Lungkeng: Mighty Waves meet a Fragile Shoreline

15 01 2011

The most spectacular of all the rainy-day sights can be found at Longkeng, where visitors are limited to just 200 a day. As we edge toward the craggy shore of the southernmost tip of Taiwan, we pull our jackets tighter against the gusting winds and sea spray and marvel at the juxtaposition of the mighty waves and some of the most fragile and unusual plant life clinging to the windblown surfaces. 

Register to visit Longkeng here:


Eating my way through Hong Kong

13 12 2009

Ahhh, dear egg tart. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Oh, hello there, reader! Sorry, you caught me gazing at this photo of a Cantonese egg tart (aka: “dan ta”). It’s hard not to lose yourself in one of these, especially if it’s the edible kind, not a photo.

Fortunately this story has a happy ending, because mere seconds after I snapped this photo, the egg tart was beginning to dissolve on my tongue. And I have Choi Fook Royal Banquet in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong to thank. It was the perfect way to cap off an all-too-short stay in one of Taipei’s nearest neighbors. Read the rest of this entry »

The Connection between Dads and BBQ

7 08 2009
BBQ Roasting

One Taipei BBQ joint gives patrons marhmallows to roast, which are then dunked in something very unusual. Continue reading to find out what!

When it comes to dads and cooking, most people think of BBQ.

There’s something decidedly manly about the flames, the roar of the grill and huge slabs of meat. The communal nature of the activity — men gathered around a massive metal cooking machine wielding tongs, knives, some “tall cold ones” and baseball talk, is enough to separate the men from the boys. And when it comes to cooking steak, I am but a toddler.

Fortunately in this week’s Father’s Day edition of Feast Meets West, I’m joined by new father and BBQ afficionado Konraad Kordula, who shares his thoughts on fatherhood and his passion for grilling. But first, you may be wondering, how can August 8th be Father’s Day?!

Read the rest of this entry »

A People for Whom Bitter Tastes Sweet

24 07 2009


When I bite into the little green pumpkin-shaped fruit, a bitter, acidic juice spreads quickly through my mouth and makes a beeline for my throat.

“AAAAHHH!” I cry out in shock. Wang Lien-mei (王蓮妹), smiles at my reaction.

“For us, the Amis people, our lives are so bitter that we don’t taste the bitter in the gagoorroo,” she explains. “They taste sweet to us.”

I must have given her the most stupefied look in my repertoire, because she quickly explains how she has eaten the little green vegetables since she was a child. But I can’t imagine a life so bitter that these little bitter bombs could actually taste sweet.

What she tells me next stays with me long after the bitterness of the gagoorroo is gone.

Read the rest of this entry »

What the Hakkas Do with Leftovers

13 06 2009

LunchLet’s say you have a delicious lunch like the one pictured to the left. Perhaps you’ve made a little too much… so what do you do? Feed it to the ducks? Or turn it into a nice Hakka pancake called “ding bian cuo (鼎邊銼)”?

Well if it tastes as good as the food in the picture to the left, then the ducks are going to be very disappointed. They won’t be getting their greedy little beaks on these leftovers!

Recently I went to a village in Huoyanshan Miaoli (苗栗縣火炎山稻鴨庄) where they make “Duck Field Rice“. It was part of a leadership program by China Life Insurance and Asian Wall Street Journal in which young people were encouraged to find new ways to prevent food waste.

The Hakka people from the village, in turn, taught us about a traditional dish called “ding bian cuo” which is a great way to use leftovers. Continue reading to see photos from my trip!

Read the rest of this entry »

Bazang — Dumplings that Will Save You from the Fishies

31 05 2009
Filling BazangOkay, maybe the headline is a bit misleading. You see, you can’t actually EAT the bazang if you want protection from the fishies.

It all started out with a guy called “Qu Yuan” (屈原) who lived during the Warring States period in China (aka: a long time ago). He loved his country, but those in power deemed him a traitor so he jumped in a lake. But the people loved him, so they made glutinous rice dumplings (called bazang “肉粽” in Taiwanese, or zongzi “粽子” in Mandarin) and tossed them in the water. That was so the fish would eat the dumplings instead of Mr. Qu. (Inidentally, they also rowed dragon boats out into the waters to search for his body, hence the name “Dragon Boat Festival.”)

These days, people still toss the dumplings in water, but only to cook them. Continue reading to see a photo essay of my virgin bazang-wrapping experience with the Wang family in Taipei County. Or watch a video here (courtesy of Maggie & Tom… thanks!)

Read the rest of this entry »

Our Very First “Feast”

2 05 2009

France, Andrew, Ellen and Ah Di. Oh yeah, and our good friend, the pecan pie.

To kick off our brand new radio program, also called Feast Meets West, we thought it would be appropriate to actually create a feast of our own. So we went to Ellen’s house and cooked dinner ourselves. And in the spirit of “passing it on”, I showed Ellen and Frances how to make pecan pie (as taught to me by former RTI program host and amazing baker Amanda Beamish).

In the photo you can see (left to right) Frances, me, Ellen, and Ah Di. Oh yeah, and that’s our good friend the pie (who we later ate). Sorry, pie.

View the entire photo essay on the Chat Room Blog.

Listen by visiting the Radio Taiwan International web page. Click on one of the links next to “Saturday” (in the upper left-hand corner). You can listen to the wonderful Occidental Tourist with Charlie Storrar, and then the Feast begins at about nine minutes into the program.