodles with rice wine
Rice flour noodles with rice wine is a dish used by the people of Matsu for health and is a popular choice of women in the first month after giving birth. The slightly salty noodles are first scalded then steamed together with rice and egg.
Pork swallows (pork wonton)
Wash and drain the meat and then beat it into a paste. Add starch and roll into thin pieces (the swallow skin). When bake dried the skins can be preserved for a long time. When eaten they are dipped in water then wrapped around the meat and boiled.
This shellfish, rare in Taiwan, is shaped like the claws of a turtle. When eaten take hold of the part like the webbed claw, bite off the hard shell and you can eat the sweet flesh inside. The black part at the front should not be eaten.
Matsu is the only place in Taiwan where mussels live. Mussels have a sweet taste and are rich in vitamins and minerals.
Medical research has shown that vinasse promotes health by lowering cholesterol and reducing blood fat. Many households in the Matsu make their own rice wine and sell the red vinasse side product to local special products stores. The low price and natural ingredients makes vinasse popular with tourists. The locals use it in cooking.
Wok edge paste
This dish originated in Fuzhou. The main ingredient is rice milk. This is dripped onto the edge of a hot wok. It cooks quickly and is then scraped into the wok with a spatula where it is then stewed together with, seafood, vegetables an water etc. This tasty dish can be tried on the second floor of Shanlong Shizi Market in Nangan Township in the morning (but not on Sundays.)
Matsu rice wine
Rice wine is made by fermentation. Selecting top grade rice is the key to making good rice wine. Rice wine can be made and ready to drink in 30 days. The hot temperatures of the summer can cause the rice to spoil so winter is the wine making season. The wine is sealed and stored at a low temperature, becoming more aromatic as it ages.
Matsu sorghum liquor
Not many people know that Matsu also produces sorghum liquor and that it actually has a better taste than Kinmen’s. Matsu sorghum liquor is fermented and distilled twice then stored in Tunnel 88. Aged sorghum liquor has to be at least five years old before it is sold.
Sweet potato dumplings
To make this distinctive local dessert flour and sweet potato are mixed and a skin made. Crushed peanuts, brown sugar, dried spring onions, sesame and a suitable amount of five flavor powder and pig fat are wrapped in the skins. The dumplings are then boiled. When a dumpling is bitten an unforgettably fragrant sweet filling oozes out.
These cakes are made the same way as Matsu cakes but the ingredient is glutinous rice. The process is also more complex and a smaller amount is produced.
Matsu biscuits s used to be called “qima biscuits” and they are a traditional sweet snack in eastern Fujian. Matsu biscuits resemble Taiwan’s traditional sweet snacks “sweet potato biscuits” and are made using flour and eggs.
These cakes get their name from the Ming Dynasty general Qi Jiguang who ordered his troops to make their rations into cakes when they were on the march. These were threaded onto a string and worn across the chest for easy carrying. Matsu jiguang cakes used to be made the traditional way by being stuck onto the inside of an oven but now most are made in a modern oven. They have a ham or egg filling and are known as ‘Matsu hamburgers”. These can be bought every morning bought on the second floor of Shanlong (Jieshou Village) market in Nangan.
Fish noodles are a distinctive local type of noodle. Fish paste is combined with a small amount of flour then the dough is cut into noodles that can be sun dried and preserved. In earlier times the people of Matsu lacked the facilities to preserve fish so excess fish was used to make fish noodles that could be preserved for a whole year.
Oyster cakes are low price snacks that are unique to Matsu. The skin is made from grinding rice and soya beans to make a paste. A small amount is spread over the inside of a hot ladle then this is heated, then minced pork rice noodles and oysters are placed in the ladle and then more of the paste is spread on top. A few peanuts are added and then the ingredients are deep fried, creating aromatic and mouthwatering oyster cakes.