Saturday, April 17, 2010

New J.Bless!

J.Bless dropped this single ft. Stic Man of Dead Prez and Seasunz. Its off his project Earth Amplified. Full disclosure, he's my boy, but I have mad peoples puttin music out and you aint seen me put it on the blog... naw mean? Real talk, this is a mother fuckin banger. Peep it, post it on your facebook, twitter it, etc. Usually I be on that Cam, Clipse, Gucci, ignant music, but this is some positive shit that thumps. BONG.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Love Vacation

Sun Cakes!!!

I made my own sun cakes! Mr. Wu let me work at the bakery for a day and I made sun cakes! Taichung is famous for sun cakes and the Master Chef does the Moon Cakes and Sun Cakes each day. They are the hardest ones to make. So, I got thrown into the fire... Real fun.

I was retarded the first half of the day overfilling, underfilling, ripping moon cakes. So, they actually put me off to the side in the retard section to play around myself. Somehow, by the end of the day, I made perfect sun cakes! Mr. Wu goes, "This is not possible. I think Buddha is helping you." Haha. I'll post the video of the bakery tomorrow. Flip Cam is taking forever.

Pork Chop Noodle Soup

I have never had pork chop noodle soup in Taiwan because the stuff I've had in the US sucks. When I go back, I just skip it. But Aunt Wu insisted I try this pork chop noodle soup. Holy shit it was good. Entirely different animal. If you have ever gotten this at say Excellent Pork Chop House on Doyers, you'll think its ho-hum but the secret is the stock. A lot of people are lazy and just throw a bland stock over noodles and fry a pork chop.

This place makes a master pork stock and marinates the pork significantly before frying. Its out of control. I also got some oysters with ginger, pork with ginger, and tea eggs.

Stinky Tofu

Finally. I have been reunited... Stinky Tofu is one of my all-time favorites and its pretty much the National Dish of Taiwan. I don't know if its official, but its what we're known for. Probably one of the most creative culinary items mankind has unleashed on the world, real talk.

Its tofu cured in fermented cabbage, then deep fried and topped with pickled cabbage and whatever sauces the local vendor likes to use. The cool thing about Taiwan is that people aren't obsessed with saying "THIS is the only way to do it" or "THIS is the most AUTHENTIC". People like to go to different vendors for different styles/sauces. Its a lot of fun seeing people freak out the dish.

This stall was in Taichung. I got the stinky tofu with a little white vinegar, chili sauce, and pao tsai (pickled cabbage and carrots).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Free Range Chicken

Above is the Free Range Native Black Chicken of Taiwan. I don't think we understand the importance of free range chicken. My mom used to always make herbal chicken soup for medicinal purposes and free range bai chia ji. I was just used to it. When I moved out, I didn't have access to black chicken as much at College and just stopped eating chicken unless it was fried. I started to despise chicken for its mustiness, odor, and just foul smelling essence. In the winter, I still made Taiwanese Chicken Soup (like din tai fung style), but really never much else.

Above are boiler chickens. They look sickly! Commodity boiler chickens are treated like shit. I swear I think its karma. All the health problems we have from hormones/antibiotics, its what we deserve for treating animals like this. Not to mention the shitty food we eat. We also don't slaughter meat well in America for the most part. Chickens are electricuted most of the time and the blood just sits in them. Halal, they let it bleed out like in Taiwan. I'm not an expert on halal, but that's what I'm told:

Forbidden for you are carrion, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that which has been slaughtered while proclaiming the name of any other than God, and one killed by strangling, and one killed with blunt weapons, and one which died by falling, and that which was gored by the horns of some animal, and one eaten by a wild beast, except those whom you slaughter; and that which is slaughtered at the altar and that which is distributed by the throwing of arrows [for an omen]; this is an act of sin. – Al-Maidah 5:3

I'm not a religious guy, but sometimes, there are rituals that are here because its humane, or because it just makes sense. I think electricuting chickens may serve the spirit of the above quote by not having animals suffer, but the process leading up to slaughter of boiler chickens makes my stomach turn. They are kept inside 23 out of 24 hours a day so they overeat and they develop giant breast meat and can't walk by the time they're killed unless of course they died of kidney/liver failure before then already.

