Chinese New Year Dinner 2017, Year of the Rooster

“Kung Hay Fat Choy”! (Happy Chinese New Year)

Today is Chinese New Year.  Almost every year we have family dinner in a restaurant.  In my previous posts on the same subject, I had already introduced to you the dishes that had lucky meanings and special presentations.  This year, we had ordered four different dishes that I had not introduced to you before.

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  1.  Pig hands (not feet) with “fat choy” and lettuce.  The lucky auspicious meaning of this dish is “to get rich with additional wealth and monetary growth”.   This dish comes with peanuts as well.  Pig hands but not pig feet, because the Chinese name “hand” rhymes with the meaning of easy access to wealth. “fay choy” rhymes with “get rich”.   I’ve  got very good feedback from my guests including the young people.  They all love it.img_0047
  2. Crabmeat and fish maw soup:  See my previous post on fish maw.  It is a very nutritious and tasty dish.  It also has an auspicious meaning:  Gold and silver everywhere around the house. img_0052
  3. Abalone mushrooms with Pea Spouts (dou miao).  the auspicious meaning is “Gold pieces all over the floor”.  Vegetarians love this dish!img_0054

4.  Smoked Sea Bass:  This is not a traditional Chinese New Year Dish.  We ordered it because we all love this dish.  It is more expensive than the original “swimming” fish on the menu.  It is worth the money because it is so tasty.img_0059

I am keeping this post short and sweet.   I wish you all a very happy and healthy Year of the Rooster!

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Fish Maw -A Delicious and Nutritious Dish,


Dear Readers:

I have been very behind in blogging,  but I had worked hard these few days, in order to prepare for this delicious and nutritious dish.  It is my pleasure today to introduce to you a special ingredient:  fish maw.  So, what is fish maw?

Fish maw is one of the precious traditional Chinese ingredients which are highly rated due to its high nutritional value.  Many Asians believe that it is particularly good for skin care.  A former colleague in Hong Kong has become a Chinese Herbalist.  One time when I saw her, I asked her what should women eat in order to be healthy all year-long.  She said “Fish Maw”.   Here we are.  Let me share with you my experience in preparing and cooking fish maw.

The most important step of cooking fish maw is the washing and pre-soaking process.

I bought this bag of fish maw from a Chinatown grocery store.  It is like this as in the picture below.  img_9798

Pre-cooking and pre soaking the fish maw:

  1.  Boil a big pot of water.
  2. Pour the fish maw into the hot water;  add four pieces of ginger and two long pieces of green union.
  3. Turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid.



4. A few hours later,  after the water has cooled down, take the fish maw out and rinse/wash it under cold tap water.  By this time, the fish maw is a bit tender already.

5.  Put the fish maw back to the pot and refrigerate it overnight for 10 to 12 hours.

6.  The next day when you take it  out, you will find the fish maw a bit harder and thicker.  Don’t be nervous. After you have cooked it, it will become tender again.  The soaking and refrigeration process is to allow the fish maw to continue to “grow” and maximize its ability to thicken.

7.  Cut the fish maw into smaller pieces.

Now we are ready to cook.  There are many recipes using fish maw.  I have eaten different fish maw dishes in restaurants.   The fish maw is usually in small quantity together with other ingredients like mushrooms, abalone etc., because it is quite expensive.  This time, I would like to introduce a simple dish to make it easier for you.

Ingredients for Cooking:

About three ounces of pre-soaked fish maw.  It can be one big piece of fish maw or several smaller pieces depending on the type of fish maw you use.

Four cloves of garlic

Two  pieces of ginger

Chicken Broth : two cups (I use the organic chicken broth from Costco, but you can cook your own chicken broth).

Starch and water: about one teaspoon of starch and 1/2 cup of water.

Wine (best with ginger wine)


One tablespoon of “Hoi Sin Sauce”

One tablespoon of “Bean Sauce”

One teaspoon of light soya sauce

A dash of black pepper

If you like a hotter taste,  add some XO Sauce with dried scallops.

A tablespoon of sesame oil

Cooking Directions:

Into a chinese wok, add two tablespoons of oil (I use either organic coconut oil or organic avocado oil, which are more suitable for high heat cooking.

Add the four cloves of garlic and fry them till they become golden brown.  Then take the garlic out but leave the oil in the wok.

Add ginger, fish maw, hoi sin sauce, bean sauce, soya sauce (light), black pepper, and the four cloves of garlic  back into the mixture. Stir fry.

Add wine, sesame oil, and finally the corn starch mixture. Stir fry till the mixture boils.

If you like a darker color, add a tablespoon of dark soya sauce.

Stir fry till the mixture boils.

I added  a few pieces of Chinese vegetables (choi sum) around the plate to decorate and to eat!.  The choi sum should be boiled in hot water before you start cooking the fish maw.  Place them on a plate surrounding the fish maw. You can use other vegetables like broccoli, lettuce, Chinese pak choi sum, Chinese broccoli.  You name it!

If you want to try a different recipe, add mushrooms or abalone or dried scallops.  See my previous posts on these three items.

Please note that all the sauces mentioned here can be bought in a Chinese grocery store.

My final advice:   Please be patient with this dish.  There is no short cut.  It may take you a few days to pre-soak the fish maw if they are thick and big.

I hope you will enoy this dish as much as I do.  Happy cooking!






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Weekly Photo Challenge- Dialogue

I should have posted this to my food blog which I have lagged behind for a while. A fellow blogger friend not only loves Chinese food, but studies Chinese words. This is for you, John.

My Notebook

 In response to Frederic Bivers Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue, this is my entry.

imageDelightful desserts round in shape.

View original post 164 more words

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Sybaritica’s post has sparked my interest to post these two dishes which I made  with dried scallops.  The main feature of these two dishes is to present the scallops in a “classy” way.  The same principle applies:  steam the dried scallops till they become wet and soft.  Do not mix them up but leave them as a whole.  Place a few “whole scallops” on top of a dish of mushrooms or vegetables. Pour the sweet juice of the scallops on the top.  Present the dish like these to your guests.  They would enjoy them very much.

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Chinese New Year Banquet – Year of the Horse, 2014 – Restaurant Review

Dear Readers and my Blogger friends:

I wish you all a wonderful Year of the Horse!  As in the previous year, I have chosen the same restaurant to hold our Chinese New Year Celebration for our big family.  Three tables were ordered and everyone was very happy and satisfied.  The restaurant is:

Mayflower Restaurant, Union City, California.

If you have read my last year’s post on the same topic:  Chinese New Year Banquet, you will realize that there are a few new dishes this year, and the menu is more “enhanced” with a higher price.  If you are not familiar with Chinese cuisine, you may not know certain ingredients are more expensive although they look very common.  I would like to highlight three special dishes this time:

1. The newest one for me is the Bird Nest Soup. Bird Nest is a very expensive nutritious food that we believe will help strengthen the body in various ways.  It is not available everywhere, and it is the first time I see this on a menu in San Francisco.  I was very doubtful before tasting it.  After the dinner, we all agreed that it is very good!

According to Wikipedia:’s_nest

“Edible bird’s nests are among the most expensive animal products consumed by humans, with an average nest selling for $2,500 per kilogramme for end-consumers in Asia.[1] The nests have been used in Chinese cooking for over 400 years, most often as bird’s nest soup.

The Chinese name for edible bird’s nest, yàn wō (燕窝), translates literally as “swallow’s nest”, and often serves as a synonym for bird’s nest soup. However,yàn wō strictly speaking is the uncooked nest.

