Tradition Versus Progress

January 13, 2014
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Cindy Sui Taimanise handmade noodlesCindy Sui of BBC News wrote an article examining the economics of producing traditional food: “Calling time on Taiwan’s handmade noodles.”

Hand-pulled string noodles, called mian xian in Mandarin, have been made for around 2,000 years. … Today only about 50 noodle makers are thought to remain in Taiwan.”

The economics of producing the noodles by hand changed — a family making the noodles for 14 hours each day can make only $100. And the hand-made noodles are sold for $2 to $3 per bag. It’s too much effort for too little reward — not enough to feed a family and to provide for all the other basic needs. And so another food tradition has to die. There will still be people making noodles by hand, but it will be something very special (and very expensive) and so an average person might never taste “the real thing!”

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