How to Make Your Own Chinese-Style Dumplings

Anyone who has eaten authentic Chinese style dumplings will tell you that they are awesome! So much better than what you can get in American Chinese restaurants.

But what are you supposed to do if you live in America? Easy! Make your own.

It may sound like a daunting task, and it can be a little tricky, but once you get the hang of it it'll be a piece of cake (and a ton of fun too!).

First, there are a few things that you will need. So head on down to your local Asian supermarket. I'm sure you have one in town, just google it.










Here's your shopping list:

1. Ground pork

2. Cabbage 

3. Green onions

4. Dumpling skins(they'll be in the frozen section)

5. Soy sauce

6. Minced garlic

7. White pepper

It also helps if you have a food processor, but you don't need to buy one just for dumplings.

Now that you have everything that you need, let's get cooking!










Here's how you do it:

1. Thoroughly wash all of the vegetables.

2. Finely dice cabbage and creep onions.

3. Put your ground pork in a mixing bowl, and mix in the vegetables.

4. Set out a tray to put your finished dumplings on, and a bowl of water to the side.

5. Grab a dumpling skin, slap on a spoon of your pork/veggie mix.

6. Dip your spoon in the water and wet the edges of your dumpling skin.

7. Fold it together and fold along the sides to keep it shut.

8. Repeat about a hundred or so times!










Cooking dumplings is easy, but you have a choice to make. There are two different ways to prepare them. Steamed, or pan fried. To steam them, it works best if you have a pot with a steamer attachment on top. If you want to pan-fry them, oil up a hot pan, set your dumplings in, mix a cup with flour and water and pour it over the dumplings. This makes them nice and crispy! 

To eat them, you can prepare a small bowl of soy sauce, mix in some garlic and pour it over your dumplings, or just dip them and eat. 










However you choose to make them, you can be sure that you will have an awesome meal!

I hope you enjoyed the article and are ready to try out your own homemade dumplings! Let me know how they turn out!
Also, I'd like to take a moment to tell you guys to hop on over to my new friend Yang Yang's site. They recently interviewed a lot of Chinese language learners(myself included) about their top Chinese learning resources. Check out what they (and I!) had to say here!
Like always, comment below and let's get a discussion going!

10 Scary Chinese Foods!


The most popular articles I have ever written are… and…. So today, I'm going to keep the food theme, but add a bit of a twist, so keep reading and find out about some of the most unique(and disgusting!) Chinese foods!

1. 皮蛋 pídàn- Thousand year-old eggs











The rumor is these bad boys were marinated in horse piss to give them their distinctive flavor and smell way back in the day. This just shows you the reputation they have! These days they are soaked in salt, and a mixture of chemicals to give them their distinctive salty, ammonium flavor.

2. 臭豆腐 chòudòufu- Stinky tofu










I've written about this dish before, but I'm going to include it in this article as well, because foreigners really do think it's Disgusting(I capitalized and bolted the D for emphasis!), but come on! It's not that bad, especially compared to one of the other items on this list!

3. 豬腳 zhūjiǎo- Pigs feet


I can't tell you how much I love these! My mother in law makes the BEST marinated pigs feet in the world! The meat is so tender, it melt in your mouth! Just goes to show, that great food ain't always pretty!

4. 豬血糕 zhūxiěgāo /鴨血 yāxiě- Pigs blood cake/ duck blood

\"Zhu_xie_Gao\"Pigs blood cake and duck blood are often served with other dishes or in hotpot to compliment the other flavors, as they absorb the flavor of soups, sauces, etc. It's really not that bad, though the idea of it is kinda gross, you might think Chinese people are vampires!

5. 烤章魚腳 kǎozhāngyújiǎo- Grilled octopus tentacle


What's better than a delicious, rubbery octopus tentacle on a stick? A GIANT delicious, rubbery octopus tentacle on a stick, that's what! When I first moved to Taiwan, I remember thinking to myself "What the heck I that?" as I strolled through the night market one night. Little did I know that I would come to love this weird food, and so will you!

6. 豬肝 zhūgān- Pigs liver


Not usually eaten on their own, pig livers are adding in to many dishes to make for a hearty meal! They are eaten, because in traditional thought, they are believed to increase the blood count in your body.

7. 雞腳 jījiǎo- Chicken feet

\"OLYMPUSChicken feet are especially popular with Chinese women, as they are thought(because of traditional Chinese medicine) to be good for the skin. These are pretty good, but I'd take pigs feet any day, because chicken feet have barely any meat on them! They're great if you like cartilage, skin and tons of tiny bones though!

8. 魚下巴 yúxiàba- Fish jaw



This dish is pretty scary looking when the waiter brings it to your table, I mean, come on! Do people actually eat that! As a matter of fact, they do! The meat tastes pretty good, though it can be difficult to get at all the good parts. Hey, try it before you judge!




9. 魚卵 yúluǎn- Fish eggs



In Taiwan, when you order a fish at a restaurant, you get a fish, head and all. In America, you get a fillet! In Taiwan, when you get a fish with a belly full of eggs, you consider yourself lucky as you chow down on your bonus. In America, you yell at the waiter, send the fish back and mot likely empty the contents of your stomach. It really is amazing how different our taste buds can be!



10. 豬舌頭 zhūshétou- Pigs tongue


Last but not least, is pigs tongue! We've eaten pretty much every other part of the animal, so why leave the tongue alone? These are shaved into thin slices and grilled, and both look, and taste like pepperoni! They are awesome, so make sure you try this one before dropping the hammer!




That's our list, and I had to cut it short because my hands are getting tired from typing. I could easily go on! It just goes to show how much of the animals we eat in the West go to waste! I hope you enjoyed this article, and if you did, please join my mail-list! Until next time….


Another 10 Foods You Ought to Try in Taiwan

Due to the popularity of my last post on Taiwanese food, 10 Foods You Must Try in Taiwan, I have decided to write an article detailing 10 more of the best foods to try while you are in Taiwan. So, without further ado…
1. Oyster pancakes蚵仔煎 
Sorry Aunt Jemima, we won't be needing any syrup up on these pancakes! Made with eggs and fresh oysters, these are one night market snack you have to try!
2. Bolo bread 菠蘿麵包

Best when fresh out of the oven and filled with butter, this warm, tasty treat is just what the doctor ordered…on second though, don't mention it to your doctor, what he doesn't know won't hurt you!\"下載\"






3. Saweima 沙威瑪
Hailing from the middle east, Saweima is another food that is not ethnically Tawanese, though you can find it in night markets all over the\"下載\" island. This simple, yet elegant dish is prepared by slicing slivers of chicken from a spit, adding onions, lettuce and several other possible toppings like pepper, ketchup and mayonnaise and then scorching the bread until its nice and crispy. Many stands also have the option to add cheese or an egg for an extra charge. You can usually get them for 40 NT, and some places have special prices for buying three at a time.
4. Grilled squid 炭烤魷魚
Most Westerners are slightly taken aback when they first see this dish, but trust me, it's delicious! Grilled squid can sometimes be a little pricey, but it's worth it.
5. Digua Qiu 地瓜球
Holy chewy, fried balls Batman! These sweet potato balls are awesome. Just make sure that you don't forget to sprinkle (pour in my case) on some sour plum powder. It makes for a great contrast of flavors!
6. Wild-boar sausage 山豬烤香腸
How's it shakin bacon? This ain't your run of the mill sausages. Boar meat is a lot leaner than regular old pork, and has a unique flavor that you you really must try, especially glazed in Taiwanese BBQ sauce, yum!






7. Kao digua 烤地瓜
There was a time when Chinese families ate rice only as a luxury, and survived off of the humble sweet potato as a major staple of their diet. Well, nowadays people still eat it, because its both delicious and nutritious, and especially good to eat during the winter! The price will vary depending on the weight, but rest assured, you'll get a full belly with change to spare!






8. Oyster noodles 蚵仔麵線
Oh a mi swa is the name for this dish in Taiwanese, and that is what you will hear people call it, even if they don't speak Taiwanese well! The dish consists of oysters and mian xian, a thin, clear kind of noodle. It is commonly served with pigs blood cake and pig intestines, so not for the feint of heart!





9. Luogen mian 牛肉麵
My namesake, this is one tasty dish! It consists of pork that is mixed with flour into log-like shapes, noodles and a thick, sticky soup. It's delicious and will only run you around 45 NT.





10. Tianbula甜不辣
Fried, grilled or boiled, get it however you can! This delicious dish is made from fish and flour and it is not to be missed!


#picture from : some from google some from myself.

Double Down! 雙十節


Last Thursday  was guó qìng jié 國慶節 Taiwan's Independence Day, also known as shuāng shí jié 雙十節 Double Ten Day because it is celebrated on October tenth, 10/10. Besides the holiday though, there is another reason that this was a special day for Ruby and I. It was our four-year anniversary nián jì niàn 年紀念! She's the love of my life; she's beautiful and she can put-up with my terrible jokes and childish antics. What more could a guy ask for?


(She's my pride and joy!)

So, to celebrate we did something we haven't done in a while and we decided to take a day trip to one of the island's many scenic mountain areas…Nanzhuang.

To get there we took a train to Zhunan and then took a shuttle bus over to the Nanzhuang old street in the mountains of Miaoli county. The bus station is directly across the street from the train station and opposite from the 7-11. The tickets ran us 100NT per person and gave us day passes to take the bus to three destinations: nán zhuāng lăo jiē 南庄老街 Nanzhuang old street, xiàng tiān hú 向天湖 Xiangtian lake, and xiān shān 仙山 Xian Mountain. What a bargain!
(Here I am, at the Zhunan train station)
The bus ride to Nanzhuang took about 40 minutes, and when we got there we checked out the visitors' center which had a lot of information on the surrounding tourist spots, as well as a little about the local aboriginal tribes yuán zhù míng de bù luò 原著名的部落 and their history. We chatted with the staff to find our next bus, which was just out front, and we headed out to the aboriginal village and culture center at Xiantian lake.
(This is where the bus drops you off, it's also where you can catch a bus to the local attractions, or back to Zhunan station)
(Here's a map of the bus route and the local sights, but also make sure to grab a copy from the information center)
The bus ride to the village was worth the trip alone to catch a glimpse of the scenery as we slowly snaked our way up the mountain road. It was like we were in another country, or world.
(It is just amazing up there in the mountains!)
When you enter the village there are several stands where you can get some aboriginal snacks, such as wild-boar sausage and mă gào dàn 馬告蛋, eggs marinated in mă gào 馬告, a really fragrant type of seeds that the local sài xià zú 賽夏族 Saisiyat tribe uses for seasoning many of their dishes.
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(This stuff tastes so good, I had to learn the secret recipe!)
(And here it is! 馬告!)
I have a feeling that they don't get many foreign visitors, as one young aboriginal girl kept marveling over my hair, asking me why it wasn't black and if I had dyed it. I am used to this kind of stuff, especially as I live in a county area, though not to this extreme.  This just multiplied the feeling that, even though people were speaking Mandarin and there were plenty of Taiwanese tourists around us, we were no longer in Taiwan!
Another thing that the aboriginal people in this area are famous for is honey, and you could see lots of beehives with swarms of bees, placated by the strongly scented smoke that was burning by their homes.
\"IMG_7052\" \"IMG_7051\" \"IMG_7049\"
(There were lots of bee-keepers and people selling honey in the village)
As we went through the village and looked through the different stalls, we eventually came to the lake which this place was named after. It was a beautiful lake, and there was a tree-shrouded path that led around it. It was a relaxing hike, and any direction that you looked you had beautiful scenery popping out at you, be it the lake itself, the flowers and trees, or the gorgeous mountain backdrop that overshadowed it all. It was fantastic!
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(The walk around the lake is a great escape)
\"IMG_7084\"  \"IMG_7100\" 
(Just taking in the natural beauty)
When we had made our way around the lake, we came to an aboriginal culture center which displayed a lot of beautiful handmade artifacts that the Saisiyat people had used to do anything from carrying children to farming. Practically everything was woven from grass or made from bamboo, and the craftsmanship was impressive. There was even a traditional bamboo house with many artifacts on display for viewing, though, unfortunately, taking photographs was not allowed in the museum.
\"IMG_7131\" \"IMG_7132\"
(The aboriginal culture center is definitely worth a visit)
One interesting display described the tribes origins, and the myth surrounding how their people came to be in that area.
After finishing up I'm the village, we waited for the bus and headed to the nearby Donghe suspension bridge dōng hé diào qiáo 東河吊橋. The bridge is massive and it is quite thrilling(and a little scary) when it wobbles and springs up and down as you cross. The view of the river below was just awesome from the middle, and on the other side was the head of a promising hiking trail.
\"2013-10-10 \"IMG_7144\" 
(You're not supposed to run on these things, but I was too excited to see the view!)
After hiking a ways up, however, we realized it just led to some lucky people's homes. Though I bet there is a trail if you continue on back there,  we chose to turn back and catch the bus back into Nanzhuang.
While we waited for the bus, we walked around the area and took a look at a few interesting pieces of aboriginal art, and perused a gift shop where the local people sold their handmade bamboo crafts. The homes in the area were beautiful and the people were very friendly, and I really envy them their beautiful mountain home, but it was time for us to head back into the hubbub of modern civilization.
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(We didn't get to take photos in the museum, but there was plenty to photo here!)
By the time we got back to the old street, we were starving and immediately got in line at the first stand we saw.
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(They sell the best huā shēng bīng qí lín juăn bĭng 花生冰淇淋捲餅 I have ever had!)
The entrance to the old street is really narrow, but it opens up a bit as you get further inside. Besides the usual snacks, there was one particularly famous stand selling the local specialty, guì huā fĕn yuán bīng 桂花粉圓冰.
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(The local specialty. Make sure to bring home a jar of 桂花 jam to spread on your toast!)
After refueling we found ourselves at the back of the old street, where there was a gigantic temple and a 100 year old post office from the Japanese occupation period. There was also an old school (the sign said 100 years old, though it looks like its been rebuilt) and a 100 year old stone pathway leading down to the street below. This place is old!
(Taking a break on the temple's steps)
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(Here we are at the 100 year old post office!)
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(Here's the old school…)
(And an even older tree!)
(This path is over a hundred years old too!)
Unfortunately it was getting dark, so we didn't have time to go out to Xian Mountain, but I don't mind. It just gives us a reason to go back! Before heading back, we checked out one last suspension bridge in the surrounding area, and then used our day passes to head back to the train station. It was a great day, and I slept like a baby on the way home. Who knew having fun took so much energy?
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(Taking one last photo in front of the visitors' center before leaving)
Check out the rest of the photos here!
How To Get There:
Nanzhuang old street: To get there take a train to Zhunan and then take a shuttle bus over to the Nanzhuang old street. From there you can use your day pass to take busses to the various local attractions. Also, If you stay in a hostel in Nanzhuang, your day pass can be validated for a second day.
Chinese phrases of the day:
國慶節= National Day
雙十節= Double Ten Day
年紀念= anniversary
南庄老街= Nanzhuang old street
向天湖= Xiangtian lake
仙山= Xian Mountain
原著名的部落= Aboriginal tribe(s)
馬告= a seed that the Saisiyat people use for seasoning their food
賽夏族= the Saisiyat tribe
東河吊橋= Donghe suspension bridge
桂花粉圓冰= an iced desert consisting of chevy balls of cooked flour and covered with osmanthus jelly
花生冰淇淋捲餅= a ice cream wrap with peanut powder