Culinary use

The most famous use of edible birds nest is bird’s nest soup, a delicacy in Chinese cuisine. When dissolved in water, the birds’ nests have a gelatinous texture used for soup or sweet tong sui. It is mostly referred to as “yan wo” unless references are made to the salty or sweet soup in Chinese cuisine.

In addition to its use in soup, edible birds nest can be used as an ingredient in many other dishes, it can be cooked with rice to produce bird’s nest congee or bird’s nest boiled rice, or it can be added to egg tarts and other desserts. A bird’s nest jelly can be made by placing the bird’s nest in a ceramic container with minimal water and sugar (or salt) and double steamed. Ready to eat bird’s nest jelly is available in jars as a commercial product.”

After you have read the above information, don’t you all think you should try this out?

2.  The second dish I would like to highlight this year is the Braised Dried Oysters and Black Moss. This is a very popular dish with an auspicious meaning,  Dried Oysters in Cantonese sounds like “rich”, and Black Moss sounds like ” becoming rich”.  Therefore this dish is well liked by many Chinese people at home or in the restaurant, especially during the Chinese New Year.   I am not a big fan of dried oysters but because of the meaning of this dish, and the ingredients are actually quite expensive, it gives more value to the cost of the banquet.  The taste and texture of this dish are good.

3.  There are three desserts (!!!) as you can see from the photos and the  video that I posted on YouTube,  One of them is only available in Chinese New Year, again because of its meaning:  Red bean soup with sweet dumplings.  You may notice that these dumplings are round.  Many traditional Chinese people will eat dumplings in sweet soup in Chinese New Year because “round” sounds like “reunion”, “altogether”.  That means family members are all together during the new year,  although they may be apart at other time.   This is the best dumpling in red soup I have ever tried,  Normally I don’t like this type of dumplings because it is like eating a big lump of flour。However the sweet bean soup is so rich that you would never think that the dumpling is a lump of flour,  I like it so much that I took an extra cup home!

All the other dishes are surprisingly kept at a high standard during the busiest day in a Chinese Restaurant.  As I have written about the other dishes before, I would not repeat here.  I left out one dish in my album because I was too busy talking to other guests:  It was the sauteed prawns and scallops with green peas.  It was another popular dish.

As many of you are curious about the auspicious names and meaning of all the dishes, let me try again to translate all of them here:

Chinese New Year Banquet Menu and Meaning  

  • Special Assorted Appetizers  — The house/home is beautiful with luxury decor
  • Braised Dried Oysters and Black Moss —  Becoming rich and have good business
  • Sauteed Prawns and Scallops with Greens — Two lucky messengers coming to your door to deliver good news
  • Bird Nest soup — Hundreds of birds paying homage to the Queen of the birds
  • Peking duck — Continued to get promotions
  • Cucumbers and black mushrooms with pea-spout—  Home/family is rich with blessings and money
  • Baked Lobsters with Ginger and Green Onion — As strong and smart as a dragon and horse
  • Steamed Fresh Fish ( we had sea bass) — Always have a balanced bank account, with savings
  • Pan fried sticky rice — Good business
  • Desserts:  Red Bean soup; with Sweet Dumplings —All family members are united and staying together

Overall Rating : 4 out of 5 stars


The food was good, but because the chefs were extremely busy, the presentation of the dishes could have been better and more attractive. We were at the second seating at 7:30 PM.  The first seating patrons were still eating when we arrived.  We had to wait till around 8 PM before we could be seated.  However we were given the best corner in the restaurant and the staff were still very courteous despite the busy time.  This was understandable as it was the busiest time of the year.   Overall, this is one of the best Chinese restaurants in the Bay Area.  It is competing with its own sister restaurants at other sites which have bigger space. With such limitations, the restaurant is doing very well.  As a long time patron, I wish the restaurant continue to succeed with new menu and reasonable price.  I will definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone.

Finally, to all my blogger friends:

I wish you all a wonderful Year of the Horse!

Keep cooking, and keep eating, trying out different cuisines and share!

By the way, my cookbook now has an ebook version.  If  you use iPad or iPhone, you can download it to your device, free!

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Roast Pork: Two Homemade Recipes


My friend JL ‘s  Roast Pork Recipe:

  • 3 lbs  ( 五花腩)pork ; fattest  portion.
  • Use 四季雞粉 (1 bag) — A special chicken broth  mixture or powder.
Cooking directions
  • Rub the powder to the meat only.
  • Cover with foil except the skin.
  • Put into refrigerator for 3 days
  • Put into the oven, 450 F for half an hour .
  • Unwrap the foil. Pour away the juice,
  • Cool down after 15 min.

My sister LM’s Roast Pork Recipe:

  • Same as above.

Cooking Directions

  • Clean the meat and dry it well.
  • Rub the powder to the meat only.
  • Make sure that the meat is real dry before the next step.
  • Put into the  refrigerator one night before cooking.
  • Before baking, rub the skin with vinegar several times.
  • Bake 400 F x 50 to 55 mins.
  •  broil for a few seconds.  Watch the meat to make sure that it won’t burn.
  • You will see that the skin puffed up.  Take it out.
  • Let it cool down. Cut into pieces. and serve.
  • Yum!

My sister said adding the vinegar to the skin makes the skin pop and crispy.  These two photos were her first experiment. She had tried several times and modified the recipe to this one as posted.

Readers should try out the two different recipes and experiment with each. You may find something different from your experience as well.

I got these two recipes a while ago.  I didn’t post it because i wanted to try it out myself first.  The reason why I suddenly posted this one last night, was in response to a fellow blogger’s recent post on Spicy Crackling Pork Appetizer.


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Hillbilly Tea at Louisville, Kentucky — What a Pleasant Surprise!

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Hello, dear readers:

First of all, I  must apologize for not posting on this blog for more than 2 months.   The reason was that I had been busy publishing my e-books.  I have altogether published three.  Please refer to my travel blog My Notebook and my 3 little e-books posted on Speaker Deck.  To add to all these…I had been extremely busy at work.

I was able to take a short “break” to Louisville last week to attend a conference where I did two presentations.  It was actually more work, but I had the chance to try out this hip tea house “Hillbilly Tea” which just opened its second tea house in Shanghai, Yes, Shanghai!  I hardly believe my ears when the server told me.   I wonder why a hip American tea house wold set up its second tea house in China.  Would it have business?  After trying its tea and a catfish sandwich (lunch menu), I think it will be accepted or welcome by the new generation of Chinese and expatriates living in Shanghai, which is very Westernized comparing to other parts of China.  In certain parts of Shanghai, it is actually even more trendy than many places in the United States.

Let us  first take a look at the pictures posted in a slide show above and a gallery below.

Now, tell me if you have fallen in love with this place!  Yes, I love it.  The decor is very down-to-earth, in warm vintage style, with tea and T-shirts mounted at the entrance.  See the Chinese characters on a T-Shirt:

Hillbilly Tea Shanghai (土包子茶酒馆)

Very interesting translation!

What about the tea and the food?  I tried the mulberry tea with whole berries and leaf.  My friends tried the big green ice tea (served in a wide-mouth container).  Most of us ordered the catfish sandwich.  We were all happy with both the tea and the sandwich.

Would I return?  Definitely, if I go to Louisville or Shanghai again.

