2013年9月30日 星期一


Hello world! This is Lenny, reporting from Taiwan :)

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2013年9月28日 星期六

How to kill a pomelo

柚子yo-tzi, Pomelo, or Citrus Maxima if you want to be fancy, is a sweet citrus fruit native to South Asia. It has very thick skin wrapping juicy bits inside, and somewhat resembles a grapefruit, but with a much approachable flavour ( I despite grapefruit!) In Taiwan, its season coincides with the Chinese Moon Festival, so it's a tradition to eat pomelos on the day of the festival. The festival was a few days ago, but it's still great time to enjoy the fruit! If you happen to find pomelos in your local market and don't know how to process it, this is the post for you!

1. Find a pomelo you like. I don't know how to pick them, because you dont have to pick them in Taiwan, they are ALL sweet and yummy, but I think a good one would be green skinned with no obvious bruises. (Is it possible to bruise a pomelo?) to see if it's ripe, I just gently squeeze y to see if it's soft. The size can vary greatly but does not affect the taste. If anything I find the smaller ones to be sweeter! If you try one and love it, you can stock up, because of its thick skin, it has a long shelf life. My family buy in boxes and they are always gone in three days~

2. Slice he top off with a knife. It's okay to cut into the meat, but don't go too far down and cut too much.

3. Working from top, cut down vertically and divide pomelo into 4 or 6 sections. DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH, leave the bottom connected.

4. Stick your thumb in between the meat and the white spongey skin, work your way down and remove the meat chunk carefully.

5. It should look like this when you finish.

6. Remove meat from skin. You should have a claw-like skin and some beautiful meat pieces.

7. Time for the labour! Because your cut in step 3 could not be perfect, there should be meat exposed. Claw them out with your teeth, or remove them from the white membranes meticulously if you want to save them for later. The meat is actually clusters of tiny pieces, so they can fall apart if you are not careful.

8. When you finish a section of meat, you 
Will run into a thin membrane,this membrane is very bitter and we usually don't eat it, making it a pain in the neck because there's a lot of peeling to do.

9. Stick your finger into the openings, it would be easier to peel.

10. Ta da!

11. Plate and save for later, or present to loved ones to show appreciation!
Remember to wash your hands, this citrus fruit can bite your skin and is sun-sensitive.

Remember how I said not to throw away the skin? We'll, this is how you can use it: 

Make it a cap! It will look adorable on children, dogs, cats or any small and cuddly creatures.  Take cute photos of them as a autumn memory collection! (Again, remember to wash their face and head if they come in contact with the citrus oil) 

Pomelos have all the benefits a good cruise has: lots of fiber, vitamin c, and whatnot, and it's taste is pretty accessible too, but please note that because of a certain chemical it contains, PEOPLE WHO ARE ON MEDICATION SHOULD NOT EAT POMELO. Also, pomelo can help cure constipation, which means too much consumption can lead to diarrhea. Moderate amounts, everyone!

This is Lenny, reporting from Taiwan.

2013年9月23日 星期一

早餐店Zhao-tsan-dien "breakfast shops"

When I first heard that Singaporeans have laksa for breakfast, I was shocked. How can one have such a spicy and heavy food for the first meal of the day ?!
The Taiwanese breakfast choices is much lighter, at least for the busy city people. From my experience of living in Taipei, because mornings are always hectic with little time to buy and consume food (students have to be at school by 7:30am) , most people will opt for something that they can grab and go. Common choices are 吐司too-shi (toast) , 蛋餅Dan-bing (egg omelette?) or 三明治San-Ming-gi (sandwich) . Because the traditional staple food of Taiwan is rice, these are considered "western food", but it surely has evolved from when it first came to Taiwan. One can make these at home themselves, but why do that when you have 早餐店 just round the corner? Because these breakfast shops are very affordable and convenient, offering a huge range of choices, some people will go there for lunch or snacks too, kind of like the " all day brunch " idea .
 I, for one, would never have noodles, rice or soup for breakfast, because I'm fixated on the idea of havin something "light", but the 鐵板麵tieh-ban-mien (grilled noodles) from breakfast shops are my only exception. They usually come in black pepper or mushroom sauce flavour, both of which I love, and they don't have any other topping, which works great for me, since I eat in small portions. They are the only thing that I am willing to eat for both breakfast or lunch.
Below is a photo of my lunch today, it's a 鐵板麵set, with the basic noodle and extra egg and pork meat, also a complimentary soy drink. This set is NTD70,which is about USD2, and makes a decent meal for me.
So, please tell me if you think this looks good!  If it doesn't then it's probably because of the bad photo , since I write my blog on my phone :p I would also like to know what you typically eat for breakfast!

