Taiwanvore Digest #14 – October 2014

Ice Truck
In Taiwan, many desserts and beverages shops get their ice cubes delivered throughout the day. The delivery man (I’ve never seen a woman do it) always jumps off his driver seat, open the fridge-trunk, loads a bag on his shoulder and whizes into the shop, never taking the time to close the door behind him.

October has come and gone, and could have done without yet another food scandal. On the bright side, I unleashed the GMO watch-dogs who brought back some optimistic news for the future. In the middle of it all, I had the honor of being asked for a radio interview to discuss the organic farmers’ market  trend in Taiwan, but honestly, aside from slapping some information together on the subject, I am no expert (or am just too modest ^^’ ), and so I kindly suggested someone more appropriate and knowledgeable, hehe (Annie, I hope the interview pans out for you!).

With two months lefts, before we roll into 2015(!), my self-assigned challenge of eating through and reviewing the 100 establishments from the 雄好呷 book before the end of the year is clearly a lost cause XD . I’ve actually eaten at more than the 15 places reviewed, but the inspiration to write isn’t always there, and I’ve also kept going back to some favorite haunts instead of venturing into unknown territory. Ah well, as they say here, 慢慢來.

Tomorrow is October 31st, so Happy Halloween! And enjoy yet another monthly mash-up, courtesy of yours truly. Cheers! >-I

Continue reading

Taiwan Style Honest Graft

Frozen Garlic wrote an article on the Taiwanese take on corruption, drawing a parallel with the practice of honest graft, a concept dating back to 19th century American Political History. The article is a short read and provides an interesting insight into the Taiwanese state of mind.

I once candidly asked a Taiwanese acquaintance about the currently-in-jail ex-president Chen Shui-bian and the scandals he was involved in, and just like in the case of Frozen Garlic, I was fascinated by his reply, along the lines of “It’s ok if he took some money,  we can turn a blind eye on it, as long as he pushed the country forward and worked for the common people”.

And now, I am feeling a tad smarter knowing that what he described was a case of honest graft 8-) .

[FYI] Updates on GMO Soybean in Taiwan

Pledge to remove GMO food in public school lunches. (fb/校園午餐搞非基)

When news of the last food scandal about the use of animal feed broke out, I was appalled like everyone else, and then, thinking about it further, as the news and consumers were crucifying Ting Hsin, I just wanted to yawn. After all, the food oil company didn’t have to go too far to fetch such a malicious idea, since last year, it is a known fact that livestock feed soybean is imported and used to produce an array of soy-based food (tofu, soy milk, etc..). I seriously can’t believe it every time I type it, and reread the articles in Chinese a thousand times, but no, I am not reading it wrong.

Continue reading

美食人‧情‧味 The Raw and the Cooked – A Culinary Journey Through Taiwan

A few months ago, I inquired about the availability of the German/Taiwan produced documentary The Raw and the Cooked – A Culinary Journey Through Taiwan in Taiwan, but ended empty-handed. Yesterday, I went back on the hunt,  and tada, look what I found to share with you :) .

The movie was uploaded on the Public Television Service channel, so I can only assume that it’s 100% legal, haha. Unfortunately, the Taiwanese version has been edited down to 50 minutes (to satisfy an hour slot of TV program I imagine) in comparison to the original version which lasts 83 minutes. And since it’s the Taiwanese version, dialogues in Chinese are not translated, which means more listening and reading practice for you ;) .

The documentary was released in 2012, so if you are already very familiar with Taiwan, the movie may not hold too much novelty as you’ll likely already have heard of the places featured, and now made popular thanks to TV shows and the written press. But you’ll maybe have a sting of nostalgia with the few glimpses (at 1:00 and 3:55 <= cool aerial view) of the edible community garden that used to exist near Taipei 101. I actually never realized that the garden almost took up almost the entire block, and to think it’s now covered in concrete :'( .

At any rate, familiar or not with Taiwan, if you like this little piece of land, its food and scenery, and have 50 minutes to kill, then it should be a pleasant watch. Enjoy! :)

Foncha 楓茶記 (khh) – Keep Calm and Drink Some Hong-Kong Style Milk Tea

Hong-Kong style afternoon tea.
Hong-Kong style afternoon tea, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Actually, calm isn’t really the state I am in whenever I head to Foncha, no, I am rather EXCITED! Yes, that excited. :D

When did I first discover Hong-Kong style milk tea? I don’t remember, but I know that in the land of milk teas, Hong-Kong style milk tea reigns supreme for me, closely followed by Indian masala chai, trailed by a tie between Taiwanese bubble tea and Thai iced tea, and Tibetan butter tea to close off my ranking. Tibetan butter technically doesn’t have any milk but the butter gives it the appearance and a bit of the taste of milk tea, it is an acquired taste, and I am still working on acquiring it. Am I missing out on another variation of delicious milk tea out there? Oops, I digress!

See, whenever I’d follow my Hong-Kong pals at a Cantonese restaurant, I’d always let them order dishes, as long as I had my cup of Hong-Kong style milk tea, I was a happy cat; although I was always disappointed that it never seemed to last long enough in comparison to those never-ending cup of Taiwanese bubble tea. Continue reading