Oil Painting Displays Personality of Year of the Ox

Chang-2, 2/1/16, 10:56 AM, 8C, 7136x9383 (795+1439), 108%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/25 s, R87.2, G80.2, B84.2

The oil painting by Chinese American artist Tiffany Chang, “The Painter” clearly displays the personality of those born during the Year of the Ox. The personality of the Ox is diligent, reliable, honest, determined and ambitious.  The Ox in Tiffany Chang’s painting is an ambitious and determined artist with paint all over his clothing because of the large volume of paintings he has worked on.  Those born in the Year of the Ox are known for achieving their goals by having great patience.  This is demonstrated by the intricate works displayed within this oil painting that were created by the Ox.  People born in the Year of the Ox are also known for achieving their goals by consistent efforts and are not distracted by others or the environment.  This is shown by the proud stance of the Ox in this painting.

“The Painter” is on display at the von Liebig Art Center in Naples, Florida through the weekend of April 17. After that it will go on tour in art galleries in New York and in New England.  “The Painter” is part of a series of oil paintings by Tiffany Chang representing each of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac.  The collection includes paintings that display the personalities of those born in the years of the Rat, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The artist has also created a line of pillows and clothing based on her Chinese zodiac animals.  You can see these at: www.Zodiacals.com.

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Chinese Students are Slightly Overrepresented in American Colleges

Chinese College Student

According to data from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, Chinese students account for 29 percent of all foreign students studying in the United States. This is more than the number of students from Europe, South America, Africa, Australia, and elsewhere in North America combined. China, India and South Korea are the top three countries from which students hold active U.S. student visas. These three countries generate approximately 287,000 Chinese students, 105,000 students from India and 91,000 from South Korea. The proportion of Chinese foreign students in the United States has increased more than six times in the last 15 years.

Photo by Caltlin Regan – http://tinyurl.com/houvrhr 

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Why Do Shaolin Monks Study Kung Fu?

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A few years ago, while training at the Shaolin Temple Overseas Headquarters, I was able to have a conversation with Master Guolin about why Shaolin monks study Kung Fu. Master Guolin founded the Shaolin Temple Overseas Headquarters in Flushing, New York and then eventually moved it to Northport, Long Island.  He was born into a Buddhist martial family in Henan, China and began training in Kung Fu at the age of seven.  At age 15 he dedicated himself to Buddhism and one year later joined the Shaolin Temple in China, thereby becoming a Shaolin monk.

My question to Master Guolin was what does the practice of self-defense offer to peaceful monks? He explained that Kung Fu teaches the monks, and everyone else that practices it, how to understand yourself and control yourself.  Kung Fu requires a tremendous amount of discipline.  By using movement and breathing techniques together you can achieve a unification of the mind, body and spirit.  The practice of Kung Fu can promote both mental and physical health.  He explained that this is not only good for monks but it is perfect for today’s busy and hectic society.

Picture by Kevin Poh – http://tinyurl.com/hr6flg7

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Shanghai Chinese Lion’s Head Meatballs

Shanghai Chinese Lion's Head Meatballs

If you have never tried Shanghai Chinese Lion’s Head Meatballs I highly recommend them as a special treat. This is one of my very favorite Chinese dishes.  The meatballs are large and juicy and almost melt in your mouth.  The combination of pork and cabbage somehow result in an amazingly good taste sensation. This is a traditional Shanghai casserole dish with a powerful name (Lion’s Head) where the large meatballs represent the lion and shredded greens its mane.

Shanghai Chinese Lion’s Head Meatballs are not really difficult to make. The basic ingredients are pork and cabbage made with pork fat and cooked in a clay pot.  The meatballs are made with ground pork. If you use a mixture of regular ground pork and fatty ground pork to make the meatballs it will make the meatballs really juicy.  I like the large meatballs served in a rich, dark brown sauce in a small bowl surrounded by the greens.  I found a simple recipe for Shanghai Chinese Lion’s Head Meatballs by Rhoda Parkinson on the following website: http://chinesefood.about.com/od/pork/r/lionsheadpork.htm