2013年9月22日 星期日

Cram schools- where they cram children into the school

補: 補充supplimentary 補強reinforce 
習: 學習learning 複習reviewing

補習is a word that every student in Taiwan needs to know. As you may have guessed from my word-breakdown, the term means something similar to after school tuition classes, but 補習 usually refers to large or medium scale classes instead of one-on-one lessons. 補習 can be a noun or a verb, and the place we go to 補習 is called 補習班bu-shee-ban. Because this is a large part of our education culture, someone cunningly translated the term into English as "cram school". (I suspect we only have this translation because we need it for our English journals) "Cram" refers to how these schools' main purpose is to cram "knowledge" into the students' heads to prepare them for tests. It might sound inhumane or ridiculous, but it is a by-product of our test-driven educational system. I always assumed cram schools is a very Chinese thing, since Chinese people are known to value grades and school performance over everything, but talking to friends from Other countries, I realized that none of them have any idea what a cram school is, maybe it has different forms and names in different places? I would love to know if you have cram schools in your country!
I could write a whole essay on cram schools, but I'll just leave it at that for now, let me know if there is any particular aspect you are interested in.
I have been in cram school several times myself, for high school entrance exam, high school math and high school social studies ( I just can't memorize the dates and names in history!) currently I am in cram school for a very important exam I'll take next August, and it's one of the contributing factors of my not-so-active blog life, as it consumes much of my time. I understand that daily updates is life to a good blog, and it's all just a matter of time management, so hopefully I'll do a better job at that and update more frequently! I already have a lot of blog ideas lined up :)

This is Lenny, reporting from Taiwan.

My cram school student Card

Hello, I'm Lenny from Taiwan

My name is Lenny, and I am from Taiwan.

Taiwan is a small island off the coast of China, and we have been caught up in a sovereignty dispute with China since forever. I love Taiwan, it is my country and home, but it can be discouraging sometimes when I introduce my loved land. When I talk about Taiwan, there are several kinds of reactions:
1. Tai-what?
2. Oh I know Thailand! I love Thai food!
3. It's a country? I thought it's part of China.
4. So you are from Taiwan, what is your stance on the issue of indenpence of the Taiwanese people?
5. I love Taiwan! I heard they have great night markets and all the people are very friendly!

Reactions 1 through 4 are not very encouraging to me, 
first, even when we are living a global village in this time, there are still a lot of people who've never heard of Taiwan; second, as much as I love Thai food and even considering long staying in Thailand, Thailand is not to be confused with Taiwan, as both are countries beautiful in their distinct way; third, for those who have heard of Taiwan, they assume it's part of China(PRC) because that's what China has been telling the world, but it's not true, we have our own government and president, and the PRC government does not have actual sovereignty over the island ; fourth, while I am glad that some are paying close attention to our situation in the international playground, and I do think that politics matter, can't we just leave that aside for a second and talk about the wonderful food and people of Taiwan?

As a born and proud Taiwanese girl, I hope to educate more people about my land in a fun and relaxed manner. In this blog, I hope to introduce to the non-Taiwanese audience the many wonders and attractions of Taiwan. I have grown up in a typical Taiwanese family with a typical Taiwanese educational background, but I have also been exposed to an western culture and education setting before, so I feel I can have a more critical and unbiased view on Taiwan. However, all my posts will be personal observations, not scientific surveys and experiments, so I cannot say they will be absolute and precise. Also, my English skills might not be up to par with the internet world, so please correct me if I made any major grammatical or content mistakes and let the minor ones slip ;p (I am very new to the internet lingo, I didn't even know what swatches are before I started this blog!)
This is not a travel blog, so feel free to ask me anything about Taiwan, or provide me with blog ideas, and I might make a post some day! 

This is Lenny, reporting from Taiwan.

(I don't like image-free blog posts because they just don't feel complete. That and also to put a face to this blog, I attached a photo of myself "acting cute", which is so Taiwanese haha.)