Day 23 – Street Snacks!

NOTE: Incomplete today, finishing tomorrow  some day later. Check in later for full finished one! (will still have another day 24 post though, just giving myself more time to finish this)

So continuing on from my snacks post from day 20 : My favorite street snacks!

Photos will be edited in tomorrow, since it is taking me longer to find images for everything and put them together (sort of like the blossom post).

Also cheating a bit by posting it first before finishing it off after the deadline 😛 but hey, it is a long post and I started late today + I’ve met the word count before the time cut & it’s my blog my rules.

But in order to just get this finished, here is the list for now:

Taiwanese food

Lot of Taiwanese foods have inspiration from Japanese food and called Mandarin Chinese/Taiwanese names that are direct transliterations from Japanese due to its history and similar climate (mochi, bento, tempura – though the Taiwanese version of it is pretty much oden, since it is stewed not fried) . Instead, of just rehashing a list of Japanese food, I’ll be pointing out the stuff you would get at a night market that I just love (even so it’s a long list because Taiwanese street snacks are some of the best in the world)!

  • “Wheel cakes” ( 車輪餅) – These are generally called Imagawayaki in Japan ( I say that because they have lots of local names as well), but I only knew them from the Chinese name and you see lots of vendors in Taiwan selling these to the point that for the longest time, I thought they were Taiwanese as a kid.Oh well, keeping it on the list. Basically, they are a circular desert, made with a sweet pancake like batter (that is less fluffy and more dense) filled with sweet red been paste, custard or taro
  • “O-ah mi sua”/Oyster vermicelli (蚵仔麵線) – Taiwanese name this time, but this is a hearty soup with Chinese brown vermicelli noodles, veggies like bamboo shoots, cloud ear fungus (that mushroomy thing in hot and sour soup) and chives; plus oysters and pig intestines. Sounds crazy but man it is good, and I’m sure to get a bowl anytime I find myself in Taiwan.
  • Papaya milk (木瓜牛奶) – Given my blogs name, this was sort of a given. It is one of those drinks that sounds simple (over ripe papaya + milk + ice + blender) but hard to get right. The papaya has to be so ripe that it provides all the sweetness for the drink without adding sugar, but not over ripe to the point of going off. There is a really good stall in the Kaohsiung night market specialises in this drink, and it is amazing!
  • Stinky tofu (臭豆腐) – Stinkier the better. I have no idea how to even begin to describe the taste, other than say “Try it!” Especially fried on a stick with chilli sauce. Yum!
  • Iron eggs (鐵蛋) – They are quail eggs that have been stewed for long enough that the outside turns chewy (like jerky since I can’t think of another western food with that sort of texture) and a concentrated eggy taste for the yolk. Great cheap snack to grab.

Hong Kong food

  • Fish balls –
  • Three treasures
  • Rice rolls
  • Squid

Western food

At least Texas where I used to live, there wasn’t really a street food culture. What it did have was a carnival/rodeo food

  • Turkey leg

Sweet Stuff

  • Milk Tea – Placing this in the sweet stuff category instead of the Taiwanese/Hong Kong food category to avoid starting an argument. For the record, I like cold Taiwanese milk tea and hot Hong Kong milk tea. And yes there is a difference:
    • Taiwan milk tea is made with a weaker and what most USA places sell as milk tea (or bubble tea). It’s made with dairy or non-dairy creamer and shaken with ice in a cocktail shaker, to create a foam at the top before being poured over tapioca pearls. Overall, it is a lighter, more sweet and refreshing drink.
    • Hong Kong milk tea is made with a much stronger, almost bitter brew of black tea and less sweet overall, often being marketed as “Silk stockings milk tea”. It uses evaporated milk and sugar (or just condensed sweetened milk, which is known as 茶走), and by adding the tea, milk and then stiring it (comes from the British). This type of milk tea packs a stronger punch and is more like coffee, something to perk you up after a long day. (by the way, there is an HK drink called 鴛鴦/Yuenyeung, which is basically coffee + milk tea which, while tasty, will keep you up for a long time)
  • Ice Cream – Always good on a hot day. My favorite flavors by the way are:
    • Western flavors – Mint chocolate chip or cookie dough.
    • Asian flavors – Matcha or Ube/Purple yam (completely different from taro), especially if it is made into Haluhalo, which might be the greatest desert ever.

