The distinctive red and yellow paving of Huaxin Street has been uprooted since my last visit. It’s one of those head-scratchers that define local government decision-making in Taiwan. “Why would they do that?” asks my younger son. Why, indeed? The design gave the road a pedestrian-friendly feel, a refreshing contrast with the rest of New Taipei City’s Zhonghe District – one of the most densely populated areas on earth.
It gets worse: My favorite buffet joint is out of my favorite spicy, dried deer meat. A triple whammy: “No pink drink!” declares the elder lad in disgust. He’s referring to this restaurant’s version of Falooda – or Indian ice, as it’s known in Chinese – gelatinous odds-and-ends swimming in a bright-pink, condensed-milk gloop. The grub is still decent, mind, if you can handle the oiliness of the curries; and the conversation alone is worth the trip from town.
Like most of the 40,000-plus residents of Little Burma, as the area is known, Audrey Chen ended up in Taiwan as part of the Nationalist government’s drive to “repatriate” Chinese-Burmese, most of whom had never set foot in Taiwan before. “I came here as a student in the 1970s,” she says. “The ROC government paid for everything. I was actually born in Guangdong, but my family went to Burma during the Chinese Civil War. When I arrived in Taipei, I already spoke Cantonese, Burmese and some English, but not a word of Mandarin.”
[Read the full article at The News Lens, here]