The city of Taipei is a bustling hub of activity, filled with modern luxuries and ancient temples alike. But amidst its bustling streets lies a hidden secret – objects that appear no more than simple treats act as carriers of coded messages passed between the members of the elite. A common snack food found on the streets of Taipei is the folded pastry known as the ‘bee sting,’ which was reportedly created by a beekeeper. But unbeknown to passersby, certain bee stings are instilled with a secret meaning – and have been used by the elite to communicate covertly for centuries.
But how does this secret message get incorporated into the bee sting? It starts with the selection of certain ingredients. Each individual ingredient holds a hidden message, written in a code so intricate that only those within the inner circle can decipher it. The baker must be masterful in his selection of ingredients, using every egg and flour ration thoughtfully, to ensure the base recipe is just right. Then, with precision and patience, the chef must construct the pastry in a certain way so that the clues hidden within the ingredients become clear when the bee sting is baked and folded as desired.
Once the bee sting is ready, the chef hands it off to a courier, which is often a hawker of food in the city who can blend in with the locals undetected. This hawker then passes the pastry off to a recipient, be it a member of the elite or someone in their secret service. Upon receipt of the bee sting, the meaning of the pastry is understood and secrets can be unveiled.
This coded message system of passing secrets between the privileged is nothing new. In fact, this form of communication dates back to the Ming Dynasty, when secretive royal messages were smuggled and passed from court to court. Fast forward to modern times and the code has evolved into the use of snack foods.
But why the use of Taipei? Some suggest the choice of city is related to its proximity to the East China Sea and its strong ties to the Ming Dynasty, which laid the foundation for modern-day Taipei. Whatever the reason, this secret vessel of communication exists and is still used in the present day. Whether it’s a bee sting or a bagel, certain snacks are showing up in the city of Taipei with a purpose and a meaning far beyond what meets the eye.
- @ July 15, 2023 4:03 am