Day 7-8: Asian Congress of Dietetics

First off, Happy Holidays!  

Yes, I know I am extremely behind in making posts.  The semester was a lot busier than I anticipated and I spent almost all of my time working on my pilot study for school (working on a Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition).  At the very start of the semester I was attending a conference in Taiwan.  If you were following my blog, the last post left off with my time in Taipei with my husband.  This post catches us up to the conference itself.

It was held in a university hospital conference center.  It was a pretty nice venue.
Welcome to the 6th Asian Congress of Dietetics!
I don't have tons to share from the conference, but I do have some fun pictures of the food and of some of the slides from presentations.  The first up here is my lunch on day one.  They provided lunches and snacks every day.  This was my vegetarian boxed lunch.
Lots of veggies inside.  Most was really tasty.
And rice, of course!
I brought it in to a luncheon presentation that was offered to only foreign attendees.  Unfortunately there was no vegetarian option at this session but thankfully they let me keep my vegetarian lunch.  It was a bit of a difficult task to get them to understand why I needed to keep it (they thought I wanted to eat 2 meals, I think) but eventually when other vegetarians had the same issue they let us go in and take outside food with us.
Can't lie though, I definitely kept the fruit from the meal provided in this seminar.  I couldn't really resist!
This special lunch for foreigners was on Taiwanese nutrition guidelines and traditional foods.  The session ended with a cooking demo.
Lunch came with some sort of really sweet beverage.  I definitely was not able to drink this.
These next slides show some of the traditional Taiwanese dishes.

I love bubble tea, but I wasn't always a fan.  Living Asia helps to get you accustomed to things like this that you may not otherwise have a lot of exposure too.  I believe these are pretty popular in the US now too.
We definitely tried the pineapple cake while we were in Taiwan.  This is one of their most famous foods.

I could smell this a mile away once I knew what the smell was.  At first we thought it was garbage!  Not kidding!  But eventually I realized it was stinky tofu.  This is really popular but I couldn't bring myself to try it.
If you saw my earlier Taiwan posts you will know that we had mango shave ice a few times.  This is heavenly!  This is a must-have treat while in Taiwan!
The cooking demo was presented by a restaurant known as Shin Yeh and they made these spring rolls for the group.
Here are the ingredients.

Later that day I attended a session that was presented by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Alison Steiber, the Chief Science Officer at the Academy, presented on Evidence Based Practice Guidelines for Kidney Disease.  It seems that there is a very high incidence of kidney disease in Taiwan and a lot of the presentations focused on kidney disease.
Here is Alison presenting.  This was a fantastic session!
Are you familiar with evidence based practice?  We use this in dietetics, but other healthcare fields use this as well.
After the conference let out for the day I walked back to my hotel with my friend Naomi.  On our way back we noticed a little cultural center so we walked into the courtyard to look around.  I was very impressed to find this sculpture right out front of the entrance.  Since I work at a WIC office and teach breastfeeding classes I was really excited to see this.
Here you can see the building entrance and off to the right is the sculpture.  Very cool!
They also had this fun cow inside.
Dinner was with some fabulous ladies.  Two are friends who I am traveling with and we were fortunate enough to be joined by Johanna Dwyer, who was presenting the next morning.  We ate at Din Tai Fung (my third time, Cam's second, and everyone else's first) again.  I didn't take pictures of everything, but we ordered this steamed cake for dessert and it was so good.  I am glad I got a picture of this.
Since my pilot study research was on dietitian's research interest and involvement I attended a few sessions that related to this topic.  One of these was a session on writing for a scientific journal.
I liked that publication ethics was addressed.
Another session was on umami and this was presented by someone from Malaysia so the focus was on shrimp paste, which contains glutamate.
Here is a slide showing variations on the traditional Malaysian dish known as laksa (which I love!).  These all contain shrimp paste and have glutamate.
Dinner this night was the Gala and it was a huge event.  We (those of us that were American guests) were impressed with the location, food and presentations by different countries.  I was provided with a vegetarian menu for the evening.  There were so many courses!  I can't recall what everything was (and some I never knew what it was!), but it was all vegetarian.  Some dishes were better than others.

In between courses were were treated to presentations of song and dance by different countries that had members in attendance.

More food...

We were treated to a bagpipe performance by Sandra Capra, who is from Australia and serves on the board of the International Confederation of Dietetic Associations.  It was quite impressive!

