American “Youtiao”? What?!

4 07 2009

A sign out in front of a shop in Taitung announces that American “Youtiao” are for sale. But anyone who has eaten Chinese “youtiao” (油條) or literally “oil sticks”, knows they are anything but American.

American Youtiao

So what could they possibly selling, and what, may I ask on the Fourth of July, is the tangential connection to my country? Is this fusion at its best? Or fusion at its “oh, no, you didn’t-est?”

Begin with Bread

It all starts with the bread -- relatively normal looking hot dog buns. Yes, folks, I think we've found the American connection.

Bread in Oil

Step two: dunk these suckers in oil. Aha! The "youtiao" or "oil stick" connection is now clear. Sometimes they call these babies "nutritious sandwiches" (營養三明治). No kidding.

I'm guessing these are the masterminds behind the clever sandwich, and probably the people behind Taitung's (not-quite-raging) fusion food movement.

I'm guessing these are the masterminds behind the clever sandwich, and probably the people behind Taitung's (not-quite-raging) fusion food movement.

And there ya have it! While purists may be appalled, I for one found them to be both naughty and nice. The bread is crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and you can choose different kinds -- ham and egg, or red bean (top). If you're in Taitung today, why not try one to celebrate the Fourth?

And there ya have it! While purists may be appalled, I for one found them to be both naughty and nice. The bread is crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and you can choose different kinds -- ham and egg, or red bean (top). If you're in Taitung today, why not try one to celebrate the Fourth?

Address:
#173 Fujian Road, Taitung City, Taitung County
台東縣台東市福建路173號

Listen to our discussion of Taiwanese versions of American songs, foods and symbols on the 7/4 edition of Feast Meets West, by visiting the Radio Taiwan International web site. Click on one of the two links next to “Saturday” in the upper-left-hand corner. Fast-forward to about 11′oo to listen to Feast Meets West.

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2 responses

10 08 2009
momo

wow I have tried various youtiao here in southern california and the ones in your pictures actually look very different!! nonetheless absolutely delicious! I’ve never seen youtiao stuffed with things inside but it gave me an excellent idea!!

11 08 2009
taiwandroo

Actually, I think these are really “youtiao” in name, only. They are much more like deep-fried hot dog buns. Most youtiao in Taiwan are probably more similar to the ones you’ve had in SoCal.

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