If you are interested in looking at its other menu, please refer to its modern and artistic Hillbilly Tea official website

and many comments on its Shanghai location.

What is the rating?  I will give it 4 out of 5 stars.  Try it out yourself when you happen to be in Louisville or Shanghai.

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Family Dinner in our Family Restaurant – Crab and Lobster Noodles and more…

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Our cousin who came to visit from Australia, enjoyed very much the Chinese food here, particularly in a family restaurant which we called our family cafeteria!  It is not high-end like the other one that I recommended to many of you.  The presentation is alright …like 2 stars.  However, the taste is 4 stars.  I would say it is quite oily sometimes, but all the guys like it!  My cousin particularly wanted to eat crab and lobster noodles.  My sister ordered three dishes of crab and lobster noodles for him!  And …did you see the pork belly?  I know you like it!

Which dish did I like most?  Guess!  The green ones!  The hollow vegetables are particularly delicious.  The green beans are good but I prefer it to have less oil.

And we did have fish!  The fish which was swimming in the tank, was made into two dishes:  the fillet and the bones (fried with bean curb).

I know you are hungry…yum yum!  The price?  Around $150 for a table of 8, for seafood dishes like lobster and crab! Where else can you find such a good price?

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What did we eat in Yunnan? — My Yunnan Trip #7

I just returned from a 9 days’ trip to Yunnan, China.  The trip was great, but not the food!  In fact, none of my previous China trips had food that satisfied me.  For some of my readers who don’t know,  I grew up in Hong Kong which has the best Chinese food.  Cantonese food is the best among all types of cuisines in China.  Therefore, traveling to China does not mean that there is good food.

In this Yunnan trip, I will only post these few dishes that may be more interesting to my readers.  The fish dish featured here is the best dish we had during this Yunnan trip.  Not only was the fish fresh, with no small bones.  It was also the best in its presentation.  We all enjoyed this fish so much that we asked the server what type of fish was that.  He said “it is called Wuhan fish”.   We had never had Wuhan fish before.   The presentation was like a peacock, was it?  As we were going to see the Dynamic Yunnan Show that night which featured the famous peacock dance by Yang Liping, I wonder if the cook specially decorated this fish that way in order to cheer the productions of Yang Liping. About the Dynamic Yunnan Show, see my post Dynamic Yunnan Show in my blog  “Falling in love…. with Arts.”


The second dish (not really on a dish) is the Kunming big  “Sha Wor”  fish head.  This was just like hot-pot throwing everything like meat and vegetables in.  I  prefer to have individual hot-pot like the ones we had in Szechuan before.  At any rate, we ate!  The good thing about this hot-pot was that there were lots of mushrooms.


The final ones that I would like to feature today are the cute little breakfasts prepared by the attendant of our “bungalow” where we lived in Lijiang.  There were noodles, congee, vegetables, buns, eggs, coffee or tea, tomatoes, fresh soy milk and fresh milk.  It was a breakfast of the Yunnan style, and it was home-made. Excellent.

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Argentine cuisine – trout, beef, pasta, empanada, sweet snacks and chocolates…

In this South America trip, we were in Argentina for about 8 to 9 days.  Therefore I can say that we did tried quite a bit of everything in terms of Argentine food.  The food was good, but again, I did not notice a lot of traditional Argentine cuisine.  I was most impressed by the trout dish that I had the first day we arrived in Bariloche. In the United States, I love seafood, but we seldom eat trout.  It was really a delight to find the trout here very fresh and tasty.


According to an article in Academia Bariloche “Mouth watering salmon and trout, plentiful in the Patagonian lakes and rivers, are eaten fresh as well as smoked and accompanied by a range of different sauces., Patagonian lamb is a national delicacy. Lamb, wild pig and alpine venison are all very popular and highly appealing local dishes.”

I did not eat lamb in Argentina, but did see some open BBQ or in restaurants, where lambs were featured.


According to Academia Bariloche

“Other typical Patagonian dishes include smoked meats like deer, wild pig, salmon and trout. Of course you will find a large variety of classic dishes like parilla grilled meat, homemade pizza and Italian style pasta dishes that are found throughout Argentina”

We did have a great experience in a restaurant that primarily served pasta.


So, what is the typical Argentine cuisine? According to,

“Argentine cuisine may be described as a cultural blending of Mediterranean influences (such as those created by Italian and Spanish populations) within the wide scope of livestock and agricultural products that are abundant in the country. Argentine annual consumption of beef has averaged 100 kg (220 lbs) per capita, approaching 180 kg (396 lbs) per capita during the 19th century; consumption averaged 67.7 kg (149 lbs) in 2007.Beyond asado (the Argentine barbecue), no other dish more genuinely matches the national identity. Nevertheless, the country’s vast area, and its cultural diversity, have led to a local cuisine of various dishes.”

As I do not eat lots of meat, I only tried a small piece of steak here, but did not take a picture.  Here’s a picture from this website:

Argentine Steak - Buenos Aires, Argentina

The author of this article also had a very good description why and how tasty Argentine beef is:

“Live on steak alone, no. But a steak a week is an easy pull in Argentina. Argentine cattle are grass fed (in contrast to more common grain-fed beef typical in the U.S.). As a result, Argentine beef is not only a better taste experience, but also an easier digestive experience. To boot, Argentine steaks are charcoal grilled on  a parrilla (i.e. a giant grill, also the word used to denote grill restaurants).

Although Argentine steak is rich and flavorful enough on its own, that doesn’t prevent most restaurants from offering chimichurri, an olive oil and spice rub to pick things up even more. In our opinion, when the meat’s this good, there’s no need to dress it up.”

A friend in our group had tasted the best steak he ever had here. He could testified that.

As mentioned in my posts about food in Chile, we always took beer or wine at meals, since water was nearly the same price.  The beer was sweeter, and therefore I did drink it. Otherwise, I usually don’t drink beer.  I think we drank beer more than wine in Argentina.  The wine in Chile was better, but I am not qualified to evaluate wine.  Our friend told us so, and I just followed!

What else was impressive in the Argentine food?  Well, I like the empanadas. This is how the Academia Bariloche describes about this popular food in Argentina. “Empanadas, the ubiquitous Latin American savory turnover. Flaky or doughy, empanadas come stuffed with just about anything: spinach, cheese, acelga (Swiss chard), mushrooms, ground beef, chicken, even seafood. On balance, Argentine empanadas are usually baked, but occasionally you’ll find them fried, especially in the north.. Empanadas are the perfect traveller food — they are cheap, quick, high comfort and often oozing with cheesiness.”   Indeed it wasn’t too costly.  We had eaten quite a bit of empanadas in Argentina, but some were better than others.


Academia Bariloche also has a good description about “The tea houses'” which are another icon of the city.” They offer delicious cakes, hot chocolate, homemade breads and sweets that are part of the ‘snack’ tradition in Bariloche. The tea houses often have spectacular mountain and lake views which create an unforgettable ambience.”

These are some of the sweet snacks or desserts we ate in Argentina. Aren’t they beautiful?  They are also very tasty!

Chocolates and ice creams are very popular in Argentina.  We did try them all. We found some big chocolate stores offering quite a good variety of chocolates too.

This is my last post on food that I took in my South America trip.  It was a very nice trip.  Food and lodging did play an important part in making the memory so unforgettable.  I will write a few more posts in my other travel blog ““My Notebook”.  If you are interested, please go there to find my next post. Meanwhile, enjoy these beautiful food pictures.  I am posting them in a slide show here. Enjoy!

