The Taiwanese fear of cinnamon

Depends on the dish. There are a lot of cinnamons and.lots morer elatives. Camphor is a type.of cinnamon.

The easiest classification of the edible cinnamomums is ceylon (indian type) and cassia (chinese/east types).

Ceylon is used a lot for more savory dishes. because it is harvested far younger it still has a bit. chlorophyl/oil profile. The outer is often scraped and its rolled for.drying. The sticks you see. This is nearly always from Cinnamomum verum.

The chinese and vietnamese have taken up that processing method with their species now. Frankly, it is pretty but takes away from the flavor.

There are 3 fairly common species in the commercial cassia group. C. cassia, C. burmannii and C. loureiroi.

This group is way.more fragrant, in my.opinion far better than the indian/sri lankan species. That said, tree age and processing affect the flavor a lot!

C. burmannii is seemingly mostly from indonesia. I have less experience with this species and havent.yet gone to.plantations to study them. But this specjes does taste pretty good if.you like.sweet cinnamons.

C. cassia is the Chinese type. It is cheap because it is china and thet have no human rights. That doeant make.it a bad cinnamin. But its a spicy species, less sweet etc. Not bad for.soicy hotpots etc, not.good for.sweets and.baking. Soso for curry.

C. loureiroi is the vietnamese species which mist agree is the best cinnamon species known. very fragrant, sweet and slightly spicy. my favorite by far.

Sime thungs to.consider about whole.bark. Thicker bark is stronger and.less grassy. 2-4 year harvest cycles give you WAY better flavor. Much of.the small.sticks are frkm 1-2 year cycles, and more.commonly graded as such when.the main.trunk is.harvested the smaller upper branches are also harvested as a grade B or similar which turn.into those pretty little sticks. unfortunetaly those sticks are just a step.up.from.incense.grade :wink:

The bark.that is.about 5mm tends to.be the golden zone. But.its hard, thick and not.pretty…shame.people dont look.past aesthetics.

Another problem js processing. Not.just trunk age, thickness, canopy light penetration etc. Dry method is.huge, especially.if.sun.dried (uv damage), heat, final moisture.content, humidity etc.

Lastly there is.the globalization effects on germplasm. Vietnamese native plants are by far the best. The world recognized this and.started.buying.it.all.up. Eventually, a few decades ago, the vietnamese gov decided to capitalize on this (as did.taiwan gov but they :tent:ed up royally and.gave all the farmers the wrong.species haha!). The vietnemese imported more plants from china which were.planted kn a large scale. These plants, being.of.the C. cassia species, has been.hybrizing with their local species and lots of seed grown.plants are now.hybrids.of.the 2. This.has created.a.less.uniform flavor, as one can see with costcos shitty saigon.cinnamon which is in fact C. cassia flavor profile.

There are mang other considerations, but.anyone.Buying cinnamon at a store probably.wont.be able to.tell any.of this. In fact food.labelling almost.never states the actual.species (never mind.variety) of what they are selling. Chinese.medicine.is.notoriously horrible for this, but also our food. Give how variable.the chemistry is.within a species, variety and climatic.zone this.is pretty worrisome.

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I like Chinese medicine.

I prefer the light Indian ones actually. I love cinnamon as a counterbalance to sugar rather than being the main show.

Sarsaparilla anyone?

Not the same, its way too sweet.

Totally understood. It isnt a bad cinnamon, its just much milder.

Depends totally on what is being cooked as well. Our personal lifestyle in cooking is that we never add sugar. Refined anyway or added from beat/cane sources. We.cook relying on the ingredients involved providing the flavor. This is.certajnly the trend the last decade or two, and it is slowly trickling.down into even the cheapest sects of food processing in taiwan now.

That all said, if a truly non sweet curry, as an example, is required, ceylon cinnamon is the only one weak enough to provide a flavor that isnt sweet and/or spicy and is insanely useful in that way!

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It was a hard ingredient before due to illegal substance production (ecstacy). the mass.pankc on it (the plant, not the drug) has died down a lot and is now legal in authoritarian countries once more…ahem, usa.

