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Curious John

English Service host John Van Trieste is curious. There’s nothing about Taiwan’s many cultures that he doesn’t want to know more about. Join him every week as he gets to the bottom of yet another question. What will he be curious about this time?

What's On

12 June, 2021
The National Palace Museum's Online Offerings

If COVID has you feeling cooped up and bored, Taiwan's museums may be able to help. Though they remain shuttered, these museums haven't stopped working. They're digitizing materials, uploading 3D scans of their prized artifacts, and even using the sorts of cameras Google Street View uses to create virtual walkthrough tours. In many cases, these online exhibits include full English translations, allowing people from across the world to see the best Taiwan's museums have to offer on demand. You don't even have to buy a ticket. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to explore what these museums have to offer us as we wait for COVID-19 to end. Today, I'm starting with what's probably the most prestigious and popular of Taiwan's museums, the National Palace Museum, home to countless treasures of the imperial Chinese court carted off from Beijing late in the 1940’s, as the government fled Chinese communists and relocated to Taipei. Joining us today for an overview of what you can expect if you visit the museum’s website is the museum’s Mr. Li, in charge of these online exhibits.

05 June, 2021

There’s nothing that says the beginning of summer quite like zongzi, a dish of rice and other ingredients wrapped and cooked in leaves. Zongzi are the dish of the late spring, early summer Dragon Boat Festival, a seasonal treat that even in times of pandemic, you can smell behind your mask as you wander the streets of Taiwan. Like all things Taiwan and food related, we go over today to my good friend and gourmand Sam Chen for an introduction to the zongzi, the dizzying variations on the dish out that are out there, and why, even with the usual Dragon Boat Festival events likely to be canceled, people are still going to eat them this year.

29 May, 2021
Traditional medicine fighting COVID-19

The race to develop treatments for COVID-19 has involved cutting-edge techniques and expensive research. In Taiwan, though, some believe they’ve found a much simpler way, using just ten medicinal herbs. The results of trials suggest that traditional Chinese medicine has something to contribute to the fight against COVID-19. Professor Shih Chun-chuan was part of the team that reviewed this herbal remedy’s effectiveness. He joins us today for an overview of how this medicine was developed and what’s in it

22 May, 2021
The Secret of Taiwan Beer

Anyone who knows me knows that I love beer. And while I go through different phases over time, I’ve recently returned to an old favorite, a beer that was long the only one available in Taiwan. It’s called, appropriately enough, Taiwan Beer. While the number of competitors has exploded over recent years, this brand has managed to hold on as Taiwan’s most popular. One reason is probably the beer’s distinct taste, something it gets from incorporating Taiwanese penglai rice into its mix of ingredients. But with so many craft beer and canned beer choices out there, that can’t be all there is to it. To find out what’s behind Taiwan Beer’s secret staying power, I’ve talked with director Yang You-Ming of Taiwan Beer’s Jianguo Brewery in Taipei.

19 May, 2021
Jody Chiang

The classic songs of a retired Taiwanese songstress.

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