A Sketch of Neimen: Town of Chefs(a)|『追寻总铺师之乡——内门』

  Like the head chef in a top restaurant, a bando(台语:办桌)chef is responsible for the entire meal, from purchasing ingredients, designing the menu, and cooking the food all the way to controlling the timing of the banquet. Geographical and environmental factors have contributed to the reputation of the Neimen district as the home of Taiwan's bando chefs.

  Compared to neighboring districts such as Meinong, which has flat and fertile land suitable for rice, and Chishan, known for its banana exports to Japan, Neimen lacks such resources. The area is not suited to farming because of its chalky, highly alkaline soil, and when the rains come, the soil is often washed away, leaving only muddy rocks. Therefore, the locals have traditionally harvested bamboo to make baskets and containers and sold their products to the banana farmers in Chishan.

  From the 1960s, however, Chishan's farmers replaced their bamboo baskets with cheaper packing materials like cardboard and plastic, so Neimen's economy was hit hard. At the same time, the bando business was growing, and it soon became a major career path for local residents.

  Over the past 40 years, as people in Neimen tried out different ways of making a living, the bando business has taken root and become a way of life for many locals. Chef Xue Qing-ji, who can boast four decades of experience in the bando business, says that in the early years, bando didn't have the same division of labor that it has today. Chefs weren't really qualified, and they were in fact often the host's relatives and friends who happened to be good at cooking. They would come to help, cooking simple dishes like fried noodles.





  然而,从 1960 年代起,旗山的蕉农改以较便宜的材料,象是卡纸和塑胶来取代竹篓,因此内门的经济大受冲击。在此同时,办桌行业兴起了,而且很快便成为当地居民的主要就业管道。




A Sketch of Neimen: Town of Chefs(a)|『追寻总铺师之乡——内门』