I was sifting through my piles of cookbooks today, and was inspired to cook Mrs Beeton’s rice pudding.
As a Taiwanxifu, a ‘daughter in law’ of Taiwan, I have spent over a decade and a half learning about Taiwanese (and Chinese) culture. I love Taiwan, its convenience, amazing food, quirky finds in back alleys, mix of modern architecture and shopping malls with traditional temples and shrines and processions. But inevitably like many people with a China background I will one day be drawn to China, probably to Beijing, on a work assignment, with the whole family tagging along. And so it was with great personal interest that I read Tania McCartney’s book, Beijing Tai Tai (i.e. Beijing wife, in the sense of being a madam of social standing with time on her hands).
The April issue of Centered on Taipei magazine is out now, and in this edition there is an ‘Ask Taiwanxifu’ column I wrote on page 13. This column addresses a delicate etiquette issue: People might tell you that ‘it doesn’t matter’, that it is just a token amount, that as a foreigner you are not really expected to get it right. But there is a socially expected amount that you are expected to pay, and people will notice if you get it wrong. Even if no-one is willing to tell you what the amount is.
I am proud to announce That Taiwanxifu has been featured as blog of the month in the April 2014 edition of Centered on Taipei magazine. I positively blushed when I read the lovely description of the Taiwanxifu blog written by budding writer and long time Centered on Taipei contributor, Leat Ahrony, on page 29.
I have discovered that my favourite things is the sensation of biting into a freshly-made fluffy mantou (饅頭, steamed bun), just as it comes out of the steamer. And Taiwanxifu Preschooler and Toddler agree, with both gulfing down homemade mantou, along with a glass of warm milk or soy milk, at astonishing speed.
Last weekend good friends, the lovely Yang sisters (Rachel and Mei) invited me over for a Taiwanese style bake off. Both are talented cooks, and they indulged my desire to make a popular Taiwanese snack food I had seen them post on Facebook — golden pan-fried buns, known in Chinese as 水煎包 shui jian bao (and also, confusingly, as 生煎包 sheng jian bao).
Last year I was contacted by a journalist, who wanted to quote me regarding my experiences on zuo yuezi (Chinese postpartum confinement). And finally, I got the result: part of a feature article titled ‘Mums around the world’ in the United Kingdom’s glossy parenting magazine Gurgle.
One of the things I love best about Taipei is the unexpected and quirky micro-eateries. These are labours of love, places that might be no bigger than a family living room but that create an oasis of calm and space away from the frenetic (yet exciting) urban environment.
The February edition of Centered on Taipei magazine is now out. And I am excited that in this edition, there are not one but two Taiwanxifu articles.
I am happy to introduce another blog post written by fellow foodie and friend, Maria Tan. I am sure you will love her Christmas Eve discovery, hidden in the backstreets of Taipei. I just love stumbling across unexpected discoveries in the back alleyways of Taipei, and this is a real treasure.