Pineapple recipes flood Taiwan's social media after China bans imports

Taiwan pineapples. Image from Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affair's Twitter.

Taiwanese netizens have been sharing pineapple dishes and recipes since China announced a ban on pineapple imports from the self-ruling island on February 26, citing pests concerns.

The Taiwan government criticized Beijing’s sudden notice as an “economic intimidation,” similar to the ban on Australian wine last year.

The Taiwanese Council of Agriculture claims that from October 2020 until now all pineapples exported from Taiwan to China passed safety controls.

Taiwan exports about 10 percent (45,621 tons) of its fresh pineapple output, 95 percent of which to China.

The ban would hurt pineapple farmers badly, especially those who planted the high-quality golden diamond variety specifically to cater to the mainland Chinese market.

Taiwanese independent journalist Chen Chih-tung explained how the impact would play out on a Facebook post:

一般水果頂多幾個月、至多一年就能收成,但鳳梨從種下到收成要歷經18個月,幾乎是台灣水果種植時間成本最高的。鳳梨非常怕冷,通常低於攝氏14度就停止生長… 鳳梨農通常是秋天10月後把鳳梨種下,戰戰兢兢讓鳳梨度過兩個冬季,等到春天3月後開始採收。也就是,中國選在3月1日這個時間點不讓台灣鳳梨進口,鳳梨農受到的影響不是一年生計,而是兩個冬季、550多天的心血可能就此血本無歸。

Most fruits can be harvested within months to one year. But it takes 18 months to grow pineapples. In terms of time, pineapples demand the most investment among Taiwanese fruits. Pineapples cannot withstand the cold, they will stop growing when temperatures hit below 14 degree celsius… pineapple farmers usually start planting in October, wait two winters, and harvest in March. With China banning Taiwan pineapples beginning March 1, farmers will have lost two winters and a total of 550 days of hard work.

In response to the ban, the Taiwan government vowed to invest 1 billion Taiwanese dollars (approximately 36 million USD) in subsidies.

President Tsai Ing-wen urged the public to consume local pineapples in order to support farmers:

And the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for a #FreedomPineapple campaign on social media to promote Taiwanese pineapples:

Many supported the call by posting photos of pineapple dishes and recipes. Here are some from Twitter:

Barbecue pineapples with pork. 1 Marinate pork belly with soya bean sauce, rice wine, sugar, ginger juice. BBQ it with pineapples, leeks and red peppers. Cook the sauce used to marinate the pork in a pan until it thickens. BBQ pineapples with shrimps. Stir the cooked sauce with Greek yogurt, honey and a bit of mustard. Pork served with pineapples are fantastic, super if served with Taiwanese beer!

Pineapple cake with burnt sugar and rum. 1. Mix rum with sugar and butter and cook until melted 2. Place the pineapple and pomegranates on the cake mold and pour 1 onto it. Then mix flour, milk, egg, sugar, vegetable oil, and baking powder into cake cream. Place the cream onto the cake mold and bake for 40 minutes under 170 degree celsius. 3.Take out the cake and pour 1 on top. My teacher says, a truly delicious desert has to instigate a riot.

Fried rice with pineapples and shrimps. Cut the shrimps horizontally (this makes it easier to take out the intestine and the shrimps will curl naturally when cooked) and pan fry the shrimps, chicken, asparagus and diced red pepper. Stir fry the rice with eggs, then add all other pan fried ingredients and diced fresh pineapples into the pan and stir everything together. Put the fried rice in a pineapple bowl and add some cashew nuts on top. Fried rice with pineapples and shrimps is the top among all other pineapple dishes.

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