Persimmons & Baseball & Dumplings, Oh My!

To say this past weekend was an eventful weekend is to say the least, but it was also a blast!!!

You may recall from this earlier post about my terrific ability to get lost...anywhere! {thanks mom!} and making it to the local persimmon festival was no different! Last weekend I tried to venture to Xinpu about 30 minutes away and found myself so terribly lost that I gave up for the time-being, but was determined that I would make it! One of the teachers I work with at school had told me about this festival {think about visiting an apple orchard in the change the apples to persimmons} and I was determined to check it out for myself!

SOooo, this Saturday I woke up early and determined and set out on my scooter with high hopes of finding this place. Let me tell you after 30 minutes of driving the excitement I felt when I began to notice signs in the shape of persimmons pointing in the direction of the farm! I finally made it!!! And, oh my goodness, I am so glad I did, it was so pretty!!!  (be prepared for picture overload!)

 This is a persimmon, Hsinchu (where I live) is known for their persimmons and their bountiful harvests each fall and then their gorgeous displays such as these at the persimmon farms (I'm not really sure what they are called!)

 Down to the nitty gritty...what in the world is a persimmon festival?? First it's not technically a festival! This is more their processing area that just happens to be beautiful so they open it up to the public! Here's a little snapshot of the process starting top left 1. Fresh persimmons are picked they can be red, yellow, or orange/soft or hard/round or pointy  2. Persimmons are put through this apple peeling-like machine to take off their skins  3. They are then put on these round well ventilated racks on bamboo poles up high to "bake" in the sun  3. The dried persimmons (also known as persimmon cakes) are sold to visitors to enjoy!

Last group of pictures, I promise....unless you'd like to see the several thousand on my phone! ;)

After the persimmon festival I hopped on a train headed for Taipei where a group of 13 of us donned our Americana gear in preparation for the evenings USA vs. Taiwan baseball game. We cheered our little lungs out all 13 fans on  the USA side in hopes of being heard over the hundreds upon hundreds of Taiwanese fans in attendance! Needless to say the guys looked pretty shocked when they realized they actually had fans in the stands! 

And they pulled through, in the last inning...and we won 4-3...well played guys, well played!

And let's be honest, you didn't actually expect me to go to a baseball game, find out they sell dumplings there too, and  pass up getting dumplings?!?!  What an American baseball game never looks && dumplings!

Speaking of dumplings....can  you guess what I conned Tina & Ariel into doing with me at 10am Saturday morning?!?! Yeah, that's right...make DUMPLINGS! 

I've been looking for several weeks now and finally decided to give this place Drunken Monkey a try. Oh, my goodness, it was wonderful! We had a private class for the 3 of us in their restaurant before hours and they directed us step by step {like we started with a head of cabbage and a pile of flour type of step by step!} to make the most delicious dumplings! After they cooked them there for us and we sat and fit as many dumplings into my stomach  as possible ate to our hearts content. 

We were sent home with a small recipe book, left over dumplings, and the remainder of the dough that we didn't end up using! (I'm not going to lie after his mention of peanutbutter dumplings I went home and made a 2 pairs of peanutbutter and jelly dumplings!) Alex, the head chef, is also anxiously waiting my taste review on the apple/cinnamon dumpling that I promised to attempt at home!

We made traditional Taiwanese pork & cabbage dumplings with both a traditional skin as well as a sweet potato skin and would proudly say that both were wild successes!