Ah-Wan Yanshuei I Mien – 雄好呷 #028 (khh)

Welcome to Ah-Wan, pioneer of the i mien in Kaohsiung.
Welcome to Ah-Wan, pioneer of the i mien in Kaohsiung.

These days, when it comes time to eat, I catch myself asking my own self 「呷麵或呷飯?」, which I loosely translate as 「am I in the mood for some noodles or rice?」, as the first question of my “What to eat?” decision process. Clearly, this is a sign that I’ve lived in Taiwan for a long time already, or as I prefer to view it, a sign that I am becoming Taiwanese, 😱! Someday, I may post a listicle of all those Taiwanese traits that have crept into me, but for now, that’ll just be another draft sitting on the back-burner.

So what’s it gonna be, noodles or rice? Usually, it’s been noodles, in particular Ah-Wan Yanshuei I Mien 阿萬鹽水意麵, tucked in the old Sanmin Street 三民街. The neighborhood is not flamboyantly touristy by any means, but it has some palpable history and good food to be found. Somehow, the atmosphere reminds me a little of the Wanhua area in Taipei, albeit, less crowded. If only it didn’t take me 20-30 minutes to bike there, amidst crazy scooter traffic and pollution, I think I’d hang out more often in that area. Wait, bike 20-30 minutes (and add 20-30 minutes for the way back!) for a simple bowl of noodles, do I have that much time to spare or are those noodles just crazy good? Continue reading Ah-Wan Yanshuei I Mien – 雄好呷 #028 (khh)

Getting Ready for RAW

RAW, André Chiang’s  latest venture, will inaugurate with a soft opening, running from November 20th to December 8th, so the press this week has started warming up the PR stage. Taiwan’s GQ interviewed him on the objective and vision of the new restaurant, and TVBS aired an hour-long TV program retracing the chef’s career. If your Chinese listening comprehension fares better than your reading, you can get the gist of his auto-biographical book Original Intentions 初心 by catching-up on the TV show (below).

Continue reading Getting Ready for RAW

[FYI] Independent Dairy Farms in Taiwan

Map of a some of the independent dairy farms in Taiwan. (fb/楊靈)
Map of some of the independent dairy farms in Taiwan. Click on the map for a more comprehensive list. (fb/楊靈)

Have you jumped on the boycott bandwagon and banned Ting Hsin’s subsidiary milk brand 林鳳營 (unfortunate for the impacted milk producers, who humm, I imagine were not directly involved with the oil snafu), and now feeling like a lost sheep not knowing who to buy milk from?

To remedy this situation, some Taiwanese netizens joined forces and put together a list of independent dairy farms. I’m actually quite surprised at the number of farms out there, having heard of only four out of the eleven on the map, and there exists many many more. As far as I understand it, milk from an independent farm is usually considered as more trustworthy and of better quality because it is produced and packaged on the premises, instead of having it sent to a cooperative where milk from different sources are pooled together. Maybe the former also treats their cows better and gives them better feed, or not, I haven’t investigated that far, so can’t attest to those facts. :|

Those independent farms usually enjoy a good reputation, and even with significantly higher selling prices, obtaining a bottle from one of those brands can sometimes lend itself to participating in a round of the hunger games. Just try buying a jug of milk from the NTU Dairy Farm 台大牧場, people in the know will swarm in the tiny store whenever it stocks up, and then mayhem ensues for the next few minutes. That’s at least what I’ve witnessed on my visit. 4ways milk 四方牧場 is another dairy brand that I’ve heard of, they’ve had especially good press for upcyling their cow manure, growing their own hay, and producing cheese, yes, Made in Taiwan CHEESE!😍 Last time I ate at Yasaimura, I saw a batch of 4ways bottles coming in, there must have been a dozen (or maybe more), and all except for one had already been called for, that just goes to show its popularity.

I rarely buy milk these days, so I’m not vouching for any brand in particular, but I thought this information could be of interest for the lactose tolerant of you. It’s good to be aware of our choices. Cheers! 😼

This article is sponsored by the Formosan Association for Informed Consumers. :bear:

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 Taiwanvore Digest #14 – October 2014

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-) .