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My South America Trip #20 – Lamb and Wine in Chile

In my last post My South America Trip #19, I mentioned the blog written by a North American anthropologist Jim Stuart living in Chile.  The blog Eating Chilean had its last post written in May, 2012.  I found it very interesting.  If you are going to Chile by yourself and you have time to go around to look for good Chilean food, and to understand the locals’ cuisine in relation to the social-economic structure, I highly recommend you to read this post-.Visitors guide-what to eat in Chile. The best in Chile is seafood, and we have covered a little in post #18.IMG_1874

As we had some dinners that we arranged on our own, some tour members found a nearby restaurant (the only one near our hotel which was near the National Park, instead of downtown) which served a “lamb” feast. We practically used the whole restaurant for a dinner and party.  I had taken a few pictures here. The lamb we ate that night was roasted over open wood fire, the most common way of cooking lamb in the Patagonian region.

As my favorite food is not meat, I found this lamb feast not really my cup of tea.  Little that I knew that lamb has one of the lowest consumption rates by  the Chileans till I read the blog Eating Chilean.  The author Jim Stuart said that very few Chileans eat lamb, although the number is rising recently.  One of the reasons is economic:  lamb is comparatively quite expensive. The growing number eating lamb may suggest that the Chileans in general have improved economically.  This is consistent with the World Bank’s ranking:  “The economy of Chile is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank  and is one of South America‘s most stable and prosperous nations,”

In the last post of Eating Chilean , it cited a review of the meal that President Obama was served in March, 2012 by the Chile President:

“… but a plus for the Patagonian lamb, Chile’s least favorite meat (more horse is eaten in Chile than lamb). Maybe it will encourage more Chileans to eat it. ”

Well, I guess the lamb that President Obama ate must be better than the one we had in Chile!

Before I end my posts on Chilean food, I have to mention the wine in Chile.  As bottled water is nearly the same price as wine or beer, and drinks are not covered by the tour, very often we ordered wine in Chile. I drink wine, but only occasionally.  Some of our friends drink wine at all meals!  Therefore, I usually followed!  Let me quote what Jim Stuart said in his blog, which may be helpful to you if you intend to visit Chile in future:

Eating Chilean by Jim Stuart

“What to drink 
Wine, of course, but also beer, pisco, mineral water and soft drinks.Chilean wine is good, inexpensive and available almost everywhere.  …….. They are good wines, comparable to or better than the common table wines in Europe. 
Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in Chile and national, international and “artisanal” brands are commonly available….”


As Chile is quite famous in its wine industry, our tour ended in visiting a famous Chile winery Vina Undurraga located south of Santiago. There was wine-testing of course.  Here are some of the pictures I took at the winery. It was a good “at the end tour” because if you get drunk, it won’t affect your itinerary!  You are going home anyway!

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My South America Trip #16 –What did we eat in Brazil, Argentina and Chile?

I have written more than 15 posts about my recent trip to South America on my other blog My Notebook.  If you are interested in nature and sceneries, please do not miss my 15 posts on this trip.  Today I am turning to my food blog to share with you an interesting subject:  What we ate in our South America trip!

I have taken a sample of pictures of the food that we ate during the trip. Please enjoy the beautiful look and color of the food in a slide show and then a photo gallery,

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Most of the meals that we took in this South America trip, are covered by our group tour.  All the meals we took were of good quality.  I never found any meal sub-standard during this trip.  However, as I do not usually eat too much meat, some of the menu may not be my favorite.  I like all the breakfasts which usually included lots of fruit juices, and fruits.


In the next three posts, I would like to feature some of the food or beverage items in each of the three countries that we visited. They are either signature food in that country or something that I found interesting. Please stay tuned for my next post on Brazil food and beverages!


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Chinese New Year Banquet

Happy Year of the Snake!

I wish all my readers and fellow bloggers a wonderful year of the Snake!

I know some of you are really interested in Chinese (Cantonese) cuisine, particularly for those of you are living in an area where not too much Chinese food is offered.  Well, I am lucky to be living in San Francisco Bay Area.  We do have quite a few good restaurants that provide good Chinese food.

Tonight we celebrated Chinese New Year in a restaurant which is one of the best in town.  The menu includes delicious dishes that I like, and also represents auspicious meaning of those dishes.  I will try to translate them into English so that non-Chinese readers will also understand.

To whet your appetite, I have posted a slide show of  five dishes here.  The dinner actually included 9 dishes and three desserts.  I am only featuring 5 because these are more significant.  Many of the others were already posted in some of my previous posts.

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This is the Chinese New Year Menu that we had tonight::

  1. Barbecued Combination Platter  (Good news coming to your door)
  2. Pan Fried Minced Dried Oyster w/ Lettuce  (Good business and with good income)
  3. Walnut Prawns (Laughing and being happy all the time)
  4. Dried Scallop Soup w/ Shredded Fish Maw (Gold and silver falling from heaven)
  5. Braised Sea-Cucumber & Black Mushroom w/ Green (Gold and money and jade are all here)
  6. House Special Chicken (Happy chicken welcoming spring)
  7. Garlic Baked Lobster w/ Ginger & Green Onion (Good health is with you)
  8. Steamed live sea bass (Fortune and Luck are following you)
  9. E-Fu Noodle w/ Straw Mushrooms (Prosperity and Longevity are also yours)
  10. Dessert: Red Bean Soup w/ Sweet Dumplings Dessert: Red Bean Soup w/ Sweet Dumplings (Happy family reunion).

The following picture shows the “Pan Fried Minced Dried Oyster w/ Lettuce  (Good business and with good income)”. The picture below is only one serving.  The server put the minced dried oyster mixture onto each piece of lettuce and offered to each patron on an individual small plate..  There is sauce (Hoi Sin sauce) on the side if you like to put some on the mixture.  I like this dish very much.  I won’t make it because it is labor-intensive, with lots of work chopping up the

The next dish is “Braised Sea-Cucumber & Black Mushroom w/ Green (Gold and money and jade are all here)”.. Sea-Cucumber is one of those very nutritious food items which are not something that you will eat every day. You can understand from the picture the auspicious meaning of this dish.  Green is the vegetable which represents jade.


The next dish is “Garlic Baked Lobster w/ Ginger & Green Onion (Good health is with you)”. The pronunciation of lobster in Cantonese rhymes with a phrase which means good health..


Now it comes to the star of the menu: “Steamed live fish (Fortune and Luck are following you)”.  This is also the most expensive dish. As I mentioned in some of my previous posts, steamed fish is only good if the fish is live (swimming) before you cook it.  Tonight we have steamed live sea-bass.  Yum, yum!


After we had eaten all the main dishes, the menu usually includes either fried rice or noodles.  Tonight we chose to have ” E-Fu Noodle w/ Straw Mushrooms (Prosperity and Longevity are also yours)”.  Noodles are usually eaten on birthdays.  As one family member’s birthday is near, noodles instead of rice, are a better choice.


Finally, desserts!  We had altogether three desserts (plus one cake brought by a guest). I only took the picture of this one which shows the “Chinese New Year cake” cut into small strips.  It is very tasty!  Yum!


I hope you would enjoy this post, although you are only looking at the beautiful dishes instead of eating them!  I wish you good luck, prosperity and good health, including all the sayings that these dishes represent!

