The volunteer-staffed food stalls at this annual event, which also features arts and crafts and live performances, serve a number of dishes dear to the heart of the local Taiwanese community. Rarest, in New York, are Hakka dishes, the culinary heritage of a people who emigrated to Taiwan from Guangdong and surrounding regions of southern China.
Shown above: "silver needle" rice noodle soup. The noodles, which had been extruded by hand the night before, were perplexingly short and fat but also pleasingly chewy. Below: "burning" grass jelly, whose namesake ingredient is melted and served hot rather than cut into pieces and served cold. The heated grass jelly was poured over mung and azuki beans and what looked like escapees from a fruit cup. In reality some of those sticky orbs may have been made from glutinous rice flour, while others may have employed taro or sweet potato. The different colors seemed to be only for looks; all had the same bland flavor and sticky texture.
See these treats, and other menu items from multiple incarnations of the festival, in the slideshow.
Passport to Taiwan
May (the 2013 festival was held May 26)