2015年2月6日 星期五

[Beer Tour in Taipei] Koelsch 科隆啤酒

Photo Link
I didn't expect to be able to find Kölsch in Taipei.  The importer is located in Taichung.  But you can still purchase Kölsch from them by phone or enjoy a sip when they hold event in Taipei.
For example, this weekend they are having a Carnival party at Royal Art Cafe.  Further info is right here in the link.

More info about Kölsch:
酒類專家 王鵬老師的介紹:
科隆啤酒就屬於頂層發酵的拉格,亦即「偏高溫發酵,但經過低溫熟成」的啤酒。...通常以柱狀杯侍酒,每杯200毫升,確保喝到最後一口都仍在適飲溫度。...位於科隆一帶約莫二十間啤酒廠才有權使用Kölsch一詞作為產品名稱,德國境外則無此限制。不過,若是在美國釀製科隆風格的啤酒,通常另外稱為Blonde Ale、Blonde Beer、Summer Ale,或者乾脆叫做American Kölsch-Style Beer。科隆各酒廠風格不一:有些較為乾爽,酒花風味鮮明,通常也較苦;有些則擁有較多麥芽甜韻,但是都必須過濾。若是熟成時間不長,而且也不過濾,則改稱Wiess,嚴格說來,不能算是科隆啤酒。
Früh Kölsch Taiwan
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2014年11月25日 星期二

Why is it good to have your own signature stamp in Taiwan?


It's practical for banking stuff.

If you want to open an account in Taiwan, it's highly possible the bank teller would ask you for your stamp if you want to activate "Joint Passbook Savings" service(通儲), which allows you to withdraw/deposit money in any other bank branches they have.

It's required for many legal documents.

Let's say if you have to sign your lease, you will see the signature bar says "簽章".
簽 stands for signature.  章 stands for stamps.  And your private stamp is considered more powerful in our legal system.  (Well, it's changing, but we basically recognize stamp more than signature)

It's not expensive which makes it a good souvenir as well.

A wooden signature stamp only cost you around 50 NTD (less than 2 USD), usually you could fetch it at the day, or a day after.  Of course, it could be pricy when you pick some valuable stones or rare wood to make it.

It's cool to have your name in Chinese anyway! 

Come on, I know to write your name in Chinese might be a painful job.  It will save you a lot of work if you stamp it.  You can choose a font you like to make your own signature stamp.  Usually bank requires a font which is readable and clear.  However, you could choose some funky calligraphy ones to build up your character.

Where to find a signature stamp maker?
Usually you will find a tiny small shop near neighborhood instead of business area.
It often runs business with key making.  Try to search "鎖印行" near your place.  Or maybe try to ask the bank tellers, they may know the closest one. (Say:請問附近有可以刻印章的地方嗎?)

Key Words/Sentences which might be useful 
(put them in translator so you will know their pin-yins)
印章 Signature stamp
Hello, I would like to make a stamp.
Is that for the bank service?
Yes, so I would like the font which is clear, no special font.  How much would that be?
正楷的話50塊,請在這邊寫下你的 名字/大名
It would be 50 for normal font.  Please write down your name here.
Done.  When can I pick it?
You can have it any time after 6 p.m.
Should I pay first?
Yes, and bring the receipt later to collect (your stamp).

2014年10月24日 星期五

Learn Chinese with ease!

Do you think learning Chinese character is difficult?
How about give it a try with Chineasy.org?

Chineasy is a platform created by ShaoLan, the entrepreneur who decide to develop her own method to help her children(they are born in UK) who started learning Chinese as a English native speaker.

Chineasy works on a simple building block principle. When you know a few key base characters (or building blocks) you can start combining them to create more complex words (compounds) which, when combined, allow you to create simple phrases and stories. It’s that easy!

Chineasy Websitev2 Howto Images 2 01
Photo CR belongs to Chineasy.org
On Chineasy.org you will see a header termed ‘Basics’, see it? If you click on Basics and go to SET I you will find our first set of 12 building blocks. Click on each thumbnail and you will find a collection of different compounds & phrases comprised of your chosen building block with interesting Chinese cultural references and memory aides. [1]

Starting with "Building block", have fun and enjoy! :D

[1] Official page of Chineasy: http://chineasy.org/about/how-to-use-chineasy.aspx

2014年10月19日 星期日

Do I need a bike in Taipei?

A lot of people want to start their new life in Taipei with a bike. Bikes here are not really expensive, however, do you really need to buy one? I believe I could give you a great bargain.  As long as you are not looking for mountain biking, YouBikes can definitely meet your expectation, even go beyond!

YouBike is a service provided by Taipei city government for people who need short-distance commute.  They cooperate with GIANT, yes, the "Giant Bicycles", it cost you way less by using YouBikes instead of buying one.  However, with more and more bike routes being developed aside MRT network and riverside, Youbike can give you a mini journey from south to north, such as from Bi-Tang(碧潭), MRT Xindian Station to MRT Tamsui Station.

Here are the quick instructions for you to know before you start using this service:

Where can I find those bikes?

