Archive for the 'nightmarket' Category

02
Sep
08

Keelung

On a memorable weekend before I left Taipei, my dear cousin took me out to the beach by Keelung.  We drove to a scenic point on the mountain where I had fun with my zoom lens figuring out what people were doing on the shore.

I am guessing that they are checking out a fish, or perhaps a snail.  Or maybe someone dropped a contact…

A little purple wildflower that was all over the mountain where we first stopped to enjoy the view.

Tiny blueberries growing by the side of the road.

We hung out by the tide pools and my cousin and his friend attempted to catch fish with no luck, though they did catch a crab, and a few snails I believe.  We let them all go before we left.

I wonder what they’re looking at.

Something about this picture makes me think of zen.

Dusk on the beach.

The fishing boats all have these garlands of humongous clear light bulbs to illuminate the area around the boat and attract fish.  At night, the boats are independent stars bobbing on the darkness of the ocean on the edge of the horizon.  According to my cousin, one needs a permit to go with a fishing boat out to do deep-sea fishing.  (Thanks go to my cousin for the patience and help in setting up this not-completely blurry shot of the fishing boat at night…  I actually bought a tripod, but just don’t seem to bring it when it turns out I could actually use it…)

Corn dogs.  The one with the orange bit wrapped around it is cheese, and the one with the green bit wrapped around it is wasabi (I think).  I’ve eaten duck tongues, pig feet, and all manner of intriguing cuisine here in Taiwan, but the cheese corn dog ranks as the most disgusting thing I think I have ever eaten.  So much for rebelling against nutritionist-mothers!

I know what you’re all wondering… Would drinking one of those bubbling steamy drinks make steam shoot out of your ears???  Sadly, no.  My friend said it wasn’t half-bad and she got to keep the cup with a steam vent on it.  I think there was dry ice involved…

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25
Feb
07

Chinese New Year

It’s overcast and my feet are cold now that I’m back in Taipei.  I caught a ride down to Tainan with my Uncle’s family– the highways here drift past shadows of mountains, flat mirrors of newly flooded rice paddies, dried rivers that are paths of white pebbles, and industrial wasteland.

We feasted at my aunt’s parent’s traditional home in the countryside.  They have a traditional brick stove!brick stove

There was so much food there that it overflowed from the kitchen into the two rooms nearby.

Kitchen and older generation’s table:

I’ve never seen steamer trays that big outside of a restaurant! They have rice cake in them I think… (Sometimes I don’t ask– just eat!)  I think the brown one has brown sugar in it– and it was fried later on. The cakes in the pink bowls are put where the rice is stored to ensure abundance for the year.

We had two tables of people– the younger generation and the older generations.  My Aunt is the youngest of about six kids (don’t quite remember). All of us girls who were of age had nu-er hong  jo (daughter red wine would be the direct translation).  Traditionally nu-er hong jo is a bottle of wine buried upon the birth of a daughter and then unearthed at her wedding.  We had these tiny porcelain sort of urns on three legs instead of glasses for the 17% alcohol.  It made my face feel a bit warm.

Then, we detoured to a nightmarket where we saw a man who sharpens and sells knives, got sweet roasted hazelnuts and fireworks.  We parked by a dark rice paddy where you could hear the frogs calling each other.

People play bingo at the nightmarket.

Fireworks!


The knife-seller’s stand– he had farm implements, swords, scissors, and knives.

Rice paddy.

Then we drove down to Tainan, where the last in a lineage of dogs to bark as soon as you arrive at the gates of my grandfather’s house greeted us.  Whenever I used to visit Taiwan with my family, there was always the barking of Ding Dong– a lovely dalmation whose puppy Shao Bai Zhu (Little White Pig– so named because she was the youngest and had no spots yet when we met her) I used to play with.  This time, there was the barking of Shao Hei (Little Black), who is really an adorable tiny little white fluff of a dog that belongs to my cousin in Taichung.

My grandmother’s jasmine was very fragrant as we walked up to the front door.

My grandfather’s house has undergone a lot of changes over the years.  The last trip to Tainan with my family was while he was still clacking through the halls in his wooden slippers and striped pajamas– over ten years ago.  The house had to be remodeled due to termites, and gradually emptied as the elders have passed away and children have grown and moved on.  The garden has shrunk as the city has encroached upon the old property and the walls have moved in with the creation or widening of streets.  We still had fun laughing over my travesties of language and stories about how all the kids and dogs of the family have fallen into the fish pond at least once.  The fish pond was a murky green soup, which we drained and cleaned while we were there.  We were rewarded with the discovery of a mysterious little turtle.  My mother tells me that they had tried to cultivate turtle eggs there long ago, but had failed.  It was covered with algae (its tail had little green plants as a kind of odd fur).

[There would be a photo here– but I couldn’t get any that focused on the turtle properly… ;( ]

The next day, we had another family feast with all the traditional New Year’s foods at my grandfather’s house.  We had a fish whose name is a homonym for “leftover”, which means that there will be an abundance of food for the year.  We also ate soft soy-sauce pork– the character for “pig” is found within the character for “family.”  There was also chicken, which in Taiwanese– ge is a homonym for “family” (if I recall correctly).  We also had fish eggs (they’re like little orange dense cakes in slices) which are an expensive delicacy– “Well, these don’t have a meaning– they’re just expensive and good!” my uncle explained.  I think we also had duck, green vegetables, and I forget the significance of those, if there was any.  To finish the meal, we ate tang yuen which was water lily seeds with white and pink sweet rice flour balls. It was really sweet, and is supposed to indicate whole perfection (all spheres)– which I think signifies family togetherness.

(Mom, you’re welcome to correct me on any and all of this.)

I’ll tip tap type more later… But in the meantime, Happy Pig Year!

Aren’t they cute?  They were selling them in the market and reassured me that they wouldn’t grow too much bigger than a cat, but my uncle warned me that the honesty of the sellers at the nightmarket isn’t always that reliable… and I could end up with this:

a pig bigger than I am.  We saw this one in Kaioshung.

04
Feb
07

Temple by Shilin Nightmarket

After the museum, we headed to Shilin Nightmarket which had REALLY YUMMY FOOD!

And for the first time, I saw the lanterns lighted up at the temple by the nightmarket–img_5033_5_1.JPG

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