I'm not sure how to start this, so let's start with a silly scenario.
Let's say that you come to Taiwan and decide that rather than partaking of any of the local cuisines (spanning all of Asia with admirable verisimilitude), you instead opt for getting some Mexican food to avoid the dysentery. You might be curious about how they interpret a burrito. You might be wondering how a culture that only peripherally socializes with cheese would go about making an enchilada plate. You might just hate Asian food.
Regardless of your reasons, I am here today to tell you that you should not under any circumstances follow this urge to try Mexican food here in Taiwan. I am sure there are exceptions to this rule (i.e. you have a friend that makes it at home), but I have yet to actually encounter any. Here are some examples of experiences that I have had:
- There is a very nice restaurant that also doubles as a jazz club here in Taipei called Brown Sugar. It is very snazzy, the jazz is actually pretty darn good, and the drink menu is downright spectacular. The food menu is also pretty interesting, and they somehow manage to do a great job on their Western fare. In spite of all of these things that they have going for them, their version of Nachos (which costs about US$7~8) was a basket of Nacho Cheese Doritos served with a little bowl filled with crappy picante sauce. Seriously.
- I can't recall the place where I had this, but at one point I ended up seeing somebody order a taco that consisted of a fried shell, corn, mayonnaise, and what appeared to be Campbell's Chunky Beef Stew. Not a single shred of lettuce, tomato, pineapple, or salsa in sight...
- This isn't really an example of issues with Mexican cuisine, but I also once received a Mojito that consisted of nothing but rum, peppermint schnapps and ice cubes.
I used to complain a bit about the fact that there was no good Mexican food in central Texas - only Tex-Mex. Now that I've had Tai-Mex, I have learned that there are far worse things in this world than black beans served with my fajitas.