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

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

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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:

http://www.discoverburien.org/events/2017/07/04/

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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

My Experience in the IELP Classes

This blog post was written by Ziaulrahman Mushkalamzai, a Campus IEP student.

The IELP Program of University of Washington is very effective program designed for international students. There are many English programs in the world, but, I say, this is a very well organized program. As an international student at the IELP program from Afghanistan, I would like to share my experiences with my friends (all of you) who have plan to improve or learn English.

When I came to the U.S for the first time, I was very curious and always thinking “How can I improve my English? Is IELP an appropriate program for me?”. When we took the placement test and started our classes,  I felt from the first day of the class that I can learn English here. As expected, my first quarter was full of achievements. I learned English as I hoped. I really improved my grammar, listening, speaking and reading skills. The instructors were very helpful and supportive in all classes and they inspired me and my classmates to learn English. If someone received poor grades, the teacher would always come to him and ask, “What is the problem? Was my method of teaching not helpful?” The teachers said that they would change their method because they emphasized that their purpose is the understanding of students.

The other method that was extremely useful was that every Monday we had different group discussions with lecturers where we were discussing various issues. That was the benefit of different methods that caused us to learn many things in a short time period. In this quarter, I took writing and grammar, listening and speaking, and reading classes. In these classes, I saw the effective teaching methods of teachers and they were able to transfer their knowledge to the students very easily.

In my grammar class, the handouts were very helpful and our instructors described things clearly and simply. In addition, we also had practical lessons, in which we learned how to describe things. In the listening and speaking class, every day the teacher was dividing us into groups and we had free discussion for around five minutes.

In the reading class, one day we had the vocabulary quiz. The teacher took the quiz and corrected our errors. Next day at class time, suddenly our teacher said, today we have the same quiz as yesterday, and I would like to know how much you remember your errors that I corrected yesterday. We were surprised and some students scored lower grades than the previous day. It was an interesting experience.

My dear friends and brothers there are many benefits to learning English in the foreign countries particularly at the University of Washington- IELP program.I can’t describe these benefits in just two pages and I think my office- LESPA- made the right decision  to enroll me at the University of Washington for learning English language to prepare me for the law school. I would not have the same opportunity if they chose somewhere else. I strongly recommend this program to everyone who is looking to learn English effectively.