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Indigenous roasted pig exam showcases traditional techniques in Nantou

06/11/2024 07:33 PM
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The indigenous roasted pig exam takes place in Nantou Tuesday. CNA photo June 11, 2024
The indigenous roasted pig exam takes place in Nantou Tuesday. CNA photo June 11, 2024

Taipei, June 11 (CNA) An indigenous roasted pig exam was held on Tuesday in Nantou County, central Taiwan, to showcase the unique flavor of this traditional delicacy and the intricate techniques involved in its preparation, including the careful selection of firewood, pigs and seasoning powder.

According to the county's Indigenous Peoples Bureau, which conducted the exam, 37 students, who previously completed a pig roasting course and passed the related exam, took a practical exam Tuesday in the parking lot of Nantou Agricultural Marketing Co.

Upon passing, the participants received official certification confirming the roasted pig cooking skills, organizers said.

Participating vendor Sung Li-kai (松禮凱), who has roasted pigs for over 10 years, said that obtaining certification represents "a focus on food safety and hygiene," which can attract more consumers.

According to the bureau, the scoring criteria included the freshness of the pigs, pig tying techniques, color, aroma, taste, crispiness of the skin, deliciousness of the meat, chewiness, absence of gaminess, and seasoning.

Examiner Fang Wen-chung (方文忠) told CNA that different firewood imparts different aromas to the roasted pig meat, but the bureau provided longan wood and lychee wood uniformly for the participants to demonstrate their individual techniques.

Fang added that the "mysterious powder" sprinkled on the roasted pig meat varies by recipe and taste among different vendors; each roasted pig artisan has his or her own secret formula.

Fang explained that when selecting a pig, those weighing over 70 kilograms tend to have more fat, which ensures tenderness and juiciness after roasting. Each pig is then roasted for about three to four hours, with adjustments made to the roasting rack based on wind direction.

Sung, who receives orders for over a 100 pigs every Mid-Autumn Festival, also shared that he selects pigs of moderate fatness and adds "secret seasoning powder" as a special touch to the dish.

He prefers a certain body shape with rounder buttocks and a bit of fat on the belly, which helps lock in the juices during the roasting process.

According to the bureau, since 2020, it has systematically promoted the indigenous roasted pig industry in the county, laying a solid foundation from training courses to certification, promotion and follow-up training.

(By Hsiao Po-yang and Evelyn Yang)

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