By Theresa Rogers
An interview with Lisa Chung, President, Kuo Hua Trading Company, a Canadian business owner who immigrated from Taiwan. Chung was one of many buyers at Asia’s Super 5-in-1 Food Expo, taking place in Taiwan in September 2016.
How long you have been buying products from Taiwan and Penghu?
From Penghu, this is the first time, but I immigrated to Canada from Taiwan in 1993. In 1995, I had my business established in Toronto. I had a small 7-Eleven and little by little, I imported Taiwanese food, from retail into wholesale.
You learned the business.
Yes, I learned, and it took me a long time, about 20 years. In 2010, I moved to Vancouver and for this store I import about 4,000 items from Taiwan. The whole store comes from Taiwan.
Will you import from Penghu? Do you like the products?
Yes, I think so. The only thing I’m worried about is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). It’s very difficult. I hope the wholesale vendor that I meet here can pass the CFIA; I will help them too.
Do you envision the products featured here in Asian grocery stores in Canada or do you think there’s a bigger market in other grocery stores?
I’d have to say Asian grocery stores to begin with, as this is a small island in a small county.
Are you concerned about the prices? Much of the food we’ve seen is organic, and high quality, but that means it costs more.
Many of the Canadian immigrants from China, they have lots of money. They all like and buy good quality.
Penghu Islands Facts
- 90 islands of the west coast of mainland Taiwan. Only 19 are inhabited.
- Terrain ranges from golden beaches and crystal waters to volcano-formed cliffs. Soil is sandy.
- Agriculture includes many vegetables such as local pumpkin, loofah, cabbage, and melon. Crops are drought-resistant and able to withstand saltwater spray.
- Rainfall is extremely low resulting in higher than average salinity of seawater. Fish and aquatic products are sweet-tasting as a result.
- Aquaculture uses sea nets floating in the ocean, or “wild breeding fish” to minimize damage to the environment and boost fish quality. Products are certified and traceable.
- Agriculture and fishery specialty products include cactus fruit, tea, aloe, cobia, grouper, mackerel, squid, abalone, cuttlefish, and more.
Read our full report on the Taiwanese Food Expo.