Tag Archives: Taiwan

Bubble Tea: A popular international sensation

bubble tea
A typical Bubble Tea

 

The world popular Bubble Tea was originated from Taiwan, the same place where Giant brand bicycles and Acer computers came from. Here’s a little fun fact about the sweet milk tea, how they invented this international favorite. 

The very first bubble tea was called “Boba milk tea.” (波霸奶茶). And it was invented in Taichung, Taiwan. By the time it made it to Taipei, I was an awkward young tween girl, walking by a vendor with a brightly colored poster.  I was blushed by its name, and refused to try it.

Boba Tea
The original Boba Tea was served in a big round glass

It was originally served in a big round glass, with the same milk tea and tapioca balls that sank to the bottom. It has to be served with milk already blended. Because, the whole image in the big round glass, containing milk with round pearls at the bottom, are like a woman’s breast– “Boba” is a Taiwanese slang for “big breasts.”

Boba Tea thereby was invented as a result of primitive admiration and obsession of the male population towards God given motherly feature of every woman’s body. The secret of the tea’s success could be the consumers’ experience of sipping Boba Tea, while the sweet tapioca balls flow through their tongue… You get the idea.

When Boba Tea was gaining popularity internationally, the marketers had to reinvent it into something less overtly sexual to some. Hence, instead of the round glass, they served it in a conventional cup and called it “Bubble Tea”–-the word “bubble” comes from the foam of a shaken tea, and it sounds like its original name.

Since my first sight of Boba Tea as a blushing tween in Taipei, I only resolved to have my very first cup as an adult living in the United States, sipping the same famously delicious drink in the name of Bubble Tea.

P.S. This entry was originally written as a response to a reader’s question “…Do you know how they came up with [bubble tea?]” commented at a recent blog by Ryan.Thoughts

Reference: Wikipedia

Our Favorite Winter Breakfast – Chicken Rice Soup

In my childhood memory, winter in Taipei was always gray and cold. Taiwan, sitting at Tropic of Cancer, never snowed. But, because it is a basin city, with humidity trapped within the surrounding hills, the chilly winter rain was always cold enough to pierce the bones. Everyone would get sick everyday, sniffles and sneezes everywhere…

This was the season when Mother always had a pot of chicken soup ready to serve at any time, especially for breakfast at 6:30 in the morning — Yes: The children in my family grew up having chicken soup for breakfast. 🙂 It warmed our soul, and it prepared us for the work/school day ahead. Especially for the tough city commute that sometimes had my head sandwiched between the standing people’s buttocks on a bus… Only in Taipei.

IMG_0412Ingredients to serve a party of 4 to 8: 

  • 8 chicken wings (approximately 2 lb.) Thawed. Can be substituted with 2 lb. of legs and/or thighs
  •  9 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  •  12 oz. Daikon cut to bite size chunks
  • 10-12 oz. Whole onion, chopped
  • 5 oz. Carrots, sliced
  • 4 oz. Celery Heart (approx. 3 stalks)
  • 2 oz. Ginger, 1/8” to 1/4” slices for flavoring
  • 1 cup scallion or cilantro, chopped
  • 8 cups of cooked rice

Preparing the chicken:
Boil 12 cups of water. Place the thawed chicken pieces into the boiling water. Bring back to boil and immediately remove from heat. Let stand in pot for 12 hours or overnight. Drain and gently rinse the chicken under running water. Pluck excess feather where necessary. Chicken is ready to use.

Note: The purpose of this prepping process is to remove excess chicken fat and blood, which results to a healthier, leaner and a more aesthetically pleasing ingredient. We recommend using the prepared chicken immediately or to refrigerate and use it within one day.

Making the Soup:
In a large pot, combine chicken with water, ginger, vinegar, onion, celery, carrots and daikon. With high heat, cover and bring to boil. Leaving the pot covered, simmer in low heat for another 15 minutes while skim excess oil from surface. Remove from heat and serve.

Serving Suggestions:
1 cup of cooked rice is the recommended serving size per person. To serve the soup, place one chicken piece in each rice filled bowl before scooping in other ingredients. Pour soup over rice. Garnish with scallions or cilantro and serve.

Note: The picture above shows 2 servings of the soup made with chicken wings and garnished with scallions.

Taiwan and its Cuisine

During Christmas party, a newly wed couple told me about their upcoming foodie adventure to experience soup dumplings in Chinatown. Besides giving them some of my recommendations, this topic has lit my creative fire… I went on to tell them about Taiwan, where I came from… I said,

“If you want good Chinese food, go to Taiwan… Once you are there, you could eat your way–north to south, top to bottom–no kidding! Because… ”

I then briefly told the history of Taiwan and why such a small island about the size of New Jersey has a variety of Chinese cuisine. Later, as I reminisce the conversation, I decided to write it down and craft it better, here:

Between 1895 and 1945, Taiwan was ruled by the Empirial Japan. The Japanese built infrastructure and economy in Taiwan, to setup foundation for its intended expansion plan. At the time, native Taiwanese were deemed as savages and slaves by the Japanese. They had to learn the Japanese culture and traditions in order to survive.

At the end of Sino-Japan War in 1945, Japan surrendered Taiwan to the ROC (The Republic of China,) ruled by the KMT Party (Kuo Ming Tang.) When the Communist Mao took over KMT-ruled China, KMT exiled and settled in Taiwan. The KMT people, composed of mostly educated and talented aristocrats from all over Mainland, brought with them their knowledge, culture and traditions. They set up businesses over the Japanese infrastructure; shops, restaurants, spawned all over Taiwan…

Today, Taiwan has become a great cultural hub, that incompasses a variety of Chinese cuisines, music, arts and crafts, with occasional Japanese flare. People there are friendly and welcoming. In my childhood memories, I always recall seeing one or two westerners walking down the streets of Taipei City, with smiles on their faces… Because we smile at them.

 

Here is my favorite Taiwan tourism video on YouTube: