Further to the my post on the KMT restaurants in the Zhongxiao Dunhua vicinity is this:
I had my lion’s head meatballs last night at 村子口 (“The village mouth”?) restaurant. They were big and salty and round – not chocolate – and pretty damn good. Unlike dear mumsie’s balls back in Blighty, Taiwanese balls of this size don’t generally keep their shape (an egg to bind ‘em is the key). But served as they were in a broth, their disintegration was rather welcome: Just when you think there is no meat left, you find a nice chunk of ball.
As I sat chewing the fat – no slight given the culinary leanings in Taiwan – with the radical pingpu activist, hard-hitting journalist and bandwagon-jumping, glory-supporter Pan Addaboy, I struck up a conversation with the fellow above – the proprietor and pal of the owners of Luguang restaurant down the road.
“You’re KMT here, right?” I asked, as he allowed me to snap him in his Mao Zedong T-shirt.
“Oh, no no, that’s not important anymore,” he grinned. “We have Nationalist-Communist peace talks (國共和談) now. ”
I mentioned the Mao-Deng hologram at Luguang.
“Sure,” he said. “I’ve got another T-shirt with Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong on it.”
村子口 is a lively restaurant with the staff rushed off their feet but still managing to appear at your table every couple of minutes to fill up your bowl with broth. The proprietor is a lovely guy,with more than a smattering of English. Once when I didn’t have enough dough (not an uncommon occurrence) they let me off NT$100 and refused to accept it the next time I went there.
Still, I find the T-shirt and the increasingly common nostalgia for the auld enemy unsettling. Baulking against the use of Nazi imagery in Taiwan, slightly wet-behind-the-ears types often talk ironically about using Mao’s image and seeing how locals like it. But you can see the Chairman’s beaming mug all over the place. Ignorant youths are one thing. This is different.
For all those who insist we are in safe hands (not these lot) with Ma at the helm and that there are no plans to get into bed with the CCP any time soon, I would point out that – jocular or not – the attitudes of many of the KMT faithful suggest otherwise. Even if the current administration doesn’t harbour such schemes, a significant portion of its backers would present no obstacle to pissing Taiwan’s democracy down a dimly-lit back alley.