Tag Archives: Taiwan

Taiwan – Taiwanese Bubble Tea and Beyond – by Megan Beckerich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Taiwan – Taiwanese Bubble Tea and Beyond – by Megan Beckerich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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[Photo of Taiwanese Bubble Tea, from : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bubble_Tea.png , see also, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_tea ]

If you have the chance to visit a trendy café or restaurant, you may happen to spot something on the menu called bubble tea, or boba tea, depending on the area. Exploding in popularity worldwide in the past decade, this tasty and unique beverage has an interesting history behind it and very noticeable effects on contemporary tea culture in the world. bubble tea is a recent phenomenon, originating in Taiwan in the 1980s. Originally found in Taichung (western Taiwan) this drink was a creative risk taken by a man named Lin Hsiu Hui, inspired by Japanese cold tea serving methods, and immediately became a smash hit spawning a very popular beverage that would spread in popularity throughout East and Southeast Asia.

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[Yours truly enjoying a traditional black tea bubble tea in Tainan (and jumbo mango ice)]

Originally made with Taiwanese black tea and tapioca balls, other flavors and combinations were tested out to immense success. The next immediate flavor added was green tea, but now any flavor imaginable is available in shops, restaurants, and street venders. Still, the majority of flavors make use of fruit teas or milk teas (or both) but classic black and green remain popular as well.

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[Sample vacuum seal on a bubble tea-individual stores often used different prints on these covers]

Given that bubble tea originated in Taiwan, it goes without saying how ubiquitous this drink is when venturing through any Taiwanese city, but my experience is limited mostly to Taipei. I can say in all honesty I consumed a lot of bubble tea during my time in Taipei, in addition to many other local favorites.

From my experience, trying bubble tea in Taipei (or anywhere in Taiwan really) is an absolute must. Tea is cheap in Taipei, often being priced around $1USD for a fairly large cup, and it is conveniently portable. Many shops vacuum seal a plastic lid over your drink to minimize spillage, and provide a small plastic bag to carry the drink around in, while giving you use of your hands to do other things (like eat dumplings or hold an umbrella-or both). Bubble tea can also be very gourmand, with some stores offering very fancy and unique flavors (tomato lemon is a surprisingly refreshing combination).

On menus, bubble tea is often called zhenzhu naicha (pearl milk tea) and can also be prefaced with the specific flavor of tea, such as hong (red) or lǜ (green) but many other flavors exist.

While bubble tea is probably the most prolific and culturally important, similar drinks are popular in Taiwan (and East Asia). I’ve had the pleasure of trying a lot of these, so I want to briefly talk about them as well. “Foam tea” paomo hongcha (foam red tea) is very popular in Taiwan as well, and was something I first learned about in a reading passage for my Mandarin class. “Red” is often used to refer to black tea, and this drink is hot black tea with sugar and ice that would be foamy in taste and appearance. This particular tea is not served with the tapioca bubbles. Another popular style of drink would be the plethora “jelly” beverages available. I visited Starbucks in Taipei and Hong Kong and in both I saw “iced coffee with earl grey jelly” and “iced tea with lemon jelly” and many more varieties (perhaps sadly, I chose to try a dark chocolate matcha confection instead). I tried a variety of jelly teas and coffees from other shops and venders with flavors ranging from coffee jelly to plain jelly (just sugar) to even grass jelly! Not all of these beverages need to be specially ordered in tea shops though, jelly drinks can be bought in cans in vending machines (one of my favorite drinks in Japan was Minute Maid’s white grape with aloe jelly I bought from a vending machine on campus almost every day) and some convenience stores.

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[Dark chocolate matcha confection. Sadly not a bubble tea]

Tea is not just limited to traditional green or black tea, and discovering the plethora of flavors and varieties available in Taipei (and anywhere in the world) is a rewarding and delicious experience.

Megan is a student at Northern Kentucky University.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

 

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Making a Taiwanese Pastry: Pineapple Cake – by Megan Beckerich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Making a Taiwanese Pastry: Pineapple Cake – by Megan Beckerich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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Most everyone who tries it agrees: Taiwanese food is delicious. I am not someone partial to hyperbole, but I truly believe Taiwan has the best of sweet, sour, savory, and every flavor in-between. Among these, one treat rises above as a symbol of Taiwan: pineapple cake (fengli su). Ubiquitous throughout Taiwanese gift shops, sweet shops, and convenience stores, pineapple cake is a beloved (and delicious) snack. As the name suggests, it’s a small shortbread cake filled with pineapple jam, more akin to a cookie than a cake. Traditionally served with tea, it’s also a very popular souvenir gift.

