Release date :2017/07/06 19:49
The art of the lunchbox
SummaryHighway Lunchbox, located in the central Taiwan city of Taichung, specializes in nutritious and high-quality lunchboxes. With a convenient location nearby major transportation routes, it is an ideal place to visit for a quick meal at lunchtime...
The art of the lunchbox
The Taiwanese lunchbox is one of the island nation's simplest and best-loved dishes. Typically, it contains meat (chicken, fish, pork or beef) over rice and an assortment of vegetable dishes, both pickled and hot.
Lunchboxes range in price from NT$50 to roughly NT$500 for a gourmet version, but the latter is uncommon. Former Vice President Lien Chan did once enjoy such an elaborate lunchbox, eliciting a spirited reaction from Taiwan's netizens.
Taiwanese favor the lunchbox for its convenience, abundance of flavor, and in theory its nutritional value. However, some lunchboxes do not feature the freshest ingredients. Preservatives may be used to ensure freshness. Others contain mostly white rice, whose carbohydrates give us a quick burst of energy. Yet if one does not consume sufficient protein at lunch, the body's energy levels plunge in the afternoon.
Highway Lunchbox, located in the central Taiwan city of Taichung, specializes in nutritious and high-quality lunchboxes. With a convenient location nearby major transportation routes, it is an ideal place to visit for a quick meal at lunchtime.
"We have a farm-to-table approach to lunchboxes," says Chunann Chen, an assistant vice president in Nan Ren Hu Entertainment, Highway Lunchbox's parent company. "We use only the best quality ingredients, and there's a QR code on the lunchbox that customers can scan to know where the food is sourced from."
Highway Lunchbox aims to introduce tasty local specialties to diners at a reasonable price, Chen explains. Since the restaurant is located in a no-frills setting, the focus is purely on the food. This isn't a place to visit for an elaborate meal, but rather to enjoy a tasty Taiwanese lunchbox that's unusually good quality for the price. Most of the lunchboxes cost around NT$150.
There are several outstanding lunchboxes. One is a savory noodle dish with minced pork and mushrooms, topped with slivers of fresh scallion. It's an ideal choice for noodle lovers who prefer to skip the soup. For vegetarians, there's a tasty white mushroom, bell pepper and broccoli lunchbox accompanied by a clear-broth mushroom soup. There is also a delicious braised chicken lunchbox highlighted by a chicken leg that has been cooked to perfection in a delicate soy-based sauce, so that the meat just slides off the bone and melts in the mouth.
Another highlight at Highway Lunchbox is the restaurant's tea, which is sourced from growers who use minimal chemicals. "Our tea growers are very strict about the use of pesticides and other chemicals, which means the tea our customers drink is healthier than the average tea," says Chen.
Chen recommends that customers try Highway Lunchbox's High-Mountain Oolong Tea, sourced from the mountains of nearby Nantou County. This is perhaps the most eminent type of tea in Taiwan, first brought here in the 17th century by immigrants from the Chinese mainland. Over hundreds of years, Taiwanese have gradually refined their production techniques of High-Mountain Oolong to the extent that it is now highly sought after by tea aficionados.
Daniel Reid, an expert on Eastern philosophy and medicine, writes on his website that High Mountain Oolong tea's brief fermentation process "eliminates harsh irritants from the raw tea and creates the subtle fragrances and flavors which distinguish this tea from all other varieties, without producing the tannins and other toxic compounds found in fully fermented black tea."
High Mountain Oolong can be likened to fine wine with "each plantation and each mountain producing its own unique bouquet of flavors, and each year's harvest yielding its own special character," Reid says.
"High Mountain Oolong is a great choice to drink cold in hot weather as its aromatic qualities are helpful in quenching thirst," Chen says.
That's for certain. The tea at Highway Lunchbox is as effective as water at eliminating thirst. And given that Taiwan bakes under the sun from roughly April-November, that means we can enjoy cold-brewed High Mountain Oolong tea most of the year.