Xinwu Goose Meat

Xinwu Goose Meat
(Photo credit: Taoyuan City Government)

There is a saying that “If you have not eaten Xinwu goose meat, you have not been to Xinwu.” On weekends, goose meat restaurants in Taoyuan’s Xinwu District are packed with customers, almost all there for the delicious taste of Xinwu goose meat. At the restaurants, as the chefs quickly chop up the boiled whole fatty geese into small pieces, the gravy of the geese continuously oozes out; there’s no need to add extra seasoning, just a touch of the Hakka bean paste, and the fresh taste of the goose immediately fills the diner’s mouth. This Hakka bean paste is the most popular dip for boiled goose meat and this delicious dish has brought prosperity to Xinwu for the past 40 years.

Xinwu is located in the southwest of Taoyuan City. Most of the villagers here operate farms, producing many kinds of agricultural products.  In addition to rice and vegetables, farmers also grow flowers, melons and fruits, each with their own characteristics. Xinwu’s waterfowl breeding industry is an industry of potentially high economic value. With an annual output of 30,000 meat geese, the industry is quite developed.

The Xinwu geese are mainly a mixed breed of local goose and new goose species. The goose meat is meaty, tastes good, and is quite in line with the appetite of local consumers. Xinwu goose is a mixed breed between the local free roaming goose and the white Roman goose. The meat from this breed of goose has an improved taste compared to the local free roaming goose. It also retains the scent of the local goose and has a unique tender texture. On top of that, the local goose farms have enough space for the geese to move, so the meat tastes better.

Chen Zhu-mei, who won the Shen-Nong Prize in 2013 for breeding the mixed breed goose, comes from a humble background. In order to help his mother raise six brothers and sisters after his father passed away when he was a child, and facing the crisis of over-supply of farm produce in Taiwan in the 1960s, he turned from planting rice to raising geese, cross-breeding geese, and breeding mixed-breed geese. He not only produced geese on his own but sold them by himself. He also opened a restaurant on an inconspicuous country road. He insisted on his business philosophy of "from farm to table," which has been well received.

Chen Zhu-mei was an important promoter of Xinwu goose. He said when he first started raising geese, he was only doing it as a side job, while tilling the fields.  In 1979, he became serious by starting with 00 geese. As the number of restaurants increased, he became the biggest supplier of Xinwu geese. It was then that the Xinwu goose meat industry began to flourish.

The Xinwu goose meat industry has made Taoyuan a major region in northern Taiwan’s goose industry. In recent years, the Taoyuan City Government has continued to assist in the promotions, making the goose industry and goose meat cuisine one of the attractions  of Taoyuan. The city government has also planned a series of activities for goose meat cuisine and cultural festivals so that consumers can gain a new understanding of the unique flavor of Xinwu goose meat.