Taipei, Feb. 18 (CNA) Pingtung County Magistrate Pan Men-an (潘孟安) recently posted a video online of himself eating lemons with ground coffee beans and brown sugar as a dessert, part of the county commissioner's efforts to promote locally-grown produce following his popular campaign to boost the sale of local bananas last year.
In a video posted Saturday on his Facebook page, the county chief, who received the highest approval rating among 22 local government heads in Taiwan in an annual Common Wealth Magazine survey last year, shares his preference for the "western style" of eating lemons.
At the beginning of the live-streaming video, Pan appears hesitant about eating the slices of lemon dusted with ground coffee beans and brown sugar when he says the best way to eat lemon slices is to stain them with salt.
"Salted lemon slices are the best, no joking!" Pan declares, however, as soon as he begins to sample the coffee and sugar-favored lemon slices, he cannot stop. At the end Pan says "nice," a new convert to this unfamiliar way of eating lemons.
However, for the indigenous people who grow coffee in the southern Taiwan county, coffee/sugar-dusted lemon slices, which originated in Italy, are an emerging dessert in their communities, according to Lee Ming-fang (李明芳), a local food business operator who told Pan about this "new" way of eating lemons.
In the video post, Pan promoted Pingtung-grown lemons, saying seven out of 10 lemons sold in Taiwan are from Pingtung. "You should try, they are healthy and tasty," he says, comparing the combination of lemon slices with Pingtung coffee and brown sugar with upscale Italian desserts.
According to Pan, the county has 1,853 hectares of lemon orchards, accounting for 70 percent of the total nationwide.
Lee said her hometown of Zhutian is one of the main sources of Pingtung lemons, but local lemon farmers have seen only meager prices for their harvest over the past two years.
By sharing this "new" way for the locals to consume lemons, it is hoped sales of the fruit and locally-grown coffee beans will both increase, she said.
Last December, the Pingtung County magistrate made a splash on social media when he posted a video of himself eating a banana taken from a bunch of bananas taped to a wall with duct tape, as a promotional campaign for locally-grown bananas.
Pan, from the Democratic Progressive Party, was copying a stunt reported by international media at the time, when a man named David Datuna ate a banana displayed as an art installation at Miami's Art Basel that had just been sold by Perrotin, an international art gallery, for US$120,000.
In the video posted on his Facebook account, the magistrate jokes that bananas from Pingtung are bigger, more impressive and also priceless art works like the one in Miami.