Jodie's journal

Scooter Diary: Sweet potato history in Jinshan

We keep on driving on Route 106 through Pingxi district. There are many brightly-colored sky lanterns flying up into the clouds from the village of Shihfen, trailing smoke. There's nothing to slow us down – we only spend a minute waiting for a long traffic light and then continue our journey. I wanted to take a photo of the sky lanterns flying above the mountains while waiting for the lights, but the camera is never as good as my eyes.

From Shifen to Wanli to Jinshan

Scooter Diary: From Coal to Coffee in Jingtong, Pingxi

Photo by Joyce Tay September 3rd , 2012: Well, I am packed, and the scooter is ready – no more doubts. We left by 1pm, the sun was above us all the time when we were driving on Route 106. We left Taipei city and Shenkeng behind, and drove up into the mountains.

Scooter Diary: leaving

This summer we are in love with scooter traveling -- traveling safely and having fun. I spent some time and money getting my old scooter repaired and ready for a long trip.

Things to do in Taipei, Taiwan: Scooter Traveling

If you want to enjoy nature, and have fun like local View from Jiufen town looking towards the Pacific Oceanpeople do, scooter traveling can be one of the best experiences while you're visiting Taipei.

Taiwanese Cuisine: Extra virgin oils from the old days

Forty years ago, my family lived by the Tamshui river, where used to be the center of the city. I don't remember seeing any convenience stores or supermarkets. When my grandmother or my mother were cooking, and found out there wasn't any more oil in the tin, they usually sent the other kids or me to buy some oil from the nearby grocery store.

Taiwanese Cuisine: Extra virgin sesame oils

People who enjoy food or cooking all know that extra virgin olive oil is one of the best cooking oils. This Mediterranean oil has spread around the world very widely. People like extra virgin olive oil not only for its taste and fragance, but also for its nutrtional benefits. We know olive oil is good for preventing heart disease and for moisturizing skin, and that it's easy to digest, and so on.

Taiwanese Cuisine: Stir-fried green vegetables vs salad – when 'hot' means 'cold'

Stir fried green vegetables dishes are among the most common elements of Chinese family cuisine. Just a few pieces of garlic, sauteed with a few tablespoons of oil, stir-fried with some green vegetables: this is the simplest home-style dish.

Things to do in Taipei, Taiwan: Visiting the coal mining villages of Pingxi

If you are bored of Taipei city, take the train to Pingxi. In 40 minutes, it will take you back 40 years.

Pingxi (pronounced 'ping shee') was built about a hundred years ago. The coal mining industry attracted young people from all over Taiwan to dig black money from deep under the earth. The railway came: winding and climbing into the mountains. And so the remote town developed, deep inside the Keelung river valley. 

When do Taiwanese drink Gong Fu tea?

We drink Gong Fu tea all day, at any time. Instead of drinking coffee to start the day, many older people start the day with Gong Fu tea. Slowing making the best cup of tea, and reaching a state of harmony is the best way to start the day. After meals, people drink Gong Fu tea, as tea is the best way to help digestion.

Comparing Gong Fu tea with Espresso

People often ask: why make the tea in such a tiny tea pot? We can compare this type of tea making to making espresso coffee.

The tiny tea pot is the best way of preserving tea fragrance, it's a bit similar to a tiny cup of expresso. The steam goes through the coffee beans in only a few seconds, so the high heat brings out the coffee fragrance without anything unwanted.

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