Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Day on the Farm

Joel visited one of the factories the other day and went to a traditional Taiwan restaurant for lunch. Joel has mastered the art of looking like he's enjoying a totally inedible meal.


Two day fish soup. The soup is cooked for two days to soften the fish to the point you can eat the entire thing, bones and all.

We were invited by Ricky (who works for Santa Cruz bicycles, Taiwan) to have a traditional Taiwan meal and spend the day on his family farm in Waipu. Being from Nebraska I had my ideas of what a farm was going to be like but here in Taiwan a farm could mean you live in town and have a few chickens or a vegetable garden. I was coming back from my ride the other day and saw this chicken farm (below) and directly across the street is the picture above. There are no zoning regulations here. With that in mind we weren't sure what to expect on our day at the farm and by the pictures from the restaurant we weren't sure what to expect a "traditional" meal to be like.

Joel asked Dylan if we could stop at a 7-11 before we get to the "farm" to get some drinks and a few snacks for the kids in case the "traditional" meal was hard for them to eat. We left 7-11 and no lie, we drove down the street (picture below) about 1 minute and parked. Joel said "here we are, at the farm". Their front door is right behind Dylan's white car and their house is all three floors in the middle of the building.

Looking down the street from the farm.

We walked around their house and to our surprise it was more of a farm than we were expecting.

Evie and Ethan loved rolling around and playing in the open space.

When we arrived Ricky had just finished this clay oven to cook chicken, sweet potatoes, eggs and corn on the cob for dinner .

Joel, Dylan and Evie helped build the second clay oven while Ethan ate weeds in the field.

The vegetables looked so beautiful

Evie enjoyed watching Ricky cut bamboo for the fire
Dylan and Ken were trying to build the second clay oven and Ricky's uncle (in the middle) came over to supervise. I guess everything the guys were doing was wrong. The pieces of clay couldn't be too wet or too big and had to be stacked in a certain way.

Evie quickly made friends with the other kids. Everyone helped to gather wood for the fire.

This is Ricky's mom. We are at her home. She is making traditional soup for lunch.
She was a very sweet woman and very playful with the kids. She was missing a few of her front teeth and later Joel told me that Evie asked him when they were outside why she only had three teeth.

This is the finished pot of soup; noodles, mushrooms, pork, sweet potato leaves and the little white balls you see are homemade rice dumplings. The soup had good flavor.

Joel and I were inside with the kids and Ricky's mom put the pot of soup down in front of us and poured us a bowl. Then she walked out of the house. Joel and I were laughing because we were the only ones eating it. (I also don't know the English names for most of the family. English names are given out at school)
Ken's daughter. She was sweet and played well with Evie. She doesn't have her English name yet. All the food was wrapped in newspaper and put into tins.

This is the clay oven after the clay is warmed up. When the clay is warm enough the fire is extinguished and the food is put in the oven to cook for about two hours

This is an old sod house on the farm

Evie with Stephanie and her sister

The girls played really well together. They kept so busy.

Evie and Stephanie playing tag

After lunch and while we were waiting for dinner to cook we walked over to Rickey's pottery studio. He makes his own clay too.

Ricky and Joel throwing clay on a pottery wheel

Evie really enjoyed helping Joel. I think she loved getting dirty too.

This is one of my favorite pictures from the day

The food is unwrapped and dinner is served. Eggs, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob and chicken. I wasn't expecting this kind of food for a traditional Taiwanese meal. I was expecting more like what we are served in restaurants...gooey noodle soups with whole ducks. Shlong (in the middle) is the manager of Santa Cruz Bicycles Taiwan. He and Ricky and Ken all work together.

Dylan, Ethan and Joel. Joel is eating chicken with rice wine on it. Joel's fake smile says it's not good. I tried the chicken but luckily I was feeding the kids from my bowl so they didn't put wine on it. Turns out it wasn't good.


  1. Wow! What a neat day, even if the food isn't what we're used to! You are very lucky to be able to experience all of this! :)

  2. That comment that says "Coordinator" is really Aubrey in disguise. (I've got to log out and then log back in!)

  3. I'm very familiar with that "Oh yeah I love this" look of Joel's! Too funny

  4. Joel's face reminds me of the time we all had Dim Sum (sp?) in China Town LA. Love it!