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Part 2: Eat & drink in Taiwan

Here's Part 1: Our 6D5N Taiwan trip itinerary, in case you missed it. :)

 Now, here comes part 2!

Taiwanese Glutinous Rice Rolls / "Fan Tuan" (飯團)

You haven't been to Taiwan if you haven't eaten "Fan Tuan" (飯團) for breakfast. Serious!

"Fan Tuan" is a Taiwanese breakfast item that resembles a sushi roll. It's made from sticky glutinous rice with assorted stuffing such as shredded dried pork, hard-boiled egg, green beans, and Chinese cullers. This satisfying roll has become one of my favorite breakfast foods on earth!

Wonderful meals prepared by local people.

I realized that the Taiwanese love to serve super duper fresh and sweet cherry tomatoes. My toddler had the time of his life eating them! He could eat 6-7 cherry tomatoes at one time. He would squish the fruit with his little fingers, suck out the sweet innards, give the empty shell a few bites, then he would either swallow it or spit it out. Hah!

Steamed broccoli was his favorite too! He would munch on a few florets happily while I tried my best to coax him to eat a few mouthful of rice-tofu-broth-egg-whatever-I-could-find-that-I-think-he-will-eat. Hehe.

Usually, he'd be pretty satisfied munching on a banana after stuffing himself silly with tomatoes and broccoli. If he didn't finish the banana, I'd coax him to eat a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt or fresh milk. Oh yeah, he refused to drink soya milk. Hrmph.

I was so glad he didn't lose weight. Serious!

Rows and rows of fresh milk!

Other food and my favorite milk tea!

Shian Yeou Steamboat Restaurant

This was where we all had our first dinner - steamboat style - after we arrived in Caotun. Look at those soup bases! Since I needed to share my pot with my toddler, I had to order the original flavor soup base. I ordered the miso flavor soup base for my hubby. Actually, I'd love to find out how would the Southeast Asia curry flavor soup base taste like. Lol.

Assorted fresh and cooked food.

One of the locals introduced me to this "man bo" fish (曼波魚) that tasted like unflavored gelatine or agar-agar after it's fully cooked in soup. Hmmm.....

Passion Fruit Jelly bought from King Garden (元首館) at Puli Township, Nantou, Taiwan.

Assorted snacks given to us by the locals - preserved dried meat and pineapple tarts. 

I used the Caotun white rice to cook this Tomato Enoki Rice Porridge for my toddler.


Maple Syrup Banana Bread

Maple Syrup Banana Bread

There's a big bunch of overripe bananas in my kitchen. I always believe that the best way to "get rid" of them is by baking them into a loaf of fragrant banana cake/bread. 

I have a bottle of pure maple syrup in my fridge, so..... let's bake banana bread with a twist - by adding maple syrup. ;)

Oh, and here's my favorite way of enjoying freshly baked banana bread. Get ready a generous slice of banana bread; cut a thin slice of cold pure butter; put the butter on the banana bread slice; wait for it to melt a little; make a cuppa of my favorite coffee. Hmmmmmm..... you get the zest? ;)

Recipe adapted from here.

(Serves 6)

1/4 cup grapeseed oil (I run out of rice bran oil and I don't want to use melted butter)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 medium eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medium ripe bananas (I used local pisang berangan)
1 & 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (yes, cake flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Grapeseed oil.

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a standard glass loaf pan with non-stick baking paper. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk grapeseed oil, brown sugar, and maple syrup together. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk until fully combined. Mash the bananas and pour into the mixture, whisk to combine.

Note: I don't mash the bananas too early because I don't want them to become blackish due to oxidization. So, I only mash them when the rest of the wet ingredients are already well combined. 

3. Add sifted flour, baking powder and salt to the mixture. Gently mix with a spatula until just combined. Don't over mix.

4. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow to cool before turning out of pan.

Freshly baked!

Another angle.

Cooled and ready to be sliced.


This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up (March 2015 Event: Banana) organized by Zoe (Bake for Happy Kids), Doreen (My Little Favourite DIY) and hosted by Faaez (BitterSweetSpicy).

