Monday, April 11, 2011

DIY noodles; don't know what to call it

For tonight's fare, we ate at a choose your own ingredients noodle place in Shida night market. It's very popular with the college crowd apparently as you'll always see lines of taiwanese students line up. There is constantly a line being formed starting from around 5:30. This may just be a taiwanese staple food for night markets, because just about every night market has these type of noodle houses. You line up, pick your noodles, pick your ingredients, then hand it off to the service men/cooks. They'll ask if you want lettuce, then the cook will stew it in a pot for a few minutes. The options are hot sauce, add more soup, add more sour cabbage. There's probably more options, but i'll learn it as I continue to go there. It's like an unwritten/secret menu that you just have to find out for yourself after several visits. Cost is either by weight or number of ingredients, i'm not sure. but basically, the more you want to eat the more it costs. So expect $120NT+.


  1. Brian bro,

    Can I ask you one thing? I did consider applying to your TW Chinese Language program after I received my master this spring.

    By looking at all these pictures of authentic Chinese food, I can tell you eat out a lot and travel a lot. The question is where is your income comes from?

    I look at the website, all those tuition and housing fee is on our own. Are you working simultaneously besides schooling?

    ~ Javier

  2. from savings. But i'll have to find work soon.

  3. Bro.........

    That kind hesitate me to study Chinese abroad. Especially I am only an underpay college TA, not a worker who is working in industry.


  4. It's not that bad, cost of living is cheap (at least compared to my country). Let me break it down, maybe it'll be easier to digest.

    School semester, 3 months = $866 USD ($1000 for intensive class)
    Rent for apartment = $250 USD (depending on location, private room, quality, most apts come furnished)
    Utilities, TV, Internet, garbage = $30 USD
    Books per semester = $25 USD
    Food (eating out only) = $8/day should be sufficient = $240/month

    Check to see if your country has a scholarship with Shida MTC. It's a full ride. Also daily food is possible to trim down to $4/day. Shida and Taida offers $1.25 USD meals and it's pretty good. TV/internet/utilities is sometimes included with the apartment. Also, I'll be here. So I can help you with anything.

  5. Hi Brian

    was wondering about the advanced chinese classes at MTC, how is it?

    How's the quality of teaching? Any tips about teacher selection?


  6. The advanced classes are fast, but managable for the first 3 books. You go through vocab then grammar, and pretty much 1 day to review, then take a test. I switched to normal classes. Much happier with taking it slower and allowing me to practice more and really understand it. Of course, you only get through 8 chapters a semester compared to almost 14 chapters in advanced. Quality of teaching is superb. Tips..well once you make friends it'll be easier. The school chooses for you, but you get one chance to switch. Ask friends who they recommend or what they're teacher is like. Sit in on a class. All teachers are really good, but they do have they're own teaching style, you'll just have to find one that suits you. I can try to help you with that, since I know 6 teachers there.

  7. Hi B Huang

    thanx for info about advanced classes...thinking of MTC NTNU classes Sep or Dec...not sure..

    intensive 3 hr classes per day, is it 3 different courses that last one hour each?

    any chance of picking up professional/academic chinese writing skills at the advanced level?

    What are the final exams or tests in between like?

    Thanks a bunch

  8. Hi

    at MTC, in the advanced classes do students get a chance to speak/discuss a lot? Or is it drills and repetition of the studied texts?

    And do the teachers' teach vocab usage and 'grammar' rules/functions in the texts?

    any info or sharing would be great

    many thanks

  9. 3 hours? One 3 hour long class a day, 5 classes a week, 1 term is 3 months.
    normal and advanced level are the same, advnaced is just faster and thus fit more chapters into a semester. The Practical A-V Chinese course (most common one taken) will hit all four skills: writing, speaking, listening, reading.
    Tests/final exams: I answered this a little in your other comment. Don't worry, if you take the class seriously and study, the final exams are easy. I'm having a very fun time and I believe most people do also. Don't take this as some grueling cram course that'll have you popping Tylenol. I'm on my last semester, but wish I could continue for the next 5 years! It's fun!

  10. oh I didn't see the second comment. Classes are not like a military drill class and is not standardized. It's very INTERACTIVE and depends on the teacher you have. I generally like to pick the younger teachers, as they are more happy and fun. But the older ones come with more experience and by no means are they boring either. I always hear a lot of laughter in the classes as well as from my own classroom. Take my word for it, it's a relaxed, interactive, fun learning environment that'll make you WANT to come to class everyday. Yes, Vocab and Grammar and pronunciation are learned. My teachers have all been very attentative to each students weak areas and take time for each vocab/grammar so everyone understands. If you have a question, ask it! What you learn in class can be used outside in the real world. You'll be conversing in full sentences with Taiwanese people starting from book one.

  11. Hi Brian

    appreciate yr patience and time in answering my questions...not knocking the admin cos they probably overloaded with student inquiries.

    But nothing like hearing it from the horse's mouth. Voice of experience counts.

    still a tad confused about how the course structure students choose just one course each term whether at the advanced level or any level, it's only one textbook that is used, so intensive classes are a daily 3 hour class by the same teacher,

    Or is it 3 different courses using different textbooks taught by different teachers, and it's each a one hour class making the total of the daily three?

    Looks like you're having tons of fun...think from your blog that you've been there about 9 - 12 months?

    Thanks again for your help..

  12. Think of it as a Chinese language training center, not a university. There are no courses. 1 class, 3 hours, 1 teacher, 1 book. But not to say there is only 1 book to learn from. There are different types of classes depending on what you want to learn. There is newspaper/TV news, which is for a higher level. Then there is a book catered to ABC (american born chinese), which has more reading/writing because a lot of ABC's can already speak Chinese very well. I'm not sure if I'm confusing you more, but don't worry. All you have to do is pick normal or advanced. When you join MTC, they'll give you an entrance exam to see where to place you.

  13. Hi Brian,

    you said this is your last semester, but wish could continue for the next 5 years. Does that mean there is a limited of time you can stay? Say for example 4 semesters max?

  14. There's no limit. But I can't afford to continue. The school does not put a minimum or maximum requirement, you can go for 1 semester or 20 semesters. When i'm switching between jobs again perhaps I'll take 3 months out and return for one semester.

  15. Hi

    are the admim people at MTC helpful in providing info and solving problems?

    think U mentioned that it's easy to switch classes if you don't like the teacher..

    are the accommodation postings/listings at MTC reliable/decent?


  16. The MTC admins are very very helpful. Some of them have very very good English. As for problem solving, I assume you mean language help. Ask your teacher, sign up for a language partner, ask the library tutor, sign up for private tutor lessons, ask friends...there are many methods in case you are having problems. Switching teachers is easy, finding the right one varies. You get one chance and only the first week of the semester. But don't worry, there are no bad teachers. Accomodation postings? You mean our bulliten board? I assume it's reliable, never heard of anyone bring cheated. But I live in my own place, so I have limited experience.

  17. Brian bro,

    A Caucasian friend of mine is doing this in Taiwan. I was thinking that you might be interested in this job opportunity because it might grant your wish on staying in Taipei much longer. See the link attached:

    I am actually thinking about it too after finishing my Chinese education in MTC.

    Hope that is slightly useful.


  18. Thanks. But I'm looking for something related to my career in Database Management or Project Management. English teachers are great for the short term though as the pay is incredible high compared to the Taiwanese average.

  19. Hey Brian

    how is the gym at NTNU? Do MTC students get a special discount or is it free?

    How are the exercise facilities?


  20. Never used the facilities, but i hear the equipment is old and the room is small and usually crowded. It's either free or pretty darn cheap.