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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Beef Noodle Soup, Part II

After you cool the beef stock overnight, put it in the fridge so that the oil would solidify on top and it'll be easy to skim the fat off later. See all that white fat, yuck!

After you skim the fat off, bring the stock to boil again, take the oxtails out, put them in a large bowl, then put some spinach or other greens on top, then some chopped spring onions and some salt. After you assemble the bowl, pour the boiling beef stock over everything, and tada, a bowl of delicious beef oxtail noodle soup. Oh, actually I forgot to get the noodles, oh well. And I forgot to take a pic of the final product. Oh well.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Beef Noodle Soup, Part I

Make the beef soup stock the night before, there is a reason for this, you'll see tomorrow. The ingredients are simple:
Oxtails, 4 or 5 thin slices of ginger, 1 star anise, 1 clove, 3 or 4 peppercorns, small amount of cinnamon and 1/4 cup of cooking wine.

Put everything in pot, add water and slowly simmer for 4 to 5 hours then let it sit over night and cool (actually I boiled the oxtails quickly first and then washed them in cold water to eliminate impurities before putting all the ingredients together and slowly cooking the oxtails, oh yeah, I also added one spring onion)

My Favorite Names!

My Favorite Names! (You can sing along to the tune of My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music)

An airline named Million Air
An optometrist in SF with the fruitilicious name of Kimberry La
A Chinese restaurant in Baltimore called Ho Joy
A Hong Kong lawyer named Chlorophyll Yip (her sister is purportedly called Photosynthesis) and
An accountant in LA named Peter Pee...

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite names
And then I don't feel so bad...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Oscars according to Cat

Since I live so close to Tinseltown, I thought I'd do my own critique of Oscar night.

George, date someone your own age! You look like you are auditioning for Father of the Bride II!

Nicole, chill... act like a human being and not a mannequin for don't have to be perfect 24/7 you know...

Jessica, we know you are pregnant... is that a feather duster on your chest?
Miley, didn't your mom tell you not to slouch? For some reason, I think there is a greater than 50% chance of her turning out really screwed up.

Renee, did you get your hair done at Super Cuts? But wait, even Super Cuts does a better job than that... must been my mom who cut your hair, she cut my hair when I was little too and I was traumatized for the next 20 years...

Viggo, unless you plan to be a professional Civil War re-enactor, please rid of that beard!

They look like a nice couple... sigh, some people just have everything...

Winner of the Best Actress Award -- I think she is beautiful.

Of course, I didn't take any of these pictures. I am not stupid enough to go out to Hollywood on a cold rainy night ... Instead, I had oysters and lobster at Ocean Ave Seafood, yummy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

No Bees. No Ice Cream?

I read with horror the headline -- Disappearing Bee Colonies may Drive up Ice Cream Prices. Ahhhh, expensive ice cream? You mean I have to pay like $100 for a carton of Cherry Garcia? NOOOOOOO.... I am going to learn from the wisdom of the Native Americans and grab my bee costume and go out and do a Bee Dance... Happy Bees Happy Bees Please Come Back. Hehe.

Picture courtesy of Bill Porter at

Monday, February 18, 2008

Water Lilies and Snow

More beautiful pics from L. Hmmm, I guess this has gone from a guest appearance to a full blown exhibit! BTW, L is also super good at interior designing if anyone needs a little help there. Martha Stewart, move aside, here comes L!

Water lily in bloom. So beautiful. I feel like bursting out into a Tang Dynasty poem. Purple water lily resting near a leaf, Drops of dews sprinkled over its pedals. Was that a haiku? Anyhoo.

First Snow in Maryland -- very Ansel Adamish

Ice Berries in Maryland -- thank goodness this is not cave time, because if it were my turn to go berry gathering for the tribe, I'd be like, oh such beautiful berries and eat them all and promptly drop dead, how tragic, and 10K years later, paleontologists would find my perfectly preserved body and be like, oh they must've been really short back then and completely screw up the history of human evolution...

