There are different love languages. Maybe you've heard of these - you know. Some people show their love with words of affirmation, some with quality time, some with physical affection. Some people show their love with giant mountains of food.
Taiwanese people and I speak the same language.
Clark and Claudie and I put together a birthday party for me this weekend. By "put together" I mean that they took me to Costco and refused to let me pay for things and then when I had cooked a giant mountain of food they went out and bought some more.
One of the tastiest mountains of food were the sweet potato fries. I used these Taiwanese di gua, sliced them into thin wedges, and did the fry twice trick. They came out amazing. Soft in the middle - crispy and even puffy on the outside - the outer layer puffed into a little skin. All it was was sweet potatoes, oil and a little salt.
Here's the beginnings of the food, including the fruits of Costco. In the distance you might notice little squares of wheat toast with chevre cheese. For the record, Asians are not particularly fond of chevre. And I now own like a kilogram of it.
Peking duck! Not even kidding (that's those two plates in the upper right). The sliced meat you roll up in the little flour skins with a spring of green onion - the rest of the duck is all diced up for you to eat.
Clark and Claudie had watched me dice the kinpira gobo and were just sure I was going to cut my fingers off. "Don't they sell it already sliced?" Probably somewhere. But then I would lose my street cred.
Here we are with the gloves that come with the karaage chicken. OK, it's not karaage, that's a Japanese thing, but whatever they called it sounded exactly like that and I couldn't figure it out for the life of me. I asked my boss the specifics today and she said it's also called Shui Tong Chicken. Shui Tong means "bucket." Because you . . . cook it in a bucket? The specifics are evading me here. But you pull it apart and eat it with your hands and dip it in a sauce with some spices. I think it was five spice. The smell of five spice might be one of the most magical things in the world.
Here we are, after not having been able to eat everything.
Jessica came later and brought me a cake with a mercifully ambiguous candle atop.
Lovely, fine people who speak my language fluently.