While people across the nation were busy chowing down on rice dumplings and watching the dragon-boat races on TV yesterday, 10 Aboriginal teams were competing in the final round of a cooking championship at Kaiping Senior High School in Taipei.
A team called "Hamowana," from the Tsou Tribe of Alishan, won first place and a prize of NT$100,000 (US$3,125). In second place was the "Alamu" team from Hsinchu County, while the "Sidimur" team from Pingtung County came third.
The second and third-placed teams received prizes of NT$30,000 and NT$20,000 respectively.
A preliminary round was held on May 16. Ten teams were selected from among the 40 original participants for the final round.
Teams were told two weeks before the final to prepare a set menu for Valentine's Day. Each team was given only two hours yesterday to prepare the meals and present them to the judges.
To ensure a fair competition, organizers asked five professional gourmets and 20 community residents to be the judges. The judges included five working people, five college students, five housewives and five foreigners.
Judges reviewed each team, one at a time, but had only 30 seconds to sample and taste the food from each plate. While they were eating, they also had to listen to a team representative describe how the meals were made, what materials were used and how the meals were associated with Valentine's Day.
The ingredients were mainly those consumed by different Aboriginal tribes on a daily basis, such as millet and millet wine, bird's nest fern, pigeon peas and taro.
The event was organized by the Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.