Day 22 – Ocean Park Trip!

I’ve decided to stop labeling these types of post “filler” because it sounds quite negitive for what they really are: quicker posts that are sandwiched between the larger topic text based ones that I have been working on for a while.

This is going to be a really picture heavy post since I have been out all day at Ocean Park with a couple of my close friends, and am super tired right now, so haven’t had the time nor do I currently have the energy to type something more substantial out.

So here are some quick snapshots of what I did today…

(When not riding crazy roller coasters or looking at the animals that is – there were lots of videos as well, but I can’t figure out how to upload them and don’t want to waste my wordpress storage space on them)

Screenshot_2017-07-03-23-22-38

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And with that (which should be 200 words, if not… well pictures are worth a thousand of them, so technically speaking :P)

I’ll see you tomorrow!

Rebecca

Day 21 – Scampering Around Trying to Sort My Life Out (A Filler Post & Rant)

Yesterday, I said I would be doing Snacks: part 2 today, but given the title, you can probably see where this is going.

Just as a heads up tomorrow will also be a filler one, since I am going to Ocean Park with some of my school friends, so won’t be back til late (and need to sleep earlier today), so if any of you are waiting for the snacks post, see you some time after day 23 (because I really need a few days of doing nothing and relaxing right now)!

On to the prompt! Which is…. * drum roll *

Scamper (July 2)!– (It showed up earlier than normal, so I can actually do today’s prompt, rather than yesterday’s one)


Scamper!

That word just about sums up what I’ve been doing for a while now.

Scampering from one project to another, one idea to the next.

Thought after thought fills my mind without pause, from the moment I wake up to the second my head hits the pillow. Even my dreams are sometimes filled with tense situations that ask – nay – demand my attention.

I’m being pulled 90 directions, trying to make the most out of “the best 4 years of my life”.

Trying to:

  • figure out how to apply for exchange
  • look for internships
  • decide my next semester’s classes
  • type up blog posts/Camp Nanowrimo
  • list textbooks on Carousell
  • catching up on books I need to read

On and on the to-do list grows…

But above all…

Trying to figure out what I want to do after I graduate university. 

It’s not a controlled run, where there is a goal in mind and a pace to be set.

It is a frantic grasping of straws, attempting everything at once and getting nowhere.

And I am EXAUHSTED.

Pure and simple.

Because I JUST DON’T KNOW!

I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know how or what I’ll get a job in (Ecology and History not really known for tons of jobs) and I don’t know what the future holds for me!

If I did, it would be simple.

Just complete the skill tree that leads to me following my career path (which at this point, is more a meandering stream). Unfortunately, it’s not.

The fear of the unknown causing is to dart off wildly in an unclear direction right now, and I hate it.

All that build up of my life til this point and this is what I end up as.

A tense, anxiety ridden mess, reacting to things rather than proactively planning a course of action

Though now I think about it…

I guess that is the feeling that a cockroach gets when I suddenly switch on a light!

So much change has happened, but no time to plan.

In that instant, just one action comes to mind…

SCAMPER!


Thanks for taking the time to read my semi-rant 😛

Rebecca

Day 20- Snacking on Dry Squid! My Favorite Things to Munch On

Since it is officially the 2/3 point of my Post a Day Challenge (as outlined HERE ), and the start of my Camp Nanowrimo journey today, I thought I’d write something a bit lighthearted and more straight forward, since I’ve done enough BS-ing for today.


Due to pretty international upbringing (Asian Parents, born and raised in Texas, moving over and currently living in HK) , I’ve got pretty different and diverse idea of what constitutes a snack in my mind.

In attempt to keep things organised , I will be splitting the snacks into two sections: Section 1 being the type of snacks buy straight of the shelf or make at home. Section 2 is more “Street snacks”, or special occasion type of food.

So here we go!

