I totally agree with you, Taiwan Beer, and here’s a synopsis of what “Taiwan Flavor” is:
I was a chef in 1993 and I cooked Korean food for a while and then Thai food. In Taiwan, the food has “little flavor–but slightly sweet”. If you cook this way, Taiwanese will like it. If you’ve been to a “Dan-Bi” or “Ming-Xin” bakery, you’ll notice that the bread (IF you even call that bread) is a little sweet. Taiwanese people have a hard time distinguishing the difference between a “cracker” and a “cookie”, not just because they’re the same words in Chinese (Bing Gan), but because to make them palatable to Taiwanese they have to be “slightly sweet”. This makes them virtually the same, so the confusion is understandable.
The trick to cooking Thai food is to balance the four flavours: sweet, spicy, sour, and salty. When Taiwanese eat real Thai food, they always say “It’s so sour, salty, and hot”, but they’ll never say it’s sweet, because that’s the flavor they’re used to.
Taiwan’s “spicy pot” food is around 70,000 on the Scoville Heat Scale, whereas the spiciest Thai food can reach 200,000. Taiwanese people simply can’t handle the spicy nature of food from other areas.
Once I made 3 batches of Korean “kimchi”. One for myself (VERY hot and “special”), one for Korean friends in “original” Koren taste (the Koreans loved it), and one that was a teeny bit hot and slightly sweet (the Taiwanese friends emptied that container in minutes). They tried all three, but they scarfed down the “slightly sweet” version.
If you make really hot Sichuan food in Taiwan, that’s great. If you want to sell it, however, you’re cooking for a very small audience, because Taiwanese people just don’t dig any flavor except “a little sweet.”