Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula

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Hey ladies,

I thought I would share the experience of the afternoon tea at the Peninsula in Hong Kong. I’m sad you didn’t get to come with us. While I don’t think I’ll ever do it again, I think it was nice to at least say we did it once, and those raisin scones were really good. We each got a tea and then shared 3 plates. Warm raisin scones with a tap of butter or jam (wow, I really don’t know how to make scones compared to these), a savory plate of small sandwiches and mini-quiche types, and a dessert plate. They also gave us small cups of a pudding with extremely sweet syrup that was flavored with passionfruit.

Delish, right?

I miss you. Since I’ve been back in New York, culinary adventures have been few and far between, but I did have a black and white cookie at Nussbaum and Wu by Columbia that was really divine. Though to be fair, my first and only B&W cookies prior to this experience was at a Starbucks in Pittsburgh.


Sister 1


breakfast with grandfather

Father and Grandfather walking together in Taipei (taken by sister 2)

“Your grandfather – he eats like Japanese. Slowly, thinking about each bite.” Grandmother chuckles a bit when she says this, and then says “We’re very different! Me, I eat to eat, very quickly.” Grandpa doesn’t hear this part, but keeps offering me small bits of breakfast. During the war era he says, there wasn’t much that they could eat and food was rationed quite harshly in Taiwan those days, so he picked up the habit his father taught him – to make use of every single last bite. Breakfast is a number one part of your daily routine, too. Back in the day, it was early rise at 6:00 am, breakfast from 6:30 – 6:50 am, then off to school. I think about how I can barely crawl out of bed by 8:45 to make it onto the train by 9 am, and suddenly feel a bit lazy.

This morning, I fried three eggs for us. We add a bit of pepper and a little bit of sauce – but it isn’t soy – maybe it is fish. Anyway, it is less salty which is what we’re going for (healthy breakfast!). Grandma makes radish cakes that she bought the other day – they are more Hong Kong-ish than Taiwanese and Grandpa makes coffee. He adds 2 spoonfuls of Ballantine’s scotch whiskey and says this is the best way to have a cup of morning coffee. We eat some toast from a local bakery – bread is always better in Taiwan! – and put a bit of almond butter and roasted peanuts. A small orange and banana later, I feel full but healthy. The last part is a bit of yogurt my grandmother has made, given 2 spoonfuls of green tea powder (cancer fighting).

I think about how many years have passed since I’ve been home. A lot has changed here but I’m happy to share breakfast with our grandparents. In an ideal world, we would probably have more time for breakfast, and more time to spend here as well. I feel overwhelmed and stressed all the time in New York – and forget quite often about the things that exist outside of the little universe I’ve created all for my own. Being in Taipei has been a welcome break from it. It’s something too, about having been gone for this long. To be reflected on a later date.

 I’ve asked every temple in Taiwan and Hong Kong for a job, or a career, but those things come to I guess when they can. Fortune-telling offers guidance, but it is no crystal ball. That being said, I was insanely happy to be able to spend Christmas and new year with my family. Now enter corny Chinese ballad song?

happy friendsgiving from socal!

Hey systers,

So soon, and we’ll all be together again! Only 2 more nights until I see Sister 1 again, and 2 weeks until I see Sister 3, and 3 weeks until we all see each other again in Taiwan, home of delicious food galore. Can our stomachs handle it? I hope so. Well, here’s my Thanksgiving post, and I’m sorry it took me so long. That fall semester crunch after Thanksgiving break gets me every time!

Well, I celebrated meaningful Thanksgiving with my friends Lily, Noelia, and Nelson. Since we were staying in Lily’s apartment for the break, it made sense to gather our small potluck party there. Nelson brought the Martinelli, Lily was in charge of sweet potato fries and dip, Noelia covered the pumpkin pie, and I made mac&cheese (out of the box, yes). Also, frozen pizza…’Twas a feast in the eyes of us young undergrads, to be sure. Oh, and egg nog was had, of course. There may not be a happier Thanksgiving moment than eating the leftovers straight out of the bowl with your best friends.

Real Thanksgiving was spent working at one of President Nikias’s many holiday parties, this one a Thanksgiving feast for students.They paid us for the entire time we were there, even though we were let off 2 hours early. So I got paid to stuff my face with incredibly delicious Thanksgiving food? No complaints here.Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, all that good stuff cooked to perfection. One more word: pie. I actually had a hard time moving at a normal pace afterwards…Ultimate food coma. Not unlike the one I’m prepared to experience every night we’re in Taiwan.

Can’t wait to see you guys 🙂
Love always,
Sister 2

thanksgiving in brooklyn

aw sad, another holiday away from home. I missed you guys quite a bit, as usual, and really missed having food that was not thanksgiving food! you know, like fish and other chinese things. anyway, here is what I (and my friends) made: herb-roasted chicken with potatoes/carrots, baked mac ‘n’ cheese, green beans with garlic, mushroom stir-fry, sweet potatoes w/marshmallows (this is the american tradition we’ve been missing out on!), and boxed stuffing just because. dessert was a maple pecan tart and an amazing apple crumble + vanilla ice cream.

Herb-roasted chicken. I actually made this circa November 2009 as well, but it is really simple actually as long as you don’t have hang-ups about whole chickens, or something. I always feel weird massaging it with butter. Anyway! The great thing about roasting chickens is that they really don’t require much! You could very easily rub it down with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and lemon if you’re into it, and throw it in the oven. The trick is to get the flavoring under the skin, by loosening it from the neck. I’m not very good at that yet, but I tried. Recipe after the jump!

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Foodies United

Sister 1 here. I would first like to announce that when Sister 3 and I were in New York, all we did was watch food network at the hotel. Yes, we ate here and there, but for the most part, we watched Bobby Flay compete on Iron Chef..over and over again. And speaking of cooking shows…, I finally went to FLIPBURGER in Atlanta!!! Opened by Robert Blais from Top Chef Chicago, I believe it is considered a “burger boutique,” hahaha. I had the steak tartare burger with a sous vide egg. I love saying sous vide. He he he.

Anyway, this place is amazing!! All of us loved our choices (turkey burger, regular burger, and bacon and cheddar) and the fries as well as zucchini fries were delicious. We also indulged in several drinks..namely, milkshakes!! They had a fois gras one, which I thought was interesting but not enough to try it. Matt and I split a KRISPY KREME milkshake which is exactly as it sounds (imagine that favorite glazed donut in liquid form. YUM) and Diana and Stephanie split the Pistachio, which was also really incredible. And if you can imagine, it’s all reasonably priced. Yes!!! I even saw foam on the menu. My new favorite place to eat.

In other news, we made a maple pecan tart and a pumpkin tart the day after Thanksgiving. Today, I made another maple pecan tart because it turns out the only sweet dessert my dad like IS pecan pie, so I thought it’d be great to make more of it, especially since I don’t know what the family plans to do with my leftover ingredients.

Pictures below:

We used a pre-made pie dough because I am really bad at dough, and still have yet to get the hang of it. The recipe is from Epicurious, but I’ll post part of it here anyway:


  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup (we used light, it seems okay)
  • 1/2 stick of butter, melted
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together eggs and sugar until well blended. Then whisk in maple syrup, melted butter, corn syrup, and salt. Then, stir in pecans. Pour filling into tart crust/pan (9″) and bake for 40 minutes. Before we put the tart in, we added some whole pecans on top just to make it look a little bit nicer 🙂 (recipe link here!)

Hope everyone had a good thanksgiving!