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National Museum of Natural Science, Taiwan*
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Nom Nom Taiwan
The Story of Dietary Culture
The 1st Exhibition Gallery
January 20 – September 4, 2016

When one is eating, he/she is greater than the emperor.

A famous Chinese proverb states, “People regard food as the most important thing in their life.” Eating is not only an instinct to satisfy people’s basic needs for hunger, thirst, nutrition, and flavor, it also possesses an intangible meaning that is even richer and more important, permitting a glance at the different aspects of a culture and a society. Against this background, the National Museum of Natural Science is addressing the Taiwanese food culture in a large colorful special exhibition.

In the new exhibition Nom Nom Taiwan: The Story of Dietary Culture, the Museum explores the intersection of food, nature, culture, health and history. In eight sections, the exhibition illuminates Taiwanese food culture through digital interactives, rich dioramas, culture artifacts and life-like models. Nom Nom Taiwan begins with our ancestor’s diet in prehistory and finishes with food safety issues at the present time. In between it examines behavioral choice in nutrition and exercise as well as the influence of social, environmental, and festival settings. How have eating habits changed over the course of history? Who eats what when? At the same time, the eye will be directed towards a rich ethnic culture. Also, visitors can cook a virtual meal, see rare artifacts of utensils from the Museum’s collection, peek into the markets of different ethnic groups, explore a variety of Taiwanese traditional dishes and snacks, and enjoy a big feast with their eyes. Multimedia elements as an integrated part of the exhibition link the mostly historic objects with the present. In addition to exploring the food culture, visitors will consider the most challenging issues of food safety and sustainable food ecosystem. To deepen and to add to the exhibited topics, a diverse program of talks, films and other events will be hosted by the Museum.

Nom Nom Taiwan
Sun (Center) & Yang (Left 4)
“Food is fundamental to life,” said Museum Director Sun Wei-hsin, “Yet, our eating habits have become incredibly complex and unfriendly to our ecosystem. To assure our well-being, it’s necessary for all of us to reflect on our role in the sustainability of our food system.”

“Good eating has long been one of the joys of living in Taiwan, but a series of food-related scandals has left the public concerned about the safety and reliability of the food supply,” said Dr. Yang Ling, the exhibition organizer, at the exhibition reception, “Along with exploring the Taiwanese food culture from the anthropological viewpoint, the main concepts we are trying to get across in this exhibition concern what we should decide to eat and how we close the gap between human demand and ecological capacity.”

Food does more than keep us alive. How does food reflect and influence culture and identity? What’s the role of human ingenuity in shaping food – past, present, and future? How does what we eat affect the planet? Nom Nom Taiwan is multi sensorial, open to a broad audience but with high quality work and with a very wide scope. Come find the answers in Nom Nom Taiwan exhibition!

  • Admission is FREE.
  • Guided Tours: 11am & 2pm

Nom Nom Taiwan – The Story of Dietary Culture is made possible by the National Museum of Natural Science. Generous support for Nom Nom Taiwan has been provided by National Museum of Taiwan History, China Medical University, Hakka Affairs Council, Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures, Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, National Museum of Prehistory, and Kuo Kuang-zhen Art Studio.