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:


Lu Rou Fan (Braised Pork Rice, 滷肉饭)


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)


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.


Stinky Tofu (Chòudòufu, 臭豆腐)


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.


Beef Noodle Soup (牛肉麵)


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)


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.


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

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:


Image result for burien independence day parade

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

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!


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


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


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


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


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 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


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.


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.


Waiting for the Interurban can often be found decorated

Fremont Sunday Market


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!


IELP students pose in front of the Fremont Sunday Market Sign

Theo Chocolate Factory


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.

Taiwanese Food in Seattle

This blog post was written by Yu-Wei Chen, a Campus IEP student.

I believe that everyone embraces the excitement of first coming to Seattle, but after a few months, we all confront some level of homesickness for our country. Whether you are missing your family, your friends, or your culture, and the delicious foods near your house. I spent some time exploring Taiwanese restaurants in Seattle. I tried to find the flavors from my hometown. Even though it is not exactly like my hometown flavor, these are my recommendations if you want to try some Taiwanese foods in the Seattle area.

Bubble Tea

Bubble Tea

The most famous food/beverage from my country is bubble tea. Many of my friends like to drink bubble tea and it has become their favorite beverage.

I asked them about their favorite place, and found out that most good bubble tea shops in Seattle are near the University of Washington.

Sharetea UW (U District)

3510 Stone Way N Seattle, WA 98103

Yelp rank: 4.5(230 reviews)/price $

Tea Republik (U District)

4527 University Way NE Seattle, WA 98105

Yelp rank: 4.5(184 reviews) /price $

WOW Bubble Tea (U District)

4527 University Way NE Seattle, WA 98105

Yelp rank: 4.5(184 reviews) /price

Oasis Tea Zone (U District)

519 6th Ave S Seattle, WA 98104

Yelp rank: 3.5(519 reviews)/price $

Jewel Box Cafe (Northgate)

321 NE Thornton Pl、Seattle, WA 98125

Yelp rank: 4(506 reviews)/price $

As you can see, there are many bubble tea shops new UW and even more in the whole Seattle area. I hope you can find your favorite flavor in these shops.

Next, I will introduce some Chinese/Taiwanese restaurants.

Boiling Point (International District/Bellevue)

International district: 610 5th Ave. South Seattle, WA 98104

Bellevue: 1075 Bellevue Way NE. Bellevue, WA 98004

Yelp rank: 3.5(445 reviews)/price $$

Boiling Point

Boiling Point is a traditional Taiwanese style hot pot restaurant. It is a good idea to go there if the weather is cold. Remember that they only accept customers who show up in line and sign up on the list. There is no reservations in this restaurant. Boiling Point 2

Looking for Chai Tawianese Kitchen (Edmonds)

22511 WA-99 #100, Edmonds, WA 98026

Yelp rank: 4(137 reviews)/price $$

Looking for Chai

This is what it looks like outside

Chai Pork Buns

The best pork buns in Seattle?!

Chai Milk tea

The bubble tea here is pretty good and called “Cookie Milk Tea”

Facing East (Bellevue)

1075 Bellevue Way NE B2, Bellevue, WA 98004

Yelp rank: 4(1293 reviews)/price $$

Facing East

This is one of the best Taiwanese restaurant in the Greater Seattle area. It is close to Bellevue square so the location is pretty nice. The price is a little bit expensive, but I recommend that you try it at least one time when you live in Seattle.

Three Cup Chicken

Many people like their “Three Cup Chicken”

Facing East Braised Pork Hock

Braised Pork Hock is really nice!

Din Tai Fung (University Village/Bellevue)

University Village: 2621 NE 46th St

Bellevue: 700 Bellevue Way NE #280

Yelp rank: 4(1057 reviews)/price $$

Din Tai Fung

The most famous Taiwanese restaurant also has branch stores in the Seattle area. Din Tai Fung was awarded one Michelin star and has a good reputation all over the world. If you want to try Taiwanese food, Din Tai Fung can be your number one choice. Notice that this restaurant also doesn’t accept reservations, so go there early to enjoy the delicious Taiwanese meals.