Some may say said regulators, such as the FDA and other oppressive lobby acceptors, have become more realistic in health regulations…unfortunately not. Camphor oil just replaced this species in a big way over the years of development and faces have been saved.

I’m curious I don’t know if this is real cinnamon or tea cinnamon or what exactly they’re using it for in Taiwan or exporting or what?

Especially since Taiwanese seem to despise cinnamon.

Maybe this is why Starbucks Cinnamon Rolls Suck.

That is Tou or tian ruo guei. One of the native species of cinnamon. Although it is far lower quality than ceylon and cassia types, the trend now is local, and especially aboriginal related, so the leaves, not the bark, have become a thing. It is actually not that bad, but being the leaf the flavor crashes over time and as such lots of sugar is added in many products.

On the cinnamon spectrum i personally give it a 4/10

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In general terms I was always under the impression that cinnamon leaf was responsible for the candy flavor such as in Hot Tamales or Red Hots, while the bark was the flavor found in baked goods. Is this incorrect?

My friend’s daughter’s didn’t like my apple pie because it was too “spicy”. We figured out they didn’t like cinnamon.

I dont know about every places recipes, but you are certainly right that leaves are used, especially for a sweeter taste. In candies, extracts are used, also from the leaves. In this way the candies wont have that off chlorophyl taste and the flavor doesnt degrade as fast.

To which species they use, usually cassia types and then ceylon.

The taiwanese species, Cinnamomum osmophloeum is used a little commercially. But from my experience the abundance of cassia and.ceylon has made factories choose them due to supply ease and price. It is ashame as the local species has far better leaf flavor. It will have a rebound in.the next 5 years probably though as its sweet leaf taste is actually very good. Just, the bark is kind of crappy.

I find it highly ironic that Taiwanese would be afraid of cinnamon, because they use it in (ruining, IMO) all sorts of foods where we wouldn’t use it in the west, like french fries, fried chicken, damn near anything fried for that matter, various meats, pasta sauce, etc. I’m told this is because it is one of the ingredients in “five spice,” but to me cinnamon is the overwhelming inappropriate flavor that stands out. Recently I even had tikka masala in Taiwan that tasted this way. Yuck.

Now cinnamon rolls (or buns, as some are calling them), on the other hand, THAT is how cinnamon should be used! I’ve literally never met a single person who didn’t like cinnamon rolls. Is that a thing?

Cinnamon toast was a staple of my early childhood, as well.

Ya there are some strange usages. To be fair, different regional races clearly have different morphology when it comes to taste receptors. For example taiwanese and caucasian in some instances have vastly different reaponses to tongue enigmas. I agree, as a whitey, cinnamon in some taiwanese diahes is a mismatch, but many love it. Cinnamon is a strong taste to be sure. And many people are quite against it. I would lump it in generally with cloves, anise (and all similars like star anise), cilantro/culantro, stevia etc. In the sense they are ultra strong and the human species has a wide range of variation when it comes to taste perception.

Another thing to consider is that “cinnamon” is actually numerous species with thousands of variants grown in different climates. The indian ceylon types are far more bland and well suited for say curries. Cassia types are always sweeter and the spicy level is a variable, so is far more suitable for drinks, desserts candies etc. To say all cinnamons are the same would be like saying white and black pepper are the same. Except white and black pepper actually are the same, different process only. Cinnamon are different species and even clades so the variation is more extreme.

And thats just talking about the bark from young trunks. Enter maturity, leaves and essential oils…

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They actually are. As are most green, red and yellow bell peppers.

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Read the sentences following that one :wink:

It’s a weird way to write it. Just say they are the same but taste different.

Probably. Im wierd, fair claim :). Also cold as all anything . But the point being cinnamons are actually really not the same. Perhaps another example would be pink peppercorns compared to the regular white/black/green. Not that simple, but similar.

The use in food really does matter what species, variety, part and processing method used.

Luckily with cinnamon, lots of companies are adopting a norm claiming ceylon or cassia. Good first step.

The pink are actually not pepper corns. Like Szechuan, not a pepper corn.

Yes, again, thats the point i am making. Much like the different cinnamons, they are actually different species with a similarity.