Din Tai Fung Was a Special Treat in Seattle

din-tai-fung

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Seattle was dinner at the famous Din Tai Fung dumpling restaurant. I have had dinner at this world famous restaurant in Shanghai and was delighted to learn that they were also in Seattle.  With its signature xiao long bao (soup dumplings) Din Tai Fung is ranked as one of the world’s Top 10 Best Restaurants by The New York Times.  The Shanghai Soup Dumplings are wonderful.  There are 10 of these tiny dumplings in each order and they come in the traditional bamboo steamers.  We ordered several steamers and they went fast.  They are not the cheapest dumplings around but the experience is well worth the money.

Everything about Din Tai Fung is unique, which is probably why this Taiwanese-based dumpling chain is so highly praised. You cannot make a reservation but they have set up a phone-based text message notification system that makes getting in easier.  While you are waiting you can watch the showmanship of Din Tai Fung’s chefs within the open concept kitchen.  Creating these miniature dumplings is not easy but these chefs, wearing their Din Tai Fung uniforms, make them with obvious precision and skill.  It is fun to watch. I really like the way the Din Tai Fung restaurants are decorated.  It is a very modern setting decked out in earthy tones and illuminated by lighting that creates a truly enjoyable dining experience.

Photo by Sarah Ackerman – http://tinyurl.com/h9g4g67

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

Richmond BC versus Flushing NY

richmond-tram

Last week I had my first opportunity to visit Richmond BC located on Canada’s West Coast. I was anxious to compare this famous Chinese community to that of Flushing New York, which I visit frequently.  Richmond is 20 minutes from Downtown Vancouver, and 25 minutes from the US border. As I drove into Richmond the differences between Flushing and Richmond were immediately apparent.  Both cities have a huge Chinese population, which is obvious from the Chinese characters on many buildings and businesses.  Upon entering both cities you sort of feel like you are in China.  The difference, however, is Flushing is a walking city and Richmond is not.  Where you can walk most places in Flushing in minutes, Richmond is quite spread out and most people drive from one place to another.

Richmond’s downtown and waterfront areas are quite beautiful. There is even a new monorail, Canada Line rapid transit system, which reminded me of the modern monorail in Shanghai.  One of the highlights of my trip to Richmond was my visit to Aberdeen Center.  This is a modern mall that reminded me of some of the great malls in Shanghai and Beijing.  Most of the staff in the stores in these malls spoke Chinese and much of the merchandise catered to the Asian consumer.  There are also several interesting malls in Flushing but they are much smaller.  We had lunch at Dinesty Dumpling House within Aberdeen Center, which was a real treat.  I especially liked their Xiaolongbao soup dumplings with minced pork.  They were at least as good as those in my favorite restaurant Nan Xiang Dumpling House in Flushing.

Photo by Robert Ashworth – http://tinyurl.com/zm7qst9 

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

 

The Red Fire Rooster and the Goat

8 Cartoon Young Young Final-Ss

The goat was complaining to the Red Fire Rooster that things are tough and seem to be getting worse. Because he was an excellent musician the animals in the barnyard brought him food to hear his music.  He prospered for many years by sitting in front of the barn playing his delightful tunes.  Now, he complained, very few animals seemed interested.

10 Cartoon Ge Ge Final-Ss

The Red Fire Rooster was a pottery maker and told a different story. He had lived through many ups and downs in the pottery business.  Sometimes, it seemed, everybody was buying pottery.  Other times he had to travel to many different barnyards to find animals interested in his wares.  He told the goat you have to find opportunity because opportunity won’t find you.

The goat spent every day sitting in front of the barn playing his music hoping others would bring him food like they always had. He continued to complain that things are tough and seem to be getting worse.  The Red Fire Rooster was happy and full of food.  He told the goat that he always has food but sometimes he has to work really hard to get it.

