Favorite Taiwanese Dishes

Although our IELP students come from all over the world, food unites us all. We all enjoy  tasting new dishes and learning about the favorite foods of our friends and family. Last week, we spoke to Ting-Wei and Jo-Tzu, Taiwanese STEP students who both love Taiwanese food. Ting-Wei’s family even owns a traditional restaurant in Taiwan! To learn more about their favorite dishes, continue reading below:

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Lu Rou Fan (Braised Pork Rice, 滷肉饭)

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When asked what their favorite Taiwanese dish was, Ting-Wei and Jo-Tzu immediately named braised pork rice. This dish is an important icon of Taiwanese folk life, and is consumed all around Taiwan. However, different areas have slight variations in their dish, such Southern Taiwan using pork with less fat, and Northern Taiwan favoring a greasier version, sometimes with sticky rice mixed in.

Oil Rice (Youfan, 油飯)

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Jo-Tzu loves youfan, or Taiwanese “oil” rice. She told us she has fond memories associated with this dish because it is traditionally served to celebrate the birth of a child. However, you can find this dish at New Year’s meals, temple celebrations, and all around Taiwan! You can even order some at the Taichung train station (pictured below), if you are hungry while traveling. Although most variations include rice, pork, and oil, there are differences in the dish depending on the area and the family cooking it.

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Stinky Tofu (Chòudòufu, 臭豆腐)

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Ting-Wei told us stinky tofu is a traditional dish available throughout Taiwan through stands that sell stinky tofu to locals and tourists (pictured below). According to folk stories, stinky tofu was invented by accident during the Qing dynasty by a man named Wang Zhi-He. Today, stinky tofu is often fried and served with sauce and sour pickled vegetables. Barbecued stinky tofu, where the tofu is cooked with meat sauce, is recommended to people trying stinky tofu for the first time, and is thought to have been invented in Taipei’s Shenkeng District.

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Beef Noodle Soup (牛肉麵)

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Beef noodle soup is a favorite of Ting-Wei, Jo-Tzu, and IELP staff. This classic dish usually uses brisket or shank only, although some restaurants offer a more expensive version with meat and tendon. Although beef noodle soup is common in both China and Taiwan, it is considered a national dish in Taiwan. It is so loved in Taiwan that Taipei holds a Beef Noodle Festival every year, where various chefs and restaurants compete for the “Best Beef Noodle in Taiwan” award.

Tánghúlu (糖葫芦)

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Jo-Tzu’s favorite dessert is a traditional Chinese dessert that is loved throughout Taiwan. Jo-Tzu even said that she found tánghúlu at the Seattle International District-Chinatown Night Market! This snack is usually made with red or yellow hawthorn berries dipped in sugar hard candy. Although hawthorn berries are traditional, other kinds of berries and nuts are sometimes skewered and dipped in the candy. The tangy taste of hawthorn berries go well with the sweet candy coating, which is probably why this food has been loved in China and Taiwan for over 800 years.

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After the interview, we asked Seattle locals about their favorite Taiwanese restaurant in the Seattle area. If you are in Seattle and would like to try Taiwanese food, or you are from Taiwan and missing food from home, check out these places:

  1. Looking for Chai Taiwanese Kitchen
  2. Facing East
  3. Din Tai Fung
  4. Dough Zone Dumpling House (Chinese, Sichuanese, and Taiwanese food)

Thank you to Ting-Wei and Jo-Tzu for telling us about their favorite dishes! This post and our conversations with students don’t even scratch the surface of Taiwan’s culinary history. We encourage you to explore different cultures, foods, and restaurants in Seattle, and to find your own favorite dishes!

 

Photo Credits: Business Insider, Bear Naked Food, i.epoch.times.com, Smart Traveler, Wikipedia, Eater

Seattle Spotlight: Art Walks

While our Calendar of Events is a great place to find events and activities all year long, some popular Seattle events require additional explanation. As Seattle weather becomes cooler and Autumn quarter begins, there are many opportunities for students to explore all that Seattle offers.

