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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thank 神!

Back on the 26th of February, we paid a visit to my wife's hometown of Siluo (Xī​luó) 西螺, in Yún​lín County 雲林縣. While we were there, we stopped by the Guǎngfú Temple 廣福宮, a local Matsu (Mā​zǔ) 媽祖 house of worship, where Pamela asked the gods to grant a certain request of ours. Apparently, the goddess and her allies looked favorably upon my wife's plea, and so this afternoon we paid a second visit to Siluo to thank the deities for their benevolence. First stop once off the freeway and in the town was at a small shop selling mochi 餅, a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice which is known in Taiwan as 米麻:

 Armed with four bags of mochi, we drove over to the temple, and proceeded to do the rounds of the various altars on the three floors. The mochi was left as an offering (but picked up later on our way out), incense sticks were burned and thanks were proffered. The ritualized xiè​xie's 謝謝 were completed with the act of  burning "ghost money":



Gratitude having been expressed, and with my wife's relatives all busy doing something or other, we left Siluo and headed for home. 
 Central Siluo

However, seeing as it wasn't yet 5 o'clock and the three of us were starting to get hungry, we pulled off the freeway in Taichung (Tái​zhōng) 台中 and made a beeline for the city's most well-known night market in Féngjiǎ 逢甲文華夜市. Night markets in Taiwan are most definitely not for the claustrophobic, and Wénhuá Road and its surrounding lanes were no exception:



As you would do in Rome, we snacked:

Shrimp fried in batter, with curry sauce and cheese

Guà​bāo 刈包, "a Taiwan specialty, similar to a hamburger"

Tofu fries

Mǐgāo 米糕 and ròugēng soup 肉羹

My daughter's favorite bite of the evening, fried banana

Food isn't the only thing on offer at night markets. In Féngjiǎ there are plenty of stalls selling clothing. I just hope Amber will have a better sense of fashion when she grows up:

Being cute takes guts


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