Friday, October 14, 2011

Visit from the Bojes (Pt. 1)

What an eventful Thanksgiving (and Taiwan's National Day) weekend we had! Last Saturday, (the 8th) I came home from work to a roomful of Bojes! Brett’s parents came down to visit us in Taiwan on their way home from China and Tibet, and it was our first contact with home since April! 

Once everyone was ready to head out, we went straight to Chen Shui Tang - the tea shop chain credited with first creating Taiwan’s famous pearl milk tea! We had tea at one of their locations in Taipei with some Taiwanese friends back in August, and we were very excited to learn there was one so close to our apartment in Taichung! Brett’s parents got to enjoy their first Taiwanese tea house lunch which included pearl milk tea, tea with fig jelly, beef noodles (obviously), steamed Cantonese dumplings (a family favourite), sweet Taiwanese sausage, and green tea cookies for dessert. Everyone agreed it was an excellent meal, and we headed back out for a walk.

It was a very hot and smoggy weekend in Taichung, but we decided to walk down to my branch so the Bojes could see my neighbourhood! It was a bit of an anticlimax once we’d arrived, I’m sure, but it was nice to stretch our legs and tell them about Taiwan and hear about their Asian travels. They had been traveling for a few weeks already and stayed in several different parts of China, including Shanghai, Beijing, and Xi’an! They even did a Yangtze River cruise!

After the walk, we were all pretty sweaty (story of my life) and rested at home. I took the opportunity to introduce Brett’s parents to HiChews, my favourite Taiwanese candy! We had a big bag of cantaloupe, grape, and lychee HiChews sitting around just waiting to be snacked on, and they were a big hit! For dinner, we went to Féngjiǎ Night Market (逢甲夜市). The Bojes had recently experienced Wanfujing Snack Street in Beijing (see photos from our experience there here) and were understandably appalled by the live eats. If they were nervous about Féngjiǎ  they certainly didn’t show it! Saturdays at any night market can be crazy, but at Féngjiǎ it was a zoo. We were pushed along with the crowd, occasionally popping out of traffic to grab something to eat before merging back into the herd. Brett’s parents got to try fresh watermelon juice; steamed wraps filled with roast duck, cucumber, and pickles; more sweet Taiwanese sausage skewered with roast garlic cloves; and fried onion cakes with sweet and spicy sauce.

Brett had really been hoping to introduce them to one of our Kaohsiung favourites, chua bin, (shaved ice) but there was none to be found. After we’d given up our search and started wandering around the outskirts of the market, we stumbled across an adorable Pepto-Bismol pink chua bin shop! We grabbed a table outside and ordered the most beautiful chua bin I’ve ever seen - layers of shaved raspberry and mango ice studded with sliced apple, mango, and small silver dragées. It took four of us to polish it off, and it was a perfect end to the first day of our visit!

Outside of Amanda's Branch
Féngjiǎ Night Market
Mom & Amanda with the Chua Bin
Mom & Dad
Amanda, Dad & Mom
Mom, Dad & Brett

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