Sunday, September 26, 2010

Silly Bandz!!! 今年美國最夯的玩具!

The hottest toy this year is Silly Bandz. If you ask any kids between the ages of 5 to 16 what their favorite play thing this year, they will all tell you "Silly Bandz" ( Silly Bandz are a brand of silicone rubber bands formed into shapes including animals, objects, and letters. They are normally worn as bracelets. Essentially, they are colorful rubber bands in various shapes. The company that markets this product is laughing all the way to the bank. They are usually sold in a pack of 24 Bandz (6 shapes, 4 per shape) that will allow the kids to collect and trade. I looked up the internet and they are being sold from $5.99 to $2.50 for a pack of 24. As in any popular items, there are now hundreds of imitations in the marketplace. Most are just colorful rubber bands that will likely melt together in heat or pressure. As Silly Bandz are made of silicone, these bands can withstand heat and maintain the shapes really well.

I was resisting buying these Silly Bandz for my kids because I was not going to pay over $5 for 24 rubber bands, but reality hit last Friday when my 8 year-old son came home with many of these Bands around his wrist. He said a classmate gave them to him--he went through a long story of why this girl would give him so many Bandz. But now I have a dilemma. My 10 year-old daughter has been asking to buy these Bandz for weeks. I kept telling her no because it's a waste of money. But now that her brother has them, she felt life is a bit "unfair" to her. I did my research on-line and found out that there are so many different kinds of colorful rubber bands out there, but the quality of these bands vary. I decided that if I were to buy any for my kids, I might as well stick with the silicone kind.

Anyways, to make a long story short, I went to Toys R Us yesterday and bought 3 packs of Silly Bandz. They only have two kinds of Silly Bandz available at the store--the Princess pack and the Dinosaur pack. It's not like we have a lot of choices, but they were on sale for $4.99 per pack and the promotion was buy 2 get 1 free. I'll probably go to another Toys R Us and see if I can exchange the extra dinosaur pack for a different theme pack. Both kids now think they have the best parents in the world!!!

真的沒想到, 美國今年最夯的玩具是 Silly Bandz, 一種彩色橡皮圈手環! 這個東西真的是從幼稚園夯到高中! Silly Bandz 只是一家最先在美國販賣這種彩色橡皮圈的公司品牌。 因為賣得太好, 所以已經有上百種其它品牌流竄在玩具巿場上。 巿面上及網路市場到處在賣類似的彩色橡皮圈。比較便宜的彩色橡皮圈是橡膠做的。 天熱時, 這種橡皮圈都會黏在一起。 品質好的彩色橡皮圈手環是矽膠做的, 所以耐熱也耐壓, 可是就賣得比較貴。 Silly Bandz 這家公司(賣的彩色橡皮圈就是矽膠做的, 但是一包(24枚裝)就要賣 $5.95。 當然我們都是要等到減價時才買。 這星期 Silly Bandz 在 Toys R Us 有在減價。 雖然貨色不多(只剩兩種),可是一包(24枚裝)才賣 $4.99, 然後買兩包再送一包。 這樣子的價錢我還能接受。 不過話又說回來, 這只是有色橡皮筋, 竟然可以賣到這種價錢! 業者真的是賺翻天了! 我想今年的聖誕節禮物少不了這個玩藝。 還有,如果近期內要去找親朋好友, 而那親朋好友有五歲至十六歲的小孩,這Silly Bandz 可是最好的伴手禮喔!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

台美僑胞有口福了! 好吃的豬肉乾! Yummy Pork Jerky!

My favorite memory of childhood in Taiwan was going on a school field trip. It was never about where we went but what snacks my mother would put in my backpack for our annual school field trip. Back then, snacks were not prevalent and were not sold individually packaged like they do today. Guai Guai were one of my favorites and I remembered they were NT$2. But what I wanted most in my snack bag wast those sweet and savory pork jerkies. I am sure many of us who grew up in Taiwan have fond memories of those square pieces of the pork jerkies.

Over the years, when I visited Taiwan, I would look for pork jerkies to buy. But rumors of bad sources (or unknown sources) of pork made buying pork jerky a "risky" business. One summer I discovered a specialty pork jerky store on Chung Hsiao East Road (near Taipei University), but the pork jerky sold there cost more than a piece of rib eye steak oz per oz. I did buy some to let my kids try, but it wasn't something I can buy in bulk.

Jump to September 2010. Last week while visiting a friend of mine, she excitedly showed me a bag of pork jerky. She said she bought it at Costco!!! She pulled out a piece and let me tried it. We let out a scream!!! It tasted the same as the flavor we had become accustomed to. My friend said another friend saw it at a Costco in Hawaii and bought 4 packages. So when she saw it at a Costco in Hacienda Heights, she had to buy some. She only bought 2 packages though because she wanted to make sure it has that Taiwanese taste before buying more. Well, it tasted exactly as we know it. So when my friend saw it at our local Costco, she had to let all her Taiwanese friends know about it. I had wanted to buy some all week. Today, I finally found the time to make the trip to our local Costco.

So if you have a Costco near you, make the trip to Costco and buy those pork jerkies and re-live your childhood memories. I looked at the package carefully. This product is made in USA. So we don't have to worry about the source of pork. It also does not contain MSG. I can't say it doesn't contain preservatives, but I think it's within FDA standard, so unless one over-indulges, one should not worry about that. At $9.79 (14.5 oz), it's not expensive at all. If your local Costco doesn't carry this product, request it. Happy eating!!!

上星期到朋友家去串門子, 她急著拿出一樣東西要給我看。 她說, “妳吃吃看, 這是在 Costco 買的。“ 我一吃, 不得了。 我倆大聲一叫,“哪有可能 在 Costco 買到臺灣味的豬肉乾!?!?” 我仔細一看,包裝上寫的是 Product of USA 和 No MSG! 我以前都不太敢買豬肉乾, 雖然愛吃,可是怕買到來路不明的豬肉乾, 所以已經有好久沒買了。 這下子我可高興了, Costco 在賣豬肉乾,我隨時都可以吃到物美價廉的豬肉乾 (US$9.79, 14.5 oz)。 今天特別跑了Costco 一趟, 買了兩包豬肉乾。 反正我們幾乎每個禮拜都會去 Costco 買東西, 吃完到時候再買。我準備明天給小孩帶一些豬肉乾到學校去當點心吃。 好幸福的小朋友喔! 我很高興我的小孩也願意跟我一起分享好吃的豬肉乾! 想當年我小學遠足時最常攜帶的零食就是豬肉乾! 如果你們家附近的 Costco 沒有賣豬肉乾, 你們可以要求 Costco 進貨。