Drinks


downtown

Whoa! I’m neglecting my blog again. I gave myself a deadline for doing a wedding entry, which came and went and still no sign of it. Oh well.

I’ve been busy missing Taiwan. It’s my home, even though I’m neither Taiwanese nor was I born there. I only spent about 6 years of my life there, and during that time it grew into me and became the place I miss. I’ve never missed South Africa the same way I miss Taiwan.

This does not mean I do not like SA. I think it is a pretty neat country. I feel great pride when our athletes and sports teams win international competitions or when a great movie or book comes out of the country. I get angry when people diss on South Africa or make ignorant statements about us. I am South Africa. But I miss Taiwan the way Alexander misses the US. I cannot explain it, it just is. Since I left for good in 2006 I’ve been back once a year except for this year.

A friend offered me the opportunity to go back and teach there for two months in October and November. In my head I went over the numbers and figured that it might make financial sense to go back. But it would have meant leaving Alexander behind for the whole time as someone would have had to stay and keep the Piesang market stand going. And it would also have stalled any potential plans for us to open up a place if I’m not here to help with that. And having done long-term in the past there was just no way I was going to leave Alexander here and be on my own for two months. I would have been much too miserable without him always close by my side.

temple wishes

Sad sigh. I console myself with the knowledge that both of us are missing home. He the US, me Taiwan.

Luckily we could still approximate some things from Taiwan in the form of food and drinks. So when I recently saw this post and recipe for this soupy tomato and egg dish I often had for lunch at school on EatingAsia I decided to make it. I tried to follow the recipe as well as I could, but the tomatoes were not nearly as juicy as they should have been, so my attempt was not exactly great. But it helped with the homesick. The cucumber salad was near perfect though.

tomatoe egg soup

We also heard about a store in the Northern Suburbs owned by a Taiwanese couple, so we decided to go check it out. We chatted a bit to the owners who are from Chiayi and Tainan in the south and reminisced about home. I found they sold the little balls found in pearl milk tea. Of course, the way you get it in Taiwan is mostly from scratch and not from bags with the words ‘starch balls’ on them. It was not right, but it made me feel good having some milky tea with tapioca pearls again!

pearl milk tea

I miss you Taiwan, I miss you all of my friends in Taiwan.

sundown beach

For more about the amazing food in Taiwan and other things Taiwan, go check out these posts on EatingAsia and Primitive Culture.

strawberry-swirl

Ever since I was a child I loved avocados. I used to slice one in half, take out the pit and pour lemon juice and some freshly ground black pepper and salt onto half, mash it up slightly in the skin and eat it with a spoon. Avo sandwiches were always a winner and any form of salad that involved this rich fruit.

Imagine then how horrified I was when I discovered avocado shakes in a health food store in Taiwan. The mere idea was just wrong to me and I avoided this item for the longest time. One day my curiosity finally got the best of me and I decided to give it a try. And loved it. The pulp from the fruit was blended with a caramel custard, flavoring the earthy flavor of avo with a rich sweetness. It was pure decadence.

While Alexander and I were living there again for two months last year we tried it several times. Traveling through Vietnam we also discovered that it was a local favorite at shake stands there, mixed with sweet milk instead of custard. We often stopped at stands to enjoy a glass of cool avocado shake.

Robyn from Eating Asia writes that they are also enjoyed in Indonesia, usually with a swirl of chocolate syrup added, but you can even enjoy it with some strawberry swirled in. The recipe I used to make these shakes was borrowed from her blog.

I made them while we were still in Albuquerque where we had lots of ripe avocados in the kitchen the whole time we were there. Being neighbors with tropical Central and South America must be fabulous.

To make avo shakes you need to collect:
–    2 medium ripe avos, flesh scooped out
–    1 cup milk
–    ice cubes
–    blended fresh strawberries juice

The process:
Blend the avo, milk, sugar and ice until smooth. Pour into glasses and swirl in some of the blended strawberries and drink up. For a slightly more decadent version, use sweetened milk or some custard.