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To provide a brief history: pineapple cakes were used as wedding gifts, going as far back as 1,700 years ago. This is because the Taiwanese Hokkien (a prominent dialect within Taiwan, different from Mandarin Chinese) word for pineapple, ong lai, is pronounced the same as a phrase related to a prosperous future. Pineapple cakes continued to be popular for their tastiness, and in recent decades experienced a surge in popularity due to the inclusion of winter melon in pineapple jam for a different flavor (and to use up less expensive, surplus winter melon fruit). More recently, it is popular for the cakes to not include any artificial flavors or additives, so eating a traditional pineapple cake is fairly healthy, at least compared to other sweets.

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While studying in Taipei, my classmates and I had the opportunity to try our hands at making our own pineapple cakes. They are not horribly difficult to bake, but the quality of the cake depends on the quality of ingredients. All cakes are basically flour, butter, egg yolk, and sugar, with the necessary pineapple jam. The first steps involve mixing the dough for the shortbread. After that, roll, then separate the dough into individual lumps. The next step is to add the jam. The jam is baked in advance so it is not as sticky as one may imagine, making it easy to roll into the dough. We were given little molds to use, making sure to give the cakes a uniform rectangle shape. Before baking, we were given the option to decorate the tops with engravings—the shortbread crust is quite hard, making it easy to add cute designs or names (also making it easier to tell everyone’s cakes apart when they came out of the oven! At least in theory). After baking, we were given paper to wrap our cakes individually, like in the sets you would buy in a store; finally, we boxed the cakes up, making picture perfect pineapple cake sets. If you ever have the chance to try Taiwanese food, I definitely encourage trying pineapple cakes: whether store bought or homemade, they make for a delightful experience.

Megan Beckerich is a student at Northern Kentucky University.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Taiwan – Spending the Summer in Taipei – by Megan Beckerich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Taiwan – Spending the Summer in Taipei – by Megan Beckerich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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[Pictured: Jiufen, a former Japanese administered coal mining town turned tourist hot spot and inspiration for Spirited Away]

The summer of 2016 is one I won’t forget anytime soon, and not because it only just happened a few months ago. I had just graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a BA in International Studies, and I decided to study abroad one final time through my alma mater. I wanted to continue my education in Mandarin Chinese, and my solution was to study abroad in Taiwan. It was a chance to brush up my lackluster speaking and writing skills, meet new people, and take a little break after working so hard in my four years at Northern Kentucky University.

I had studied abroad once before through an exchange program offered through my university. I went to Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan for their international summer school in 2015. Having “caught the travel bug,” as they say, I needed to go abroad again, and I found out I could go to a partner school the summer after I gradate. Thus, I applied to National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan. I was accepted into their 8-week summer school, and I had the option to enroll in additional classes besides the necessary Mandarin class. I decided to take a Philosophy class that discussed I-Ching (an ancient book that used for fortune telling and discussed the basis of the universe), Confucianism, and Daoism. That class was only three days a week for two weeks, as opposed to the Mandarin class five days a week for the entire 8 weeks. I stayed in the international student’s dorm, and became close with students from Australia, England, and everywhere in between. With two of my three goals checked off, that left goal three: the fun times. Taipei is stuffed with museums, parks, a zoo (a convenient 15 minute walk from my dorm), shops, restaurants, and for those willing to go a little bit out of the city limit: impressive nature parks and historical sites.

Making your way around Taipei is quite easy thanks to the glorious public transportation. Our school generously provided us transit cards (aptly named the “easy card”), making it easier to travel by bus or train. Because classes dominated our afternoons everyday, my classmates and I would do most of our sightseeing over the weekend, or in the evening. Sunset is when the night markets would open, and almost every other night was spent exploring a market for bargains (clothes, phone accessories, jewelry, tableware; if you can think of something you want for cheap, odds are they had it) and delicious food.

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[Noodles with a tea egg (egg hard-boiled in tea)]

Oh the food! In a lot of travel guides you will see people rave about Taiwanese food. As well they should, the food and drink in Taiwan is amazing. Noodles, egg pancakes, shaved ice… Just about anything you could want, you can find. That is not to omit the drinks in Taiwan. Bubble tea, rapidly gaining popularity in America and Europe originated in Taiwan, and boy does it show. One can hardly walk a block without spotting a bubble tea shop, and most stores offer a wide variety of flavors. If you don’t find bubble tea appealing, you can just as easily find milk tea and fruit tea if you want something cold, or traditional Oolong, black, green, or white tea if you want something hot. It’s familiar and different, a great reminder of the globalized world we live in.

