A Taste of Russia in Taipei

Since coming to Taiwan I have definitely picked up the Taiwanese love of good food. Part of that has been making a point of trying new restaurants whenever I can, partly to have a new experience and partly to avoid going to the same places too much. This past weekend Connie and I set off to the Salt and Bread Russian restaurant/cafe/bakery located on DunHua South Road. I’d never really had much Russian food, so I thought this might be a cool new taste to try. As it turns out, I actually had had many of the things on the menu at various times, it had just never registered that I was eating Russian food when I had it.

Connie ordered some Glazed Salmon with Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp and I ordered some excellent Chicken Kiev. While we were eating a Russian man carrying an accordian came out in a traditional Russian folk costume accompanied by a similarly dressed woman and the two of them launched into various Russian songs. I have to say it really perked up what had seemed like a stuffy atmosphere at first, and before long we were smiling and tapping our fingers to the music.

Then came dessert… Posted by Picasa

Dessert!

For dessert, Connie and I decided to order one of the house specialities. Shortly after that a chef pushed a cart up to our table with a bowl covered in the silver bell you can see in the background of this picture. He removed the bell to reveal this chocolate bubble, and I really wasn’t sure what was going to happen next so I quickly whipped out my camera and snapped a picture. (I didn’t feel too bad, the tourists at the next table were taking pictures every 15 seconds, I think the guy had bought a new camera!) Posted by Picasa

Chocolate Flambe!

The chef pours alcohol (Vodka, I believe) onto the chocolate bubble and lights it on fire! Posted by Picasa

Boiling Point

The Chocolate liquifies under the heat from the burning alcohol and collapses onto what turns out to be three scoops of ice cream hidden under the chocolate, instantly coating the hard ice cream with it’s hot chocolate goodness. Posted by Picasa

Voila!

Add a few walnuts and voila! A hard-chocolate sundae, with scoops of rum-raisin, chocolate fudge and coffee ice cream. I couldn’t wait to dig in! Posted by Picasa

The Finished Product!

Connie: “I can tell you’re really full, so don’t worry about eating this. Just leave it to me, dear. I’ll take care of it and you don’t have to worry about it being wasted.” Posted by Picasa

Samurai and Tanks!

I was walking by the local movie theatre and saw this poster for an upcoming film that looks to be a time-travel story involving tanks, apache gunship helicopters and samurai. How can you go wrong with that combination, I ask you? Having never quite seen anything like it before, I took a picture, and who knows, I might even see the movie someday! (On DVD, if it has English subtitles…) Posted by Picasa

ShiLin Writing Class II

(back row, the guys) David, William, Michael, Sean, Rob and Andy
(front row, the beauties) Elaine, Vivian and Emily
(missing) Jenny

Yesterday (Friday) my second session of my writing class in ShiLin came to a close, marking the end of an 8 week intermediate level writing course. It was a fun class to teach and they were an interesting group of students with a variety of backgrounds. I was impressed by their English ability, and their commitment to improving themselves in many ways. I wish all of them good luck in the future, and with luck I will see them again soon if the writing class has another session! Posted by Picasa

Tomb Sweeping Holiday!

Last Wednesday was Tomb Sweeping Day, an official holiday when Taiwanese people are supposed to gather together with family members and head out to the family gravesites and tombs to remember their ancestors. Since I have no family here, and Connie’s relatives were taking care of the family duties, Connie and I decided to head out to one of the local tourist attractions for the day: DanShui! One of the sites of the earliest foreign settlements in Taiwan, DanShui (also called TamSui) is a collection of narrow streets filled with a mix of buildings of local and foreign style. The River Boardwalk is perhaps it’s most interesting attraction, and that’s where Connie and I spent our afternoon. Posted by Picasa

Still a Fishing Port

DanShui is still an active fishing port, and the people here still go out each morning to fish for the local catch. You can see here the fishing boats lying just off the boardwalk and waiting to go out the next morning. Posted by Picasa