Here are some of my previous banana cakes/breads:

Steamed Moist Banana Cake (rice cooker version)
Banana Muffin Loaves
Diana Henry's Best Banana Cake
Banana Bread with White Chocolate Chips


Mixed Vegetables Soup (Tessa Kiros) - cooked in thermal cooker

Mixed Vegetables Soup (Tessa Kiros)

What's cooking for dinner? A pot of piping hot mixed vegetables soup, based on Tessa Kiros' recipe.

Here's an excerpt from her book, Falling Cloudberries: "This is a soup that my mother made often. When I asked her for the recipe she said she just put all the vegetables she could get into a big pot and covered them with water. But it had to have butternut squash. Sometimes she served it with raw, chopped-up red onions, fresh parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil over the top. You can add any other vegetables you like to make a huge healthy stockpot that will feed a multitude."

Recipe adapted from here.

(Serves 4)

1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained
5 small honey tomatoes
10 mini cherry tomatoes
1 medium Japanese cucumber, chopped
1 medium purple sweet potato, chopped
2 cups frozen spinach balls, thawed
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks (with leaves), chopped
1/4 small pumpkin, chopped
2 bay leaves
5 cups water
Extra virgin olive oil & freshly ground black pepper, to serve

How to:

1. Put beans and vegetables in a deep saucepan. Add the bay leaves. Cover with about 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and cook, partly covered, for about 45 minutes.

2. Off the heat and taste; add salt if necessary. Serve with a good drizzle of olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper. This soup is good served warm or at room temperature.

Note: I cook this soup with my 5.5L stainless steel thermal cooker. I bring the ingredients to a boil in the stainless steel inner pot over the stove, decrease the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Then, I off the heat and transfer the inner pot into the thermal cooker, close the lid, and let it stay inside for another 30 minutes. Photos below.

My 5.5L stainless steel thermal cooker.


I keep some leftover soup in the fridge so that I can use it as the soup base to cook my toddler's kelp noodles soup the next day.

Organic kelp noodles from Country Farm Organics.

Ready to be packed!

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme, March Potluck!


Tomato Enoki Rice Porridge (cooked in Zojirushi thermal food jar) - second trial!

Tomato Enoki Rice Porridge

Ready to be served.

I have successfully cooked rice porridge in my Zojirushi Stainless Steel Food Jar SW-FBE75 (750ml)! My first trial with this food jar was sweet potato dessert soup.

(Makes 2 servings)

5 tablespoons white rice (I used Caotun short-grain rice from Taiwan), soaked overnight in room temperature
3 tablespoons pearl brown rice, soaked overnight in room temperature
6 cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup enoki mushroom, chopped into small pieces
1 stalk spring onion, cut into small pieces
2 cups boiling water, with more to preheat the jar

The white and brown rice that I used.

Caotun short-grain white rice from Taiwan.

How to:

1. Fill up the empty food jar with boiling water, close and tighten the lid set, and set aside for at least 2 minutes.

2. Discard the water. Put in all ingredients listed above. Pour in enough boiling water to cover the ingredients. Close and tighten the lid set. Shake the food jar for a while. After 5 minutes, discard the water carefully so that the ingredients don't spill out.

3. Pour in 2 cups of boiling water, close and tighten the lid set, shake, set aside and wait for minimum 2 hours.

4. Before serving, use a spoon to stir all ingredients to mix and test the temperature before serving.

Note: Be careful with the temperature. This jar is super good in retaining heat. So, even after 2 hours, the porridge is still piping HOT.

Mam-mam time!


2,464 rinsed with LISTERINE® at the Largest Mouthwash Rinsing Event! (21 March)

I celebrated World Oral Health Day 2015 with LISTERINE® by joining the Largest Mouthwash Rinsing Event last Saturday, 21 March at 1Utama.

Organized by the Malaysian Dental Association together with LISTERINE®, Global Partner of World Oral Health Day, and supported by the Oral Health Division of the Ministry of Health, this campaign featured a roadshow, educational initiatives, and engagement programs/talks by dentists, including free dental checkups to further spread awareness amongst Malaysians about good oral hygiene and the importance of a holistic oral care routine including rinsing with mouthwash.

