Starting on Monday, passengers on China Airlines’ (CAL) flights to Japan and South Korea will be able to taste Dongshan coffee (東山咖啡) flavored-chicken.
The dish using coffee beans from Greater Tainan was jointly developed by CAL’s China Pacific Catering Services, the Tourism Bureau, the Greater Tainan Government’s Agricultural Bureau and the Dongshan Coffee Association.
Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) described the debut of the coffee chicken as “historic,” with the Dongshan coffee being marketed in new countries through the CAL flights.
According to CAL, the coffee chicken is flavored with filtered Dongshan coffee. The tannic acid in the coffee tenderizes the chicken, making the meat tender and tasty with a light coffee aroma.
The idea for coffee chicken was proposed by China Pacific Catering Services chairwoman Janice Lai (賴瑟珍), formerly Tourism Bureau director-general. She said that award-winning Taiwanese chef Shih Chien-fa (施建發) had mentioned that he had seen coffee used to flavor dishes in restaurants in Singapore. That inspired her to try to make coffee-flavored dishes in Taiwan.
“Many foreigners know that Taiwan is known for its tea, but few know Taiwan also produces high-quality coffee,” Lai said.
She said tourists could learn about Taiwan by enjoying in-flight meals featuring Taiwanese ingredients, adding that they would then want to know the origin of the ingredients after the flight.
The airline said the coffee chicken was merely a first step in using coffee in other dishes. It is considering serving coffee-flavored pork chops, tenderloin, sausages and chicken broth.
Tourism Bureau deputy director general Wayne Liu (劉喜臨) said the nation’s 12 scenic area administrations have begun calling Lai following the creation of the coffee chicken and recommending other ingredients for the airline’s onboard meals, including bell fruit and dried mullet roe.
The airline could include one new dish featuring ingredients from a different scenic area each month, Liu said.
The coffee chicken will be served to passengers on flights to Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Miyazaki, Sapporo, Nagoya, Shizuoka and Takamatsu in Japan, as well as to Seoul and Gimpo in South Korea, CAL said.