#AuthorProfile: Shawna Yang Ryan

"Your kind spirit will lead to many new friendships." Name: Shawna Yang Ryan Accomplishments: Fulbright Scholar; Teaches at University of Hawaii Latest book: Green Island Shawna Yang Ryan is super sweet and down-to-earth. Her latest novel, Green Island, took many years of research. She ended up interviewing people, both in Taiwan and here in America, about how the 228 Massacre affected their lives. Before penning her book, she also had to process all the turbulent emotions involved in … [Read more...]

I’m a Travel Writer

"An enjoyable vacation is awaiting you." Okay, I'm not really a travel writer. However, I do have a post up on We Said Go Travel. If you haven't read my past essay about an amazing tree house in Taiwan, go ahead and peruse it. On their website, there's also a Travel Writing Award contest going on until July 28th, so enter if you've gone somewhere fabulous. Fun fact: Other international places I've been to are Canada, China, Italy, Mexico, and Spain. … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Winter melon tea

Winter melon tea: sweet tea made with winter melon Sometimes it's nice to have a delicious drink. In Taiwan, we were given a homemade brew of winter melon tea. The winter melon is a common gourd with white flesh inside it. It has a long shelf life and can be stored in a cool place, lasting well through the winter months (thus, its name). The vegetable is often eaten during the summer because of its cooling properties. Winter melon is also supposed to detoxify our bodies. The taste of … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Yellow Sweet Potato

Yellow sweet potato: starchy, sweet root vegetable Now I've eaten yams in the U.S. (although actually, true yams are bland-tasting) and sweet potatoes (with very pale inner flesh)...But in Taiwan, I ate yellow sweet potatoes. They're definitely a lot sweeter than the American pale version--more akin to the bright orange counterparts used in Thanksgiving cooking. Eating them steamed results in a quick and delicious snack or breakfast! Fun fact: Sweet potato plants grow beautiful … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Milkfish

Milkfish: herringlike fish Every time I see this on the menu, I think it must be a yummy fish with smooth (milk-like) consistency. Unfortunately, this variety happens to have a lot of bones. I prefer meatier fish, but since there’s a huge milkfish industry in Taiwan, I often get this when I go back. Fun fact: Milkfish is commonly found in the ocean waters near Southeast Asia. … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday First: Buddha Jumps Over the Wall

Buddha Jumps Over the Wall: an enticing soup made with a variety of ingredients I drank this in Taiwan, and it's chock-full of seafood and vegetables. Supposedly, it is so tempting that even a Buddhist monk (who is vegetarian) would jump over the wall to eat it--hence the unique name of the dish. However, I actually found there to be too many flavors to really enjoy them all. Some recipes boast up to thirty ingredients. Here's an article on how one chef makes his dish. That being said, … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Ball Cakes

Ball cakes: little round sphere snacks What was our go-to snack in Taiwan? Ball cakes. These little spheres can be found in all Asian supermarkets. Although they advertise different flavors, they're all about the same. They have a little sweetness to them. Although the exterior is hard, they end up melting in your mouth. Lucky for us, we got a buy-one-get-one free deal in Taiwan! Have you ever tried these?   … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Guava

Guava: fragrant and musky tropical fruit Taiwan has a pretty tropical climate, so it's no wonder that I got to eat many different kinds of fruits there. (As an aside, it was so warm and humid that I sometimes didn't wear a coat, and people gave me strange looks during my visit.) A lot of relatives offered me guava on my trip. Confession: I first ate guava in Hawaii and never got used to the taste. It has a very overpowering flavor when it's super ripe. The scent fills up your throat. Plus, … [Read more...]

Taiwan trip

"You will travel to many exotic places." I'm heading out to Taiwan for a few weeks! I'm excited to go back again (it's been four years since my last visit). Things I've planned this time around include: Eating yummy food Meeting up with friends (even ones from the U.S. that I haven't had a chance to connect with here!) Research for a YA novel Visiting loads of relatives See you in a little while! p.s. I'll be auto-posting blog entries, but I may not be able to respond back to … [Read more...]

Seniors Around the World

As part of the challenge of "5 Photos, 5 Stories" (by Evelyne's invitation), I'm presenting my five memories of meeting seniors during recent travels: 1) Los Angeles, CA During a volunteer reading at a local senior home, this resident came my way. He has actually been through the traumatic event which inspired my first novel, The 228 Legacy. I was honored to meet him, and the residents' director later told me was really excited to hear me read. 2) Monterey Park, CA  During … [Read more...]