Naomi Zhenmei Gage: Strange Pastures

Once upon a time, a man swallowed a goat.  The man was very large and the goat was small enough to sit on a seed of grass, so tiny that individual organs and miniscule details could not be detected. Viewed by the naked eye, he was only a dash of white.  The man was not what one would describe as a diligent chewer. The goat passed through his mouth relatively unharmed, loaded on a morsel of pork floss with his eyes half-open and his fetlocks tucked under its chin. The motion was horrible…

Cōng yóu Bǐng: A Catalyst for Taiwanese Self-Identity

Oil in the worn iron skillet bubbles a caramel hue with burnt flaky dough dotting the bottom like poppy seeds. Laying the newly formed Cōng yóu Bǐng in the pan, the oil splatters and the scent of fried dough and sharp tang of scallions perfume the kitchen. As my hands shape each pancake, I reflect on how food has shaped me, allowing me to connect with my ethnic roots and construct my identity.  [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="900"] The author’s Cōng yóu Bǐng prepared in…

Coming of Age with Grace Lin’s “Year of the Dog”

“So, what are you?”  Since childhood, I've had a go-to response: “I’m fifty-percent Taiwanese, twenty-five percent Mexican, and twenty-five percent German.” I was proud to present myself as a unique combination of races and ethnicities, to be “othered” from any and all groups; but this statistical proclamation showed that I only understood myself as a pie chart in which I was part of a whole. I wasn’t allowed full access into any of these identities. I grew tired trying to…

Tyler Tsai: Furikake Gohan

Fatigue gnaws you as you slide onto the wooden stool of your favorite midnight diner. The air is smokey, pungent with the scent of shoyu and steam exhaling from the rice cooker. When it clears, you see your chef dicing green onions and cracking eggs, which he whisks into a creamy froth. As your eyes salivate and your stomach stares, the chef pours the liquid egg into a sizzling pan, which hisses as he slices golden jewel aspic into tiny cubes to melt over your hot rice.  If you were presented…

Yakuza Baby: Mooncakes

You will know when you see it: there are people–most often children, but adults too–who are lost. Lost in themselves. They do not know their own hearts, but in time to come, they will learn. Hopefully. Most have been this person at some point in their lives, sometimes they will find themselves for a brief, fleeting moment before falling, lost once more. Eileen Tan was one such individual–or not-individual.  The almost-twelve-year-old had dark hair that was in plaits one week, loose…

Josephine Cheng: The Best Day

Nothing wakes the woman this morning. Perhaps a dream, but she doesn’t remember. She  opens her eyes, her back spread flat against the bed and her covers stopping right at the nose. Sun  slants in between window shades. From where she lays, the woman sees dust motes twinkling.  For a while, she lays there, her gaze unfocused, her mind blank. Content.   She thinks, Snow. The door to her room eases open, and a cat slips in. It leaps onto the  bed, curling up against the woman. She pulls…

Anastasia Yang: Crosswalk・Catwalk

  On the intersection of Zhongxiao E. Road and Fuxing S. Road, the streets are crowded with sounds of office workers heading home, parents bringing toddlers on walks, and classmates going out for snacks after school. It’s five thirty in the evening in Taipei, my favorite time, and the last glimmers of sunlight are reflecting off the glass panels of surrounding buildings as the street vendors set up their stalls. The city begins to wake up after a long day, filling up with conversation…

Hannah Han: Rusted Dawn

Laopopo: great-grandmother Laogongong: great-grandfather In Shandong, mountains rise like fists from the earth, and pagoda trees blossom, releasing wild fuchsia plumes between the ancient fingers. Beneath the mountains, two rivers melt into a vein pulsing with grass carp, silver bream, and slippery crustaceans. It was there that my laopopo and her friends swam in the summer, opening their eyes beneath the water and counting how many pebbles they could collect from the river bottom before…

Political intrigue, romance, danger: Meet Judy I. Lin, fantasy author of A Magic Steeped in Poison & A Venom Dark and Sweet

Welcome back to another interview in our “New Creatives” series at TaiwaneseAmerican.org! With August and the end of summer coming around, avid readers will know that this month brings a plethora of new book releases. One of our most highly-anticipated reads of the summer is A Venom Dark and Sweet, the second book in author Judy I. Lin’s Book of Tea duology and sequel to #1 New York Times bestseller A Magic Steeped in Poison. In the first installment in the series, the protagonist Ning…

Ian Yu-Hung Tseng: “Deconstructing Daan Forest Park”

From The First Journal of Lost Taiwan’s History, Pub. 2087, Vol. 12, Iss. 8, p. 122-127 Daan Forest Park once sat in the heart of Taipei, at least according to the cardiologists at the National Taiwan University Hospital, though the pulmonologists must have been more popular when they supposedly nicknamed the park, “the lungs of Taipei City.” Surrounded by a metropolis that suffocated in its own humid smog, it is said that Daan Forest Park offered a block of fresh air with its fir trees,…