Category Archives: Wordful Wednesday

Wordful wednesday

Gao Mei Wetland(高美湿地) at Taichung, Taiwan

The setting sun
The setting sun

It was a magical evening for me at Gaomei Wetlands. Situated in  QingShui (清水) District of TaiChung (台中) it took about a 20 min drive from Tai Chung city.

The information board at the start of the boardwalk
The information board at the start of the boardwalk

It was extremely windy at the wetlands.  The wind turbines which were situated along a water break were  constantly turning and generating electricity.

the inviting wooden walkway
the inviting wooden walkway

R and I took a long slow walk out on the wooden walkway. The winds grew increasingly stronger as we ventured out towards the sea.

A wefie of R and me
A wefie of R and me

The wind made it extremely cold and I wished that I had taken my jacket along instead of leaving it in the car. My hands were icy cold after we returned from the walk.

The right side of the walkway
The right side of the walkway

Two dramatically different scenes unfolded before me while venturing out on the walkway. To the right I could see a sea of lush green grass which was vibrating in the wind.

The view on the left side of the walkway
The view on the left side of the walkway

On the left by stark contrast was the muddy flats of the wetland where if one looked carefully they would be able to spot the tiny inhabitants.

The one big claw crab
The one big claw  fiddler crab

The tiny inhabitants which I am referring to are the fiddler crabs.   They are really unusual as they have an extremely large claw while most crabs which I have seen have claws of the same size.

Another variety of the fiddler crab
Another variety of the fiddler crab

It was really interesting seeing these crabs scuttling along the wetland.  Do you know that only the males have the gigantic  cheliped (Claw).  He waves the “halberd” to attract the females and expel the other males. The female uses two tiny chelipeds to feed.

A wetland white bird
A wetland white bird- Crane perhaps??

Beside crabs we also saw this crane which seems to be fishing. It was  alone and kept lowering it’s head in the water periodically.

A  flock of birds
A flock of birds

I couldn’t get a better close up of this flock of birds as they were rather far away from the  walkway. They too seem to be looking for food.

The crowd admiring the scenery
The crowd admiring the scenery

There were many people who went down to walk in the mud at the wetlands. R and I gave it a miss as we didn’t bring slippers and I didn’t fancy sinking my feet into the squishy mud.

Capturing the sun and sea
Capturing the sun and sea

We waited to see the sun set and it touch the horizon but unfortunately we were unable to see that scene as  it was too cloudy that day.  The sun got covered by the clouds as it set.  Maybe another time if I do get to visit that place again.

 

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Making Thunder Tea- Lei Cha 擂茶

The Pestle and Mortar
The Pestle and Mortar

During the last trip to Taiwan I tried my hand on making Thunder Tea at 苗栗縣南庄鄉蓬萊村 Penglai Village, Nanzhuang Township, Miaoli County with R and his friend Z . It was a really interesting experience for me.

Thunder Tea  ( 擂茶) is the native tea of the Hakka people who live in Taiwan.  Lei cha is not the same as Taiwanese tea because there are always other ingredients. Pounded tea consists of a mix of tea leaves and herbs that are ground or pounded together with various roasted nuts, seeds, grains, and flavorings.

Ingredients for Hakka Tea

The traditional ingredients of lei cha are:

  • tea leaves (either green tea or oolong)
  • raw sesame seeds
  • roasted peanuts

Other ingredients which  can be added:

  • raw pine nuts
  • sunflower seeds
  • cooked or puffed rice
  • lentils
  • mint leaves
  • mung beans

The ingredients are mixed to a ratio of 3 parts tea leaves, 3 parts sesame seeds and peanuts, and 1 part remaining ingredients.

Instructions for Making Hakka Tea

Place all the ingredients in a ceramic bowl and grind them with a wooden pestle. Add a small amount of water as you grind to make a paste.

The resulting paste is mixed with hot water and served in bowls. Lei cha was traditionally served salty, but today is often sweetened with sugar.

Hakka tea is a healthy drink that may account for the renowned longevity of the Hakka people. It is often served with rice and side dishes of vegetables, tofu, and pickles.

Adding the ingredients one by one
Adding the ingredients one by one

After listening to the instructions we set off to “work”. For this particular workshop we used red tea leaves instead of green tea as it was late afternoon. They do not recommend that one take green tea in the afternoon/ evening as if you are sensitive to  caffeine and it may keep you awake throughout the whole night.

Grinding the ingredients

Grinding the ingredients

It was teamwork for us as one was needed to hold the bowl while the other person does the grinding. You have to use your whole strength to grind. We had to grind up the tea leaves, sesame seeds and peanuts.  The other items were given to use pre-mixed so we just had to add them into  bowl to mix.

 

 

mixing the ingredients with the spoon.
mixing the ingredients with the spoon after they have been grind

When all the ingredients were ready we added hot water into the mixture and the tea was ready to be drunk.

Thunder Tea
Thunder Tea

 

As there were many ingredients being used in the tea it was rather “thick” as compared to traditional Chinese tea. I didn’t really like the taste as  the green teas that I am used to drinking.

Have you tasted Thunder Tea before?

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