Making Taiwanese Tamales 包粽子

I was visiting family in Arizona for Thanksgiving weekend. I spent the Friday after Thanksgiving with my mom, aunt, and uncle making zongzi or Taiwanese tamales, a fitting description that reflects my Pacific Islander/Southwestern identity. 😉 The zongzi are based on my Taiwanese grandmother’s recipe, and includes sticky rice, peanuts, pork, fried shallots, dried shrimp, dried daikon, shiitake, and salty duck egg yolks wrapped in bamboo leaves. The bamboo-wrapped packages are then boiled and steamed. Yum!

Making "Taiwanese Tamales" (包粽子)

Making "Taiwanese Tamales" (包粽子)

Making "Taiwanese Tamales" (包粽子)

Making "Taiwanese Tamales" (包粽子)

My Thanksgiving photos on Flickr

Spices II: Szechuan Trenz


Spices II: Szechuan Trenz on Yelp
291 6th Ave
between Cornwall St & Clement St in the Inner Richmond
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 752-8885

Spices II on MenuPages

Kris and I had a late afternoon snack at Spices II Szechuan Trenz last weekend.  Despite the crazy decor and over-the-top graphic design and typography, this place serves up some great Szechuan and Taiwanese food and is definitely worth the trip out to Richmond.  We had a light and crisp scallion pancake ($4.25) and the Spices! Cold Noodles ($7.25), which are more room temperature than cold and come in a beautifully fragrant spicy sauce.  Despite the two-star spice warning, the richness of peanut butter and sesame in the sauce balance out the spice for a complex sophisticated taste.


Lee-Sean & Michelle Do Flushing

Michelle and I headed out to hitherto terra incognita Flushing, Queens today in search of some authentic Taiwanese and Chinese food.  Armed with a printout of a New York Times what-to-eat-map, we walked over from the last stop on the 7 train to the Flushing Mall.

Above: Michelle and Mouse.

When we walked into the Flushing Mall, it looked strangely deserted (and a little run down), but we followed our noses and finally found out that all the action was in the food court.

Above: We shared some Taiwanese favorites: oyster omelette (蚵仔煎) and steamed rice cake in a bowl with pork, mushrooms and shrimp (碗粿).  I had to go off the veggie wagon when dealing with the food from the homeland! 😉

Below: A bowl of handmade beef noodle soup (手拉牛肉麵).  The noodles were thick and chewy and the beef extremely tender.  The broth was a little different from the typical Taiwanese-style beef noodle soup broth, which tends to be darker because it contains soy sauce and sometimes tomatoes.  This broth was light-gray and fragrant.  It reminded me of Vietnamese pho soup.

We also shared a scallion pancake (蔥油餅) and a cup of soy milk (not pictured).  The scallion pancake was amazingly crisp and light, but the soy milk had a strange off taste that happens when one burns the soybean pulp while making the soy milk.

I couldn’t help snapping this photo of the “Bland Houses” sign.  Funny, creepy, and definitely spot on.  Despite the savory food, Flushing was indeed very bland architecturally.

Show Your Love For Taiwan

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and the 2nd week of May is Taiwanese American Heritage Week! Celebrate by showing your love for Taiwan with this “I Love Taiwan” t-shirt by Hepnova Multimedia. Proceeds from t-shirt sales help support our music endeavors and let us bring more fabulous and free music to you.