Sunday, August 28, 2011

beipu: hakka lei cha

I've mentioned Alice several times before, she is a woman who works at the Zhudong campus and has been super nice to me! Well on Saturday night before I went to get those beef noodles she came back deliberately to give me this

pearl milk tea!
She is so awesome! I was totally surprised when she showed up after she already left work just to bring me this. She had told me about a former teacher who opened a drink shop and had a grand opening. We had said we were going to go but because I had to go to the Erchong campus I wasn't able to go :( So she deliberately waited in the long line and bought this for me! One of the best things in Taiwan is how nice everyone is.

Well the next day on Sunday, Alice stopped by at the school even though it was closed. I was skyping with my mom at the time and I was just telling her about Alice when Alice walks in. Apparently she came deliberately to look for me because she had heard I wanted to go to Beipu but because of my lack of transportation I wouldn't be able to do it. I introduced her to my mom and they spoke in Mandarin. Pretty sure my mom was thanking her for being so nice to me and looking out for me.

Anyways went over to Alice's house where her parents make these pancake type cakes to sell at the Zhudong market. I'm really enjoying being able to view local life and getting a sense of the culture and lifestyle of Taiwan by living here. Something I would never be able to do if I was just a tourist.

three flavors: sesame, peanut, and brown sugar
I've already mentioned that in my area there is a huge Hakka population. Well Beipu is known for its Hakka culture and of course Hakka food! But before Alice drove us there we stopped for some more pearl milk tea!

pearl milk tea in a bottle!
We went to the place mentioned above. They also give drinks in bottles and a straw for people who are traveling. Too bad the straws are just the regular ones so they are longer than the bottle and we weren't able to close the cap with the straw in it. They should give a shorter straw so we aren't left with either pulling the whole straw out or forcibly bending the straw so that it would fit.

i'm a natural at this
Lei cha or pounded tea is famous within Hakka cuisine. In Beipu we went to a tea house that allowed you to make your own lei cha. Lei cha is commonly made with green tea where you use a mortar and pestle and grind in sesame seeds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, etc. Since I am allergic to peanuts our dish contained black and white sesame, pumpkin seeds, and something else.

The platter with all the seeds go into making the tea. The blue dish contains a sticky rice square with sesame seeds sprinkled on top. The other dish is glutinous rice in a brown sugar syrup with ginger. The glutinous rice is the kind that makes tangyuan or glutinous rice balls before rounding them into ball form. That dish was yummy except I wish they didn't add the ginger.

the finished product with puffed rice
The tea was very thick and ours tasted a lot like sesame. If you've ever had the black sesame soup, it tastes similar to that. The color is a very darkish green color. Everyone in Beipu was drinking lei cha in to go containers.

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