This event was targeted to create a new entry in the Malaysian Book of Records for the "Most Number of Participants in a Mouthwash Rinsing Event (12 Hours)" and managed to garner 2,464 participants in total!

Oral care is very important and essential for good overall health, especially for women. I learned this lesson the hard way when my dentist confirmed that I have some form of pregnancy gingivitis when I was 4 months pregnant.

Since then, I have been practicing complete oral care regimes - brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, rinsing with mouthwash daily, and getting regular dental checkups. Nowadays, my gums don't bleed anymore when I brush my teeth. Phewww! 

Press release

President of the Malaysian Dental Association Dr Teh Tat Beng said, "Good oral care goes beyond a nice smile and fresh breath, as research has shown a link between oral health and general health – oral health can be compromised by a number of chronic and infectious diseases which show symptoms in the mouth. On the other hand, oral diseases can lead to infection, inflammation, and other serious impacts on overall health. For example, oral conditions can complicate diabetes while diabetes itself can result in delayed wound healing and worsening of gum disease. Also, untreated gum disease has been associated with higher risk of pre-term babies and low-birthweight babies. This awareness however is lacking amongst Malaysians and hence further education is needed to ensure more people take care of their mouths as it could lead to other possible health issues." 

Survey results 

An indicative survey that was carried out in conjunction with World Oral Health Day recently amongst almost 380 Malaysians showed that only 31% of respondents surveyed were aware that diabetes has a bi-directional relationship with oral health and only 34.6% knew that untreated gum diseases could have an effect on pregnant women and unborn babies.

Furthermore, the survey also revealed that Malaysians do not practice complete oral care routines; in fact, 78.1% were not aware or unsure that brushing teeth alone is insufficient for good oral health as it only cleans 25% of the mouth. The survey concluded that only a small percentage (32.7%) of Malaysians actively practice a holistic oral care routine including rinsing with mouthwash.

Do you know that brushing teeth alone only cleans approximately 25% of your mouth? Scary huh?

This is why LISTERINE® uses a unique combination of four essential oils that is clinically proven to clean virtually 100% of the mouth, killing the germs that cause tooth decay, bad breath, and gum problems.


Part 1: Our 6D5N Taiwan trip itinerary

The little one's OOTD during our 6D5N Taiwan trip.

This trip was organized by church members. This round, we had 24 adults and 4 children (including my toddler who's the youngest).

14 Mar 2015 (Saturday)

7:00am - reached KLIA
9:00am - on-board Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong
1:05pm - reached HK International Airport
2:35pm - on-board Cathay Pacific flight to Taipei
4:10pm - reached Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei

5:45pm - started our 2-hour bus ride down south to Caotun Township in Nantou County (somewhere in the middle of Taiwan)

7:45pm - scrumptious steamboat dinner at Shian Yeou Steamboat (鮮友火鍋) (Blogged: Part 2: Eat & drink in Taiwan)

9:30pm - stayed overnight at our host's house (church member) in Caotun

15 Mar 2015 (Sunday)

Morning - had wonderful local Taiwanese breakfast and lunch at our host's house (Blogged: Part 2: Eat & drink in Taiwan)

Afternoon - spent the afternoon at Caotun's art & craft exhibition center; then our host drove us around town

Dinner - thrilled by the variety of local Taiwanese dishes served to us by the church people (Blogged: Part 2: Eat & drink in Taiwan)

16 Mar 2015 (Monday)

7:30am - indulged in a super awesome breakfast spread at church
(Blogged: Part 2: Eat & drink in Taiwan)

8:30am - gotten on a bus ride to the mountainous area

9:30am - reached Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village (九族文化村), also gotten on cable car rides to Sun Moon Lake (日月潭). There was also an European Garden (歐洲花園) opposite the cultural village featuring lots and lots of lavender!

Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village

Cable car rides over spectacular landscapes.
Can you spot the little hand?

Sun Moon Lake view from the cable car.

Dance performance at the Aboriginal Cultural Village.

