Sunday, December 28, 2008

Most unimaginative restaurant name ever?

Nice idea. When every combination of Imperial, Dragon, Pearl and Palace has been used up, why not go for something minimalist? Maybe other businesses can follow suit and we'll get places named simply 'The Supermarket' or 'American-style Coffee Shop'.

Okay, I admit on closer inspection the owners have covered up part of the sign - probably because the lease has just changed hands or something. Still, thought it was funny :)

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

China and America becoming one intertwined economy - 'Chimerica'

I don't know if any of you caught the interesting programme The Ascent of Money on Channel 4 last night but the presenter Niall Ferguson put forward the interesting idea that China's and America's economies have become so intricately connected and interdependent, that you can start to treat them as one, unified economic system - one he calls Chimerica.

I could find a clip of the original Channel 4 programme online, but here is an interview with Niall Ferguson where he discusses this idea (Sorry for the weird look of the video!). It's interesting stuff considering how the USA and China are considered as being diametrically opposed, politically. Talk about a love/hate relationship!:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We do invisibility so well...

I just spotted this article on the Guardian website: 'It's time to put British east Asian theatre in the spotlight'

In it, theatre director David Tse Ka-Shing comments on the lack of British East Asian faces in the British media, when other ethnic groups seem to get plenty of airtime.

Of the three largest ethnic minority groups in the UK, the British east Asian (BEA) presence in arts and culture is still the most invisible. Go to any subsidised theatre or turn on the TV and you'll know what I mean. EastEnders, in 23 years of being broadcast, has regularly featured south Asian and black families but the only Chinese presence so far has been someone selling dodgy DVDs.

It's a far cry from the 100,000 or so British east Asians – the majority of them professionals – living and working in London.

...We are not temporary visitors, so why are the majority of BEA actors asked to put on foreign accents? It's as if we don't belong here or that we can't sound British.

It's true. It seems to be an uphill struggle getting more Chinese faces on TV screens. Especially men, for some reason. I've noticed that East Asian women generally get more screen time for example in commercials and pop videos but they are usually in the background, not saying anything. 'Ornamental Orientals', you might call them.

Proper characters played by East Asian actors do appear every now and then, but ever so rarely. I've tried to use this blog to highlight any new Chinese actors or performers I spot on TV but that in itself is probably a sign of how little coverage we get - i.e. it's a rare enough occurrence to justify a blog post!

I know what you're thinking: Gok Wan is never OFF the telly, what am I complaining about? Whilst it great that Gok has become perhaps the biggest, most recognized bbc celebrity of our time (respect!) wouldn't it also be nice to have a few more faces on our screens regularly? A male presenter, maybe? A comedy actor? As David Tse says, a character in EastEnders? And I'm sure there are sociology experts out there who can offer an explanation as to why East Asian women and gay men are more readily given air time in the media, as opposed to straight, East Asian men.

All things considered, this makes the Halifax commercial starring Thomas Yau something of a major achievement!

I remember when I was growing up, if I ever saw a Chinese face on television I would jump up and tell my parents. It was a fleeting moment not to be missed, like the sighting of a comet or a rare animal. Years down the line, I'm writing about the same thing on a blog. Things have not changed that much.

Related: Thomas Yau, star of new Halifax commercial
Related: His name is Gok and, ladies, he might change your life.
Related: From Potter to Popworld...The bbcs are coming!
Related: Maye Choo joins the growing list of British Chinese in the media

Monday, December 08, 2008

Moonlight Resonance

Moonlight Resonance was this year's big miniseries from TVB. The series was entirely sponsored by a Hong Kong bakery chain and was set in the high powered world of, erm, mooncake manufacturing.

The show achieved TVB's highest ever ratings for a drama series and it's not difficult to see why: A large, extended family with lots of siblings, a character with a disability which doesn't stop them looking pretty and an evil character whose evilness is signified by an unusual haircut... This show has everything!

Wikipedia: Moonlight Resonance

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

HK attains the world's first ever 3 Michelin star Chinese chef

The Michelin Guide is probably the world's most highly regarded restaurant guide and chefs all over the world dedicate their lives to winning the organization's coveted stars.

For the first time in its 108 year history, the Michelin Guide now covers Hong Kong and Macau the honour of being the first Chinese chef to be awarded the maximum three stars has been won by Chan Yan Tak of the Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong.

His restaurant, Lung King Heen now joins the list of only 72 in the world that have three Michelin stars and 26 of those are in France. Inspectors visited Lung King Heen 12 times before deciding its rating.

Story: The Independent

This is still some debate as to whether a European guide can accurately judge Asian cuisine. Whilst Michelin released its first guide to Japan a year ago and has denied any bias towards any type of cuisine, critics have said that the Michelin inspectors favour French style cooking and are less willing to award its highest rating to restaurants serving other cuisines. American restauranteurs in particular have been critical of the apparent bias towards French restaurants in the Michelin Guide to American cities.

I'd certainly love to try Lung King Heen on my next visit to HK but I wonder how many other deserving Chinese restaurants are out there that serve amazing, authentic, faultless Chinese food but which perhaps didn't appeal to the Michelin inspectors' European sensibilities?

If you've already dined at Lung King Heen, well done: It will probably be ridiculously difficult to get a table there now.

You can check out the hotel's official website here and below is Chan Yan Tak's tasting menu.

Lung King Heen Chef's Tasting menu

Baked stuffed Crab Shell with Onions and Fresh Crab Meat

Hot and Sour Shark's Fin SoupSimmered King Prawn in Champagne Sauce with Gold Leaf

Braised Whole Fresh Abalone in Supreme Oyster Sauce

Wok-Fried Scallops with X.O. Chili Sauce

Braised Seasonal Vegetables with Assorted Fungus

Fried Rice with Minced Beed and Preserved Vegetables

Sweetened Almond Cream with Glutinous Rice Dumplings

Petits Fours


Superior Chicken Soup with Hoi Fu Shark's Fin and Fish Maw
Double-Boiled Mitake Mushrooms with Brassica and Bamboo Piths
Traditional Style Stewed Lamb Brisket
Braised Chicken Fillet with Mushrooms, Red Dates and Ginger
Wok-Fried Beef Flank with Celery and Preserved Liver Sausage
Sautéed Prawns in Chilli Sauce
Stir-Fried Diced Groupa Fillet with Assorted Vegetables and Pine Nuts

A slice of bbc pie

I recently received an email from 'BBC Pie' announcing a new bbc-themed blog. You can check our Mr. Pie's blog here.

What ingredients would you need to make a bbc pie, I wonder? Hmm, maybe we will find out by reading this blog?

Good to see another new addition to the ever-growing bbc district of the blogsphere!

Monday, December 01, 2008

How they make soy sauce

You've probably consumed it all your life but do you know how it's made?

Check out the vid below to see how microscopic moulds and huge sheets of linen are used in the production of soy sauce: