I was introduced to the Dazhi branch of Casa Della Pasta by a friend who lives just down the lane from it and described it as "her neighborhood pasta place" adding that the food was "unpretentious, inexpensive and filling." \nThe Dazhi restaurant is a medium-sized room with big windows along two walls to let the light flood in. It is simply decorated: steel chandeliers, about two dozen small square tables, that can be spilt up for two people or pushed together for groups of four, six or eight. The limited wall space is used to display long, rectangular chalkboards that list the menu offerings. A small deck outside holds two umbr-ella-shaded tables. \nIt definitely had a neighborhood feel -- nearby office workers appear to stop by at least once a week and families in the surrounding area making it a dinnertime staple. The food is filling, but you're not encouraged to linger too long -- at noontime and 6pm, the waiting line grows quickly. \nWhat you do get is a limited choice of appetizers, namely cheese rolls, fried calamari or clams in a spicy white wine sauce for an average of NT$100; a soup of the day or a salad selection that ranges from the basic garden salad (NT$45) to a double caesar with chicken or bacon (enough to feed two or three people) (NT$150). Pizza comes with a choice of seven toppings but just one size -- seven inches -- and ranges in price from NT$120 for a basic cheese pizza to NT$160 for the seafood combo. There is also calzone. \nBut the focus of the restaurant, and rightly so, is on its wide selection of pasta dishes. You can get the basic olive oil and garlic, pesto or tomato sauce for NT$85 or splurge on a chicken or salmon dish for NT$115. . \nWhile the serving sizes and toppings are generous -- big chunks of bacon and chicken in the salad, loads of pumpkin and zucchini with the pasta -- the cream sauce was bland and the caesar salad dressing was on the sweet side. While the menu listed included several dishes labeled as spicy, my friend said sauces tend to be on the mild side. \nDon't plan on a glass of wine with your meal, the drinks list is strictly soft. But that is in keeping with the mood of the place: nothing fussy, just simple, filling food at prices that won't break the family budget.
PHOTO: DIANE BAKER, TAIPEI TIMES
Scott Saulters wasn’t sure if his film had just taken one of the two top prizes at a recent film competition. Although Saulters has been in Taiwan for 15 years and is proficient in Mandarin, the award ceremony for the inaugural “Bi Tian Iann” (眯電影) short film contest was conducted entirely in Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), a language he can’t speak. “I thought I heard it, but I didn’t want to look too excited,” he says. Despite his limited command of the tongue, Saulter’s entry, Wu Yu Tzu (烏魚子, mullet roe), took first place in the amateur category of the
The Taiwan of yesteryear was dominated in whole or in part by the Dutch, Spanish, Qing Empire and Japanese. But is the Taiwanese name for a popular edible fish derived from the Portuguese language? Cheng Wei-chung (鄭維中), an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Taiwan History, says yes. The fish in question is the narrow-barred Spanish mackerel, which was listed in early 18th century Qing local gazetteers as Taiwanese specialities alongside milk fish and mullet, according to Cheng’s paper, “Mullet, narrow-barred Spanish mackerel and milkfish: Multiple contextual developments of three certified seafood specilaities in Taiwan, from the
I didn’t expect to spend more than three minutes out of my car, yet the sun was so brutal I put on my hat before approaching the seawall. Beimen (北門) is the flattest and most sun-baked part of Tainan. It lacks trees and people. In wintertime, the weather is often delightful. It wasn’t yet mid-morning in the hot season, however, and I felt like a leaf shriveling in the desert. Atop the seawall but facing inland, I could see dozens of the rectangular ponds which account for a significant percentage of Beimen’s “land” area. Some, no doubt, were dug to produce
Aug. 10 to Aug. 16 They called him the “No Problem Doctor” (沒關係醫生) because that’s what he always told his patients when they couldn’t pay up. Operating the only clinic in Changhua County’s Pusin Township (埔心) during the 1950s, Hsu Tsai-chih (許再枝) knew that life was difficult in his remote hometown. “They barely had enough to survive, so it was pointless to chase after them for the money,” an 81-year-old Hsu told the United Daily News in 2002. “I just went with the flow, some offered to pay me back years later but I had already forgotten