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10 Best Taiwanese Foods That Make You Want Some Tea: #1 Vegetarian Temple Food (by guest blogger Amy Hsiao)

I have memories of myself walking by the many temples as a young child growing up in Taiwan on my way to school.  Even though I wasn't necessarily a Buddhist, I would always say a word or two of blessings (especially on exam days) and be on my merry way, feeling more comforted.  Temples are part of the culture in Taiwan, with bustling activities of visitors praying, burning incense, chanting and offering food to the deities on key lunar calendar dates corresponding with days of worship in exchange for blessings of wellness for/protection of their families and loved ones.   Buy Organic Wellness Tea Gift Set In Taiwan, unlike many other Buddhist countries, the monks/nuns eat vegetarian-only food with the...

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10 Best Taiwanese Foods That Make You Want Some Tea: #2 Chinese Herbal Tea (by guest blogger Amy Hsiao)

OK, I cheated.  Blogging live from Taiwan, this is not a post about food, but rather about "teas" that are unlike any tea one can have anywhere else in the world (except perhaps regions of China or Singapore with similar traditions).  Seeing the local Taiwanese drink their traditional Chinese herbal teas as a ready-to-drink beverage (step aside, soda!) anywhere & anytime makes me really want to drink some tea.  This is why Traditional Chinese Herbal Tea claims the #2 spot on my top 10 list of Taiwanese foods that make me want to drink tea.   Chinese herbal teas really don't contain any tea, traditionally made with the plant Camellia Sinensis.  Instead, they are made with a series of herbs...

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An Invitation to a Mindful Tea Party Hosted by Children (with the #3 Best Taiwanese Food That Makes You Want Some Tea) by guest blogger Amy Hsiao

Who doesn't love a tea party?  Delicious tea, food and great company - sign me up!  Lucky me, during my stay in Taiwan this summer, I was fortunate to have been invited to a very special tea party.  Unlike any normal tea parties, this tea party was hosted by a group of amazing elementary-school-age children from disadvantaged neighborhoods, as part of their graduation from the "Mindful Young Tea Scholar" program sponsored by Chong Hong Culture & Education Foundation. As with all great tea parties, there was delicious pastry at this unique tea party.  However, special traditional specialty pastries were selected to represent the unique history of the particular region the tea party was held.  See below for pictures of some...

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10 Best Taiwanese Foods That Make You Want Some Tea: #4 Blow-Your-Mind Fruits & Nuts (by guest blogger Amy Hsiao)

One of the most popular foods traditionally paired with teas in Taiwan is, drum roll please, fruits & nuts.  So ordinary, you may say.  Yet, quite the contrary, it's actually extra-ordinary.  The Taiwanese fruits & nuts are no ordinary fruits & nuts you maybe familiar with and definitely puts your local Trader Joe's to shame.  There is no right answer as to which teas to pair with fruits & nuts.  Given the prevalence of tea as well as fruit & nuts consumed in Taiwan, all combinations exist with a casualness I love (green tea with mango?  oolong with pumpkin seeds? apricot tea with dried apricot?  sure!) and it's all just a matter of preference.  If you get to, I encourage you...

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10 Best Taiwanese Foods That Make You Want Some Tea: #5 Chinese Doughnut (by guest blogger Amy Hsiao)

Fried dough is another one of those popular foods with different versions around the world, whether it be doughnut, beignet, fritter or churro.  The Taiwanese version is called Youtiao ( 油條), also known as Chinese cruller or Chinese doughnut.  I have always enjoyed having them with a strong cup of green tea to help brighten the taste.  On a hot summer day like the ones I am living in Taiwan, I especially like a cold brewed Purple Bamboo, which I do "on the rocks".  That is, I leave 1.5 tspn over an 8oz glass of ice and savor the refreshing green tea on the rocks.  The Taiwanese traditionally pair the Youtiao with soy milk.  When I am feeling the addition...

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