  • Dried Shredded Squid (魷魚絲) – Or literally translated “Squid Strands”. Yes I know, it sounds a bit odd (even revolting some would say), but think of it like the Asian beef jerky if it was a bazillion times better.
Squid
Image Source: Flickr

Don’t knock it til you try it! It’s not like calamari at all, more like a subtle sweet taste (like seafood crab/lobster/shrimp sweet, not watermelon/candy sweet) that turns to a strong salty with a hint of peppery taste (like jerky).

Also, there are really two types of strands in each bag: a fluffier, lighter colored type (think cotton candy texture if it didn’t dissolve in you mouth) and a stringier, tougher type (think somewhere between pulled pork and beef jerky in texture). Personally, I like the second type more but both are great! Try it out and you will see what I mean! (you can get it at pretty much any Asian major market State-side)

Chips
Image Source: Dania’s Delicacies
  • Blue Corn Tortilla Chips (+salsa & guac if I’m feelin’ fancy) – Texas roots showinghere! I really do prefer the Blue Corn type, but not sure if it’s due to nostalgia since mom would buy these instead of white/yellow corn since they are supposedly “healthier” (not sure if this is true though) or because I really can taste a difference even though they are supposed to be the same except for color (I feel like the Blue ones are… more substantial? like nuttier or something).

Or maybe it is just because I get a kick out of blue food due to Percy Jackson (10 bonus points to you if you got that reference)

Hold the cilantro/coriander on the salsa & guac though, I’m one of those “It-tastes-like-soap-what-the-heck-are-you-doing-putting-it-in-this-amazing-food” type of people (it isn’t so bad when cooked, like in Pho. But Raw? Why?!)

  • Guai Guai Corn Puffs (乖乖) – If you ask any kid in Taiwan or with a Taiwanese
    guai-guai.jpg
    Image source: Ibon Mart

    parent (like me!) about these, they will know. It’s like the unofficial snack of Taiwan. Why? Well it’s name directly translates to “Well-behaved, Well-behaved” and you usually get them when you do well in something (they usually have a spot where the parent writes the child’s name on it). I guess it is a bit like the Japanese with their Kitkat’s. Man the memories of wolfing these down…

They are pure amazing. Imagine a cheeto, if they removed the fake cheese dust, then made them sweet. Then, they added chocolate or coconut flavoring and that sweet condensed milk taste.  Basically, it is what astronaut ice cream should taste like, with all the amazing goodness there, but without the chalky aftertaste. A bit harder to find but well worth it if you do!

  • Fruit – This is a bit of a catch all, but a fresh bowl of fruit an awesome snack in all cases. Whether it is the more Western apple, pears, oranges and watermelon; the more Asian wax apples, persimmons, mulberries and lychees; or somewhere in between such as pineapples, mangoes, honeydews and cantaloupes, they are all great snacks. I’ve been mostly munching on blueberries and bananas in university (no washing and great with breakfast cereal or oatmeal)

 


This post has been inspired by the Daily Prompt from the Daily Post: Snack (30/6) (due to time zones it’s  the one from yesterday, see previous daily post prompts for explanation)


I’ve just realised it is 11:53pm here, so I need to post this soon or I won’t meet my Post a Day challenge requirement!

Guess this will become a two parter! See you tomorrow with more snacks!

Rebecca

Day 19- Writing Self Critique and Camp Nanowrimo

So I’m reading through yesterday’s 30 minute story and….

Wow. It is stunningly bad…

Part of me wants to throw it in a black hole where it will never see the light of day or drastically change it so it doesn’t look that bad, but hey I didn’t use the delete key in the original writing of it, so the roughness of the story is understandable.

Still, I am definitely getting rid of that rule the next time I do another story challenge, since there are a lot of repeated words and sloppy mistakes that just look unprofessional.

