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Posts published in “Day: June 20, 2013

The Tastes of Taipei

By Angie Liang

Though Asia has a reputation for being inexpensive, the truth is that prices for most things in Taipei were not that different than other cities. The food, however, was phenomenal and a bargain.

For breakfast my mom and I typically went to a stall in the food market, where the line was constantly out the door. They served the traditional greasy carb breakfast: fried pork buns, vegetable onion buns, lots of different types of dumplings, fried breads, and beef “sandwiches.” Of course, as any Chinese person can attest, you must have doufu nao (soft tofu soup), but it’s your choice between salty (my pick!) or sweet. No matter what we selected, my mom and I always arrived hungry and left happy.

My grandmother’s housekeeper also shopped at the food market early each morning to buy groceries for our lunch or dinner. I trailed behind her with my camera to capture the daily produce, which included not just vegetables, but also lots of seafood: seaweed, clams, shrimp, sea bass, and more. As part of every meal, she would pick indigenous fruit that could not be purchased in the U.S., such as liuwen (known as wax apple) and bali (a native guava). With these fresh ingredients, she prepared feasts for our family, often using my grandmother’s recipes. One popular Taiwanese dish is a thinly-sliced braised beef shank, served cold. She made it everyday for us because it was a favored treat.

When visiting Taipei, eating at a night market is a must! The streets are packed, and you shuffle along the herd of people with no personal space. When you find a food stand you must try, you crowd around and order. My cousins and I went to Raohe Street Night Market, sampling the most infamous dish, stinky tofu. (I still am not a fan.) We washed down the tofu with corn that was prepared like a blacksmith molding iron, fried Japanese octopus balls, and Asian pastries with red bean or ice cream. However, we shied away from the grilled crustaceans. Everything at the night market is cheap, which makes for a filling “second dinner.”

Before leaving Taipei, I went by Chia Te Bakery to buy their famous pineapple and cranberry “cakes” to share with friends back in the U.S. The ones baked in Taiwan are much better than the packaged supermarket kind, and Chia Te is considered the best. Lucky for me, I could walk there from my grandmother’s home. Every mouthful of the buttery soft crust, and the sweet-and-tart combination filling, was heaven.

I’d like to think my puopuo is enjoying a few Chia Te cakes in heaven as well. While it look grief and sadness to bring our family all together again, we celebrated her life and our bonds during this short trip to Taiwan – smiling up to the sky.

Aaron Cole installed as new Rotary President

HIGHLANDS – About 60 Rotarians, family and friends gathered last Friday night at the Boat Club in Highlands for the installation of new officers, board, and president for the next year.

Dane Listi welcomed everyone, introduced guests, and then reprised the accomplishments of his term.

The club has been quite involved this year in PIE, or partners in Education, with bikes, dictionaries, and birthday cake as incentives at the Elementary school for students.

In international matters, he noted our help with the District 5890 in the Guerrera Eye Clinic, purchasing a van to bring patients to the clinic for work on their teeth and eyes. The club also helped pay for a new water pump for a village in El Salvador.

Disaster relief was important this year, with donations for victims of the explosion in West, Texas as an example.

Locally, the club helped support the summer reading program at the Stratford Library, and two Interact clubs at the high schools.

The scholarship committee reviewed 64 applications, and award $30,000 to 18 college bound students from the community.

And with the partnership of District 5890, we continued the worldwide fight against Polio, which is now almost entirely eliminated due to efforts of many, including Rotary Internatioinal. The club continues a high level of giving to R.I., this year averagin about $225 per member, one of the highest in the nation and world.

After facetiously thanking Denise Smith for talking him into a president’s term, Dane admitted it had been a great experience, and welcomed Aaron Cole as the next president.

Next, Dane presented awards for perfect attendance, as follows: Weston Cotten 27 years (Note, Weston was not present to accept), Charlie Ward and Patricia Scott 13 years, Robert Woodall 4, Betty Brewer 3, Larry White and Sheila MacDonald 1 year.

Paul Harris Awards were given to Robert Woodall and Jeremy Rosenkrantz. Rotarian of the Year was Dane Listi, voted on by all the members of the club.

Bill Palko, next year’s Assistant Governor from District 5890, presided over the swearing in of the new board and officers. Palko is a member of the North Shore Rotary Club.

New officers were as follows: President Aaron Cole, President Elect Raymond Gonzales, Treasurer Sheila McDonald, Secretary Teresa Martin, Sergeant at Arms Jeremy Rosenkrantz, Membership & Partners in Education Chair Betty Brewer, Club Adminnistration Chair Denise Smith, Program Chair and Public Relations Gilbert Hoffman, Rotary Foundation Chair Charlie Ward, Scholarship Chair Dr. Larry White, and Highlands Rotary History & Education Chair Tricia Scott.

The new president, Aaron Cole, outlined his ideas for the next year for the benefit of the audience. He said his goal is to maintain the culture of the club, because every club but especially Highlands is unique, and has proven to be a great club.

He personally came to the realization, after joining and belonging to the club for a while, that the essence of the club is giving back to the community and others, not personal or business gain.

He said his second goal for the year was to increase the membership, and also increase the income from the Chili Feast for additional scholarships.

He noted how important the club has been to Highlands over the years, and that the Highlands Rotary has its “fingerprint on the community.” The club is observing 65 years of service, and R.I. has the theme “Engage Rotary, Change Live” this year.