My Beloved Taiwan

My wife and I always joke about my ever dream plan to retire in Taiwan. Why you ask? Its the people. The land. The culture. The life. But most importantly the people. If I were ever to design a utopia or describe how a society should be. The Taiwanese people are it. I can’t say how much I love that country. Yes I picked taiwan even over Cambodia.

My wife then argues how will friends and family ever visit. I say a plane. What if they can’t travel. I said then they can facetime us. Cheeky. I really feel at home and at peace. The people are so kind, the food is so delicious, there is great culture and scenery all over. How many places in htis world where you can travel not have to worry about your safety, well-being, your food being fresh, someone not looking to steal from you, somebody not looking to undercut you. Where in the society you can trust a random stranger almost as family or close friend. I wouldn’t say that for the most developed or modern places. Even in the USA, competition is fierce, poverty is high, your neighbor can despise you.

And so we visited last March again. This time bringing my son. Oh it was a wonderful 24 hours of plane rides and diaper changing and changing sleep times. Henry’s sleep time was from 1pm – midnight, then his nap time was from 3am-5am. Luckily its a city that ALMOSt near sleeps and plenty of places to eat in wee hours of night.

We were able to visit the Zoo which Henry loved so much. He was able to gaze and listen to the sounds of the animals. Never have I seen zoo animals been so active in my life. They typically look like they have given up on life. He very thankfully enjoyed his time so much there. Ate a ton. And hopefully learned some Mandarin while there.

Our one main stopping point was a EXTREMELY DELICIOUS AND AWESOME Vegetarian buffet while we were there. I hate to say I can’t remember the name or location (will have my wife do some digging). But it was the most delicious food I have ever eaten. We’re not talking a good meal. A delicious meal on every front. They have dumplings and noodle dishes. Stations for everything. All sorts of juices and ciders for health. Fake sushi meat. Deep fried mushrooms. And countless other dishes that I do not know what it was or name. Just know it was a taste bud explosion.

It was hidden under a very big building on some abstract street. But to my great surprise, it was JAM PACKED. It seemed like it was everyones last meal. Buffet style restaurant. Everybody was eating up a storm. It was one of the most exciting things I have ever seen in my vegetarian life. That a vegetarian restaurant could gain so much fan fare. Why? cuz its good! People don’t care if its meat or not. As long as it taste good as I say. And this place is it. If its good people will come. It would just so happen this place is in taipei. It wasn’t some unique or speciality place where you are vegetarian or life some lifestyle that you eat here. No its an every woman and man who wants to eat a good meal and enjoy their day.

I can’t wait to retire in Taiwan. Or just maybe go back every year. ­čÖé

Chef Dad

Food. Love food. Need good food. Of course, you eat 3 times a day, you want it to taste good. Eating vegetarian myself, I can always be the healthy, eat simple, and eat bland. Or as my brother would call it, “how was eating cardboard today?” lol. Its true. It doesn’t taste as good as meat or fatty meals. But I didn’t care, I was happy to eat bland food that didn’t require killing.

I still want to cook for my wife since she has the baby now and want to cook vegetarian meals. But yeah, lets be real, not everybody can just eat beans and rice everyday like me. Take a bite out of plain carrot and be happy. I still want my wife and future child to be happy with whatever dad is cooking. I realize its not that hard. Lots of asian foods that I use to enjoy can be converted to vegetarian or vegan meals. Then we can all enjoy it. The same flavors and aroma can still be there without really sacrificing anything. I’ve made lots of conversions like drunken noodles, vegetarian pho and taiwanese popcorn tofu.

But this time I actually recorded my Taiwanese popcorn tofu experience to share! My wife said its just said as good as the chicken. We don’t even need to buy it at the restaurant in Eden Center anymore. Woohoo! Success! Or unless my wife is lying to me to make me feel better. But luckily she doesn’t.

Directions: I’ll make it real simple for you all
1) Mix all the marinade together with tofu and marinade for 30 minutes
2) Put in Coating
3) FRY!!!!
4) Toss some more pinch of salt, sprinkle more 5 spice and white pepper

– Firm Tofu (Cut into half-inch square cubes)

– 3-5 gloves of garlic
– Half a thumb of Ginger
– 3 green onions (all of the white root part and some of the green)
– 2 tablespoon soy sauce
– 1 tablespoon mirin
– 1 teaspoon sweet potato starch
– 1/2 teaspoon 5-spice
– 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

– 1st Coat
1 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
– 2nd Coat
3 cups sweet potato starch

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A Whole New World

Exciting news everyone. My future heir has arrived! My wonderful boy Henry has come to this world. My wife is a SUPER FREAKIN TROOPER for everything! You want to talk about pain, talk about suffering, talk about will, talk about fight. She did it all and overcome it. She pulled through so wonderfully and I’m so proud of her! I couldn’t be more happy with everything. I hope to support her in every way possible and take as much responsibility as I can. When you push another human out of you, you need to be treated well. Any person that says child labor is not tough or being a mother is not that hard, I just don’t believe it after this past week.

And that brings me to another thing. How vegan/vegetarian should a child be? My wife and I separately watched “What The Health” while we were in the hospital. It raises questions and concerns my wife and I already discussed. How good is dairy for you? Is it even meant for us? What is behind it? Everything you read and hear is to give milk and protein to a baby. Now its how much do they actually need and even more pressing is it even good for them? I’m glad the documentary was presented in a way to give facts to the viewer. Some vegan and animal loving agenda was not pressed. That would make some big backlash. Give people the truth and let them decide on their own. Hopefully they can see there is much more to the picture than meets the eye.

But now its my turn, is it possible for my child to be vegan? My wife and I for sure want to cut out cows milk, we don’t think its necessary. Other diary products as well we want to cut out. But how much do we know, how much research is out there? How many kids are vegan these days and what are the positives are negatives. As much as I love animals, is my own childs health worth the risk?

We are breaking hundreds of years of tradition and culture when it comes to meals and feeding. No meat, no diary, its a new concept. Even in Europe, I heard cases where parents are thrown in jail when they try to make a vegan lifestyle for their child. Is it that bad? It makes me think about the world I want to bring my child in. What values should he have? What view of the animal world should he have. Do I impress this on him or do the standard and let him decide on his own? I want a better and brighter future for him. I want a world where all life is valued and a healthier world. We got to break the mold and I think its starting. I’m happy documentaries like this are being done, it all starts with education.

We need to take it a step further by guiding more after people have learned these facts and come to a realization. So yes meat and dairy is bad. So what now. I literally thought about. A typical meal for a typical american. Milk is bad for you, eggs are bad, bread is typically white and is bad, bacon is bad, even cheese is bad, yogurt is not even that beneficial, So what are you suppose to eat now? The vegetarian and vegan community are doing a great job in sharing how to change. I hope the public can make the energy and effort to make the changes necessary even if difficult.

Its 2am, I want to be normal and not stop the momentum. Even with my baby here, I need to continue to work hard. The movement can’t not take a break. Everyday counts and the animals need our help.