Although there are lots of good Taiwanese restaurants in Seattle area that I haven’t introduced, I hope this brief introduction can intrigue your interest in Taiwanese cuisine.

IELP Activities

This blog post was written by Mohammed Alsagoor, a former Campus IEP student and IBEP student.

Coming to the IELP was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. When I first came to the IELP, I thought it would be just like any other English language institution, where students learn in a typical way. But what I have experienced here is different than what I thought. When I think about the IELP, the first thing that comes to my mind is how much I enjoyed my time during the IELP activities, where we visited many places around the Seattle area. It is an effective way to learn English, practicing what we learn in class in real life. We also have the opportunity to meet new friends and hang out together, not to mention the chance to meet and talk with native speakers, which is a very important step of developing language skills.

Zoo Mohammed

The Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo was one of the best places I went to with the IELP. As a hobbyist photographer I loved being in the zoo, where I found different kinds of animals. It is a very large zoo with a lot of animals. Exploring the zoo with my camera and my friends was such a wonderful experience.

Lunar New year Mohammed

The Chinese Lunar New Year Festival

The Chinese Lunar New Year festival in Seattle was a great opportunity to see some of the Chinese traditions.

SAM mohammed

The Seattle Asian Art Museum

Visiting museums couldn’t be more fun!

Mohai Mohammed

The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)

MOHAI (Museum of History & Industry) is one of the best museums in Seattle, learning and enjoying the time with friends at the museum was a fun, enriching experience. The museum has many different sections, such as the Native Americans section, the Great Seattle Fire section, and many others.

Being a student at the IELP was a great chapter of my journey in the United States, and I am really satisfied with what I have experienced in this program. Through my three quarters in UW I’ve learned so much and I’ve met many wonderful people from around the world.

The IELP is not just an English school; and you can quote me on that.


A Week in the Life of an IELP Student

This blog post was written by Kota Washimi, an IELP Student.

Break Time

IELP students spend every day with friends from different countries. We not only can improve our English skills, but also learn about various cultures, which makes our lives in IELP so exciting. Though it depends on people and their time schedule, we also enjoy chatting with friends during break time.

In the Class

Of course, all of the classes are so exciting. Teachers are great, and kind enough to answer students’ questions anytime. You will learn what you wanted to in any class.

Culture Night

On the weekend, many kinds of activities are held. You can join many of them for free, and you can enjoy practicing speaking as wells as enjoy beautiful views in Seattle. Moreover, you’ll get your language partner, with whom you talk with in English and your own language.

Notes from the Editor:

Here are some fun activities you can do!

– Join FIUTS

-Join us on IEP Activities! Visit our Facebook page for more information about activities

-Check out some RSO (Registered Student Organizations) at UW here



The Washington Park Arboretum

While taking advantage of the sunny weather, IELP students and volunteers visited the Washington Park Arboretum. This is a beautiful park where you can admire thousands of types of plants which come from 75 different countries! Visit their website here.


IELP Students on a tour through the park

The park is free with the exception of the Japanese Garden which has a small admission fee.


Some beautiful flowers you can see at the arboretum

IELP visited the arboretum when it was sunny outside, but the arboretum is beautiful no matter what sort of weather there is and no matter what season it is!


On Sundays you can get a tour of the park if you meet at the Graham Visitors Center at 1PM (except in December). This is a great opportunity to learn more about plants and the environment around us!

Check out their map here:


The Japanese Garden, located on the south end of the park, is a unique place to visit. There is an admission fee: $6 for adults (if you show your husky card you get a discount!) and FREE for kids 5 years and younger. There are tours of the garden beginning in the Spring every day at 12:30PM. Saturday and Sunday have tours starting at 2PM as well.


The Japanese Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum

Click here to read about more parks in Seattle that you can visit!

Visit Greenwood & Greenlake

Located right next to one another these neighborhoods have a bunch of fun activities to do! Be sure to walk along Greenwood Avenue to see all what Greenwood can offer. See below for some examples of what you can do in these neighborhoods!

