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Mayor Ko: Taiwan Has World-Class Bakery Industry and Culture

*In his speech at the media event ahead of the 19th Taipei International Bakery Show, Mayor Ko Wen-je congratulated the Taipei Bakery Association, the organizer, on its success in building a 100-booth trade show into Asia’s leading bakery event, today featuring 1800 booths of movers and shakers and bakers from around the world. Over the past two decades Taiwan has become a formidable force in the global baking industry, the mayor noted.
The Taipei International Bakery Show will be held from March 15 through 18 at the Taipei World Trade Center’s Nangang Exhibition Hall. The mayor quipped that visitors shouldn’t eat before they visit the trade show, because they will likely be bombarded with samples and tasters as they browse the exhibition.
At the exhibition, vendors will introduce their baking equipment and technologies, ingredients and consumables, supplier cooperatives and franchise formulas, as well as fine wines and gourmet coffees that pair well with pastries. The mayor reminded his audience that, in the old days, people felt lucky if they’d eaten their fill. As the Taiwanese economic miracle unfolded, living standards rose and a bakery culture developed.
Ko cited Wu Pao-chun, the award-winning “King Baker,” as an example. The international prizes Wu and other Taiwanese bakers have been winning over the years demonstrate that Taiwan’s bakery technology and techniques have reached international levels. Referring to the trade show’s Han Pastry Innovation Contest, Ko shared that he had searched online to find out what “Han cakes” are. It turned out that the term refers to the Han Dynasty (circa 200 BC to 200 AD) when these paste-filled pastries came into existence. Nowadays they often come in pressed form with lucky characters embossed on top, as in double-luck wedding cakes and cakelettes, and their bean or fruit-based fillings can be sweet and sometimes savory. He felt pleased that such a familiar type of cake presented under such an unfamiliar name took center stage at the opening event.
Fifteen teams, including eight from Taipei, were selected for the final round of the Han Pastry Innovation Contest. Ko reminded the audience that “it takes three generations to grow a gentleman,” hence it made sense that prosperous Taipei occupies so many of the finalist slots. He hoped that the champion and runner-up would both hail from Taipei, although that would be a bit of a selfish wish, he chuckled. The mayor concluded by wishing the organizers and exhibitors a fruitful trade show and encouraged professionals and the general public to visit the event at TWTC Nangang Exhibition Hall starting March 15.
Next, Taipei Bakery Association chairman Kao Chui-tsung took the stage to answer questions from the media. He explained that this year’s bakery show brings together vendors of culinary supplies, home-making, and fashion around the theme of home-based baking. He also expressed his hopes that the innovative products presented at the Han Pastry Innovation Contest, such as pastries for weddings and funerals, would rejuvenate and innovate the baking profession and inspire more young bakers and consumers. Besides traditional pineapple cakes, there is a wealth of delicious pressed Han cakes to explore and enjoy!