Lunar Festivities

Photos by MJ Klein

Many Taiwan bloggers have articles about this year’s Lunar Festival or more properly called the Mid-Autumn Festival.  So, why would I disappoint our readers by not having an article about this important holiday too?

This year, Hui-chen and I were supposed to visit her family.  Recently her mother had asked me to cook Dutch oven fare for the family as I did last year.  However, on Thursday I became ill with a virulent form of stomach flu and I couldn’t travel anywhere.  I spent all day Saturday and most of Sunday in bed.  On Monday I went out for awhile but I had to go back home early because I just wasn’t feeling well.


This year the actual event took place on September 25.  We were out the night before, at Shaohui’s of course.  Here we see some of the food that was laid out before we got there.


One of the regular customers handles the grill.  One of the great things about hanging out at Shaohui’s is that you can serve yourself.


Back inside, Shaohui prepares some of her legendary marinade.  Every time she makes it, I swear it’s better than the last batch.


Didi is cutting up the pork meat after it came off the grill.


Shaohui had her people take one of the tables outside just for Hui-chen and I!  We felt like real VIPs.


Here we see Shaohui (L) and Hui-chen enjoying a good joke.


The fellow working the grill overheard the joke!


We had an interesting mix of the normal Thai fare, plus the grilled food.


Take a look at this Thai style fried rice.


But this combination of shrimp and marinaded grilled pork was an unbelievable as it looks!

Now, we jump forward to September 25:


Regular readers of our blog will recognize this grill.  I brought it to Shaohui’s because we have had production throughput issues with just one grill.  I am very pleased with the performance of this design.  1/2 bag of charcoal lasted for almost 3 hours.  I am considering a commercial model based on it.  Initially it burns very hot so you have watch the food closely.


We started out with chicken wings, marinaded of course.


Hui-chen handled the grills on this night.  The grill on the left is a cheap model that is difficult to use because you can’t easily replenish the charcoal.


Yes, the shrimp really are blue.  This is just how they looked, shot in natural light.  They were still alive when I placed them on the grill.  They weren’t happy, but fortunately they didn’t know it for very long.


After consuming copious amounts of Sangsom Royal Thai Rum, I took a walk down the street to see what other people were doing.


The usual gang of suspects in various states of inebriation.


This is their grill.  I’d say the fire was a bit excessive!


This shot proves again, that one never knows what one will see in Hukou.  These are 2 Thai guys using a fork truck to move their sofa and coffee table.  Why they chose that night to move has yet to be explained.


The boss at the place where the fire happened the other night, and his grill, now well tamed.

And that, my dear readers, is the last shot that I took.  You see, I had more rum and I also had my guitar with me, so I spent the rest of the evening proving that alcohol does indeed turn you into Jimi Hendrix.

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10 comments

  1. Wow, the food looks delicious, my mouth is watering right now! Looking at those Thai dishes just make me miss Taiwanese food even more. The thing about living in Canada is the lack of authentic food from home – most of what I find here are imitations (some better than others, of course).

    Anyway, hope you get over that virus soon!

    Cheers,
    Solemn Observer
    26 May 2007

  2. wish you could join us! perhaps on your next trip back to Taiwan?

    be sure and check out Bushman’s Asian Food Blog. normally i cross post the food related stuff there, but the food blog also has exclusive content not found on this blog.

    thanks for your well-wishes. i am feeling better each day. this is the longest lasting stomach flu i have ever had!

    thanks!

  3. Hey MJ. I sympathise for you and the stomach bug. I am back to my old self again thank god and I hope you will be soon as well.

    The pictures as always are great. I really like the first picture of your new grill you made. The two kebabs with the fire dancing and the coal burning red hot, it looks great.

    I love grilled food that has been marinated. I am not a big fan of deep fried meats which are very popular here in Thailand but thankfully grilled style meats are available everywhere but sometimes not overly tasty as they haven’t been marinated or basted.

    I have to buy a griller and there are many styles available like the one the guys had that was burning like a bonfire on Guy Fawks Night.

    Anyway, have a good day, night or evening my friend.

  4. Brunty, glad to hear you are back in action. i’m just about there myself. this has been the longest that i’ve ever been taken down by this sort of thing….

    for some reason i really enjoy taking shots of grills cooking stuff, especially at night. the colors seem to come alive. lemme tell you, that thing was HOT when i took that shot!

    man i hear you about those deep fried meats. but as you say, there are plenty of grilled marinated meats in Thailand and i am happy to say that i have also enjoyed many of them myself, especially at one place i used to stay in Khonkaen (blogged on Tamarind Residences before).

    just today i was in a factory and saw one of those 1/2 barrel grills. i commented to Hui-chen that it looked “just like Thailand” and then i remembered that the factory has a bunch of Thai workers, lol. small world, is’t it?

    thanks for your comments and keep up the great reporting on your blog.

  5. The fellow working the grill overheard the joke!
    Tell us more about the joke.
    You can not get sick, your reader expect to to be alive everyday!

  6. Anon, yeah i know – i can’t afford to get sick because it affects my blogs! haha

    the joke was a Taiwanese one, but i’ll try to tell it in English.

    2 beef steaks were walking down the street. they passed each other but they didn’t say hello to each other. why not?

    because they were “bu so” meaning they weren’t cooked.

    the Chinese word for “familiar” or “know” such as “i know that person” sounds almost the same as the word for “cooked.” so, it’s a play on words: the steaks were uncooked, therefore they didn’t know each other.

  7. glad to hear you are getting back in the swing.

    i am crashing your party next year! very nice pictures. the food looks great…i almost took a bite out of my monitor!…lol.

    -david

  8. Thanks David. hey, you are welcome, so come on an crash! hope to meet you soon. thanks for your kind comments!

  9. Ok, MJ, so you delibrately took those pictures to make me suffer. I cooked rice today and put in some coconut and called it a meal. Sorry there’s no better food in the US for me to do any kind of picture revenge. I hope you are feeling better. The doctors are affordable in Taiwan; ooops, I bet you knew that.

  10. Shan, yes i specifically had you in mind when i shot those photos, knowing that you would be eating something considerably less appealing. 😉 sorry!

    and of course i know about the health care system in Taiwan.

    so the question is, are you done playing around there and ready to come back where life is good, people are free and healthcare and good food are abundant?

    i know many Taiwanese in the US that are ready to come back because the US sucks.

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