"Nom Nom Taiwan” is a special exhibition at the Tainan-based National Museum of Taiwan History that hopes to take museumgoers on a culinary journey - from the earliest feasts of prehistoric settlers to the nuanced flavors that we call Taiwanese cuisine. The exhibition will be shown in Tainan from 2016 through 2017, and in Taipei for 2018.
Apart from a stellar display of many unique eating utensils from the museum's collection, the exhibition will also offer realistic models of regional dishes and delicacies crafted by artisans. These meals will then be served up by lifelike vendors in their natural surroundings, such as farmer's markets, kitchens, Chinese medicine shops, or roadside banquets, to replicate the entire dining experience.
The exhibition will be offered in seven sections:
In "Local Ingredients,” displays of pit walls, stoneware, and animal bones will demonstrate how prehistoric humans obtained food from the environment using resourceful methods such as gathering, hunting, fishing, and cultivating.
In "Big Society, Small Markets,” the ethnic and cultural diversity of Taiwan is reflected by the range of ingredients stocked by different market stalls. However, whereas the convenience of importing food makes it easier for more people to stock up their cabinets, fewer may consider the socio-economic impact of food trade.
In "Grandma's Kitchen,” displays of kitchenware, cooking utensils, and coal-powered stoves will help visitors understand how the traditional flavors imprinted onto Taiwanese palettes by generations of matriarchs are produced in the humble kitchen.
In "Remedial Food,” the Han Chinese concept of dietetic invigoration is shown to shape almost all lifestyle and dietary choices. From conception and pregnancy to illness, injury, or aging, there are rules as to what can and cannot be consumed for each physiological state.
In "Indigenous Flavors,” the dietary customs of the Austronesian groups in Taiwan are based on locally sourced food items and their associated dangers. Those who lived by the shore fed from the sea, others conquered the plains and mountains, but all passed down warnings through dietary taboos and well-heeded traditions.
In "The Table After the Feast,” the evolution of materials and shapes of eating utensils designed for different age groups, changes in table manners and etiquette, as well as the shift in décor and tools, will reflect the passage of time and the advent of technology.
In "Dietary Future,” curators will explore more sustainable methods for feeding the planet, including less-damaging harvesting methods, greener production techniques, more sustainable food choices, elimination of food waste, friendlier disposal practices, and an eco-sensible approach towards food security.
As the saying goes, "Food comes first.” Food is one of mankind's basic needs and a cornerstone of human civilization. Through this exhibition, the National Museum of Taiwan History hopes to help visitors understand the dietary tenets of different ethnic and cultural groups by showcasing what they eat, how they eat, why they eat, and with whom they eat with.