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In 1981, Seattle art dealers printed handout maps and painted footsteps in front of their galleries to attract residents and tourists. With this, the first Art Walk in the United States was born. Art walks are community events where local artists and art dealers display their art to the public, who can view it for free. These events, which typically happen every month, are important occasions to encourage community engagement and appreciation of the arts.

  1. Fremont Art Walk

    Every first Friday from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Located at Fremont Ave. N. and N. 35th St.

    fremont-art-walk-300x210The Fremont Art Walk brings Fremont shops, galleries, and restaurants together to celebrate creativity. You can experience many forms of art – from oil paintings to musical performances – while you walk through the famous Fremont neighborhood.

  2. First Thursday Seattle Art Walk

    Every first Thursday from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Located at 102 First Ave.

    seattle-first-thursday-art-walkPioneer Square has over 35 art venues to visit for free on the first Thursday of every month, and many restaurants to grab a bite to eat. In addition, Pioneer Square’s Occidental Square contains a number of sculptures for visitors to enjoy any day of the month.

  3. West Seattle Art Walk

    Every second Thursday from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Located at California Ave. S.W. and S.W. Alaska St.

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    Local artists, galleries, and businesses come together on the second Thursday of each month in West Seattle to display and sell art. Here, you can view beautiful pottery from Washington artists and listen to local musicians.

  4. BLITZ Capitol Hill Art Walk

    Every second Thursday from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Located at Broadway and E. Pike St.

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Visit one of Seattle’s most famous neighborhoods and enjoy various mediums of art and artistic performances. Capitol Hill Art Walk features theater groups, art by prolific Seattle artists, and access to a variety of restaurants and coffee shops.

Seattle is an artistic city with a strong sense of community, and Seattle Art Walks are a fantastic way to explore Seattle neighborhoods, interact with locals, and enjoy work by talented individuals. You can learn more and access a list of all neighborhood arts walks here, and find more Seattle events using our Calendar of Events.

Photo Credits: Rich Schleifer, FIUTS, Seattle Artists, West Seattle Art Walk, Capitol Hill Art Walk

Celebrate 4th of July this Summer!

Independence Day is one of the biggest American holidays during the summer. Traditional activities include having a BBQ, eating apple pie, watching fireworks, and wearing red white and blue. Even if you don’t identify as American, it’s a fun and easy holiday to celebrate, and there are so many ways to get involved around Seattle! Here are some of the many activities going on in Seattle this July 4th.

1.Seafair Summer Fourth

This free, family-friendly fair takes place at Gasworks Park, only about a 20 minute walk from West campus! There will be food vendors, live entertainment, and “All-American games” such as pie-eating contests and sack-races during the day, with a spectacular firework show after the sun sets over Lake Union.

Event Website: http://www.seafair.com/events/2017/seafair-summer-4th

Credit: seafair.com

2. Family Fourth of July, Seatac 

This festival takes place all day at Angle Lake Park and features a free water spray park with spray nozzles for children to run through, carnival rides and bouncers, and a fantastic firework show at night.

For more Info: http://www.ci.seatac.wa.us/government/city-departments/parks-community-programs-services/special-events/family-fourth-of-july

3. Burien’s Fourth of July Parade

This parade is one of the oldest and most highly attended in King County! Beginning at 3pm and running for about 2 hours, this parade features floats, pirates, marching bands, and so much more! For more information on how to get involved, visit their website:

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4. Kent Fourth of July Splash

This unique festival features traditional American games from noon-5pm such as pie-eating contests and T-Bird puck and shoot. Kent also provides free shuttle transportation and parking close to Lake Meridian, and of course, no Fourth of July would be complete without a fireworks finale!

Event website: http://www.kentwa.gov/residents/parks-recreation-and-community-services/events/fourth-of-july-splash

Holidays in April and How You Can Get Involved

We hope that you have been enjoying your courses and life so far at UW and in Seattle. As you are more introduced to American cultures during your study at UW, we want to introduce some April holidays and tell you how you can get involved!

1. EASTER

Date: Sunday, April 16, 2017.

WHAT IS IT? Easter starts as a Christian holiday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It is also now celebrated around the world to welcome the spring. The celebration always involves different activities with Easter bunny, Easter eggs, and other Springtime creatures and themes.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED?