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My South America Trip #17 – Brazilian Food and Beverages – Caipirinha, Charrascaria, Brazilian Coffee and Coconut Water


In Brazil, I learned about a new drink called Caipirinha.  It is alcoholic but made from sugar cane! Here’s the description:


Caipirinha (Portuguese pronunciation: [kajpiˈɾĩɲɐ]) is Brazil‘s national cocktail, made with cachaça (pronounced: [kaˈʃasɐ]) (sugar cane rum), sugar and lime.[1] Cachaça is Brazil’s most common distilled alcoholic beverage (also known as Pinga orCaninha). Both rum and cachaça are made from sugar cane-derived products. Specifically with cachaça, the alcohol results from the fermentation of sugar cane juice that is afterwards distilled.


Here’s a picture that I took, a glass of Caipirinha that I ordered.  How did it taste?  Pretty sweet…therefore I like it!


How to make Caipirinha?  Although I am not interested to make it at home, I think some of my readers may be interested.  Here I found this video on You-Tube:

How to make a Caipirinha:

The next Brazilian food that I would like to feature here is charrascaria.


churrascaria (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʃuʁaskaˈɾi.ɐ]) is a place where meat is is cooked in Churrasco style, which translates roughly from the Portuguese for ‘barbecue‘.In modern restaurants rodízio service is typically offered. Passadores (meat waiters) come to the table with knives and a skewer, on which are speared various kinds of meat, be it beefporkfilet mignonlambchickenduckham (and pineapple),sausagefish, or any other sort of local cut of meat.

Although basically I don’t eat too much eat, the churrascaria experience in Brazil was better than the ones that I had in San Francisco.  I went to a churrascaria in SF after the trip with some colleagues who were interested in this kind of food.  It was a disaster!  I had been there before, but it was better, because it was long before this trip!  It  was incomparable to the meat that we ate in Brazil!  It was much fresher and tasted better there.  Never again, in SF!

Here’s a picture I took in a restaurant in Rio de Janeiro.  The salad bar was pretty good too, luckily for the vegetarians!


Although I am not really a big meat-eater, I am interested to know how to grill churrascaria-style.  I found this video on you-tube quite interesting and helpful.

How to Grill Churrascaria-Style

A _churrascaria is an all-you-can-eat Brazilian steak house that features an amazing array of spit-roasted meats. Recreate the experience at home with these tips.

Brazilian Coffee

Being a coffee drinker, I have to say that Brazilian coffee is one of the best coffee I ever tasted.  In Brazil, drink coffee, folks! IMG_0260IMG_0261

Coconut Water

Coconut water is the clear liquid inside young coconuts (fruits of the coconut palm). In early development, it serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during their nuclear phase of development. As growth continues, the endosperm mature into their cellular phase and deposit into the rind of the coconut meat.[1] Coconut water has long been a popular drink in the tropics, especially in India,Brazilian Coast, Southeast AsiaPacific Islands, Africa, and the Caribbean, where it is available fresh, canned, or bottled.

photo (4)

On my post  about Copacabana Beach in my other Blog “My Notebook”, I mentioned about drinking fresh coconut water at the Copacabana Beach. From the picture posted above, you can see how thick is the” flesh” inside the coconut.  Not only was the coconut water refreshing, the “flesh” was so fresh that none of us had ever tasted or eaten before in other places.  I did try a similar coconut water in Cambodia.  It was not as good as this one.  So if you ever go to Rio de Janeiro, find the Copacabana Beach.  You will see some stands near the beach.  Don’t be shy to ask the staff there to cut open the coconut for you. Otherwise you would not be able to try the “flesh” inside.

I did not actually see how the coconut was cut, but I found this video on you-tube.  Isn’t it interesting?

Agua de Coco in Copacabana

(How to cut open a young coconut? This video is about cutting a coconut in Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro)

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My South America Trip #16 –What did we eat in Brazil, Argentina and Chile?

I have written more than 15 posts about my recent trip to South America on my other blog My Notebook.  If you are interested in nature and sceneries, please do not miss my 15 posts on this trip.  Today I am turning to my food blog to share with you an interesting subject:  What we ate in our South America trip!

I have taken a sample of pictures of the food that we ate during the trip. Please enjoy the beautiful look and color of the food in a slide show and then a photo gallery,

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Most of the meals that we took in this South America trip, are covered by our group tour.  All the meals we took were of good quality.  I never found any meal sub-standard during this trip.  However, as I do not usually eat too much meat, some of the menu may not be my favorite.  I like all the breakfasts which usually included lots of fruit juices, and fruits.


In the next three posts, I would like to feature some of the food or beverage items in each of the three countries that we visited. They are either signature food in that country or something that I found interesting. Please stay tuned for my next post on Brazil food and beverages!

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Easy Abalone Recipe – Braised Abalone in Original Sauce

I would like to apologize to my readers that I have neglected this foodblog for a while, primarily because I was on vacation to South America, and have been engaged in posting all my travel photos on my other blog My Notebook. Although the work has not been completed yet, I need to write this post as my family and friends really want to know how I cooked the abalone, my most recent experiment which has proved to be successful!


Photo Gallery

You can click at any picture and the gallery will open.  Captions are available when you read each picture.  Otherwise, hover your mouse over each picture and the caption will appear.

First of all, I must confess that I am not a big fan of abalone, as it is expensive and not always good enough to deserve such a high price. Therefore I never thought that I was able to cook abalone at all.  I will only eat them in restaurants, if I am invited to a dinner party with abalone in the menu (which is usually of very high price).

I am interested this time, because my friend LL  told me that she had tried cooking abalone and had been very successful. Most of all, it is very easy.  Wow, it is very tempting, but where can I buy these frozen abalones which she has used?  I went to a few super markets, but there was none.  Eventually, my friend brought me to at least three different Chinese supermarkets before I found them.  They were even on sale!  They used to be priced around $22 per packet, but this time it was only around $15 each.  So I bought two packets, with a total of 6 abalone.


  • 2 packets of frozen fresh abalone.  It is frozen but fresh because it has been frozen right after it was caught.  The ones that I bought were from Chile.  While i was in Chile a month ago, we were unable to find a restaurant to eat abalone.  The restaurant which was supposed to be famous in the abalone dish, was not open that day when we only had a very short time to eat before we fly out from Santiago
  • Chicken broth – I used the organic chicken broth, about half a box, just enough to cover all the six abalone in the cooker.  If you prefer, you can use a can of chicken broth instead.
  • Chinese broccoli – half a pound.