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[Lychee shaved ice (notice the jelly on top!)]

Having returned from Taiwan, I miss being in an active learning environment, and exploring new places (and the food if that wasn’t obvious). However, because of this experience I gained a new level of self-confidence in not just my language acquisition, but also in my personal leadership skills. I don’t know what the immediate future has in store for me, but I’m ready to embrace whatever comes.

Megan Beckerich is a student at Northern Kentucky University

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Review of the Film, “Finding Sayun” (2011, Taiwan) — The North Star Reports – by Samantha Roettger. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Review of Finding Sayun [不一樣的月光] Directed by Chen Chieh-yao [陳潔瑤] Taiwan, 2011.

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Good story-tellers from any culture tell stories through appealing to the emotions of others. Whether it is through humor, tragedy, or ever-lasting love, they portray a story through these strong emotions. With adding in emotion to the story, the story is often dramatized to attract the attention of the viewer. In the Taiwanese film “Finding Sayun”, a range of emotions are used to connect the viewer to the story. We see emotions from teenage love and rejection, loss of a family member, and the humor of the young. It is through these emotions that people, from any point on the globe, can connect to one another.

The film starts with a film crew accidentally capturing the death of a Taiwanese man falling off a car over a bridge. This immediately captures the attention of the viewer. The group filming decided to show the film to the man’s family and attend the funeral. Despite this man and his family not being the main subject of the film, we already connect emotionally to the family and the film. Continuing on their journey, the group of filmmakers follows the lives of a few aborigine families in a small village in Taiwan. They mostly follow the teenagers of the village so the viewer can then connect with the underlying theme of Finding Sayun and understanding her as a Taiwanese teenager. Sayun was the most beautiful girl in her class who tragically fell to her death in a stream while carrying her Japanese teacher’s belongings during the setting of World War II, when Japan still occupied Taiwan. How accurate this story is, is hard to determine. The story comes from the grandfather of one of the main characters who was a classmate of Sayun. It is hard not to believe the elderly man’s story of Sayun because of his affection toward the young girl, but at the same time, stories are often exaggerated. The old man changed his identification of Sayun throughout the film which does not make him a completely reliable source. The only other criticism of this fictional film is that an idea or phrase may be misinterpreted due to the indirect translation to English subtitles.

Fictional films are often times criticized when used in K-12 classrooms: for example, fictional films are not always accurate, therefore they may be considered a waste of valuable class time. As a future K-12 teacher, I do see learning opportunities in using fictional films. For example, students will be more engaged in the film if it is entertaining. If the film has characteristics like humor or teenage love, students will be more inclined to pay attention and learn the information being presented in this more creative approach. Students may actually learn more from a fictional film than from a non-fictional documentary simply due to the fact that they will pay attention to it more. Students will become immersed in the plot, characters, and setting. Since schools cannot bring their students to any place on the planet, film is a way to bring the world to the classroom. This may sound cliché, but after viewing Finding Sayun, I have a deeper understanding of not only Taiwanese aborigines but also the physically demanding landscape of the island. So once the students connect to the story, they will be able to use critical thinking skills to determine fact from fiction. Critical thinking skills are one of the most important life skills to have and it is also difficult to teach. Through fictional films, students will learn how to better use critical thinking skills to identify conflict, biases, and make inferences about the film. In a historical fiction film, students will consider the different types of interpretations of history. Studying different interpretations of history will allow students to reflect on their own role in history and the world.

The use of fictional films in the classroom teach students to identify with others from anywhere on the globe. Students will learn compassion and empathy through viewing fictional films. In Finding Sayun, I learned that no matter the hundreds of thousands of miles that separate Taiwan from Minnesota, human beings are very similar. Elders are respected, teenagers flirt, and children play hide and go seek. Fictional films connect the viewer to the characters through using emotions that anyone can relate to. Despite some inaccuracies, fictional film is beneficial to classroom use. [From Professor Liang’s Spring 2015 World History Seminar.]

For additional information, see:

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2011/11/25/2003519152
http://savageminds.org/2011/12/09/finding-sayun/
http://www.taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xItem=185168&CtNode=430

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our program. We also welcome Duluth East High School and other schools around the world. The North Star Reports has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, projects on historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers.

We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org The NSR is sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact chief editor Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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