|Enoki mushrooms, cabbage and broccoli|
|The three different pots simmering|
|Hotpot with 'seafood tofu' and Szechuan spices|
While we listen to a selection of Taiwanese music, Joyce explains that she only really got into cooking when she spent six months in the US with a lot of time on her hands and missing Taiwanese food. I have heard similar stories for many of the people who have contributed towards this blog; many only learned the recipes while away from home as the only way to get access to the familiar tastes from back home.
|Chia-Heng and I-Ting serving up the food|
As we laugh at the hilariously nineties feel of Taiwanese the hit song 'Bad Boy' by diva A-Mei, I-Ting hands out some special sweets her mother sent her recently, made with chestnut (I create a bit of extra space for these!) and Chia-Heng starts preparing the 'pearls' for the bubble tea. The tapioca balls are slightly sweet and glutinous. They are most enjoyably slurped up with a big opaque straw so you cannot tell when you are sucking them up, so it is a surprise when one or two land in your mouth. My infantile sense of humour shines through when I cannot resist showing them a sign I remembered seeing online from a bubble tea shop in Thailand. The cartoon cup tells customers 'Hi, I am bubble tea!' and two panels later: 'Suck my balls!' Apparently, you can get just the latter printed as a t-shirt too...
|Hot pot with finely sliced lamb|
|Picking out the best bits with chopsticks|
I was aware (as most of us are probably are) of the odd situation where the People's Republic of China does not acknowledge Taiwan (called Republic of China by some) as an independent sovereign state. However, we do not really go into this topic during dinner, prefering to focus on the some other aspects of life in Taiwan, including the special musical garbage trucks utilized by its amazingly succesful recycling programme - one of the world's most efficient!
|To sweeten the bubble tea, some amazingly poetic descriptions of tasting sweetness on the packet of sugar!|