We need to demand free range chicken. Whether you care about the animals or just because you like the taste better or if you want the health benefits! Do people in suburbs really need 2 acres for a house? If we planned this urban sprawl bullshit better there would be no excuses for not having enough land to farm chickens. We are ass backwards and its our own fault. I'm not even saying this because I don't sell chicken at the restaurant. People complained about the price because they expect chicken at dirt cheap commodity standards. You reap what you sow people!

In Taiwan, even at roadside places, you get free range chicken! Because they have left enough land to raise the chickens and people won't put up with the commodity. Obviously, you still have boilers at KFC, etc. but if it weren't for us bringing this horrible system over, it'd be free range for the most part. Right now, restaurants are charged an arm and a leg upwards of $3/lb for free range chicken. You may say, "Hey, that's cheap!" Well, dude, we're not just gonna hand it over to you for $3! It took us 3 hours just to prep the free range chicken from marinade, to boiling, to pulling, to seasoning plus rent, electricity, etc.

But, if consumers start to demand free range, we can up our orders, we have leverage with the farms, the farms are happy to produce more, and we're in good shape! Look, thank chipotle for buying Niman! It allows them to expand and now they're even doing retail at whole foods. Soon, it may become the standard, it will spawn copy cats, and we'll have competition in the free range all natural meat sector to choose from at grocery stores. You have it with chicken, but its still not a great product. We don't get heritage breeds. If we get it cheaper, so do you. But capitalism doesn't work if the consumers are uneducated. READ PEOPLE, READ! haha

Damn... maybe college/law school wasn't such a waste of time? I don't remember Biggie doing the Ten Free Range Commandments so I had to learn this shit somewhere..... lol. On another note.... I wish the press would pick up some of these posts as opposed to the ones where I'm just venting about customers or the industry B.S. I am banning myself from trash talk, even if it kills me in the hopes people run some of this.... Hmm, maybe I could trade? Like, "Yo, I will bash whatever restaurant you want. Just tell the people to stop treating chickens like shit!" Mercenary-steez.

Me x Lucky Rice

Come check it out if you get a chance! I'm going to be representing Taiwan Tourism doing a demo for Lucky Rice at the International Culinary Center. Dishes TBD, but it will be dope! Lemme know if you have requests!

Taiwanese food at Sitou Mountain

This is my favorite restaurant on the trip so far. It was near Sitou Mountain. Went here after hiking for a day. It was dope family style Taiwanese food. If I had to compare it, I would say it is like the Taiwanese Kenka on St. Mark's in terms of style, but more bigger plates to share. A lot of good drinking food but not street food more family style. I'm a dumbass and didn't get the name. I actually don't like taking photos but you gotta when eating in Taiwan.

Sticky rice in bamboo.

Cabbage with garlic bits

Sweet & Sour Carp was the shit! I haven't had a sweet and sour fish this big before. Usually in America you get a small river fish or flounder, etc. This was really dope and the fresh water fish was good. Lots of little bones, but more flavor.

Bai Chia Ji (again, my pinyin sucks, feel free to correct) - white chopped chicken. traditional dish, but done really well. This was a free range chicken, which is normal in Taiwan. It sucks that in America, we get charged an arm and a leg for free range, it should be the damn standard!

7-11 Zin Hao

I love 7-11 in Taiwan. Its the bomb. I got an Apple Sidra and Pig's Blood Rice Cake.

Super dope. If only I had a dope man here...... I could eat everything in one sitting, but without my gummy bear juice, I am just a mere mortal and must come back several times over the course of a day to try everything.

Japanese food in Taiwan

Went to this Japanese place. Since I'm illiterate and can't read Chinese, I can't tell you the name. But this dish was dope. Green Tea Langoustine.