Category Archives: Taiwan

Typhoon Morakot

Alton Thompson has a post on Typhoon Morakot disaster relief information. I highly recommend anyone looking for information on how to help to check out this post.

Typhoon Morakot has really hammered Taiwan and at least one entire village appears to have been completely submerged in mud. Apparently the response has been slow so far.

I experienced low-grade Typhoon Kalmaegi last summer in Taiwan and it was an awesome sight – here’s a photo (best viewed large to get an idea of how much water is coming down). Whole fields and neighborhoods were flooded and people were using boats to get around, rivers were swollen beyond their banks, and there were cars stuck in water everywhere. I rode the high speed rail during the tail end of the storm and got a good look of everything from Kaohsiung to Taoyuan, and it looked like the flooding was nearly complete for the entire distance of the trip! For this past typhoon, it was the most precipitation they had in 50 years, and parts of Taiwan received an entire year’s worth of rainfall in two days. It rains a lot in Taiwan already, so imagine all the rain in a semi-tropical Pacific island location just dumping over the course of 48 hours. It’s hard to imagine how much worse this one was compared to the little sprinkle I experienced last year. Might as well put the place underneath a waterfall. I hope the affected areas can recover quickly…

Obama congratulates Taiwan’s incoming leader

Michael Turton posts on the letter Obama writes to Ma congratulating him on the inauguration. There is wording in this letter that has some interesting insight into this candidate’s perspective on Taiwan’s political situation.

Many I’ve discussed this with see the wording as being positive for Taiwan’s position, and it shows a clearly high level of knowledge of the intricate details of the Taiwan/China/US relationship. If nothing else, it demonstrates a sense of proactive diplomatic leadership. It is also unclear so far if either McCain nor Clinton have acknowledged Ma’s inauguration at all.

Gluten-Free Bao Wan Recipe

Bao wan are these killer little dumplings that I love to have whenver we go to Taiwan. I haven’t had these since the celiac diagnosis, but Yingwen and one of our friends came up with this recipe and they are delicious. Here is the recipe.

bao wan

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 7 cups cold water
  • 12 oz. potato startch
  • 1 lb. chopped, minced, or ground chicken or pork
  • gluten-free soy sauce (black bean soy sauce or wheat-free tamari both work fine)
  • 1 cup rice wine
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 to 6 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped bamboo shoots
  • 1/2 cup Shittake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • white pepper to taste
  • chili sauce to taste
  • cooking oil

Equipment:

  • large pot (for boiling)
  • wok
  • large steamer
  • mixing bowl
  • 12 small bowls approximately 3″ to 4″ in diameter (small rice bowls work great)

Skin: Combine rice flour and water and bring to boil. Let cool until the mixture appears sticky. Mix in potato starch and set aside.

Filling: Combine meat, rice wine, sugar, garlic, bamboo, mushrooms, soy sauce, and rice wine in a mixing bowl and stir fry. Set aside.

Use cooking oil to grease the inside of the rice bowls. Using the rice bowls, wrap the filling inside the skins so that no filling is sticking out. Each bowl should be filled to the top.

bao wan in the steamer

Place the bowls in the steamer and steam them for 28 minutes. Let cool, cover with plastic wrap, and then refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours. Bao wan should then be fairly firm to touch.

Reheat them in a microwave or steamer, cover with chili sauce, white pepper, and cilantro to taste, and enjoy!

Mandarin version:

米粉1杯加7杯水,攪拌一起煮,煮到成糨糊狀,等冷卻( 我都拿到後院涼較快)
米粉冷卻後,加入片栗粉(potato starch, not sweet potato starch) 12 oz, 一起攪拌
現在肉圓皮有了.可以炒內餡
內餡材料有;
雞胸切丁塊,罐頭筍. 香菇, 加醬油,酒, 蒜頭,白胡椒。不用炒熟(因要蒸29-30 分)
準備12小碗,碗要油抹過, 先層皮,中間內餡加入,在層皮
蒸29-30 分
之後加甜辣醬,好吃.

這個食譜對我這種料理白癡來說,實在太easy 了

Rice Has Sharp Words

Where the word “sharp” means being a purely hypocritical tool:

Rice Has Sharp Words for Taiwan, as Gates Does for China

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued an unusually sharp rebuke to Taiwan, pointedly calling its planned referendum on United Nations membership “provocative.”

So a referendum on calling Taiwan what it is and requesting due recognition from the world community is provocative – hmmm… So then what do you call the hundreds of missiles in China pointed at Taiwan? Can we call that provocative too? How about threatening? Unnecessary? Intimidating?

During a State Department news conference, Ms. Rice said: “We think that Taiwan’s referendum to apply to the United Nations under the name ‘Taiwan’ is a provocative policy. It unnecessarily raises tensions in the Taiwan Strait and it promises no real benefits for the people of Taiwan on the international stage.”

Where being recognized diplomatically as a country is seen as a bad thing, rather than languishing in limbo due to the ludicrous machinations by the gigantic political entities that your island is subject to and having to deal with the difficulties resulting thereof, such as indirect travel issues, WHO membership, participating in the Olympics, oh and that ever-persistent threat of aggression from China. I’m sure some British monarchs were saying the same thing about us back in 1776: “They don’t need that silly democracy! Independence? That is for fools!” Is it not ironic that a nation so supposedly devoted to the ideals of freedom and democracy has completely lost all trace of its foundations when it comes to this issue?

I’m sorry- I’m re-reading that last quote and can’t help but laugh: “We think that Taiwan’s referendum to apply to the United Nations under the name ‘Taiwan’ is a provocative policy.” Does that not just bleed irony? Calling Taiwan “Taiwan” is now considered harmful. Rolling. On. The. Floor. Laughing.

Chinese Pattern

Temple Rooftop, Taipei County, TaiwanI love reading Michael Turton’s blog, and I admire both the volume and the quality of his posts on Taiwan and the jostling of this wonderful little place between the political whims of two giants, China and the USA.

In response to the Kitty Hawk debacle, he posts something about a pattern emerging from China which I’d just like to quote here:

Anyone who has observed China’s relations with the outside world for any length of time has seen this pattern again and again. In the midst of negotiations with the Vatican, it consecrates two bishops for the state Church. In the midst of negotiations over the Torch coming to Taiwan, it denies a visa to the representative of the city of Kaohsiung to discuss games held there in 2009. Arriving in India for negotiations, its ambassador announces a whole Indian state is part of China. Some months back the Chinese government shut down an expat magazine in China that was widely considered the most sympathetic and supportive expat rag in the nation. China gets the Olympics, and crackdowns on the internet, and journalists intensify, while state security arrests double. Catch the pattern?

Is anyone in charge over there? Seriousy – why are we even bothering with these people anymore?

I just saw that Japan has now refused Chinese access to tour an an advanced combat ship.