Weekly Photo Challenge: Community (The Rice Crispy Truck)

Is community a thing of the past? I don’t mean online communities like WordPress, but actual, outside-your-front-door community. Sometimes it seems like the familiar, can-I-borrow-a-cup-of-sugar feeling of neighbourhood community is a lot harder to come by these days. Is that because I’m traipsing around the world, a linguistically-challenged perpetual outsider? Or are the lines that separate “community” from the general masses genuinely fading, not just in my town, but everywhere?

Rice crispy making 1

I came across these guys last week in Taipei. They make delicious snacks made from puffed rice. The snacks are essentially the traditional Taiwanese version of rice crispy squares, with various things mixed in. They puff the rice right at the truck, in a giant pressurized metal tube. When the pressure is released, the tube makes a loud “bang” that sounds like a small cannon.

Releasing the pressure from the rice canister results in a loud bang and a lot of steam.

Releasing the pressure from the rice canister results in a loud bang and a lot of steam.

puffed rice canister

After the rice is puffed, it is poured into a giant metal bowl, mixed with a syruppy substance and in this case peanuts and then spread out and sliced into squares.

My Taiwanese friend reminisced how, in her childhood, the puffed rice trucks would drive through her neighbourhood, and the loud “bang” would summon children from all over the community, much like an ice cream truck’s siren song. “Bo-bo!” the kids would cry excitedly, (the kids’ version of the sound of the rice being puffed).  The trucks would even puff your own rice for you if you brought it, and you could go home and make the treats according to your own tastes or family recipes.

This doesn’t happen anymore, though, she lamented. If you wanted traditional snacks like this you had to go into the city to find them, and even then they were hard to come by.  These trucks were once an essential part of local communities, but now, as tastes change to desire more modern types of snacks, their role in bringing communities together for mutual love of their wares is fading away.

It’s too bad, because the taste of freshly-made puffed rice squares straight from the Rice Crispy Men beats anything you can buy from a convenience store!

The Rice Crispy Truck was located in a more traditional area of downtown Taipei. What's notable about this photo? JW!

The Rice Crispy Truck was located in a more traditional area of downtown Taipei. What’s notable about this photo? JW!

Does a sense of community still exist in your neighbourhood? Or is it a thing of the past?

This post was written for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Community

In other news, I’m growing less optimistic that I’ll find time to publish a more comprehensive post about my trip to Taiwan before we leave for Christmas in Korea, not to mention my other pre-Christmas blogging goals. But what would a travel blog be without the travel, right? Stay tuned!

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5 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Community (The Rice Crispy Truck)

  1. Sense of community still exist in my neighbourhood; and I’ll be living in a community too. It’ll never be a past. If I couldn’t find community environment around myself then I’ll build it.

    I’m sorry but most of the times elites have no concept to ask a cup of sugar or a plaster for little kido who just hurt himself. I have noticed that they feel it against their dignity.

    Your post has encouraged me to have a trip to taipei but tonight I’m going to write about Nanjing Library; just got the membership. ;) My GreenCard is so loving.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Community | A Mixed Bag

  3. To do something nice for someone without them thinking I want pay back is hard. But it is so hard for some people to something nice for someone else. Bring back borrowing-a-cup-of-sugar.

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