Slide show

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Cooking Directions

  1. Cleaning and washing the abalone pieces —  You can see how dirty they are!  Remove them from the packets, and wash them thoroughly with baking soda and salt, with a new tooth-brush.  See the” before” and “after” pictures above.
  2. Drain the abalone and leave them aside.
  3. Pour the chicken broth into the inner pot of the thermos pot, and bring it to a boil.
  4. Put all the abalone into the pot and cook them for about half an hour.
  5. Turn off the fire, and put the pot into the thermos container.
  6. Leave it overnight.  Boil the pot again the next morning, and put it back to the thermos container.
  7. When it is dinner time, bring the pot out.  Boil the whole mixture again till it is boiled.
  8. Take the abalone out, and slice them into thin pieces.
  9. Meanwhile, cook the Chinese broccoli and use them to garnish the plate of abalone. If you are inviting guests, it is even more important to place the abalone pieces on a full bed of vegetables, as there are not too many pieces of abalone!  After boiling, they will even be smaller in size..
  10. Pour the sauce over the abalone. As the sauce is now chicken broth plus abalone broth, it is very tasty.  No need to add salt. Unlike the abalone dish with oyster sauce served in most restaurants, this abalone dish retains its original abalone taste.
  11. Done.  This dish is good enough for 4 to 6 people. Isn’t it as easy as ABC?
  12. My friend had added a small piece of sugar cube to the chicken broth and said that the abalone would become more tender with sugar.  She used canned chicken broth which was more salty, and therefore adding sugar was appropriate. I am not sure if the sugar will really make the abalone more tender.  I may try it next time.  Since this experiment was successful and had good reviews from my family, I would like to share this recipe with you now.  if I try the experiment using sugar cube,  I will definitely keep you posted!  In fact, after eating the abalone, my sister asked me right away:  When will the sale end?   You can imagine the outcome of my recipe!
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Macarons and Desserts in Bottega Louie, Los Angeles Downtown

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This is a conference week. We are now in Los Angeles downtown. After dinner we passed by the Bottega Louie restaurant with a gourmet market, where some French bakery and desserts looked very interesting. We were all attracted by their colorful look. I bought three beignets , one plain, one chocolate and one raspberry, and ate them all! I also bought a few boxes of macarons to bring back home. The young staff took their time to tie very nice ribbons around the beautiful boxes. We all like the macarons. Hope you all like them too.


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Weekly travel theme: display – Love these shoes! Would love to eat them!

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This is an entry in response to the weekly travel theme from a fellow blogger Ailsa’s Weekly Travel Theme: Display.

i  believe you all like the shoes which are displayed in this picture. the shoes are exquisite, pretty and stylish. But you can’t wear them. Yet you can eat them….because they are all chocolates!

The other displays in this post are also chocolates from the same store.

I took these pictures from a popular chocolate and dessert store in Las Vegas. My friend and I took the most delicious chocolate cupcake we ever had!











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Chinese Banquet Menu


These nine dishes are currently on the menu of a Chinese Seafood Restaurant in San Francisco Bay Area.  I had previously posted them one by one with some descriptions,.  I am re-posting these pictures today, just to test out how the new tiled galleries help to enhance the presentation. As I mentioned in the Weekly Photo Challenge in The Notebook, defaulting to “display all your gallery pictures in a cool mosaic” as mentioned in the WordPress new post “streamline your photos with the new tiled galleries”. did not work very well here, as the dishes were displayed irregularly in sizes, no matter how big the images are.  Therefore I used the circle instead.  It is still not the best.  I am still assessing the new tool, and see how I can best use it in future.  Please stay tuned.  Meanwhile, enjoy the banquet!  Check out the captions by clicking each circle in the gallery,

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Besides Turkish Coffee and Greek Desserts….

A while ago, family and friends took a trip to Turkey and Greece. Some of the photos are posted in another Blog. Today, I would like to share with your some of the dishes that we had during the trip.

The key ingredients used in Turkish cuisine are: lamb, beef, fish, vegetables like eggplants, beans, tomatoes. Greek cuisine and Turkish cuisine share some similarities, especially desserts like baklava, which are quite sweet for me. I did enjoy all of them.

I took a lot of food pictures, like many of my fellow bloggers, and no one queried me….because I was a tourist!!

Even now, I still enjoy looking at these mouth-watering dishes, and hope I will return some day, to appreciate the ancient cultures and beautiful art, as well as the delicious food and friendliness of the people in these two countries.

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Posted above is a slide show of the food pictures. I have also included an image gallery here. Please click on any of the images in the gallery below, and you will see the pictures in carousel view. Enjoy!

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Family dinner with style – made by my sister Sil

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, my sister Sil is a great cook.  She loves cooking and entertaining.  I benefit a lot from her!  Our brother and sister-in-law came from Australia to visit us.  There were lots of eating in restaurants.  This was the only family dinner that they had, and who made this dinner?  See the eight dishes on the big round table ?  My sister made them all.  I took all the close-up except the soup.  So, you may only see 7 close-up pictures.

The eight delicious dishes are:

Roast Pork

Vegetarian dish with black fungus ,  and different types of mushrooms

Fish with bacon, mushrooms and green onion (on a “fish” plate)

Pak Choy

Hairy squash stuffed with pork

Roast Duck

Vegetarian dish with bead curb skin, thousand-year-egg, and ginger

Carrot soup boiled with spare ribs


Below is an Image Gallery with a full sized Carousel view.  Please click on any of the images, and you will see the images in carousel view.


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Scott’s Seafood Reataurant in Jack London Square – Great for Celebrating Special Occasion

It was my best friend’s birthday.  We had dinners in many different restaurants before, including the famous restaurant in Berkeley.  We also celebrated our birthdays or special occasions in this restaurant a few times.  But nothing could be better than the experience that we had last weekend.  When I reserved the table via Open Table, I specifically asked for a window table with the harbor view, and of course we were granted.  I also wrote that it was my friend’s birthday.

We were cordially greeted when we arrived.  The Manager Barbara Vernon particularly came out to greet us and brought us to our table.  Not long later, she came with a bottle of wine.  We said that since we were driving, we could not drink.  So she gave my friend the wine, and asked her to take home.  When we finished our meals, the birthday cake came…it was a very beautiful sorbet sitting on ice in a beautiful bowl, with a small candle.  She also brought the rose to my friend. and took pictures for us.

The bill was very reasonable, given the wonderful experience we had.  I highly recommend you to visit this restaurant next time when you are in the Bay Area.  Here’s the restaurant’s website.

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Royal Peking Duck


When I was touring Beijing, China, of course I could not miss the famous Royal Peking Duck. Surprisingly, you can find a similar Peking Duck menu in many Chinese Restaurants in San Francisco. The one that we had last night was wonderful! It was served among a banquet menu in a high-end Chinese seafood restaurant. In the formal peking duck menu, only the skin will be served, with Chinese bread, “hoi sin” sauce and green onion. The meat is usually served separately in a duck dish sautéed with vegetables. Sometimes, the host will order to have the bones of the duck be boxed home. You can use the bones to cook soup or congee. Very fatty? Use a drainer to drain off the fat from the soup. I will not care for this because it is very fatty. Believe me, it is however very very tasty! Enjoy!

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Par-boiled Giant Surf Clams



This clam dish is on the summer menu of a famed seafood restaurant. Each patron is presented with an individual clam decorated with ginger and green onion, with soya sauce and oil. It looks and tastes very good! Try it when you come across a good Chinese seafood restaurant.

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My Favorite Bitter Melon Recipe — Bitter Melon stuffed with Ground Pork, Garlic and Bean Sauce

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Bitter Melon stuffed with Ground Pork

I had published two bitter melon recipes.  This is the third one and my favorite.  In fact, I did not learn this recipe from my mother, but from a lady who was buying pork in a Chinese grocery market. I just bought some bitter melons, and was waiting to buy some pork from the butcher.  She saw the bitter melon in my cart, and asked me what I intended to do.  As those were bigger bitter melons, she said, it would be best to make this dish, with ground pork.  I listened to her, kept the recipe in my mind, and practiced!  Here it is, my favorite bitter melon dish, loved by all my family members!

First of all, with this recipe, there is a different way of cutting the bitter melon.  Instead of using the cutting method as shown in my previous post, here is another way of cutting bitter melon.  Please refer to the collage below, where I posted the different steps in cutting the bitter melon, removing the seeds, stuffing ground pork, and then frying the pieces.  I will explain the process in details below this collage.