In this critique -esque post, rather than going through and editing it word by word, I’m just going to list off some of the weird things that just don’t work in the story:

  • Too much description, not enough characterisation – Blue hair was a nice touch of weirdness but why should anyone care? It feels like I am just listing descriptive words for the sake of it, rather than any character or narrative driven reason. Show don’t tell and all that.
  • Where is the character located right now? – its funny that I didn’t notice this while writing it, but I never really say where or when she is. Theoretically, I could have written an excuse it (like she doesn’t want to record it for safety reasons or whatever) but by not mentioning how long ago it was since the kidnapping, there is like zero tension whatsoever
  • Lots of my own “isms” have snuck in – This tends to pop up in my acting (well, what little acting I’ve done at school), where I have little traits (messing with glasses, moving my hands around a lot) that pop up when I am trying to keep it together but failing. In my case, it’s the excessive use of ellipsis and commas, combined with run on sentences that just seem to never end. Oh and the use of “Yup.” since that certainly is something that has stuck around in this semi dystopian world the story takes place in… /s
  • The grammar…. – ‘Nuff said about that train wreck.
  • Where is the plot? – There is a lot of ideas present, but nothing even resembling a coherent narrative. I mean the diary thing at the end was slightly interesting, but there isn’t any reason to care about it. I seem to think throwing things out there without explaining is “mysterious” or something, when in actuality it feels like a game of madlibs with giant “Insert plot here” sections that were semi-filled without care

So basically, what I’ve learned from this trial in improv story telling is that it is pretty freaking hard to do it. Kudos to those who can by the way, though I suspect the reason the works of so many authors seems leaps and bounds ahead of mine, other than their inherent talent and loads of practice, is the editing behind it.

But since it was pretty fun while it lasted, I’ve decided to join Camp Nanowrimo for July.

Normal Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) takes place in November (which I did try it in 2016, but stopped after a few thousand words due to exams), but they are both based off of the same principle. Quantity not quality, just write and put things down on paper.

Which is a bit like what I am doing now, if you think about it.

In the regular one, the goal is to hit 50,000 words by the end of the month, but since it is the Camp and I get to set my own goals, I’m going with a half Nano with 25,000 words in 30 days, toward a story idea I’ve had rattling around in my brain for a while.

So from this point forward, the post quality may go down slightly as I shift focus over, but hey, this blog was never a shining example of good writing, just a way for me to fill up the summer months doing something more productive than binge watching youtube 😛

That’s all from me now! Catch you later.

Rebecca

Day 18 – 30 Minute Story #1

Since I am hitting writers block right now,  I decided to do something a bit different.

I have a semi-randomly generated “First Line” writing prompt (from Pantomimepony HERE), a timer for 30 minutes and I will try my best to write a coherent story with it.

Also no back button or editing, just pure writing since I am once again running low on time.

Think of it as the “Yes, and then…” improv method from drama.

So let’s do this!


The day my Mother was kidnapped, we ran away.

That move , strangely enough, turned out to be pretty darn terrible for me for me.

You see, the thing they don’t warn you in school about being a internationally wanted fugitive is that unlike walking or blending in with a crowd, running catches the eye.

Running is alarming, it causes people to turn around, to curse you out, and most fatal of all… stare. Look. Remember the features of that coffee brown and electric blue haired, wisp of a girl who is wearing a black wool coat run, somewhat clumsily, through the crowded train stations.

Rule one of my guide to evading a government who is hell bent on catching and arresting you: Don’t run.

Well, that is, if I live long enough to write it down somewhere.

Of course then they would just use my handwriting, compare it with those writing samples the government collected of us in kindergarten, and track my every move through even the darkest alleys of the city.

Fingerprint tracking was a thing of past, what with the rise of surgery and removal of that once vital part of the forensic polices arsenal. My protests against  removal of mine when I had the chance 10 years ago, like much of the advice my Mother gave me but threw a fit about at the time, is advice I wish I had listened to, and something that need to apologise for in the future. If I see her again….

Again, I say “Mother” but in this town, nothing is that simple. It’s complicated….

So now I’m stuck, on the run, with no plan of actions, no allies to help me and a backpack with a water bottle, a sleeping bag, a small knife… oh yeah, and my Mother’s diary containing all her research.

Yup. I’m dead.


So yeah…. that is a really rough, not even first draft of a sorta short story?? Putting that no backspace requirement is a lot harder than I thought…

Also I did waste a lot of time just sitting and thinking what to write, so this wasn’t really 30 minutes of work, more like 20 ish with 10+ devoted to thinking… what the heck did I get myself into????

Still though, there are some good things in it, I’ll probably revisit it later with a more polished draft or carry on the story with more stuff.

