Counterintuitive Solution to Street-Litter Problem

One of the biggest noticeable differences between Taiwan and China is that the streets in Taiwan are much cleaner. I’ve been walking to and from school almost every day, and I don’t think I’ve noticed any trash on the street so far. I then also noticed that I hadn’t seen a single public trashcan on the street in the last ~2 weeks I’d been in Taipei.

When I brought this up with my host mom, she pointed out that there aren’t any trashcans on the street in Singapore either. After googling this, the ostensible reason is that trashcans can house IEDs and by removing the trashcans Singapore is reducing its risk of terrorist attacks (http://www.citylab.com/politics/2013/04/world-without-trash-cans/5306/).

I thought Singapore was one of the cleanest cities/countries* in the world?

Maybe the secret to having a litter-free city is to remove garbage cans from the street? I think removing the garbage cans puts the pedestrians in the mindset of holding onto their litter and saving it for the garbage can in their office, school, or home.

If you leave the house and plan to eat your breakfast slowly, spaced throughout a 45-minute bus commute to Chinese class at another high school, you better bring a backpack to store your trash in (which I always do).

If you readers have any guesses as to why streets without trashcans are cleaner, please comment below! Perhaps it is just coincidence that both Taipei and Singapore’s streets are clean, but I think there’s a reason for everything…

*Singapore is both a city state and a country at the same time.

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A Quick Dinner at Tava Indian Kitchen, the “Chipotle for Indian Food”

That’s what my mom called Tava Indian Kitchen: the “Indian Chipotle”. Sounds trendy.

Tava Indian Kitchen (http://www.tavaindian.com) was spotless clean and trendy-looking indeed.

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Wooden designs plus clean silver or white fonts and steel-looking table tops made Tava even more like Chipotle.

They had three options: Burroti, Bowl (rice), or Salad.

Burroti is a play on the word burrito and roti. Roti is basically an Indian flatbread or pancake. Burroti is therefore a burrito but with a roti instead of tortilla.

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The rotis are kept in small balls. To quickly prepare them, the server places one in the center of the circular machine that he has his hand on in the photo above, and presses down on it with the handle for around five seconds, and that’s an insta-roti.

You could choose from four types of protein: Chicken, Lamb, Chickpea, and Paneer (cheese). Then you got to choose between two sauces: Creamy or daal (lentils). You could add five different types of chutneys (salsa). Like Chipotle, you could have rice, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro.

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The burritos were served in aluminum foil but also in biodegradable cardboard containers and all the silverware was also eco-friendly.

The roti worked well as a tortilla on a burrito. It was a bit thicker than a tortilla but softer as well, making the burrito much more chewy. Unfortunately, the extra thickness made the burrito smaller than the burritos at Chipotle. I was not as full as I usually am after eating at Chipotle. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have any guacamole or cream cheese in my burroti like I would in a burrito at Chipotle.

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Towards the end of the meal I tried out two different types of chutney that my mom’d brought over from the server. The small plastic cups were the typical ones that you find at restaurants, with small bases that widen to a large opening. I was in the heat of the moment (actually literally, because my mouth was on fire from the peppers on my burroti but I wanted more of that spice! ), and pulled at the plastic cup too fast and it rolled out of my hand and onto my pants and shirt.

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I could barely smell the chutney on my pants and shirt after wiping it up. It reminds me of the time I spilled honey dijon salad dressing on my shirt in the middle of a 14 hour flight to China and had to sit through the entire flight with the sickening smell right under my nose because I couldn’t get up and change into another shirt because it was in a suitcase that we couldn’t get to. I am almost 100% sure that my family’s suitcase in the overhead compartment had extra clothes in it for me, but I don’t know why I didn’t eventually get a fresh change of clothes.

But I digress. In conclusion, the food at Tava Indian Kitchen was pretty simple and fast, and there are so many combinations (you can see in the first photo in this post that there are +7,000,000 different combinations for a burroti) that I’m sure anyone who goes to Tava will eventually find something that’ll hit the spot.