Taiwan Review July/August 2020 Roasted and Toasted
A small shop still uses a traditional wood stove to make sesame oil.
Fluctuations in seasonal temperatures mean it can take anywhere from eight to 14 days to turn a batch of raw sesame into oil.
The interior of Jin Hong Sesame Oil and Peanut Shop is no place for the faint hearted when Hsu Yu-xia (許玉霞) sets about making a new batch of sesame oil, as she has done almost daily since 1989. With each log added to the fire burning beneath her giant wok, the heat increases another notch. But Hsu herself remains calm, barely moving to wipe the sweat from her brow as she expertly controls the temperature of the pan to create the fragrant kitchen staple.
Established in 1946 in the southern county of Pingtung by Hsu’s father-in-law Huang Jin-quan (黃金全) before Hsu took over the reins in 1999, Jin Hong is one of the few oil manufacturers in Taiwan still using a firewood stove to make sesame oil. While temperature control is a tough art to master, nothing compares to the complex flavors wood smoke brings to the final product, Hsu said.
The traditional production method is rapidly dying out in a market flooded with mass-produced products, and Hsu came perilously close to calling time on the family business. But Jin Hong was given new life when Hsu’s daughter Huang Zhu-yi (黃筑憶) returned from her studies at university in northern Taiwan to help run the shop.
With Hsu focusing on production, her daughter takes on sales responsibilities including bottling, labeling, marketing and customer service. The arrangement means the family can keep the fire burning a little longer for this time-honored tradition.
—by Jim Hwang
原文網址：Taiwan Review｜Roasted and Toasted