Chinatown in Hawaii. I challenge you to find a place in this world without a Chinatown! Muhahahaha, we are taking over the world... do I see some chicken feet they are selling there? Hmmm, chicken feet, yummm....

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Warning! Warning! People with arachnophobia do not scroll down! guest photographer L makes her debut with these stunning pictures of spiders in Texas. Wow, nature is wondrous, who would've known spiders could look so spectacular!

Colorful Orchard Spider with loooong legs

Spiny Orb Weaver Spider -- so weird looking huh?

Orchard Spider, FYI, the weird looking person in the background is not me... :-P

A new breed of water dwelling spider... just kidding, actually it's a water lily bud. Hmmm, very very phallic looking... L, you have a dirty mind... or is it me...hehe...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Darfur and the Olympics

Steven Spielberg withdrew as artistic adviser to the Beijing Olympics due to pressure from Da_fur campaigners such as Mia Farrow. I do not know all the facts in Da_fur and I do not know the exact causal relationship between the Chinese government's policy and the g___cide in S_dan. But what I do know is that if Ms. Farrow and company succeed in branding the Beijing Olympics as the G___cide Olympics, one billion hearts would be ripped into pieces.

When I was in Beijing, I chuckled when I saw all the Olympics count down clocks and neighborhood dance troupes composed of middle aged women celebrating the second anniversary of Beijing being awarded the Olympics. Their devotion to the Olympics seemed so naive. But, I also know the majority of Chinese lead very hard lives and this is one event they have been very much looking forward to -- to show case their hospitality, the Chinese culture and their achievements. And now this. My heart goes out to the Chinese people.

Star Sighting of the Day

Warren Beatty -- he looked really good in person, probably had a mini face lift judging from the appearance. Who else have I seen near work? Diane Keaton, Danny DeVito, Madeleine Stowe... all looked the same in person as they are in the movies.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Feud with NYT Reporter, cont'd...

Ok, here is an update, I heard back again from the NYT Reporter. Yep, apparently he's never been to China and will be visiting there for the first time in August presumably for the Olympics. Hmmm, maybe we should send him a jar of marinated testicles, tripe, chicken heart, pig brain, etc. as a send off gift... But to be fair, he makes a valid point, I guess his point is when viewing from a foreign perspective, the most bizarre or different things tend to leave the deepest impressions... However, I disagree we are quarrelling over semantics! One should never label anything as "local fare" unless you check with the locals that it is indeed local fare!

Email Reply from NYT Reporter:
I understand your point, and I appreciate your concerns. I think we're quarreling over semantics right now. Although you mentioned that fertilized duck eggs are indigenous to SE Asia and can be found in some parts of the U.S., I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of US athletes heading to China have never eaten one. And that when they tell their friends of unfamiliar foods/dishes that they tried/saw in China, they'll say fertilized duck eggs or live sea horses and not vegetable dishes with beef or chicken. Whether that is a fair representation is, as you say, another story, but it's the truth. It may be a rough analogy, but I look at it this way: If someone from China was visiting the U.S. for the first time -- let's say Seattle -- and was moved to eat a cheesesteak, would it be right to say that was local fare? Well, it's an American type of food, so yes. But you could also argue that for it to be truly considered local fare, it would have had to be consumed in Philadelphia. I think you and I agree on more than we don't. When I visit Beijing for the first time in August, I'm looking forward to sampling a little bit of everything, whether I'm familiar with it or not. Thanks again.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Is Fertilized Duck Egg a Chinese Delicacy?

I am engaged in an ongoing feud with a New York Times reporter over whether he stated that fertilized duck egg is a Chinese delicacy. Basically the article is about how US Olympians plan to bring their own food to Beijing due to food safety concerns in China. Here is the passage in contention -- "Once athletes are finished competing, they are free — encouraged, even — to sample the local fare. That could mean munching on live sea horses or hard-boiled fertilized duck eggs — though steering clear of adulterated chicken breasts." I am really tired of the western media making Chinese cuisine sound like a freak fest -- so I wrote to the reporter. Below is a transcript of our correspondence:

Fertilized duck egg is not a Chinese delicacy. It is mostly consumed in southeastern Asian countries such as Vietnam. Live sea horse? I've lived in China, have traveled pretty much all over the country and I've never seen anyone eating that! The average Chinese have very simple home cooked foods -- mostly vegetables and some poultry or pork.

