TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) has introduced limited-edition bento boxes featuring pineapples in support of the country’s agricultural sector, which has been hit by China’s pineapple ban.
Launched by the TRA's Qidu dining service center, the bentos have a fried pork fillet coupled with pineapples cooked in various ways. Side dishes include grilled eggs as well as sweet potato balls, broccoli, and other vegetables, adding rich flavors and nutrients to the rice-based meal.
Only 50 of the special bentos will be available each day in the lobby of Taipei Main Station from 11 a.m. starting Monday (March 22). Each unit is priced at NT$100 (US$3.50), according to the TRA.
China’s arbitrary ban on pineapples from Taiwan has sparked a frenzy among restaurants, which have made use of the fruit with creative recipes. From pineapple beef noodle soup to betel nut pineapple salads, locals are pushing the boundaries of pineapple dishes in defiance of what the government has called a politically driven campaign by China to hurt Taiwanese farmers’ livelihoods.
Meanwhile, Beijing’s import restrictions have unwittingly pushed up sales of the fruit and related products both in Taiwan and abroad. For example, Singaporean supermarkets have placed orders for the award-winning longan pineapple cakes from Kaohsiung.