Photo by Terence T.S. Tam – http://tinyurl.com/govjv8c

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Happy Easter Asian Style

Chang-02, 3/1/16, 2:09 PM, 8C, 7396x9767 (401+398), 108%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/25 s, R87.2, G80.2, B84.2

Although Easter is not as broadly celebrated in Asia as in western countries a growing number of non-Christians in Asia are starting to join in the celebration. Of course, Christians all over the world typically celebrate Easter in the traditional manner. Many non-Christians, however, are also participating for the fun and novelty. This does differ from one Asian country to another.  Outside of churches Easter is a relatively minor event in Japan and in South Korea.  In China, however, you can find malls having special Easter sales and some non-Christians making Easter eggs to sell.  People in Hong Kong celebrate Easter more avidly than those in mainland China, partly because of their English traditions.

In the west, the rabbit in this article would generally be seen as an Easter bunny. In Asia, however, many people would see it as representing the year of the rabbit.  This rabbit is actually an oil painting by award-winning Chinese American artist Tiffany Chang.  This painting, along with paintings of the other animals of the Chinese zodiac, will be going on tour this year in art galleries throughout the United States.  The artist has also created a line of pillows and clothing based on her Chinese zodiac animals.  You can see these at: www.Zodiacals.com.

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Maybe You Should Purchase an Asian Food Franchise

ig1666 toronto canada ontario interior of a chinese restaurant in chinatown in downtown toronto

I have several friends that have recently decided to move their lives in a new direction. Although they were employed in high paying jobs working for prestigious organizations they decided working for someone else was not their long term game plan.  They wanted to be their own boss and wanted to be in charge of their own destiny.  Because they had families, however, they felt they needed a plan where the risk could be minimized.  Each of these friends came to the conclusion that purchasing a franchise was the answer.

Do you have a game plan that is leading to where you want to be five or ten years from now? Many people have chosen franchising as a way to develop a plan that is based on a proven success model. The franchising model has worked especially well in the food sector and Asian food is one of the many choices where its popularity is rising.  There are many Asian food franchising opportunities. The choices include a number of different ethnic Asian food franchises ranging from Chinese and Japanese to Korean and Thai among others.  Many American consumers are tired of burgers and fries and Asian food franchising can offer a healthy and unique alternative.

I found a list of Asian food restaurant franchise opportunities on the Franchise Mall website. It lists many different Asian food franchise opportunities.  See:  http://tinyurl.com/j3odhej

Photo by Mark Goebel – http://tinyurl.com/h2b96ma

 

 

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup at H Mart

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

I frequently have lunch at H Mart because it is the only place I know of where you can get a great bowl of spicy beef noodle soup in less than 10 minutes for a very reasonable price. Yes this is a no frills place to eat with cafeteria style setting with long tables that can seat large families or a large group of friends.  It is, however, the perfect place for a fulfilling quick meal after grocery shopping.  You order at the counter, seat yourself and then a number is displayed when your food is ready.  You get your own chopsticks, spoons and napkins.  For me it is a lot of fun – kind of like going on a picnic.  I often round up a group of friends and we make a fun outing of an H Mart trip.  The spicy beef noodle soup is so satisfying – even in warm weather.

H Mart is a Korean American supermarket chain with locations throughout the United States specializing in providing Asian foods. There are approximately 40 H Mart locations across the United States.  You will find them in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, California, Texas and Massachusetts. It is a great store for Asian food lovers.

Photo by Krista – http://tinyurl.com/jt3efhc

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The Delight of Proper Peking Duck

Chang, 12/23/15, 9:42 AM, 8C, 8112x10687 (1706+1074), 133%, Repro 2.2 v2, 1/20 s, R87.2, G80.2, B84.2

I love to eat Peking duck, but only if it is properly prepared. All Peking duck is not the same and getting a decent version can be difficult whether this is in a restaurant or in your own home.  I have been in giant restaurants in Beijing that advertise Peking duck but serve a poor version that has non-crispy skin and very little meat.  These are restaurants that mostly cater to large busloads of tourists.  On the other hand I have also been in restaurants in Beijing where I will never forget my Peking duck experience.  The golden brown, crisp and deeply flavored skin crackled with the slightest touch of my teeth.  The meat was moist, tender and flavorful and the whole thing was wrapped in ultra-thin pancakes with scallions, cucumbers and a smear of Hoisin sauce.  What a delight.

