Future Writing Plans

"Life is a series of choices. Today yours are good ones." Since it's the New Year, I'm re-evaluating goals and plans for 2016. Here are my ideas so far: Continue research for a new Taiwanese YA novel Finish revising YA manuscript Get Winston Wong short story published Review and polish a multicultural novella Work on the next books in the Winston Wong mystery series What are your goals and/or writing resolutions? … [Read more...]

Puzzle Pieces & the Formosan Salmon

"Ants can move even a mighty mountain." -Chinese proverb I'm not a big fan of puzzles. I have a hard time visualizing connections, and a scattered image overwhelms me. In high school, I had to help put together a puzzle of our mascot (and there was no computer wizardry back then) for our yearbook cover image. I think I managed to contribute a few pieces over the course of three days. As an adult, I realize I can complete puzzles, but it takes concentrated effort. I need to work bit by bit, much … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Pork Belly Sandwich

Pork belly sandwich: tender meat sandwiched in a steamed bun wrapper           Pork belly is a totally accurate name; it comes from the underside of the pig. You might be surprised to learn that bacon is found in there, too. Likewise, both cuts of meat are pretty tasty. (In fact, pork belly is a very common ingredient in both Chinese and Korean cuisines.) Now imagine that succulent meat wrapped in a steamed bun, similar to the fluffy pancakes … [Read more...]

“Who’s Your Mama?” & Other Greetings

"Ivory does not come out of a dog's mouth." -Chinese proverb Salutations! How do you greet someone? In the Taiwanese culture, you can say Li tsiah-pa bue?, which means, "Have you eaten yet?" Are you cognizant of your first words to a stranger? Typical starters in conversations are "Where are you from?" or "What do you do?" I was listening to an NPR show the other day and learned some interesting facts about opening gambits. For example, there are underlying meanings that you might … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Congee

Congee: rice porridge             I'm feeling a bit under the weather today... which leads me to today's post about congee. It's a great meal when you're sick. The porridge turns out hot and soothing to your throat. Also, it's an easy dish to make: Boil rice over a long period of time (I hear some rice cookers have a special "congee" setting), adding in broth for further flavor. The jook (Cantonese) or muay (Taiwanese) can be topped off by … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Taro Swirl Bread

Taro swirl bread: soft bread with sweet taro inside I like my taro. Once when I visited Hawaii, I remember spending a long time entranced in a field, gazing at the broad leaves of the taro plant. For my wedding, we had ube cake. At dim sum, I eat fried taro dumplings. I've never ventured beyond either the purely sweet versions (cake) or the salty dishes (dumpling). Now, introducing: the taro swirl bread.           This bread contains both a … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Beef Noodle Soup

Beef noodle soup: hot soup with stewed beef, noodles, and vegetables               I'm watching the rain splatter my windowpane, and I can feel the chill creeping in through the walls. It doesn't rain very much in Southern California (cue the Albert Hammond's song). When it does, though, I hanker after a hot dish. What's better on a rainy day than soup? You can find an award-winning recipe of beef noodle soup here. Beef noodle … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: A-Choy

A-Choy: Taiwanese lettuce               Anything with an "A" in its name is my kind of food. This vegetable is native to Southern Taiwan. A-Choy boasts very crisp stalks and tender leaves. Typically stir-fried, you can taste its freshness in every bite. It's becoming one of my favorite new vegetables, especially when I get tired of staples like bok choy and gailan. A-Choy is supposed to be easy to plant and fast-growing, too. So … [Read more...]

Multilingual Households: A Dilemma

"One foot cannot stand on two boats." -Chinese proverb I grew up in a bilingual household. My parents made it a priority to teach me English first because my older sibling had difficulty when he first started kindergarten. For a while, I used my own shortcut language, and I would pick the quicker version (think: less syllables) of the languages I knew to speak with others. I often got odd looks for my efforts. I know that "One foot cannot stand on two boats," but I think language is … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Sashimi

Sashimi: raw fish, served with soy sauce and wasabi This dish was an acquired taste for me. I mean, I was the girl who didn't know what a California roll was until my freshman year in college. After that experience, my next challenge was raw fish, introduced to me by my Taiwanese-American husband (then college sweetheart). I've now come to appreciate the fresh, smooth texture of sashimi. When you think of Taiwan, you don't necessarily think of sashimi. But since they're an island and … [Read more...]