  • “Beat the Bunny 5K Run & Walk” with your friends on Saturday, April 8th, 10am at Redmond Central Connector Park. Adults who are 15 or older need to pay $20
  • “2017 Bunny Party” on Saturday, April 8th, 11am to 6pm at Ugly Baby and La Ru (1430 Western Ave, Seattle). This is an egg hunt activity down Western Avenue. You can participate in sidewalk art, color pages, and pet bunnies. Cost: $5 to $10.easter-e1427190346683

2. EARTH DAY

Date: Saturday, April 22, 2017

WHAT IS IT? Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection. In 1968, Morton Hilbert and the U.S. Public Health Services organized an environmental conference for students to hear from scientists about the effects of environmental degradation on human health. This was the beginning of Earth Day.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED? 

  • “RainWise 101 Workshop” on April 17, 2017 at 6-7:30pm at Montlake Library, 2401 24th Ave E, Seattle WA 98112. At this free workshop, you will learn about applying for a rebate from Seattle Public Utilities and King County for up to 100 percent of the cost of your rain garden or cistern.
  • “Wild and Scenic Film Festival” on April 20, 2017 at 5:30pm at 511 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA. You can enjoy multiple film sessions, happy hour, and a drawing activity at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, featuring environmental and adventure films (Cost is $30). 
  • You can find more interesting activities here

3. ARBOR DAY

Date: Friday, April 28, 2017

WHAT IS IT? Arbor Day is a holiday in which people are encouraged to plant and care for trees. Lots of countries around the world are celebrating this holiday to educate about the importance of trees.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED 

  • Plant a tree!!! You can go on Seattle.gov for instructions on how to start planting a tree.

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Besides these well-known April holidays, there are some “weird” and interesting holidays.

4. National Siblings Day 

Date: Monday, April 10, 2017

WHAT IS IT? It is a holiday recognized annually in some parts of the United States to honor the relationship of siblings.

5. Blah Blah Blah Day 

Date: Monday, April 17, 2017

WHAT IS IT? It is a day to do all the things everyone has been nagging you about!

For the complete April holiday calendar, check it out here. This calendar also includes some holidays in other countries.

Cover Photo: Credit to Dennis Wise.

April Events You Don’t Want to Miss

As a student living in Seattle, you never want to miss the most beautiful season of the year: the spring. You can go hiking in the national park, see the cherry blossoms on campus, and have a picnic with your friends at Gas Works Park. In addition, there are lots of interesting events and activities happening around Seattle in April with thousands of people participating. Let’s see what is happening in April and be part of the community!

1. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Time: April 1-30, 2017

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival was inaugurated in 1984 by the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce to attract more visitors to see the tulips in Skagit Valley. Today, the festival is composed of a variety of fun events including art shows, gala celebrations, concerts, tours of local shellfish, and cheese operations etc. Two major events during this period are Downtown Mount Vermon Street Fair and the Kiwainis Salmon Barbecue.  The tulips will bloom depending on their own schedule during the festival. Don’t worry if you can’t make it on the weekend when the tulips started blooming!

 

2. Seattle Restaurant Week

Time: April 2-6 and 9-13, 2017

Seattle Restaurant Week is a ten-day celebration of food in King County that always takes place in April and October. The dining celebration features over 165 restaurants in King County. All the participating restaurants will offer a three-course dinner for $32 (some restaurants even offer $18 deal) with an appetizer, entrée, and dessert with at least three options under each course. It is absolutely a great opportunity to have some awesome Seattle food!

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Seattle Restaurant Week, The Seattle Times

 

3. National Park Week

Time: April 15-16, and 22-23, 2017

National Park Week is America’s largest celebration of national heritage. As you have read from our previous posts, Washington State has lots of resources of national parks. So why don’t you take the advantage of the resources you have, discover and make connections with the nature? During these days, all National Park Services that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone. The fee waiver will include entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees.

