A large-grained salt for heavy duty kitchen use; like kosher salt, it's less salty per weight than typical all purpose salts.
Dragon Boat Festival marks the return of intense summer weather in Taiwan. Salt brine evaporates rapidly in the sun, crystallizing quickly into this large-grained salt. Excellent for salt-baking, pickling, brining, or brewing. Easy to pinch and throw in a pot (great pasta water), and it’s abrasive enough to help you clean out your cast iron skillet.
Where It's MadeSea salt has been produced in Taiwan for nearly 400 years, dating back to the time of freedom-fighting pirate Koxinga (bet ya 10 bucks he didn’t call Fleur de Sel by the French name). This salt comes from the Zhou Nan Salt Fields of Budai in Chiayi. They date back to 1824, when they were built to expand Taiwan's growing sea salt industry. This was one of Taiwan’s largest salt producing regions; salt villages and communities developed here, and along with fishing, made up a large part of the local economy.
Sadly, all of Taiwan’s traditional salt fields were closed in 2001 due to market pressures. But, in 2006, the Budai Cultural Studio applied for and was granted the right to restore and manage the Zhou Nan fields as a non-profit cultural revitalization project.
Putting the fields back into use was not as simple as opening the floodgates and letting the sea flow in. The fallow land had cracked and dried up, unable to hold seawater any longer. The association recruited elderly salt workers to train a local team in salt knowledge and production. Together with the association, they resalinated the land with 300 tons of salt, relined the salt pans with clay, and relaid much of the mosaic tile lining. It took 6 years to restore the fields to a condition where salt could be produced once again.
Their perseverance paid off—these folks are now making some of the best salt in Taiwan, representing (as they put it) Taiwan's Sea, Soil, Wind, Sun and People. The salt is beloved by many fine dining establishments in Taiwan, like two Michelin star restaurant Taïrroir.
How It's MadeTaiwanese sea salt is made by the power of sea, land, wind, and sun. In the fields, a combination of tides, gravity, retaining walls, and water-gates isolate seawater as it evaporates to higher and higher concentrations. Successive pools are situated at lower and lower elevations, so the water can flow easily to the next phase.
To increase the efficiency of production, salt pans in Taiwan were lined with pottery shards pressed into the clay. These mosaics radiate heat upwards, increasing the evaporative power of each pool. The smooth surface of the tile also prevents the salt from sticking to the bottom during harvest. When the water reaches the right concentration, salt crystallizes out and is harvested and dried.
Salt making in this fashion is extremely weather dependent. Zhou Nan has turned this fact into a core feature, making and releasing salt according to the natural (though changing) cycles of the earth. Each salt highlights the qualities of the seasons.
Tasting Notes and Usage
briny, sweet, and complex with a large, non-uniform grains
Use for pickling, brining, curing, salt-baking, and cleaning. Great for pasta water.
Ingredients and Instructions
Net weight 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
Ingredients: sea salt
Store in a cool, dry place to avoid clumping.
Shelf Life: 3 years. See printed date on packaging.
This salt does not supply iodide, an necessary nutrient
About Zhou Nan Salt
The Zhou Nan Salt Fields 洲南鹽場 were built in 1824 in Budai, Chiayi, using techniques that date back to the mid-1600s. After all of Taiwan's salt fields were forced to close due to market pressures, the Budai Cultural Association revived their local salt fields, preserving their craft heritage and the unique flavor of Taiwan’s sea, salt, wind, and soil.