  • 1 pound of bitter melon
  • 1/2 pound of ground pork
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoons of organic sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons of crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoons of black bean sauce
  • (or a combined garlic and bean sauce, ready-made in bottles in the Chinese grocery store)
  • one tablespoon of organic coconut oil
  • water — 1/2 cup
  • salt or pepper to taste (optional)
  • a small bunch of cilantro (optional)

Cutting and preparation of bitter melon and the ground pork

  • Wash the bitter melons.
  • Cut into round pieces like in the above collage.
  • Use a spoon to remove the seeds out from the middle part of the melon so that the melon pieces look like a ring now.
  • Use soy sauce and sugar AND STARCH (most important in this recipe) to marinate the ground pork .  The starch plays an important role in sticking the ground pork together in the hollowed melon.
  • Spoon the ground pork into the hole of each melon ring like in the picture above.

Cooking Directions

  • Heat the oil in a pan, and put the stuffed melon rings into the pan, one by one.
  • Fry the melon rings one side in high and then medium heat, until it becomes golden brownish color.
  • Turn to the other side of the rings and fry the other side in a similar way.
  • When both sides are brownish (see the picture above), remove the stuffed melon from the pan.
  • Heat the pan again with oil.  Add the garlic and bean sauce and sugar.  Add more garlic if you like.  Saute.
  • Add the stuffed melon pieces by pieces on top of the sauce.
  • Add water, and cover the pan.  As the pork may not be fully cooked just by frying, covering the pan will make sure the pork will be fully cooked, and the melon be softened, and the taste of the sauce be absorbed by the melon.
  • Add pepper and sugar to taste.
  • Take the bitter melon out piece by piece and place them nicely on a plate. Pour the sauce over the bitter melon.  Garnish with cilantro if you like.

The bitter melon dish is now ready to serve.  See how beautiful it is!  Serve with jasmine or brown rice.  I hope you would love this dish as much as I do.  Try it out and let me know what is the outcome.

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Durian Flaky Pastry, a Cantonese “dim sum”


This durian flaky pastry is a dessert I found in a new Cantonese “dim sum” restaurant yesterday. I never saw this before. I tried it, and wow! It was sooo tasty that I had to finish the whole piece instead of sharing with others. As durian is a fruit with a strong and special smell and taste, you would either love it or hate it. Many of my friends that went with me for lunch yesterday, did not want to try. I particularly ordered it , as I like to try new things. It is unexpectedly great! Do try out this dessert next time you go to a Cantonese dim sum restaurant, and let me know your experience.
I hope you would love it as much as I do.

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Steamed “Swimming” Shrimps

Steamed “Swimming” Shrimps

Your immediate reaction is :  Do you mean fresh shrimps?  Fresh from the freezer?  Of course not, my dear friends.  I mean the shrimps that are still “swimming” in the fish tank in some Chinese grocery markets.   It is not always available.  Just last week, I happened to find these “swimming” shrimps in the tank of a marketplace.  It is very expensive though, about $22 per lb.


One and a half  lb of  “swimming” shrimps

And nothing else!


  1. Bring a big pan of water to boil.
  2. Wash the shrimps with water and drain.
  3. Put the shrimps on a plate and then place the plate in the pan to steam for about 10 mins.
  4. Take the plate of shrimps out, and let them cool a little before you start to eat.

As they are really fresh, you don’t really need soya sauce or hot sauce etc. to eat with the shrimps.  Just remove the shell and eat.  Wow!  It is really worth it…to pay a higher price!

The reason why I do not boil them in water is that, the fresh taste of the shrimps may be lost.  It is better steam them so that the fresh taste still remains in the shrimps, and will not be lost in water. If the shrimps are bigger, you may take a longer time to cook.  Just take a look.  If the shrimps turn reddish in color, that means they are done.

Please compare this dish with the other two shrimp dishes that I posted previously.  You will notice a huge difference in the preparation work.  “Swimming” shrimps are much more expensive, but you don’t need too much time to prepare.  The problem is that, these “swimming shrimps” are not always available.


Here’s a picture again of the two previous dishes and the links to the recipes.

Put the shrimps on a plate and

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Ladies and Gentlemen: Do you know how to eat Mango like a Lady or Gentleman?

Summer is here.    Great!   It is Mango’s season again!  Yum, yum!

My next post is about a mango recipe that I “invented”.  Stay tuned to view that one.

Before I post that “new invention”, I want to guess how many of you know how to eat a mango?  It is not surprising that many of you will say, hey, it is easy, just strip it like a banana and eat!  I searched the internet last night and got a kick out of it.  There are quite a number of clips telling viewers if you want to eat a mango, go to the sea and eat the mango there.  If you mess up, just wash with water and clean up yourself!

Other clips instructed the viewers very carefully of a very common way of eating mango.  The mangos featured in those clips are mostly big mangos, probably grown in Mexico.  The ones that are more tasty, in my humble opinion, are the Manila mangos.  Those are yellowish (like those in the photos above), with a hard central stone, and juicy aromatic pulp.  They are smaller, and therefore even making it more difficult to cut.  The pulp is usually not as much as those big mangos.  But they are more juicy, succulent, and sweeter.

So, ladies and gentlemen:  Tell me if you want to eat a mango in a nice manner without having the juices all over your hands, what would you do?  Perhaps you would say, why would I care?  Yes, why should you care if you are eating it at home.  Go to the sink and eat there, so that you won’t dirty the kitchen floor or your dining room.  This is not my life style…standing at the sink and eat?  No way!

I think you should care if you are invited as a guest to a party where the host uses a whole mango as dessert and expects you to cut it yourself.  You should also care if you dress up and don’t want to mess up your beautiful dress. Oh, well, if you don’t go to parties like that, and you are eating your mango at home, you still want to keep your dining area clean instead of messing it up with a juicy mango!

When my sister Sil and I were very young in our teenage years, we always wanted to pretend we were older girls.  We wanted to be ladies.  So we learned about certain etiquette in social activities.  One of the things we learned was how to eat a mango ladylike!  Isn’t that interesting?  I think it was a very good intent at that time.  But very few young people nowadays really care.  Now, I am going to share with all of you, and see if you want to try it out.   I still want to be a lady!

This is a mango placed on a nice plate.  You are invited to eat this mango.  How should you start?  Ok, ask for a knife and a spoon if they are not  placed on the dining table.

The picture below shows the most common way of eating mango.

Cut the mango into three sections.  Use a knife to lightly cut the pulp of the two sides  into a checker box pattern, but do not cut off the skin.  Flip the right section so that the  mango emerges in pieces of cubes.  You can easily remove those mango cubes onto your plate by scooping them with a spoon, or eat them by holding those cubes close to your mouth. Then you work on the left section, in a similar manner.  Finally, hold the middle section, and peel the skin and eat the pulp.   Now you find that your hands have become very messy, because you have to touch the pulp and the stone in order to eat this section of the mango  Juices are dropping from the mango …everywhere.  This is not too bad, and is the most common way that people eat their mangos.  But this is not the best way.  There is a way that you will not even need to touch the mango with your hands apart from touching the skin .  Let’s begin!

The above picture shows the best way of eating a mango, with a knife and a spoon.  And you are eating like a lady or a gentleman!