4:10pm - left the cultural village to continue our journey to Cingjing Farm (清境農場). We stayed at one of the farm resorts (which I couldn't recall its name). :S

6:30pm - reached the resort and had dinner. Slept early.

17 Mar 2015 (Tuesday)

Enjoyed morning sun at the beautiful farm resort.

7am - breakfast at resort

8:45am - left the resort to go to Cingjing Farm's famous green grasslands and sheep! (Blogged: Part 3: Sheep-ish Escapades at Cingjing Farm)

Group photo before going into the farm.

Sheep! Sheep!

Local market featuring stalls and stalls of street food.

12pm - had lunch at a scenic restaurant overseeing a "solidified lava" river

1:50pm - shopped at King Garden, Puli Township, Nantou

2:10pm - started bus journey up north to Taipei

5:30pm - reached Taipei

6:30pm - had buffet dinner at the church's meeting hall

9:30pm - stayed overnight at our host's house (church member) in Taipei

18 Mar 2015 (Wednesday)

Spent the day at Taipei 101 and Taipei World Trade Center.

Had western dinner at My Home Steak (a church member's restaurant).

19 Mar 2015 (Thursday)

9:45am - reached Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and watched the on-duty-soldier-changing performance

10:15am - started journey to Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei

8pm - reached KLIA

10pm - reached home. Became a sick cat due to dehydration. The tot was fully hydrated. Thanks to breastfeeding (Blogged: Part 4: Taiwan - breastfeeding heaven). The little "sucker" latched all my water away. Hah.


Travel series: Zojirushi Stainless Steel Food Jar SW-FBE75 (750ml) - first trial!

Jeng... jeng... jeng!

Introducing the much-discussed-about Zojirushi Stainless Steel Food Jar SW-FBE75 (750ml)! This is a heaven-sent thermal food jar for us mommies to prepare food for our little ones on the go.

I need to tell you something.....

You can actually "cook" rice porridge in this food jar.

There, I have said it.

Details about how to "cook" will be shared later, at the bottom of this post. :)

Now, let the un-boxing begins...

The specifications for those who are into technical details.

All product features at one glance.

How the lid set looks like.

See the long spoon?

The chic-looking bag, spoon sleeve, and pearl yellow jar.

My first trial with this food jar was sweet potato dessert soup during our trip to Club Med Cherating.


1 medium orange sweet potato (cut into small cubes), 1 medium purple sweet potato (cut into small cubes), 1 teaspoon molasses sugar, 2 cups boiling hot water

I follow the how-to-use guide below to "cook" my sweet potato dessert soup.

How to use:

Below is a set of general guideline about how to "cook" that was provided by TheJournie, the seller whom I bought this jar from.

1. Pre-heat: Fill up the empty food jar with BOILING water, close and tighten the lid set, and set aside for at least 2 minutes.

2. Initial soaking: Discard the water used to pre-heat the food jar. Put in raw ingredients (rice/vegetables etc). Pour in BOILING water again, close and tighten the lid set. SHAKE the food jar for a while to distribute heat to the ingredients. After 5 minutes, discard the water again.

3. "Cooking": Finally, pour in BOILING water again, close and tighten the lid set, SHAKE, set aside and wait for minimum 2 hours, done. 

Very important notes:

1. Raw ingredients must be cut into small pieces.

2. Water must be BOILING, not just hot.

3. The food jar should be filled up to 80% full. Water should not exceed the water line/grid in the food jar. Please keep to about 1 cm below the water line/grid.

4. To cook porridge, soak rice grains overnight or at least an hour.

5. If you want to add raw meat, use boiling water to "soak" the meat separately (to kill germs) for 5 minutes, then drained before putting into the food jar with the rest of the ingredients.

Where to buy?

I highly recommend TheJournie. She's very helpful, prompt, and I feel safe doing transaction with her. And no, this is not a sponsored post. I bought this jar for RM169 (Chinese New Year promo price) from her online shop. :)

What's next?

I've successfully cooked vegetarian porridge with Taiwanese rice that I got from our recent 6D5N trip to Taiwan.


Updated! Here's the link for my second trial with this food jar: Tomato Enoki Rice Porridge