After six months of R&D, Maqau (mountain pepper) liquor developed by the students and staff of the Department of Applied Technology of Living of Ta Hwa University of Science & Technology (THUST) and Hsinchu Meat Market through academia-industry cooperation was publicly unveiled at the university’s Lequn Assembly Hall on December 23. The liquor is fragrant, smooth and pleasantly spicy. Other products that are the results of the Department’s use of local distinctive agricultural products were also on display, opening the eyes of visitors.
General Manager of Hsinchu Meat Market, Chen Yi-huang, said that past cooperation with THUST resulted in the development of maqau balls, maqau sausage and maqau jerky, increasing the economic value of maqau. Maqua sausage made with black pig pork has proven popular and the meat market will prepare over 600kg in the three weeks before Chinese New Year 2016 for sale at around NT$ 90/300gram. The sausages can be bought at farmers’ association supermarkets.
THUST and Hsinchu Meat Market developed a 20% alc/vol liquor to provide more business opportunities for aboriginal growers of maqau. Teacher Zhou Zheng-huang, who led a team of 10 students on the project, said that they worked tirelessly day and night for the last six months in an all-out effort to make a maqua liquor that is smooth and good to drink. If there are market demands, they will increase the alcohol content in future, if needed as high as the renowned 58% alc/vol Kinmen sorghum liquor. University president Li You-ting said that maqua has anti-depressant qualities and 20% alc/vol is a suitable level of alcoholic strength. She called on everyone to enjoy the liquor but to not drink and drive.
Other than maqua liquor, a series of Coronarious Gingerlily health drinks, natural cosmetic products, handmade soap, a series of natural detergents made using Family Rutaceae plants, healthy and stress-relieving essential oil and natural orange- flavored beer were also displayed, as well as maqua sausage, maqua soy sauce braised foods and maqua rice cake.
Maqua, also known as mountain pepper or mountain chicken pepper, grows in mountain areas and reaches a height of three meters. The leaves are long and narrow. The tree bears small green fruit in summer. After the fruit is harvested, it is fragrant and has a lemon flavor. It has a natural spice traditionally used by Taiwanese aborigines to flavor food and boost energy.