Representatives from Italy, the Philippines, India, and Malaysia, were invited to Taitung last week to attend the Taitung Slow Food International Forum, Taitung Slow Food Festival, and Food Culture Exchange Workshop. The five-day intensive program not only brought slow food promotion experiences from around the world but also visited places such as the Kanding tribal village in Haiduan Township, the Dalumak tribal village in Beinan Township, and the National Museum of Prehistory. The visitors shared and learned together with local slow food chefs. Before leaving on April 30th, Taitung County Magistrate April Yao hosted a farewell banquet to express gratitude and hope for Taitung’s slow food to continue going international, making Taitung a new base for dialogue with the international slow food movement and linking Austronesian cultures.

The seven international slow food representatives invited this time are all advocates who have been dedicated to promoting slow food in their respective countries for many years, including Andrea Amato, Head of Development in Developing Countries of the International Affairs Department and Daniel Cruse, Asia Division Commissioner, both from the International Slow Food Headquarters in Italy; Ramon Uy Jr., Southeast Asia Advisor for the International Slow Food Organization, and also Co-Founder of the Philippines’ Negros Island Slow Food Organization; Nazlina Binti Hussin, Founder and CEO of Nazlina Spice Station from Malaysia; Aruna Tirkey, Founder of the Oraon Slow Food Organization in Jharkhand, India; and Rowena Gonnay and Lamen Gonnay, both co-founders of the Philippines’ Pasil Slow Food Organization.

During the five-day program, international guests experienced a variety of activities, including visiting the Kanding tribal village to learn about traditional millet preservation and sampling the traditional steamed food (icibi) in the Dalumak tribal village. They also cooked indigenous dishes from the Philippines, India, and Malaysia’s traditional Laksa in the tribe’s outdoor kitchen. At the Taitung Slow Food International Forum, over 100 participants discussed the slow food movement’s impact on contemporary society and how it spreads through civic engagement and community power. The international guests were deeply impressed by Taitung’s landscape, culture, and hospitality throughout the program.

Last weekend’s Taitung Slow Food Festival – “Morning Table” allowed VIPs to fully experience the Taitung breakfast culture presented by 43 booths over the two-day event. In the slow food talk event, they also showcased traditional cuisine from their hometown for the public. The VIPs expressed full praise and surprise for the Taitung Slow Food Festival. In addition to the diversity of food, the quality was also quite high. The vendors were clear about the source of their ingredients and were happy to share their cooking methods or the cultural context behind the dishes. They also highly commended the festival’s long-standing measure of not using disposable tableware. Visitors also observed that the atmosphere of Taitung Forest Park was very relaxed and people were joyfully picnicking and enjoying their food. They also noticed the friendly and supportive emotional connection between the vendors, as well as the bilingual service provided during the event, which allowed VIPs to easily understand the stories behind the vendors and their dishes without interrupting their service.

On the eve of the international guests’ departure, on the evening of April 30th, Taitung County Magistrate Yao hosted a special Amis Pakelang (harvest or celebration after work) feast at the seaside in Dulan to thank the guests for their participation in the workshops, forums, and the Slow Food Festival organized by the Slow Food community in Taitung. During the banquet, Andrea Amato, the representative of the International Slow Food Headquarters, believed that the efforts of Taitung’s Slow Food movement over the years had borne fruit and had developed its own local Slow Food community and festivals, which must participate in Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, the important biennial event of the International Slow Food Headquarters. By sharing Taitung’s experience and promoting the diversity and uniqueness of its food culture through the Slow Food network, which has accumulated over 117 countries, it can make Taitung visible to the world. The next event will be held in September 2024, and Magistrate Yao expressed optimism that she could lead the “Taitung delegation” to participate in person and establish substantive cooperation with the International Slow Food organization.

Ramon Uy Jr., who is dedicated to promoting Slow Food Travel in the Philippines, and Rowena Gonnay and Lamen Gonnay, the founders of the Pasil Slow Food organization in the Philippines, also strongly felt the resonance of the Austronesian cultural values in food during their stay in Taitung. “For the first time in Taiwan, I was a little anxious, but when I saw millet, betel nut trees, and sticky rice wine, which are very similar to my hometown’s, I felt like I was back home!” They believed that a network relationship for Slow Food in Austronesian cultures should be established to strengthen mutual communication, and combined with the advantages of the National Museum of Prehistory in Taitung, to hold the Austronesian Slow Food Festival. This idea was also supported by Nazlina Binti Hussin, the representative of Malaysia, and Aruna Tirkey, the representative of India.

The exchanges and suggestions of international guests are in line with the policies that Taitung County Magistrate Yao has been actively promoting recently to link Austronesian cultures. This also makes the Taitung Slow Food community firmly believe in the values of Slow Food that they have been promoting for the past decade, and will continue to uphold the spirit of “good,” “clean,” and “fair” in the next decade.

Release unit:Agriculture Counseling Department, Taitung County Government
Contact person : Chen Dengyu 089-346781
Media Outlet:Co-Create Planning & Design 089-356-800 / 0978-555-268


【List of VIP names and their corresponding titles in English and Chinese】

Andrea Amato
國際慢食總部國際事務部門 開發中國家負責人
Slow Food International – Director of Global South

Daniel Cruse
Slow Food International– Asia Department

Ramon Uy Jr.
國際慢食組織東南亞地區顧問 / 菲律賓 Negros Island 慢食組織共同創辦人 Slow Food International Council Member representing South East Asia / Co-Founder of Slow Food Negros Island community

Aruna Tirkey
印度賈坎德邦 Oraon 慢食組織 創辦人
Founder of Slow Food Oraon in the indigenous community of Jharkhand

Rowena Gonnay
菲律賓 Pasil 慢食組織 創辦人
Founder of Slow Food Pasil Community

Lamen Gonnay
菲律賓 Pasil 慢食組織 創辦人
Founder of Slow Food Pasil Community

Nazlina Binti Hussin
Nazlina Spice Station 創辦人暨執行長
Founder and CEO of Nazlina Spice Station