Story by ZuZuthePig. All Rights Reserved

Artwork by Tiffany Chang, All Rights Reservedwww.tiffanychang.us

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

An Amazing Collection of Mao Badges

Mao Badges

There are many different types of badges collected by people dating back many years. Many of these are campaign buttons used during election years dating as far back as George Washington.  The first mass produced photographic images on badges were used in 1896 by the William McKinley campaign for president of the United States.  The largest production of badges in history was in China.  A Mao badge was a symbol of communism in China during the early period of the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1971. Several billion Mao badges were produced.

A friend of mine made frequent business trips to China from 1969 – 1972. He was a Danish businessman with a passport from one of the few countries allowed Chinese visas.  During every meeting he was given a Mao badge. He was also given badges collected by others traveling with him.  He eventually collected an incredible 250 Mao badges.  He now has his collection of Mao badges displayed in frames.  Interestingly he points out that although they all look similar each of the Mao badges in his collection is unique and slightly different.  What an amazing collection!

Photo by Zu Zu the Pig of friend’s actual Mao badge collection

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

 

Why Do We Want to Change our Race?

Chinese Solders

I was struck by an article that appeared in AOL news today by Sharline Chiang, which was originally written in the Daily Dose on May 25, 2015. I was struck by the article because it reminded me of myself.  Sharline was born in a Chinese body but wanted to be white.  She grew up in a suburb of New Jersey where in school there were a few black kids and a couple of Latinos and Asians, but most of the kids were white. She only had white friends and wanted to be just like them. She wanted to get eyelid surgery, breast implants and blue contacts so nobody would know that she was Chinese.  When she looked in the mirror she saw a Chinese girl but she wanted to see a blonde with blue eyes.  She hated the idea that people would ask her if she was a foreigner.

Eventually she stopped trying to be white and made friends with proud Asian Americans, Latinos and African-Americans. Her self-hatred slowly dissipated and was replaced by a new appreciation of herself.  She was reminded of her ancestors and the courage of people of color in America.  When I was a teenager I lived in Mexico City and also wanted to change my race. I was not Mexican but all of my classmates were and I too wanted to be just like them.  I was envious of the way they looked, which was nothing like the way I looked.  Like Sharline I also did many things to make myself look like my Mexican friends.  Eventually I also came to appreciate who I really was but it took much longer than I wish it would have.

Photo by Ashley Van Haeften – http://tinyurl.com/jkswcxs

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

Malaysian Roti Canai with Curry Chicken

Malaysian Canai

Last weekend we had a special treat at a new Malaysian restaurant in Flushing, New York. PapaRich Malasian Delights is a beautiful, modern restaurant on the top floor of One Fulton square on Prince Street.  We had two traditional Malaysian dishes that were so authentic I felt like we had actually traveled to Malaysia.  As an appetizer we had Satay Chicken which we dipped in a wonderful peanut flavored sauce.  This was followed by a very traditional Malaysian dish Roti Canai with Curry Chicken.  For desert we had shaved ice with cendol red beans.  At the end of the meal we were greeted by the restaurant’s owner Daniel Tiew, who suggested we also try their signature desert “Cendol”.  This is also shaved ice with cendol but has brown sugar for added flavor.  I normally don’t eat two desserts but what a great way to end a meal on a hot summer day.

I have to say that eating roti canai for the first time was an amazingly positive experience for me. I realize that this is a famous Malaysian dish that is available everywhere in Malaysia but I have never had the opportunity to try it.  It is made by taking out a piece of dough that has been slightly oiled and contains eggs, butter, flour and water.  It is then kneaded and flattened into a thin layer.  The thin layer of dough is then folded into a square and placed on a hot griddle to fry.  Oil is sprinkled over the dough to give it a crispy outer layer.  The dough is finally loosened by the cooks slamming it between their hands to make it crunchy.  Ours was served with a curry sauce and curry chicken.  I liked it so much that we went to an Asian supermarket afterwards and purchased some frozen pre-made roti canai to take home.

