President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday promoted pig blood cake (豬血糕) — a traditional Taiwanese snack that was reportedly banned in the US due to food safety concerns, defending the quality of the food and the nation’s night market culture in his weekly online video.
In the video, Ma invited two vendors from night markets in Tainan and Kaohsiung to share their experiences and promote night market food and culture.
“I like pig blood and duck blood a lot. Recently there have been reports about the sales ban of the food in the US and I don’t think they understand the culture in Taiwan. How could they ban such delicious food?” Ma said.
The blood cake, which also contains sticky rice, is usually eaten steamed and served on a wooden stick or cooked in a hot pot. While popular in Taiwan, the conditions under which the food is produced caused concern recently after local media outlets reported in September that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) had banned sales of the product.
Although the USDA Web site did not have any information about the reported ban, the Control Yuan started an investigation into the production of the product and censured the Council of Agriculture and the Department of Health on Thursday for failing to develop a hygiene standard for collecting pig’s blood and for not making it mandatory for pig blood cakes to be subject to health inspections.
Joining Ma in promoting the traditional snack, local vendor Chen I-ming (陳一民), who sells duck blood soup at a night market in Tainan, said his duck blood was made in accordance with a hygienic procedure and was certified as sanitary by health agencies.
Ma said the night market is a representation of grassroots culture and served as a thermometer for the local economy. Citing the consumer confidence index provided by the National Central University, which reached 81.66 percent last month, the president expressed confidence on the economic outlook in the next year.
The government would promote the blood cake and other local foods through festivals and hopefully more people will visit night markets after the government and China reach a consensus on allowing individual Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan, Ma said.