DomingoYu.com

Latinos in Taiwan Pt. 2: El Gallo Restaurant and Brass Monkey Salsa Night

Posted September 12, 2009 7:30 pm (about 3660 days ago)

This may be the shorter of my three postings on this topic as my conversations with Isa, one of the owners of the El Gallo restaurant, and Jorge, the founder of Latinos Taiwan, were super short. However, in my effort to learn more about the Latino community in Taiwan, every little bit of information counted! During my brief visit I wasn’t focused primarily on finding out everything Latino so I took whatever I could get.

Latinos in Taiwan Part 1: Eddy’s Cantina

Click here for more info on Taiwan

El Gallo
El Gallo is located in the Tianmu neighborhood of Taipei, an area known for its high concentration of foreigners, dating to the time that the U.S. had a military base there. Isa, a Mexico City native, and I had exchanged a few e-mails and even chatted over the phone so I was definitely looking forward to meeting him in person. When we finally did catch up, he was very welcoming, although we didn’t get past the small-talk stage as he was busy. However, as we talked a guy from Vera Cruz, Mexico walked by, which was ironic because I had just been in Vera Cruz a couple of weeks earlier. This “Jarocho,” as people from Vera Cruz are called, had been in Taiwan for something like seven years and I asked him what had brought him to the island. Like many foreigners I’ve met, he said it was a woman, who incidentally became his
wife. They met in Mexico and he followed her back to Taiwan. “ “That’s how Taiwanese women are. They go to Mexico and kidnap us!” He said there were “a bunch of Mexicans” living in Tianmu, which got me excited.

“A bunch? Like 150?”

“Uh, not quite that much. Maybe like 12 or 15,” he responded with a chuckle.

We talked about Vera Cruz a bit, in English, with a little bit of Spanish and Mandarin sprinkled in, but cut things short as he had to buy food and other supplies for the soccer game that night. Mexico was playing the U.S. that evening, 4 A.M. Taiwanese time. Like most Mexicans I knew in the U.S., the ones in Taiwan were just as excited about the game, which Mexico won 5-0.

Regarding El Gallo itself, those were the only two Mexicans I saw. Everyone else, the cooks, customers, and waitresses, were Taiwanese. As with Eddy’s, the food quality varied. However, as with Eddy’s, I would definitely go back. A key difference between the two places is that El Gallo is more upscale and a nice place for a date or large gathering. Don’t get me wrong. Eddy’s has more of a casual atmosphere, but was just as inviting, and lived up to it’s “cantina” name.

I’m glad that these two places exist and just knowing that Mexican food is accessible made Taiwan move up several notches on “places to move” list. I’m surrounded by Mexicans in California so I eat Mexican food a few times a week. It’s nice to know that there are at least a couple of places where my Californian, Mexican and Taiwanese roots come together!

Tuesday night Salsa at the Brass Monkey, Taipei
To be upfront, I’m pretty leery of salsa nights. I don’t tend to care for the newer songs, but even when the music is good, the places ofte
n lack soul. There will be people doing all kinds of flashy, intricate moves, but they don’t feel the music. Everything looks very rehearsed and more about flash than substance. Some of my favorite experiences with salsa were at events where people weren’t “good” dancers, technically speaking, but they were feeling the music so much that they looked good. Unfortunately, this salsa night fell more in the former category.

Brass Monkey is a mid-size bar with a couple of rooms and the salsa night attracted a diverse crowd that seemed to be about 40% foreigners, although there were hardly any Latinos, beyond a handful who appeared to be young college students. I was a bit surprised as this night was sponsored by Latinos Taiwan, an organization to support Latinos and to promote Latino culture (although their primary focus so far appears to be throwing parties).

There was a lot of enthusiastic dancing, including some couples doing fancy combinations, but many of them were off beat! I have to put a lot of blame on the leaders as I danced a couple of times and my partners were fine. I had a good time and even thought about proposing to the Corona girl, but I have to say that I was a little disappointed to not find more Latinos here. I’ve had the good fortune to do some traveling over the past couple of years and quickly realized that salsa is so popular that salsa nights outside of the Americas are not guaranteed to have a lot of Latinos. This night was no different.

Up to this point, I had only had one e-mail exchange with Jorge, the founder of Latinos Taiwan, but recognized him from a picture as the DJ. He was packing up to leave by the time we connected and I was walking out myself, but he’s been living in Taiwan for 8 years, DJing and playing in a live band. We talked about music for a bit before parting ways.

Both of these visits were short, but answered many questions for me. However, one thing I left wondering about was the role of economic class in the Latino community of Taiwan. Is it dominated by middle class and wealthy ones? My friends back in the U.S. run the gamut, but generally speaking, who can afford to pick up and go to Taiwan to study or start a business? My plane ticket alone cost nearly $1,100. Of course I’m not saying that only those with money can make it and I’m part of this middle class (having family in Taiwan certainly doesn’t hurt), but class is so often over looked. I’ve spent a lot of time in urban environments in the U.S. and even in college I couldn’t relate to many of the upper class Latinos from other places. In fact, I thought most Puerto Ricans were rich White people until I finally went to New York and Puerto Rico. As people discuss the identity and culture, it’s oversimplifying the issue to only look at ethnicity as a way of grouping people. Identity is too fluid. But again, I barely scratched the surface on this topic and will definitely have to return to learn more.

