15 June 2011

A taste of Taiwan

I'd be lying if I said the past week or so hasn't been a little crazy for me...rushing around getting last things taken care of before heading out to Taiwan for the summer and then making the trans-Pacific journey.  I've been happy and excited through the whole process, but definitely not getting as much sleep as I would like (or just plain need) and having to let a few things slide.  oops.

Before leaving the States, I'd been meaning to clear out some of my pantry items before leaving.  Granted, sharing a kitchen with my parents means I don't have to worry about clearing everything out, but there are some ingredients I've collected that they wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.  I think it's mostly because they haven't the foggiest idea what to do with these ingredients, rather than an actual distaste for them.  (At least, most of the time!!)

One of these items was a box of almond agar.  Yay for easy-peasy Chinese desserts!  This was a great thing to mix up without any fuss, and it such a refreshing dessert on a hot summer day.

And now I'm in Taiwan, where you can get stuff like this all around.  Mochis, jellies, ices, fruits...they make a great combination and are so easy to put together.

So I've only been in Taiwan all of 48 hours, but already here are Some Things I Love About Taiwan:

1. I'm never cold (Santa Barbara "June gloom" bye-bye!  Here it's 30 C or so and humid.)
2. The amazing fruit (Went to the Rueifong Night Market(瑞豐夜市) on my first night here and had some wax apple (蓮/lián) and guava (芭樂/))
3.Scooters (I've already had a few rides...such a fun way to get around town!)
4. The light switches placed outside of the bathroom (often the whole room becomes the shower)
5. The drinks (any flavored water, milk, yogurt, or soda drink you can think of...)
6. People getting up at 5 am to go jogging or to practice Taichi in the parks (Thanks to jet lag, I got to go for a really nice jog this morning at a track just a block from my apartment before it got too hot.)
7. How you have to bring your own shopping bag to the grocery store (yes, I brought my German linen shopping bags along, anticipating this!)

So, want a little taste of Taiwan in your own kitchen?  It's easy!  You take a package of this...

...cook it up according to directions and divide among pretty serving bowls and let cool.  You'll get a really nice almond jello.  mmmm.

Then take a can of fruit cocktail, drain (and mix in some fresh fruits, if you like...I couldn't resist adding some gorgeous cherries we had in the house), and spoon over the cooled almond gelatin.  That's it!  Pretty, refreshing summer desserts don't get much easier.

You could even serve it with a scoop of shaved ice and drizzle condensed milk over...and add azuki beans and ice cream and and and....

Beat the heat this summer everyone, and try something cool, easy and refreshing like this!

Greetings from Taiwan,



Mei-Ting said...

aaaaaaahhh no fair! wax apples are like my all-time favorite fruit!!! (>_<) I could eat like 6 of those at one sitting. Lychee should be good too.... :)

Jonathan said...

Yay, to avoiding June Gloom, but I'm impressed that you're cool with the humidity (one of the BIG reasons that I left Asia was to get away from places where the humidity index is higher than the temperature in Fahrenheit)! Have fun in Taipei and enjoy the Night Markets, but watch out for CKSR (Chiang Kai Shek's Revenge...Taiwanese version of Montezuma's Revenge)! Even my SE Asian heritage and stomach wasn't enough to protect me...;/

sb said...

Love how in the more "exotic" climates the fruits are just unbelievable. I was amazed at all the fruits in Peru, things I had never seen or heard of. Glad you got there safely!

Katy said...

by the way, you can get those almond tofu packages here in America, too: Ranch 99~~~

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