The mango is placed on a plate like the other one.   Use a knife to carve out a “window” (like in the picture) removing that part of the skin.     Now it looks like a shallow well.  Dip your spoon into the well, and scoop out the pulp directly into your mouth, till all the pulp on this side of the mango is consumed.  You can continue to eat till your spoon reaches the hard stone in the middle.  Finish all the pulp.  Don’t waste any.

Now, flip to the other side of the mango.  Mind that you hands only need to touch the skin of the mango.  Repeat the same procedure.  Carve out a “window” removing part of the skin.  Scoop out the pulp with a spoon. Now you will find that the skin is still intact on both sides,  except the “window”.  By the time your spoon touches the stone in the middle,  it means all the pulp is consumed.  Your job is done!  Congratulations!

Try this method out please and let me know if this works for you.

Please stay tuned for my new mango recipe on my next post.

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Longevity Peach Buns

The banquet will not be complete without desserts.  This banquet menu actually includes three desserts but I only feature this very special one here–“longevity peach buns“.  Inside the buns are lotus paste.  The buns are in the shape of a peach, which represents longevity.   Usually, if requested, bigger restaurants will provide this special desserts for the celebration of birthdays.  Sometimes for big celebration and for the older old, they will present a very big longevity peach bun.  This longevity peach bun is a favorite dessert of the kids although it is usually made to celebrate the birthday of the elderly.

Would you make this at home?  I doubt it.  I have not met anyone that would make this type of bun at home.  However, if you want to try, check out this post in another blog which is quite interesting.

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Butterfly Shrimps with Broccoli

The presentation of this dish is very beautiful, and the shrimps are also excellent in taste.  The back of each shrimp is cut open so that when it is fried, it will curl up like a butterfly.  That is why it is called “butterfly shrimp”.   This is the last main dish that I would like to introduce to you from the banquet that I attended recently.  Don’t forget about dessert which is coming up!

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Double-Boiled Whole Winter Melon Soup

This soup is a very famous Cantonese cuisine.  The inside of a winter melon is scooped empty to make an urn.  The inside is then filled with soup ingredients, such as herbs, ham, mushrooms, chicken, scallop etc.  The whole urn is double steamed for at least four hours and brought out to the dining table.  The soup inside together with the melon “flesh”  and other ingredients will be scooped out for you to enjoy in your own bowl.  The winter melon soup is said to be very nutritious and delicious.  Like the other dishes that I introduced to you earlier, this soup is not available in all Chinese restaurants.  You also need to reserve it before hand as a special dish.   To understand what is double boiling, please check out this link.

I don’t think ordinary people will attempt to make this soup at home, because it involves lots of work.  However, I found this blog which has listed out step by step how to make this soup.  If you are interested, you may take a look and try it out at home.

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Baked Lobster with Ginger and Green Onion

I recently attended a banquet in a Chinese Seafood Restaurant.  The dishes were just delicious.  While I don’t know how to prepare them, I would like to share with you how they look like so that the next time you go to a good Chinese Restaurant, you can order them and try them out.  As far as I know only high-end Chinese Restaurants that serve Cantonese food in Hong Kong style, will be able to serve menu like this.

The first one I would like to introduce to you is Baked Lobster with Ginger and Green Onion.


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Steamed Whole Fish (Fresh Cod)

Fresh fish here means “fresh from the tank”.  You can find fresh fish swimming in the tank in some seafood restaurants. It is important that it is served “whole” with head and tail, to represent the meaning of “beginning and end”.  Only real “fresh” fish tastes good when steamed, and it is very expensive in the Chinese Restaurants.  Usually there is no fixed price, as the fresh fish price is determined by the availability every day.

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Spare Ribs and Baked Chicken

Spare Ribs and Baked Chicken

My sister Sil is a talented cake decorator and wonderful cook.  She is also a caring person with an extremely good heart.  She always holds parties for family and friends.  I am the one who benefits from her gourmet cooking every week.  I have reserved a page in my food blog to present her home-made dishes which are very ordinary for her, but for me, they are most beautiful in presentation, with great taste, and love. 

The above dish is spare ribs and baked chicken.  For her, it is as easy as ABC.  For me, it is “yum yum”!  How to make it?  She is using two popular “One Step Recipe Sauces”  from Lee Kam Kee. 

Sil’s Recipe

Roast Spare Ribs. 
Marinate 2 lbs pork spare ribs with 4 tbsp Lee Kam Kee spare rib sauce for 2 hours.  Bake at 350 ° F for 45 min. Cut into pieces as shown in the picture.

Baked Chicken Thighs

Marinate 4 to 5 chicken thighs with 4 tbsp Lee Kam Kee Char Siu Chinese BBQ sauce for 1 hour.  

Mix with two secret ingredients:  wine (any type of wine) one tbsp, and dark soya sauce (one tbsp).  Bake at 400 ° F for 30 mins.  Then lower the heat to 350 ° F for 20 to 30 mins.  Cut into pieces as shown in the picture. 

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Shrimps boiled in 7-up

Boiled Shrimp in 7 Up

7-up shrimp sauce

 I heard about this recipe recently from my sister’s friend, and did some modifications myself.  The result was fantastic!  We used to boil shrimp (with shells on) in boiling water and then use soya sauce and/or hot sauce to eat with the shrimp.  With this 7-up recipe, there is no need to use any other sauce, because the shrimp itself is already very tasty after the cooking.  If you like, pour some of the 7-up shrimp sauce and dip your shrimp into the sauce to get an enhanced flavor.   I think this recipe was originated from the Philippines, as I found some similar recipes on-line.  Yet there are some little secret ingredients here to make this my very first DenRecipe!  Try it and let me know the outcome!

DenRecipe of Boiled Shrimp in 7-up 

This recipe is as easy as ABC, and the total time to prepare and cook the shrimp takes only about 5 to 8 minutes! 


1 lb of fresh shrimps (with heads and shells on)

1/2 cup of 7-up soda

1/2 cup of vinegar (any type of vinegar)–secret ingredient

A teaspoon of coconut oil (organic virgin)–secret ingredient


Clean the shrimp and cut out the sharp edges.

Put all the 7-up, vinegar and oil mixture into a big saucepan and cook it till it boils.

Put the shrimps into the boiling liquid, and cover the pan.  

Boil for about 5 mins till the shrimps turn red.

Take the shrimps out, and put them on a plate to cool.

Optional:  Pour the 7-up shrimp sauce into a small bowl for dipping of the shrimp as you eat.  It is actually not needed, but some people may have this preference.  Try the shrimp with or without the sauce and see which one you like more.

Of course, needless to say, remove all the shells and heads before you eat!


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Satisfaction – Good Food — My Notebook

Good friends, good company, good food! Very satisfied dining with family and friends and, trying out different international cuisines: Cantonese, Mediterranean, Indian, French, Malaysian…

via Weekly Photo Challenge: Satisfaction – Good Food — My Notebook

I just published my first cookbook! a real book!

For my friends in the foodblog community!

My Notebook

Dear fellow bloggers and friends,
As many of you know, I am a very curious person,  and cannot stop learning.  I just found out a book making site :, when I was reading another blogger friend ‘s post and her publications.  I cannot wait but to embark on a new project immediately.    As a result of “hard work” these two days during the holiday, I made it!  Here’s my book at the Blurb bookstore.  Although I am placing it for sale on, I do not even know how it works!  Most of all,  money is not what I am pursuing.   I am working on an ebook version but due to some errors it has not been generated yet.  I will be sharing the ebook with all of you free!
All these recipes are actually posted in my foodblog:

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