NYT Reporter:
Thanks very much for your e-mail. I never said that fertilized duck egg was a Chinese delicacy. I wrote that it was available in Beijing. Some of the people I spoke with said that item stuck out from their tour.

Hmmm, you characterized fertilized duck eggs as "local fare" which implies that they are Chinese. Anyway, I mostly enjoyed the article but I am tired of the western media/and some of my fellow Americans' tendency to always focus on the "bizarre" aspects of food in China -- creating the impression that somehow that's the norm. Instead of munching on seahorses and duck eggs, I'd encourage American Olympians to visit my grandmother's village. When I go there, I am told to pick out whatever that's ripen in the vegetable garden. We'd have two or three fresh vegetable dishes, some noodles and a little bit of meat on the side. Simple and healthy and that's the typical diet of the average Chinese.

Who is right?

Here is the link to the full article (not sure if it still works since NYT archives their articles after like a week).
  • Wary U.S. Olympians Will Bring Food to China
  • Sunday, February 10, 2008

    New Laptop!

    Thank goodness I got a new laptop which is about 1/10 the weight of my old one. Now I can travel like a human being rather than a humpty dumpty. Yep, I once crash landed on the staircase at LAX! Oh the embarrassment...

    Friday, February 8, 2008

    Spelling Bee

    People, definitely is spelled D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y! NOT Definately or Definatly or Definitly... It's driving me crazy to see so many people misspelling this word!

    Wednesday, February 6, 2008

    The Female Body

    I was surfing a gossip site and came upon an ad for America's next top model. The contestants all looked emaciated and the host, Tyra Banks' breasts looked painfully propped up and squeezed together. It made me think -- is it me or does this society have a really distorted sense of female beauty.

    Here is what real women look like -- their breasts are proportional to their bodies and are soft and point slightly downwards; women tend to have wide hips and are generally plump and curvaceous.

    Happy Chinese New Year!

    May you and yours have a happy, prosperous Year of the Mouse!

    picture courtesy of Hong Kong Disneyland

    Tuesday, February 5, 2008

    Chinese New Year Memory

    It was one of my last Chinese New Year's in China. It had snowed that night and by the time we finished our New Year's Eve feast, the ground, trees and houses were covered by snow. I went out onto the deserted street with a neighborhood friend. I held out my hand to catch the snowflakes and examined them under the street lamp. To my amazement, perfectly shaped snowflakes existed! I had thought it was one of those mythical tales, like the unicorns or Santa Clause, but it turned out to be true. It was beautiful staring at each that fell onto my palm. Ahhh, childhood memories...
    picture of a real snowflake courtesy of Alex Tabarrok at

    Monday, February 4, 2008

    San Francisco

    I love SF, I love SF not, I love SF, I love SF not... So hard to decide...

    It has beautiful sceneries...

    SF from Coit Tower

    Poor neglected Bay Bridge -- always living under the shadow of the Golden Gate -- well, here is your day of glory on!

    Grace Cathedral and trees...

    Interesting History...

    These are the wheels that pull the cable carts!

    Sophisticated architecture...

    Cute Victorian row houses, not even the best I saw, wish I had taken more pics of the buildings in SF... as I told P, I felt the architecture was a cross between Victorian and Art Deco, love it!

    And most important of all -- yummy foods!

    Excellent cocktails and friendly bartender at the Rye Bar

    Seafood Bar at the Ferry Building -- salivating again...I love love the oysters there.

    Roasted Chicken at Zuni: hands down the bestest roasted chicken I have ever had ... succulent, juicy, flavorful, perfect!

    But the weather is a real downer (with the Ferry Building in the background... hmmm yummy foods at the Ferry Building).

    In conclusion, I love SF (or 80% of it)! Yay! Will be visiting Jiggy and the Gang often!