Follow by Email

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lin Family Mansion and Garden

Lin Yin-Yin came to Taiwan from the Fujian province of China in 1778.  His son, Ping-Hou,  came with him and prospered as a rice & salt merchant and trader.  During the reign of Emperor Tao-Kuang there were clashes amongst various Chinese groups in Taiwan so Hou built a mansion with walls around it.  Hou's sons continued to prosper in the business and added more halls to the structure.  Eventually the property expanded to  a sprawling house with 5 courtyards.    The Lin family was the wealthiest family in Taiwan during the Qing dynasty.  

I loved this mansion.  It was built to house a family, not for hundreds of visitors to pass through.  The gardens have a sense of intimacy with small rooms scattered around for the women to enjoy needlework or the men to enjoy reading.  The layout of the rooms give an airy feeling despite the fact that the heat index was 120F on the day we visited.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Snapshots from a Street Market

I stumbled across this street market on my way to meet a few friends.  Sadly, I didn't have time to stop and poke around.  I always find the best places when I least expect them!

Threading on the street - Threading is a way to clean the skin of all hairs with a piece of thread.  

Traditional swallowtail architecture.  

Street barber shop

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Peking Duck

Peking Duck is considered a delicacy here in Taiwan.  The dish was developed during the Imperial era in Beijing.  Maddie and I joined our office for a special lunch to welcome a new officer.  The ladies were so excited!  It was a lot of fun to share this experience with them - and a Peking Duck meal is certainly an experience.

The duck has been raised for 65 days on a farm to fatten them up.  The meal must be ordered before hand to give plenty of time for preparation and to be slow cooked by hanging in an oven.  Ours was truly an authentic meal with the thin, crisp skin being the point of the dish and little meat served with it.
Duck with crispy skin on side
The meat is laid in a pancake (tortilla like) with cucumber and spring onion and a sweet bean sauce poured on top.  Roll it up and and it makes a tidy little sandwich.
Wrappers with cucumber & spring onion to wrap with duck
Duck soup
Although only a small amount of meat is served as the main meal, all the meat from the duck is used in a different dish.

Duck Salad
In addition to all the dishes with duck, platter after platter of other foods were brought to our table.   Honestly, this feast beat an American Thanksgiving!   

Seafood soup
Green beans
Tofu and hot peppers
papaya with passion fruit sauce
Bamboo shoot salad
Beef salad
Finely diced shrimp

Packing up left-overs in plastic bags  
An interesting cultural note is that food leftovers or takeaway from food stands are packed in clear plastic bags.  Fried rice, soup, sauces, anything at all are poured in and a knot is tied on top.