April 30, 2014
Chinese dumplings – JiaoZi – in TaipeiTake a special holiday, bring a group of friends together, add passion for food, a splash of beer and a big table and you can do it.
In January I took the train from Taichung -台中- to Taipei -台北 – to go and visit my friends. It was a chilly day, he who says Taiwan is always warm has not visited in January. When I went up, it was shortly before the Chinese new year, which follows the moon and hence varies a little from year to year, compared to our western calendar.
This year the old year ended in the end of January and we stepped in to the new year, the Year of the Horse – but before we could do that, we wanted to do something special.
We wanted to cook together.
And we decided to make dumplings; But not just any type of dumplings, we were going for Jiaozi, 餃子, the type of dumpling, usually filled with pork and leek, and made of wheat, a dumpling so common in the Beijing area for New Years. It is a very nice traditions, a nice tradition that comes from China, not Taiwan, but there is nothing wrong with adopting nice food traditions from other countries, as long as the food is good – I did my best when I lived in Germany to teach my international friends the concept of Swedish pea-soup followed by pancakes for dessert on Thursdays, an old Swedish tradition.
April 24, 2014
The many tones of green
There is something breathtakingly beautiful about spring in the northern hemisphere, something someone who never were can't fully grasp. When the nights are getting shorter and the days are getting longer, when the evenings seems to last forever and ever.
When you the first time can feel that yes, the sun, it is not just up there, being big and yellow, it actually warms your face, if ever so little.
There is something about when the soil, black and without visible life, is starting to sport little straws of grass, straws you can't even see to start with, but straws that bit by bit, little by little, win over the winter.
Something about the smell when the rain hits the asphalt on the first day when the asphalt actually has been warmed up enough to be warmer than the rain that hits it.
April 18, 2014
Fascinating Taroko Gorge
or See the traces from when Taiwan was born
Hualien － 花連 －the town in Taiwan where the earthquakes can be felt most often. A nice little place once you find your way to the city centre and know what to do. But the best thing about Hualien, this little city on the east coast of Taiwan, is what the earthquakes created.
More or less everybody who comes to Hualien the first time comes for this, the Taroko gorge, or the Taroko ravine, if you like. Here you can really see how Taiwan came to exist, when earthquakes and other geological movement pressed the landmass out of the sea and created what we now know as the beautiful country of Taiwan.
The nature is magical here – but do not take the warnings about falling rocks lightly, Taiwan with it's high peaks and deep valleys is very much a country still shaping, and the earthquakes ARE frequent, so what was a rock that seemed well anchored yesterday may not be anymore. The rains, especially when it's typhoon season but also at other times (it IS a tropical island after all, and tropical rains... Well, have you ever seen tropical rains?) may also move the earth...