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Credit to Pinterest

 

4. Seattle Cheery Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival

Time: April 21-23, 2017

The Festival first started when Japan’s former Prime Minister, Takeo Miki, sent 1,000 cherry trees to Seattle on May 8, 1976 in commemoration of the long friendship between people of Japan and Washing State. The Festival is free with beautiful sakura, cherry tree, and traditional Japanese music and dances.

 

5. National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) 

Time: April 27-30, 2017

NFFTY is the world’s largest film festival for emerging directors. It is the premier showcase for young directors who are 24 and younger from all over the world to express their voices and their understanding of the world. The festival includes film screenings, filmmaking workshops, panels, concerts, and a gala opening night.

 

There are lots of events going on our campus as well. Make sure to check out our Campus Calendar regularly to keep updated about what is going on in our school! Go Huskies!

A Guide to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula

by Molly FitzMorris, IELP Student Coordinator

 

Did you know that there’s a huge beautiful rainforest just a few hours from Seattle?  The Olympic Peninsula, just west of the Puget Sound, is home to Olympic National Park and the Olympic Mountains.  It is also home to emerald moss-covered trees, rivers, lakes, and stunning waterfalls.  The Olympic Peninsula is one of my favorite places on Earth, and a spring weekend is the perfect time for a visit.  Below I’ll give you some tips and places to see should you decide to go.

 

My must-see spots on the Olympic Peninsula:

Below are my absolute favorite places on the Olympic Peninsula.  If you plan carefully and spend one night in a town like Sequim or Port Angeles, you can leave Seattle Saturday morning, see all five spots below, and be back in Seattle Sunday night!

 

  1. Lake Crescent

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East Beach, Lake Crescent, March 2017, photographed by Molly FitzMorris

 

Lake Crescent is a glacial lake, near the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula.  When the water is still, it reflects the mountains that surround it.  If the weather is warm, you can swim or rent a boat to explore the lake, and on cooler days, you can hike nearby.  Check out the National Park Service’s website for more information.

 

  1. Hurricane Ridge

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Hurricane Ridge, photo courtesy of the National Park Service

 

Hurricane Ridge is nestled in the Olympic Mountain range.  You can drive about 17 miles from the town of Port Angeles up into the mountains to find the view pictured above (on a clear day, anyway).  You can look at the Hurricane Ridge webcam to see if the mountains are visible before driving up.  Be aware that you’ll need to pay to access Hurricane Ridge ($25 for a one-week pass, or $50 for a pass good for one year), and you’ll need to carry tire chains in your car if the road is snowy.  Check out the National Park Service’s website for more information.

 

  1. Cape Flattery

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Cape Flattery, February 2017, photographed by Molly FitzMorris

 

Cape Flattery is the northwesternmost point in the 48 contiguous United States.  When visiting Cape Flattery, you can take a short, easy hike through a beautiful forest to several lookouts like the one shown above.  (I also highly recommend the nearby Makah Cultural and Research Center, a museum created by and about a local Native American tribe.  You can find more information about that here.)

 

 

  1. Lake Ozette

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Cape Alava and Tskawahyah Island, near Lake Ozette, February 2016, photographed by Molly FitzMorris

 

While Lake Ozette is undoubtedly beautiful, what I enjoyed most about this area was the Ozette Triangle Trail.  This hike takes you a few miles, from Lake Ozette through a stunning rainforest to a gorgeous Pacific Ocean beach.  Once you reach the beach, you can see Tskawahyah Island, pictured above, and some magnificent ocean stacks.  Check out the Washington Trails Association’s website for more information about this hike.

 

 

  1. Sol Duc Falls

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Sol Duc Falls, October 2014, photographed by Molly FitzMorris

 

Sol Duc Falls is one of my favorite waterfall hikes, and it’s not far from Lake Crescent!  You can drive a few miles from Highway 101 down Sol Duc Road to the trailhead.  From there, it’s a short and easy hike to the waterfall.  Unlike a lot of waterfall hikes, this hike takes you across the Sol Duc River, so you can view the waterfall from above, instead of from below.  Check out the National Park Service’s website for more information.