In the meantime, the final installment will be about the budding Chicano rap scene in Taiwan. Yup, apparently there is one!

Thanks to Alica, Cindy, their mother, Mike, and Zoe for checking out these spots with me!

Comments

1. Robert said at September 23, 2009 11:59 pm:

Brass Monkey salsa night...nice

2. Daniel said at September 24, 2009 1:35 am:

With that combination, how can you go wrong?

3. Robert said at October 11, 2009 3:36 pm:

That's what I'm screamin!

4. me said at February 24, 2011 5:42 am:

you should have gone to micasa a club, that plays latin music and its full of latinos.

5. Daniel said at March 24, 2011 11:40 am:

Yes, Mi Casa for sure next time!

6. リーボックイージートーン said at November 27, 2013 11:58 pm:

素晴らしいナイキ スニーカー http://kuuya-kuzu.com/nikeairmax.html リーボックイージートーン [url=http://reeboksneakers.babygiftsusa.com/]リーボックイージートーン[/url]

7. www.californiacommercialmortgages.com said at May 9, 2014 4:37 pm:

8. bad credit home loan said at June 16, 2014 8:04 pm:

The credit score consumers see on their credit report can range from approximately 300 to approximately 900. The turnover at these companies is quite high so when you call back, the person you spoke with may have moved on to another job. The con artist claims to offer or arrange for a new loan but instead tricks the homeowner into selling the home to the con artist or a third party and agreeing to either lease the home back or purchase it back on a land contract.

9. Emmanuel said at June 21, 2014 4:42 pm:

While purchasing a swimsuit you have various options. While a black onyx pendant may have a simple appeal, there is more to it than meets the eye. It is just because a man cannot get enough of a digital watch.

10. Lavonda said at July 18, 2014 4:00 pm:

Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be useful to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their sites.

11. Rebecca said at August 12, 2014 1:20 am:

We stumbled over here from a different page and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to checking out your web page repeatedly.

12. lenders that specialize in self employed loans 2014 in CA said at August 20, 2014 6:55 pm:

Higher commissions were possible, even encouraged at some companies. But interest-only loans were marketed to everyone so as to maximize the sales of homes, and purchase and refinance mortgages. Phony rehab companies, which proved to be nothing more than empty store fronts, were set up by these investors to convince lenders of the verity of the stated improvements to these houses.

13. Tessa said at August 22, 2014 12:08 am:

As of 2009, JP Morgan Chase and Citi Group have ceased to provide construction loans. Banks require the same type of documentation on commercial rehab financing (plans, permits, lien wavers, etc) as on ground up construction. Hard material is difficult to be crushed by small combination crusher, so the small size crusher is suitable for brittle and fine material.

14. https://sites.google.com/site/constructionloanexperts said at August 24, 2014 6:45 am:

If you were planning on building your dream home in 2010 it was nearly impossible. This means that if you support a particular charity in Gibraltar you could be supporting Charitable Giving Gibraltar without even being there in person. Quite a large number of commercial properties use these loans.

15. grosir murah baju anak said at January 7, 2015 12:36 pm:

Sale - Hoo is also a great resource to use when searching for dropshipping companies. By utilizing a good wholesale dropshipping company it can be much simpler to make a profit wiith your new online company at the convenient of your home. These are ideal to sell-through to your customer from new-born to infants celebrating their birthdays.

16. grosir baju bola piala dunia anak murah 9ribu said at January 8, 2015 1:48 am:

Of course the online auction siutes are always a great alternative. Present your busijness to thyem and build a trusting business relationship. Possibly, he can be a drop shipper in disguise himself.

17. Contoh Peluang Usaha Rumahan Dengan Modal Kecil 2015 said at January 16, 2015 9:48 am:

Have you considered receiving some Chinese business cards. Choose the most useful ten shortcuts that you usse in your business and shqre them on. Every single opportunity of enhancing your business image must be utilized and encashed for the betterment of your organization. There are also some companies that allow you to submit your design.

18. Usaha Modal Minim said at January 17, 2015 4:03 pm:

You can purchase an existing website or blog and turn around and sell it for profit. Achieving financial success, especially on the internet, requires quick and meaningful action to be taken. Notes in lunches, on school books, shirts, foreheads. Just follow the tips andd idceas below and you will be safe and still find a good business.

19. Usaha Sampingan Untuk Karyawan said at January 25, 2015 3:15 am:

The Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds are also important to get tthe best results. Since there are qiite a lot off online business opportunities available today it would be very necessary forr you to look for an opportunity that will allow you to earn a good amount of money. The hours required and tthe capital investment are enough tto put you off before you start.

20. Best msbn said at July 23, 2015 9:13 pm:

Hi my loved one! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice writte and come with approximately all vital infos. I would like to look more posts like this .

21. Lela said at July 26, 2015 1:19 pm:

After looking over a handful of the articles on your blog, I really like your way of writing a blog. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my website too and tell me what you think.

22. pay per click marketing said at August 28, 2015 3:53 am:

Thanks to my father who told me regarding this blog, this website is in fact amazing.

23. fr.viadeo.com said at September 17, 2015 6:58 pm:

For latest news you have to visit internet and on web I found this site as a finest site for hottest updates.

24. Slideshare said at September 18, 2015 3:08 am:

Good post! We are linking to this great post on our site. Keep up the great writing.

Add your own comments