Visit Greenwood Car Show


A sign for the Greenwood Car Show

Each year on the last Saturday of June, Greenwood hosts the Greenwood Car Show where classic and vintage cars are put on display and people can walk around admiring them while enjoying food from outdoor vendors such as elephant ears. This is an incredibly fun event that is mainly outside, so if it is rainy bring a raincoat!

Eat at Chocolati Cafe


Coffee and chocolates go well together

Chocolati Cafe is a great cafe to satisfy your chocolate cravings. A cafe with excellent atmosphere for enjoying your day or studying; this cafe offers several different types of truffles.

Visit Green Lake Park


Green Lake is a great place to spend your day

Located in Greenlake, Green Lake Park has a 2.8 mile path around the lake which is perfect for biking, running, or walking along. At the park you can play basketball, play tennis, soccer, or rent paddle boards! If it’s a sunny day why not have a picnic there?

Visit the Taproot Theatre


Taproot Theatre was founded in 1976

Each year the Taproot Theatre produces five plays, each play has a “what you can pay” performance: on those performance days starting at 12PM some tickets are available for only $10! Starting at 5PM ticket may only be purchased only in person, but you can “pay your own price”! Make sure to take advantage of these events (see here for dates).

Eat at Gorditos


The baby burritos are huge!

A Mexican food restaurant, Gorditos is known for their “baby burritos” that is a burrito the size of a baby! You can check out their menu here. They offer both vegan and vegetarian meals so make sure to pay them a visit!


Visit Seattle Center

In 1962 the World Fair came to Seattle. Many fun and spectacular landmarks were created and still remain to this day. As a result Seattle Center has all sorts of fun places to visit.

See below for a list of suggestions on what to do in Seattle Center.

Visit the Space Needle


You can see a great view of the mountains from the observation deck!

Built in 1962 for the World Fair, the Space Needle is now an iconic landmark in the Seattle skyline. It is one of the tallest structures on the west side of the Mississippi River! The observation tower, which can be reached by elevator, is 520ft (160 meters) above ground! Interested in visiting? Check out the website here.

Visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass


Chihuly Garden and Glass is a lovely museum

When buying tickets to the Space Needle you can buy tickets for this museum at the same time, saving money! This museum has many beautiful glass sculptures created by Dale Chihuly who is a native Washingtonian!

This museum is located near the Space Needle. It is open from:

Sundays-Thursdays: 10AM-7PM

Fridays-Saturdays: 10AM-8PM

Tickets are:


Youth (5-12 years): $15

Children 4 or younger are free!

Visit the EMP


The building is made up of over 21,000 aluminum and stainless steel panels!

Known as the EMP, or the Experience Music Project, this museum has many fun exhibits and activities year round! Many of the exhibits are about pop culture, art, cinema, and science fiction. They also have one of the largest collections in the world of personal instruments, photographs, hand-written lyrics and more for the Seattle band Nirvana and the musician Jimi Hendrix.

Tickets are:


Youth (5-17years): $16

Children 4 or younger are free!

If you have a student ID card show it to get a discount! See more here.

Visit the Pacific Science Center


The Pacific Science Center has fun exhibits for all ages!

Originally the Pacific Science Center was built for the 1962 World Fair in Seattle. It was known as the United States Science Pavilion. After the fair it became the Pacific Science Center. At the Pacific Science Center they have cool exhibits, IMAX movies, Laser Shows, Planetarium shows and more!

You can see what exhibits and events are going on at the Pacific Science Center here.

You can buy tickets either at the Science Center or online here.

Eat at the Armory


The Armory has a lot of restaurants if you ever get hungry

The Armory used to house the 146th Field Artillery and its tanks, however once the World Fair occurred it became the “Food Circus”, the first vertical shopping mall. Nowadays it is full of places to eat food, so if you’re hungry while visiting Seattle Center the Armory is a great place to eat.

Play at the International Fountain


The fountain is a great place to relax in the summertime

Another creation leftover from the World Fair, the water sprayed from this fountain can reach up to 120 ft! Located next to Key Arena, the fountain is a great place to cool off in the summer months. If you’re lucky you will see one of the water shows synchronized to music.