More food...
More performances...
We were really kept well entertained and well fed!

Yes, more!

Finally dessert!  What a fun evening!
Well, that does it for the 2 full days of this conference.  There is one more half day to share about and then the sightseeing tour that was after the conference.  I am so glad I went to this conference.  It was a great experience and really well done.

QUESTIONS:  What was the last conference you attended?  Have you ever attended a gala at a conference?  Do you play any musical instruments and have you ever played publicly?

Day 6: National Palace Museum and Longshan Temple

This was Ryan's last day with me in Taiwan before heading back to Japan so it was our chance to fit in those things we hadn't seen yet but wanted to see.  Our first stop of the day was to the National Palace Museum.  They don't allow photos to be taken inside so I only have pictures of the outside.
And pictures from the front of the building looking out over the courtyard and the apartments across the street.
The museum was busy, mostly with large tour groups that ended up clogging up a lot of the areas around the major pieces to see.  At some points we could barely get around the groups.  Tour guide after tour guide would stand in front of something and talk about it there.  Honestly, if I was a tour guide or had a museum, I would ask that the guide share their commentary just off to the side and then allow the group members to approach the item on their own and take turns looking.  It was a total mess to watch groups of 20-30 people pack themselves in to hear the guide who was standing right up at the artifact.  The good news is that after a couple of tries we did get in to see the famous jade cabbage.
Really lovely courtyard area at the museum.

These are the front gates to the museum.  Because we took a taxi here we didn't enter through the gates.  We only saw them as we excited and got a return taxi.

Our next planned stop was to Longshan Temple.  We had plans to find lunch nearby but that was a total FAIL!  At least we found a bakery nearby and were able to get some tasty bread to hold us over.
Here is Longshan Temple, one of the more famous temples in the city.  Of course by the time we were pretty "templed-out" and it was extremely hot out, so we didn't spend too much time here.  Just long enough to walk around it once and take some pictures.

I can say that the stone carvings on the columns were absolutely amazing!

Incense burners are an essential part of a temple.  I like them at the Taiwan temples because of the dragons.
As usual, lots of ornate decorations around the building.

I loved this stone carving with the octopus!
Fun fountain

As I mentioned earlier, it was a really hot day, and we missed lunch (ok, the place we picked for a late lunch closed between lunch and dinner so we had to wait a little longer than planned).  Plan B worked just as well, which was to go back to Ice Monster.  Hey, it was our last chance to get another one.  And they are so good!
We also enjoyed some Starbucks while we cooled off (I know, that's hot coffee, but we wanted AC).  And we went into the Hello Kitty store near Ice Monster.  Here is a machine to make Hello Kitty pancake bites.  My sister would have ordered these...twice!
After a little waiting (and some eating), Balle Balle was open for dinner.  What was the big deal and why did we wait instead of finding another place open when we wanted a late lunch?  Because this restaurant was listed as #1 on TripAdvisor for restaurants in Taipei.  And we love Indian food!
We started off with some pappadum and dipping sauce.

I ordered the most amazing drink.  I have no idea what it was called, but it had black pepper in it!  And ginger!  It was so refreshing and I never imagined something with black pepper in it would be refreshing.  
For an appetizer we shared this paneer dish.  We are both huge fans of paneer so I couldn't resist this grilled dish.  It was amazing!  If we were hungry, we would have ordered a second serving.
Then we had a curry dish with some basmati rice, which was also very awesome.
And of course naan!  We left so stuffed!  I absolutely recommend trying this place out if you are in Taipei.
After the meal we were stuffed so walking sounded like a great idea.  It was, but mostly because we stumbled into some sporting events.  The first was the Jones Cup for basketball.  We didn't get to see team USA play, but we did see them at the event.  
Then we passed by a soccer stadium and it was open with a game going on, so we went in and watched for a little bit.  Not sure if it was a professional team, college, or high school.  They seemed so tiny down there!
Well, that does it for my time in Taipei with Ryan.  He left the next morning and my conference started.  More posts to come...I still have the conference to write about and the final day of sightseeing after the conference ended.  It was a great time with Ryan there and I was sad to see him go!

QUESTIONS: Have you ever toured a museum with a tour guide?  Where was the best Indian food you have ever tried?  Have you ever gone to a sporting event while on vacation?