Tasting My Way Through Taiwan (Part 1)

This post chronicles what I ate on a recent trip to Taiwan. Hang on as I share some low-quality photos and high-quality memories. 

Moments after stepping the plane at approximately 5:34 a.m., we walked out to the curb where we were greeted by our driver in a white Mercedes van. After a 14-hour red-eye flight, we (I, my parents, two sisters and grandma) weren’t the perkiest version of ourselves. Sick of watery, tasteless airplane food, we craved something juicy and fresh.

We headed to an open-air fruit stand on the corner of a busy intersection. I could hear the blaring sound of traffic — bikes, mopeds, cars, and taxis.


Cherimoya fruit


Being on an island meant I got to try some fruits I’d never seen before because exotic fruits thrive in Taiwan’s tropical climate. One of them, cherimoya, tasted stringy and almost pungently sweet. We also ate wax apples a couple times, which, true to their name, are like a watered down version of apple — crisp but rather bland. We also tried mango, pineapple, and bananas, and the Taiwanese varieties proved to be sweeter (the mangoes and pineapple) and creamier (the bananas).

The first day, we headed into Taipei. As a highly populated city, Taipei boasts smoggy air, mad swarms of people riding mopeds, and lots of face mask-wearers. During our trip, we planned to get a survey of the island, starting from the northern part of the island, driving along the eastern coast to the southern tip and through the middle of the island back to Taipei’s in a week’s time. Therefore, every night we lived in a different hotel — the constant, on-the-g0 nature of our trip was exciting yet exhausting. Continue reading “Tasting My Way Through Taiwan (Part 1)”


A smoothie to jump-start your morning

I do agree that there has been a bit of a hiatus in my little corner of the Web recently.

Junior year seems just as crazy as people said it would be. I constantly feel like I’m running on too few hours of sleep as I juggle a sport, a student magazine publication and school work.


Nonetheless, I try to eat as healthfully as possible although it has not always been easy. The past week, the school magazine has been in production meaning that on most days, I haven’t gone home until it’s dark outside. At the same time, production week means that there’s chips, popcorn, salsa, pretzels and snacks galore because high school students need to somehow fuel their sleep-deprived brains.

Suffice to say, I’m all for healthy breakfasts to start off the day on the right foot. Or should I say on the right food?

This date smoothie which is kind of based on The Kitchn‘s recipe can be whipped up on any busy morning.


Banana Date Chia Smoothie

Serves 1

1 frozen banana

2-3 Mejool dates, pitted

1 1/2 cup almond milk (or any other kind of milk)

1 teaspoon chia seeds, soaked in 1 tablespoon of water for 15 minutes

1 teaspoon flaxseed meal or wheat germ


Sea Salt

Blend all ingredients in a blender for about 30 seconds until smooth. Sprinkle with cinnamon and add a pinch of sea salt.



oil-free granola

Welcome to the first official post in my new series, From the Mixed Up Manila Folder (aka FMUMF), where I cook recipes from a stash of newspaper clippings. 

I’ve been waiting a long time to share this granola recipe with you. It’s one of my family’s staples because once you make a (double) batch, it’s the perfect grab-and-go breakfast, post school/work sustenance and even a satisfying late night snack. Plus, its versatility makes it ideal for delicious yogurt parfaits, breakfast cereal bowls, and granola baked goods.

Granola cup – homemade granola, almond milk, sliced bananas and strawberries

Continue reading “oil-free granola”

Travel Recovery Food: Pancakes

You might have noticed that I haven’t blogged for about two weeks. Well, let me tell you, those two weeks were a much needed time to relax. I sailed to Alaska on a cruise ship and got to enjoy fine dining for nearly every meal. The food was most definitely one of the main attractions. It was a nice change to experience cooler weather in Alaska while at home the weather makes me feel like I’m always walking through a heat cloud.

cruise at night
The Star Princess in the port of Victoria, British Columbia

Continue reading “Travel Recovery Food: Pancakes”

Buttermilk Sourdough Waffles

I remember those days when I would eat frozen waffles that came in a cardboard box. I used to think those circles with the mini chocolate chips or the “blueberries” were not bad at all. I mean, so what if they tasted a little bit like the cardboard they came in and sometimes had that freezer-burned hint?

Well, that was until we got a Belgian waffle iron.


Continue reading “Buttermilk Sourdough Waffles”

“Creamy” Crepes


I love alliteration. In the poetry unit for English class, we used it to embellish our writing to make is sound all descriptive

In the blogging world, however, perhaps alliteration causes me to change the truth a little bit.

Because while these crepes achieve delicious and luxurious perfection, they were not at all creamy in the literal sense.

How much heavy whipping cream? Zero to be exact.

Some breakfast things have to be the healthier side for them to really give you a nutritious start to a busy day. 

This recipe uses all whole wheat flour and you’ll have warm French pancakes in a less than a half hour! Continue reading ““Creamy” Crepes”

Part II: Victory in the form of Sourdough Waffles

Here’s the recipe that I made one weekend after the Failed Lunch Lady Bars.

Following my very first post about the sourdough starter (“Bobby”), sourdough is just a little bit temperamental. And maybe it’s a little needy. Sounds like a baby, doesn’t it?

While busy with high school during the week, I’m not able to bake as much as I’d love to since I’m bogged down by piles of homework. This means that we only bake sourdough once a week, so the starter goes in the fridge most of the time. When I take it out to feed it in a ratio of 4oz to 4oz ratio of water to flour by WEIGHT, I have to throw out the excess.

But that feels like such a waste.

I found at that King Arthur Flour has some great recipes for unleavened sourdough starter.

One of them in Sourdough Pancakes/Waffles. Personally, I prefer the texture of waffles. Just a bit more interesting.

These were lovely, light waffles that almost seemed to melt in your mouth. Delish.


Continue reading “Part II: Victory in the form of Sourdough Waffles”

Persimmon Coffee Cake

With bare trees and chilly morning air, it’s the perfect time for baking.

My neighborhood is scattered with leaves of all shapes and sizes. 

We’ve eaten all the persimmons from our tree, but a friend gave us some more of her Fuyu persimmons. 

Fuyu persimmons are the firm, crispy variety that are more like crunchy apples than the soft, gooey Hachiya variety. 

I made persimmon coffee cake using a recipe I found in the newspaper from last fall. Apparently, it comes from Catalina Park Inn, Tucson, Arizona. It is a kinda sugary breakfast food, so I usually only put in 2/3 the amount of sugar recipes call for. My family ate this whole cake in less than a day, so it must be pretty good. 

Spicy Buttermilk Coffee Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups Fuyu persimmons, peeled and chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Mix together flour, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, both sugars and oil.
2. Remove 3/4 cup of the mixture; stir in nuts and the remaining cinnamon. Mix well; set aside to use as a topping mixture.
3. To the remaining batter, add baking soda, baking powder, egg and buttermilk; mix to combine. Small lumps are OK. Fold persimmons into batter.
4. Pour batter into pan. Sprinkle topping mixture evenly over surface, and press lightly into batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.