Photo by Zu Zu the Pig

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

The Rooster is a Symbol of Integrity

10 Cartoon Ge Ge Final-Ss

The Chinese see the rooster as a symbol of integrity and efficiency. People born in the “Year of the Rooster” are felt to be hardworking, resourceful, courageous and talented. In the Asian world, 2017 is the Year of the Red Fire Rooster and this has some important implications for careers and investments. According to Chinese astrology rooster years are known to be generally positive and will be good for most people.  Hard work and patience will be the keys to achieving success next year.  If you look at the behavior of actual roosters you can see how Chinese legend came about.

A rooster is an adult male chicken and they instinctively see themselves as protectors of their hens. They will often sit on a high perch serving as a lookout.  If anything causes their hens to squawk, they can become a bit aggressive.  For the most part, however, the rooster has a nurturing but dominant personality and many people who keep roosters as pets find them quite affectionate.   There are many children’s stories about roosters ranging from fables like “The Rooster Prince” to “The Magnificent Rooster and the Little Ant”. These stories typically portray the rooster as a proud bird who swaggers around the barnyard picking kernels of grain and protecting his hens.

Artwork by Tiffany Chang, All Rights Reservedwww.tiffanychang.us

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

Make Money by Helping People Buy Birthday Gifts

Birthday Girls

Send people to Zodiacals.com and make easy money.  At Zodiacals.com people can find the perfect unique birthday gift for everyone on their list!  Women love the wide collection of dresses, skirts, kimono robes, silk scarves, T-shirts, and tank tops. Men and children appreciate the wide selection of baseball caps, T-shirts, mugs and iPhone cases. There are even baby bodysuits customized with humanized animals. You can help your social media followers find these gifts by joining the Zodiacals.com affiliate program.  You will get paid a commission for any sales generated by your referrals.  There is no cost to join the program.

It is quick and easy to earn money with the Zodiacals.com affiliate program. When you sign up you will receive an affiliate ID. Just append this ID to any Zodiacals.com product URL.  When a customer clicks on that link you will receive a commission for anything they buy. Once you’ve created your URL, simply post it on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, your online store or anywhere on the web along with a statement or picture about the product.  Product pictures and banner ads are available on the website.  As people read your post and click your link all you have to do is watch your referrals make purchases and let the money roll in. Click the following link to learn more about the Zodiacals.com referral program: https://zodiacals.myshopify.com/pages/affiliate-program

Photo by Brett Hammond – http://preview.tinyurl.com/gvxonqr

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig

O-Chugen and O-Seibo Japanese Gift Giving

O-seibo gifts

It is a tradition in Japan, and among many Japanese Americans, to periodically give gifts to certain people. The two big gift giving seasons are o-chugen that takes place in the middle of summer and o-seibo which takes place at the end of the year.  These gifts are given to express gratitude to people who provided some type of care during the year. Examples are bosses, parents, relatives and teachers.  O-chugen gifts are usually sent from early to mid-July and o-seibo gifts are usually sent from early to mid- December.  This is a nice tradition because it shows certain people that you really appreciate what they do for you.  You too can participate in this excellent Japanese tradition by giving a gift to someone you care about during the o-chugen or o-seibo seasons.

Today people typically have their o-chugen and o-seibo gifts delivered to recipients from an online store. Some people, however, will bring gifts to recipient’s homes.  Gifts range widely in prices, but typically gifts will cost from under $30 to $100 per gift. Popular gifts are sets of assorted beer, desserts, tea and many other food items.  Sweets are often given to families with children.  Non-food o-seubo and o-chugen items can also be given. You can find examples of non-food gift items on Asian online stores such as www.zodiacals.com. Each gift package should be labeled with the words “o-seibo” or “o-chugen”. Ideally these words should be written on a thin paper, which in Japan is called noshi.

Photo by drcw – http://tinyurl.com/hbxqtjd

Note: If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to have future content delivered to you by feed reader. Click http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZuZuthePig