Mango appreciation post. Mango season is winding down here in Taipei……
me playing the guzheng (Chinese Zither)
I’ve only had two lessons, but it’s something like that.
Had my second Guzheng lesson today~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Rice dough filled with beef - 肉圓
At the wedding banquet yesterday, some Taiwanese people asked me if I had ever eaten this, in the typical gauntlet of questioning that I must complete upon meeting anybody new. The question usually starts over a meal, and goes something like this:
friend from Taiwan: [pointing to all the delicious Taiwanese food on the table] “So are you used to eating food like this?”
me: “Yes, it’s really good. I love it.”
"But what about like, soup like this? Are you accustomed to this?"
"Well, I know some people think Taiwanese soup is really bland, but I think it’s great and I love eating it at the end of a meal."
"But what about when you first got here, could you eat Taiwanese food?"
[here, seeing that my facial expression has turned into a grimace of frustration for the thought, ‘how do I explain to these people that their everyday national cuisine is completely accessible to anyone who enjoys meat and vegetables?” another guest starts listing off crazy snack foods that are meant to frighten people from other countries]: “Do you like stinky tofu?”
[like a good boy, I play my part and reply]: “No way, that shit is awful!” (everybody chuckles)
"What about pig blood cake?"
[all eyes on me]: “Actually pig blood cake is not bad…”
"Really? But I thought all foreigners think the thought of eating pig blood is disgusting…"
[holding my tongue about the word foreigner, I simply state]: “Yes, it is kind of gross, but the taste is not bad.”
At this point, people start yelling out all the things they think are gross, like oyster omelets (yes I’ve eaten them, they’re good, but I prefer octopus omelets), and then 肉圓 (the things pictured above!) These are actually sticky dough filled with meat with sauce on top. Totally unoffensive to anyone who can get over the texture. And then I realize, that I don’t have a problem with sticky, gooey textures in food. Maybe this sets me apart? I don’t know…
The moral of this story is:
1. Taiwanese food is good.
2. 肉圓 are not weird and anyone who eats them should find them totally delicious.
I got to “carry” the sedan chair carrying the to-be-bride. It was on wheels, but I pretended to carry it anyway, for dramatic effect. It was a little strange for me to be in the spotlight like that, but I think I did okay. Pulling up the rear was Steven, another of Lingyu’s friends.
The bride was traditionally carried to the groom’s house, and here she gave out gifts to people on the way. We got them, little paper boxes filled with candy, for our hard work.
I went to my friend Lingyu’s engagement banquet on Saturday. I met this really cool person, Connie. She said I could totally work as an interpreter, because it’s what she did (Chinese-Japanese).
I stay up all night looking at Taipei apartment listings. I’ve gotten really good at reading all da information and I just found the perfect place. It’s across the street from Taipei botanical garden and less than 5 minutes to a metro station. The metro station is not a very convenient one right now, but in December they’re expanding the line and it’ll suddenly become extremely relevant to my daily life.
Please accept my abject apology for not updating this blog. More to come soon. Thank you for your patience.
It was a beautiful sunny day, and my friend Natchan and I had a lovely stroll in the Zhongshan area.