Perhaps I should do more of these in the future, since it was quite fun (albeit stressful) to write. Maybe then I can compare my 30 minute speed creative writing skills over time or something

But that’s it for now!

Rebecca

P.s. For future me’s records, I visited my secondary school today with a close friend. Also 3.8 GPA for this sem!!! (though with a B- in Ecology because of a stupid fish essay. Sad bubbles)

Day 17 – Training Wheels OFF! Thoughts on Living in HK as a “Local”

Confession time.

I didn’t learn how to ride a bike without training wheels until I was 11.

Yup.  5th grade.

That revaluation isn’t too startling for my local Hong Kong friends, who live in an expansive concrete jungle with excellent public transport and everything else more or less in walking distance.

But I was living in the suburbs of Texas at the time, where public transport consisted of only the yellow school bus, and EVERYONE drove (or biked if they were too young to drive).

After all, how else are you supposed to get from point A to B. Spend hours walking? Fly? Teleport?

The idea that someone could make it to teenage hood without learning this vital skill of transportation was virtually unthinkable.

And yet there I was.

Why?

It wasn’t that I didn’t have the necessary tools (a few seconds with a wrench to take off those training wheels would suffice)

Nor was there a lack of teachers (any one of my friends could have taught me, if I had the courage to tell them I didn’t know that is)

No, it was something else more sinister. I convinced myself that it wasn’t such a big deal or even that I was better off without learning. After all:

  • I won’t like it… Who wants to spend all day in the hot sun instead of an AC-ed car?
  • It takes too long to learn and I have better things to do.
  • I’m too old to start do so anyways.
  • I’ll make a fool of myself failing to ride.

On and on the “reasons” could go, like the wheels of the bike in question.

Except they weren’t moving.

Because I wasn’t getting on that dang bike and learning.

Had I spent even a few second consciously thinking about it, those excuses would crumble away into dust. 

It took a “Ride your Bike to School” day and me not wanting to be the only one with training wheels to finally try to learn. And at the end? I wanted to kick myself for putting it off for so long.

In a round about way, that training-wheeled bike sums up my experience living in Hong Kong as an expat for almost 7 years now.

Why do I not consider myself (at least partially) a “local” Hong Konger?

Perhaps I feel the label is too strong, given I wasn’t born here. But considering that by the time I finish university, I will have lived here for a decade (almost as long as I’ve lived in Texas) it doesn’t really make sense.

And it still doesn’t explain away my actions.

  • I cling on to my “Local- Non Jupas” (i.e. international qualification) status, never just Local like some of my friends do.
  • I still default to English and Mandarin when speaking to others. My Cantonese, despite all my time living here, is pretty awful, just due to lack of use in my daily life.
  • I haven’t really joined any hall activities with the local students, really sticking with the international or Mainland hall mates. Well, I am in the social subcommittee, but that essentially is for the expats in the same situation I’m in.

I could try and redefine “local” to exclude me, but that feels like a cheap way out to avoid the question. Why don’t I at least act more local instead of clinging on to an expat label?

Its the same excuses as the bike. All over again.

I really should work on my Cantonese and connect more with people that have different backgrounds to me.

Yes, I will probably “speed out of control and crash into the bushes several times” (it would be odd-er if I didn’t at some point.)

But I still need to make more of an effort to step out of my comfort zone and just try being more local, rather than sticking to places that cater to English speakers.

Learning how to ride without training wheels gave me a type of freedom not found elsewhere. To speed along bike trails that don’t allow walkers (not the zombie kind, the normal people kind :P). To feel the wind whip past in my hair. To explore the world in a new way.

I wonder what exciting adventures living in Hong Kong as a local will bring me. Well no time like the present to find out! Its time to take those training wheels off and challenge myself to explore the city, not as an outsider, expat or “psudo-local” but as someone who can say in earnest: “I am a local Hong Konger”

See you tomorrow.

Rebecca

 


This post is the result of two Daily post prompts: <a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/local/”>Local (26/6) </a> & <a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/wheel/”>Wheel (27/7) </a>

(Because of time zones, I don’t see today’s “official daily post prompts” until the next day, so these will always be slightly behind time wise, like with the Blossom one on Day 7)