 

Other great spots:

  • Marymere Falls (info)

  • Hoh Rainforest (info)

  • Dungeness Spit (info)

  • Ruby Beach (info)

 

Be sure to check out all the relevant websites before going to the spots listed above, as sometimes roads can be unexpectedly closed or there might be a fee for parking or to visit certain spots.  Also, don’t forget to pack a rain jacket with a hood and comfortable waterproof shoes; it is usually very wet and rainy on the Peninsula!  Enjoy your trip to this nearby paradise, and take lots of pictures!

Top 5 Spring Break Activities

Spring break is coming! Time to pack your suitcase and go on a short journey with your friends around Seattle!

Don’t know where to go? No worries. We have listed top 5 spring break activities for you. Let’s check them out!

1. Visit one of Washington’s three National Parks!  

Washington State is well known for its three beautiful national parks: Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Mount Rainier National Park. You can go boating, fishing, camping, hiking, tidepooling, climbing, and see various wild animals in these parks. If you are a wilderness explorer, definitely check it out!

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Olympic National Park, Credit to RootsRated, Marmot

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North Cascades National Park, PHOTOGRAPH BY GREG VAUGHN, National Geographic 

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Mount Rainier National Park

2. Visit San Juan Island! 

San Juan Island is the second-largest and most populous island of the San Juan Islands. Originally served as the seasonal fishing island by Native Americans and local people, San Juan Island is now a popular tourist site. People usually visit San Juan Island for whale watching, kayaking, cycling, fishing, hiking, and enjoying local seafood.

3. Take the ferry to Victoria, British Columbia!

Victoria is internationally renowned as the “City of Gardens”. It is also the capital city of British Columbia in Canada. You can find heritage architecture, outdoor adventures, beautiful gardens, and local seasonal events in Victoria. And it is very convenient to take the 2.5-3 hour ferry between downtown Seattle and Victoria’s Inner Harbor.

4. Take a train down to Portland or up to Vancouver

If you can’t drive to Portland or Vancouver, it is a great idea to take the train: Amtrak Cascades. Amtrak Cascades connects Vancouver, British Columbia, Seattle, Portland and Eugene, Oregon. You can also see Mount St. Helens and the Columbia River Gorge during your trip. You will get a chance to see some of the best city views and natural attractions on your way.

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Amtrak Cascades, Credit to Dealmoon

5. Have some fun in Leavenworth!

Leavenworth is a city in Chelan County, WA. The entire town center is modeled on a Bavarian village. It is a good place to relax and enjoy some local food.

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Leavenworth, Credit to Pinterest

Have fun during spring break!

Tours in Seattle

In Seattle there are many ways to experience the rich culture and history behind many of our neighborhoods and sites. One way to do this is by tours. Tours are a fun way to learn more about a city, visit place you may have never noticed before, and have an opportunity to ask questions!

Below are some fun tours in Seattle, click on the title to learn more!

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Pike Place Market

Seattle Free Walking Tours

Tours in large cities like Seattle can be very expensive. Seattle Free Walking Tours does not charge a fee and a tip, instead they ask you to “pay what you feel”. This means that you can pay as little or as much as you’d like.

This company offers two tours:

  1. Market Experience Tour
  2. Seattle 101

The Market Tour focuses on Pike Place Market while Seattle 101 focuses on downtown Seattle, Pioneer Square, and the waterfront. The Market Tour is a little over an hour long, and the Seattle 101 tour is about 2 hours long.

Washington Arboretum Tours

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IELP students on a tour at the arboretum

On Sundays at 1PM you can stop by the Graham Visitors Center to go on a tour at the Washington Arboretum! You can learn about plants, ask questions, and enjoy the park!

On the first Thursday of the month you can stop by the Graham Visitors Center at 11AM to go on a Tram Tour! However you do need to register online.

Both of these tours are free. See here to learn more!

Click here to read about when IELP students when to the arboretum!

Olympic Sculpture Park Tour

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The Olympic Sculpture Park

The Olympic Sculpture Park, an outdoor exhibit, is a great place to enjoy the weather and see some cool sculptures! The tour lasts about an hour and you can learn all about the history, landscape, and of course, the sculptures themselves!

Check out the calendar here for more specific dates and times!

