School Life Pt. 3: Grilling Meat

School Life Pt. 1

School Life Pt. 2

My classmates’d planned to go grilling meat since the Mid-Autumn Festival (the Taiwanese way of celebrating the festival is to grill meat while people in China celebrate with duck and moon cakes) when I told my classmates that I’d had hotpot instead of grilling meat.

It was the day after a typhoon so there were still lingering showers, and we walked for about 20 minutes in the rain to a grilled meat restaurant.

These two classmates are a good team. These two didn’t even look up from the screen whenever we crossed streets :

At the grilled meat restaurant, we each payed NT$500 for unlimited meat, soda, and ice cream. The meat was raw and sliced thinly and came in large plates.

Each table had two grilling pots, which were filled with hot coals and topped with a metal grill mesh. We were each given a pair of metal tongs but one student took over the grilling and kept bragging about his expertise. None of us complained though, because it was like having our own personal chef.

He liked to slap the meat with the tongs. When the oil from the meat dripped onto the coals, flames would pop up.

Everyone’s favorite was bacon and in Chinese it’s pronounced like “Pagan”. It was the thinnest and therefore grilled the fastest and held the most flavor when you dipped it in sauce.

My classmates all had a great time. One table was noticeably more lively because the people at the other table were addicted to their smartphone game.

We were given ice cubes to extinguish any flames caused by dripping oil. We might’ve been using them incorrectly:

In the end, we’d all gotten too much smoke in our faces and stepping outside into the rain was soothing. Overall, I enjoyed grilling meat. Although there weren’t any vegetables and it was slightly expensive, I had a good time with my classmates and laughed a ton, which always happens when we’re together.

Food at the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節) in Da Jia(大甲)

The standard meal for celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival in Taiwan is to grill meat (烤肉). I didn’t get a chance to this Mid-Autumn Festival, but my classmates are taking me to grill meat next week.

Instead of grilling meat, we had hotpot with my host mom’s brother’s family. Uncle took us to a giant restaurant that had every appetizer and dessert imaginable. I’d forgotten my Lactaid pills so I couldn’t have any… (I’ll explain Lactaid in another post sometime).

This hotpot was different from any hotpot I’d had before because each person had their own stove that was built into the table and each person then also had their own pot.

In previous hotpots, we’d shared a giant plate of raw meat strips and uncooked vegetables and noodles. Here, each person had their own plate and you went up to a supermarket-vegetable-aisle style place to get your ingredients:


 

Another thing I enjoyed about visiting Da Jia was the fruits. The first day in Da Jia I had so many cubes of fresh-cut mango that I actually couldn’t finish the bowl.

The second day was Asian Pear (水梨) day. It was single-handedly hosted by this one street vendor who was selling boxes of these giant pears from the back of his pickup that was parked on the side of a mountain.

In America, the asian pears are the size of apples and the skin is pretty tough. Here, the pears were the size of grapefruits and the skin was thin and the flesh was very crisp.

The vendor peeled and cut 3-4 giant pears and handed out slices to our group of ~10 relatives. He was really making a sale! I felt really happy until the relatives began bargaining with the poor man (in Chinese, bargaining is 殺價, which means to “kill the price”). The wealth gap between the two parties was making me embarrassed about us bargaining with the vendor, but no one there minded. I thought that since the vendor’d already kindly filled us up with juicy slices of pear, we’d be generous to him. I guess if the vendor really was having tough times he wouldn’t let us lower the price.

Shortly after a big meal of hotpot (again), we feasted again on slices of the pear and mango juice:

We ended up buying two giant boxes of pears (each box had 22 pears) and they were split among the different relatives that came to visit this Mid-Autumn Festival.