Thursday, March 24, 2011
This might surprise you, but night markets (which typically run from dusk until nearly midnight) are very different to morning markets. At the latter – which early-birds will find well worth visiting – housewives stock up on vegetables, fruit, meat and fish. Night markets sell very little in the way of fresh cooking ingredients. Instead, they're renowned for offering tasty snacks like squid-on-a-stick, oyster omelets, steamed sweetcorn, and something that resembles a donor kebab – but with pork rather than lamb, and a conventional bun instead of pita.
Here's another surprising fact: Even if the food doesn't tempt you at all, spending an hour or two exploring a night market still brings many a reward. Photographers will lap up the visual possibilities: Piles of gewgaws, racks of clothes, games to play, and people of all shapes and sizes...
This article appears in the March/April issue of Travel in Taiwan magazine. All of the links above go to photos on the flickr website.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Keeping Up With The War God
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Eleven members are civil servants; eight are outsiders. I'm not sure how often we'll be meeting.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Readers in the English-speaking world have long enjoyed translations of the cream of French, German and Russian literature. Only in the past few decades, however, have English-language editions of the best fiction written in Taiwan become available.
In the 1980s, Indiana University Press published translations of short-story collections by Huang Chun-ming and Kenneth Pai Hsien-yung as part of its Chinese Literature in Translation series. In 1998, Columbia University Press launched its Modern Chinese Literature in Taiwan series with Wang Chen-ho's “Rose, Rose I Love You,” a novel first published in Chinese in 1984.
Of the 18 titles in the series, with two more in the pipeline, the best-seller so far has been Chu Tien-wen's “Notes of a Desolate Man,” said Jennifer Crewe, CUP's editorial director.
Print runs are usually small, however, about 1,000 copies on average, said Crewe...Go here to read this article in its entirety. Researching this story was very satisfying on a personal level, opening doors to one aspect of Taiwan I had until this year neglected. The National Museum of Taiwan Literature is worth visiting, even if you cannot read any Chinese.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Many lowlanders have a vague idea of what aborigines eat and how they cook: A lot of meat, much of it got by hunting, roasted or barbecued; small fish and shrimp taken from mountain streams; and strange vegetables, quite different to those seen on the lowlands, all washed down with homemade liquor. Although these impressions are broadly correct, what indigenous people eat now on a day-to-day basis is quite different to the aboriginal diet of just a few decades ago.
Millet, yams, and taros used to be the main carbohydrates. But now, because good roads link the plains with the mountains, indigenous people eat just as much rice as their Han Chinese compatriots. At tribal festivals, however, millet-based dishes are still made and consumed...
The complete article appears in the March/April issue of Unity, the inflight magazine of UNI Air. Meatier articles of mine about indigenous food can be found here and here.