Theo Chocolate Factory Tour

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IELP students and volunteers enjoying the free samples at Theo Chocolate

You can take a peek inside the factory of Seattle’s very own chocolate maker: Theo Chocolate! A typical tour is $10 per person, lasts about an hour, and includes chocolate sampling!

They also have fun events such as “Kids Ganache and Chocolate Bark Class” where you spend the day learning how to make chocolate ganache and bark. See here for more information.

On the first Thursday of the month starting August 2016 Theo Chocolate will begin offering 2 free tours that day. Make your reservations in advance!

You can book a tour here.

 

Underground Tour

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Here you can see glimpses of Seattle’s past

In 1889 there was a large fire in Seattle. When officials began rebuilding the city they actually built it on top of some of the older, burnt sections of Seattle! Now there are many passageways and basements underneath the Seattle we know.

The Underground Tour takes people down to the area beneath Pioneer Square. Tickets are $20 for adults, or $17 with your husky card!

Visit here to learn more.

 

 

Visit “The Ave”

The Ave (although officially titled University Way) is a major street in University District. It has all sorts of places to eat and shop!

University Book Store

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The University Book Store has all sorts of University of Washington gear such as hats, clothing, water bottles etc. They also have a large number of textbooks for students and regular books! Be sure to check it out when you have time!

The University Book Store has locations in Seattle, Bellevue, Bothell, Tacoma, Mill Creek and in the HUB!

Visit their website here

Cafe Solstice

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While Starbucks is incredibly popular in Seattle there are many other cafes on the Ave to visit! Cafe Solstice is one of them. It is located right next to Shultzy’s a hot dog and burger place.

University District Farmers’ Market

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Open year round on Saturdays, the University District Farmers’ Market is a great way to get locally grown food! It is located on “the Ave” (University Way) and between 50th and 52nd street. Find out more about the U District Farmers’ Market and special events here!


Although not technically located on “The Ave” these places are some that you must visit!

Portage Bay Cafe

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Portage Bay Cafe is a super popular place to go for brunch. It has great, delicious food and a breakfast bar! Make sure to make a reservation before you go to make sure you won’t have to wait too long for a table.

Visit their website here

Guacano’s Tacos Pupuseria

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A pupusa is a traditional Salvadoran dish which is made from a corn tortilla with ingredients in the middle. This Salvadoran restaurant makes great food that is also affordable. Make sure to visit!

Visit their website here

 

Visit Fremont

Known also as the “Center of the Universe” Fremont is a quirky neighborhood with much to see!

According to legend, in 1991 Fremont was determined to be the Center of the Universe. Following this discovery the Center of the Universe Guidepost was erected and can now be found in Fremont! Make sure to check it out! Learn more here.

Make sure to visit:

Fremont Troll

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IELP Students visited the troll on a trip to Fremont

In 1989 a national competition took place to create something fun underneath the Aurora bridge. A design for a troll underneath the bridge won! Nowadays this is a fun place to visit, during Halloween a birthday party called “Troll-o-ween” is thrown for the Fremont Troll. Visit here for more information!

Other statues to visit are:

Lenin Statue: This statue was originally located in Poprad, Slovakia; however after the 1989 Revolution an American Veteran brought it back to Issaquah with him. Right behind the statue is a ice cream shop. Read more about the Lenin statue here.

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STEP Students visit the Lenin Statue

Waiting for the Interurban: This is an interactive sculpture. People will put shirts on the waiting figures and display “art attacks”. Read more here and learn the rules to participating in an “art attack” of your own.

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Waiting for the Interurban can often be found decorated

Fremont Sunday Market

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The Fremont Sunday Market is a great place to visit, rain or shine!

Both an indoor and an outdoor market, the Fremont Sunday Market is a great place to visit! You can find some great street food, vintage goods, art, and more!

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IELP students pose in front of the Fremont Sunday Market Sign

Theo Chocolate Factory

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IELP Students munch on samples at Theo Chocolate

Near the Fremont Sunday Market is Seattle’s local chocolate factory. You can even take a tour of the factory! Visit here to learn more about going on a tour. After the tour you can visit the store at 3400 Phinney Avenue North and try some free samples.