Taipei city alone has 167 sites, more than 5,000 bikes circulate inside Taipei, this service has expended to New Taipei city(which locates at outer circle of Taipei city) with another 12 sites. Yet the number is still growing!  Most of sites are close to MRT stations, or major transportation spots.  Check their website to see if there's any sites near your place.

Green spot means you can lend/return a bike.
Orange spot means you can return the bike, but no bikes to borrow.
Red spot means you can only lend a bike since all the racks are occupied.
Grey spot means it's off service for now.

Apps to help you

Are you worry about not being able to find a returning site once you start ride it? Don't be, mobile Apps such as Bikerker, or official App YouBike微笑單車 could help you to find sites to lend/return your Youbike.  I personally prefer previous App since it has less Ads, and request less storage spaces.  Not sure it has English version or not, however, with google map, you should be able to determine where you are, and where's the closest site for you!  Don't have 3G? Don't worry, government provides Free Wi-Fi such as "Taipei-Free", "iTaiwan" will be there as well.

How much does it cost?

1.It will calculate to 30 mins if using is less than 30 mins。
2. UPDATE:2015/04/01 Starting from April 1, using Ubike in TAIPEI city within 30 mins will deduct 5 NTD from your Easy card.
New Taipei City Government will give free to use as a grant to YouBike member for first 30 mins 。
(i.e. Hiring Ubike at New Taipei City still have the first 30 mins for free.)
3.Ticket balance of member who had registered need ≧1。

Yes, it's free for  the first 30 mins EVERY SINGLE TIME you use it.  If your working place, or school is close to your place, you can have a free ride in the morning, and commute back home for free everyday.

Touch and Go

Once you are registered, you can use your EasyCard to pay, no coins, no hassle.  You don't need to do any paper works, or manual filling anything at any counter.  Just pick a bike, and start your journey, and return it when you want at the other side of the city.

So what are you waiting for? Find a nearest site, and enjoy your first ride in Taipei! :D

More detail informations could be found here:

2014年10月12日 星期日

Make it your drink - How to order at Bubble tea shops

Boba tea has been popular for a while.  Like it or not, it's probably the most representative beverage in Taiwan.  Even you are not a big fan of sweet thing, you could still find some decent tea over there.  However, to order a refreshing drink could be end up like "mission impossible" here in Taiwan.  Coffee is not just coffee, tea is with so many flavors and mix.  Not to mentioned those jelly/boba inside the liquid.

I saw this slogan "Make it your drink" at Starb**** Coffee.  And I think it could be a great sample to show you how to order in the local bubble tea shops or any other beverages store.

You'll have to decide:
  • big/medium cup, usually it means 700cc/500cc, but recently there's 1000cc on the market...
  • What kind of drink do you want?
    (And seeing sth like 30 different mix on the menu)
  • Do you want to add any boba/jelly/pudding/chia seeds, and etc?
  • How sweet you want?
    Since they seal it before hand it to you, instead of adjusting it on the counter, you have to decide you want 100%, 70%, 50%, 30%, 0%(sugar-free) of sugar for the original recipe.
  • Hot/Ice, some shops do have "tepid" option.
    • If you order ice, then there will be less ice, no ice.
To order a drink for the first time will probably sounds like this
(You may start from 0:28 if you are in a hurry):
飲料店 (beverage store) 阿兜仔不教美語!206

Here I would list the most common words you will use in ordering at beverage store:
  • 大杯(da4 bei) / 中杯(Zhong bei)/ 小杯 (xiao3 bei) ;
    Large / Medium / Small
  • 珍珠奶茶(Zhēnzhū nǎichá)/ 烏龍茶(wūlóngchá) 葡萄柚綠茶(pútáo yòu lǜchá);
    Boba tea/Oolong tea/ Green tea with grapefruit juice (More beverages in Chinese [1][2])
  • 熱(Rè) / 少冰(Shǎo bīng) / 去冰(Qù bīng) / 溫(Wēn)
    hot /less ice / no ice / tepid
  • 七分糖(少糖)(Qī fēn táng ; shǎo táng) / 半糖(bàn táng) / 微糖(wēi táng) / 無糖(wú táng)
    less sugar/ half sugar/ 30% sugar / sugar-free
Those words go together like this:
Wǒ yào yībēi dà bēi pútáo yòu lǜchá, qù bīng bàn táng.
I'll have a large grapefruit green tea, no ice, half amount of sugar.

Vocabulary flash cards: http://quizlet.com/_vrdq0

Have fun ordering your perfect drink! :D

BTW, if you don't want the plastic bag, just say Bùyào dàizi, xièxiè! (不要袋子,謝謝!)

More about Boba Tea

Boba tea and the rest of beverages on the menu has been around for decades. But in my own opinion, it hasn't become so popular, not until those franchisers make it so convenient for take-out with seal machine and deliver service.  (In general, they usually deliver for free when you order 10+ cups or achieve certain amount of money, still, it varies in different areas, but it's normal to have delivery service)

How popular Boba tea can be? Well...Check this out↓