The H1N1 panic reaches new proportions.
Seriously, it's bordering to mass... you know what? It is a mass psychosis. And I am just wasting your time stating the obvious. Sorry about that. Actually I am going to write a bit about my ventures today to Taipei 101. Now the worlds second tallest building. Stupid Arabs or Emirati or whatever.
On the 85th floor of Taipei 101, you can eat at the restaurant with the worlds best view. That's for people who like cityscapes, and I would be one of those persons for sure. If you don't like urban sprawl it's probably not an awesome place to you.
We went up here because Selina, my host mother, wanted to hold a birthday celebration for her grandsson who turned 1 last saturday (that day I went to make cakes).
And that's the first clear photo with people in it. To the right is Uncle Water, my host father. The uncle is because of him being a rotary member. Male rotary members are (always) old, and old men are usually referred to as the Chinese equivalent of uncle. Unless they're so ancient you can't get around calling them grandfather in Chinese. (Yeah, really, these people can get really, really old.)
The one in the middle would be my host mothers sister, so effectively my 'host' aunt. That would be 阿姨 - pronounced Ai (pinyin: āyí).
Just if you didn't figure it out yourself already: While we in the western world usually would only refer to our relatives with sister, brother, uncle, granny, etc. without being somewhat informal, it's polite to talk to people you aren't related to, or even people you don't know the name of, using the chinese equivalents of these.
Eating here is probably not something I am going to ever do again. It looks incredibly expensive.
To work up here must be a little like working on an airplane. The tower doesn't take off or move around as such, but the light up here is completely different from down on the ground.
What a decadently long menu card. Get ready for some food snaps. These are all Taiwanese specialties of course. Or, at least something you'd never be able to get outside of east-Asia at least.
Tomato, sweet potato, lobster and some mayonaise-like taiwanese dressing. A decent starter.
Clams obviously. This is some of the really expensive stuff. It tastes really well and is full of fatty-acids that will make you fat without increasing your chance of contracting heart-diseases.
This should be much more costy. Mullet Roe. It's a special kind of fish eggs that I don't dare ask the actual price of. You can usually see shops sell them on street markets around about 4-5 digit NT$ prices for what would probably be adequate for making this. I very much like fish eggs, and tt is good, but even though I'm not paying, I'd feel much happier muching low quality caviar or other fish eggs.
It's the same thing with this dish. This is Buddha Soup, which you usually eat on special ocassions such as birthdays, events in a company or such things. They use sharks fin in this dish, which tastes really delicious. That is, it has a really lovely texture that I haven't tried in other food. But for every sharks fin, a shark has had to die as they cannot survive without their back fin. The people collecting these fins are usually not interested in the meat, so they'll just take away the fin and throw the shark back to avoid having to save lots of monies and fishing quotes. I'd feel bad to order this kind of thing, but I can enjoy it knowing that whether I'm eating it or not, I'm not making a difference, as the dish is already made.
If this dish had a Danish name, it'd definetely be "nudler med smadret krabbe". The way the crab was opened seemed rather crude and random, as if two people has worked together about it - the one with a butchers knife, and the other with a hammer. The noodles underneath were absolutely delicious.
Finally, heart shaped cakes/cookies. According to Maxine, pies. I love pineapple cakes.
Selina would be the lady standing with the little guy in the middle. The little one doesn't have an english name yet. His father in the left part of the picture is my host brother Lee Mark. His wife is just next to Selina.
People from my first host family are also invited. In between Mark and Selina is Joni's mother, and E. Fu. Ku., Joni's father, is sitting next to Uncle water. Joni's parents are "ancient" enough to like being called Agon and Ama, Taiwanese for grandfather and grandmother. They're however not old enough to not drive like they own Taipei city and run up stairs. In Denmark, people this age would probably not be able to hold a drivers licence or even leave their nursing home or eldery residence more than every few weeks. Agon is still to be seen in his office on weekdays.
Maxine is not the only daughter in the family. She has a sister that's married and have two kids. This is a not so good picture of her and her husband. They do not live in the house as Mark though, as it is tradition for the woman to move to her husbands residence when they get married.
And well. That's the last photo, actually. I wanted to take more, but my battery died so badly I could not turn the camera on for long enough to take a picture after this. Goodnight.