During a recent trip to Taiwan, my husband, who is English, asked me why the Taiwanese--unlike Americans--don't seem to suffer high rates of peanut allergies. The question came up as I was scarfing down peanut brittle.
Good point. Peanut is a ubiquitous ingredient on the island. Whole boiled peanuts are eaten as snack, as are salted, roasted ones. Ground peanuts are showered on gua bao, the Taiwanese taco of braised pork belly made famous by culinary bad boy Eddie Huang. Sweetened peanut paste makes its way into mochi, which are then rolled in peanut dust. Peanut soup is sold in cans at 7-Eleven. My grandfather's favorite popsicle? Peanut, of course.
We stumbled on this little shop near the old Dutch Fort in Tainan. The manager gamely showed me how they take peanut brittle and grind it up to make peanut roll--a local treat that's basically like somewhat sandier peanut butter. We walked away with a bag of peanut brittle, peanut roll, and sesame-pumpkin seed brittle--so fresh that the salesgirl told me that each had an individual expiration date. Not too hard nor too sweet, they were gone within 48 hours.