You can prepare proper Peking duck at home but it is not a simple afternoon project. Be prepared to spend many hours, and several days. On the first day you wash and dry the duck, use a needle to poke holes in the duck to release the fat and then hang the duck overnight to dry. On the second day soak the duck in boiling water with honey, ginger and scallions and then hang it again overnight to dry.  On the third day roast the duck, remove the crisp skin and then thinly slice the duck meat.  I agree that this is a major chore but the result can be well worth the effort.  I have never seen a guest or family member that doesn’t appreciate properly prepared Peking duck.  You can see a good recipe for Peking duck at http://www.food.com/recipe/peking-duck-1

Artwork by Tiffany Chang. The artist has also created a line of pillows and clothing based on her Chinese zodiac animals.  You can see these at: www.Zodiacals.com.

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My Vacation in Taiwan

Taiwan

I am always looking for someplace new to escape to during my time off. I typically want something different that I feel will be capable of providing me with a memorable, educational and pleasurable experience.  My goal is to come home refreshed, recharged and ready to tackle the next chapter of my life.  I must say that I experienced all of these things during my vacation in Taiwan.  Most people do not think of going to Taiwan for a vacation but from my experience Taiwan is a great place to spend some free time.

One of the first things I noticed was the friendliness of the people in Taiwan. Everybody seemed to be willing to help me with everything from directions to restaurant recommendations.  This gave me a good feeling right from the start.  I even found the subway system organized in such a way as to reduce hassle.  In many countries there is a mad rush to get on the subway, especially in rush hour.  In Taiwan, however, there are actually lines drawn on the platform showing people how to que up while waiting for the train.  The result is a very orderly transition from the platform to the train even during the busiest periods.

The food in Taiwan is among the best I have encountered anywhere in the world, including China. There is an abundance of amazing restaurants all over the island and the prices are generally lower in Taiwan than in most other developed nations. Of course you can find expensive five-star restaurants.  I will never forget a dinner I had at the Ding Jen Fong restaurant located in the upscale Da An District of Taipei within walking distance to both Zhongxiao Road Sogo department stores.  This had to be one of the best sit down tablecloth Cantonese restaurants I have ever experienced.

I highly recommend a vacation in Taiwan. From the majestic mountains to the teahouses and hot springs you will have trouble finding a more interesting vacation destination.  If you would like to learn more about a vacation in Taiwan see: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/taiwan/

Photo by See-ming Lee – http://tinyurl.com/gtsmxdy

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The Healing Powers of Ginger Tea

Ginger Tea

I will never forget a trip from the Beijing airport during an ice storm where ginger tea saved the day. I was in a taxi that was barely moving because all the intersections were blocked by cars sliding on the ice.  It was absolutely freezing.  After about six hours in the cold taxi the driver decided to give up and parked the car.  We ran into the nearest restaurant we could find to warm up.  The owner of the restaurant realized that we were on the verge of getting sick and brought us some fresh ginger tea.  Wow, what a relief.  The ginger tea immediately warmed us up.

The healing powers of ginger tea have been known for centuries in China. As I discovered in Beijing, the heat and the ginger warm you right up, the steam and the lemon and the ginger help clear those sinuses, and the ginger and the honey soothe that scratchy throat.  The Chinese also use it to ease aches and pains and soothe an upset stomach.  They even use ginger tea to treat vomit and nausea. The next time you have a sore throat consider drinking a nice warm cup of ginger tea.

Ginger tea is easy to prepare. You start by removing the skin of fresh ginger roots, cut 6 slices of the fresh ginger about 1/5″ thick and add two cups of water into a pot.  Boil it for five minutes (the water will reduce down to one cup).  Add one teaspoon of honey (optional), stir to dissolve the honey. That’s about it. There are, of course, many variations to this simple recipe including adding cinnamon or nutmeg or even lemongrass. I found a great recipe by Michele Foley for ginger-lemongrass tea. At: http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Recipe-Ginger-Tea-Natural-Cold-Remedy-6497308

Photo by The Little Red House – http://tinyurl.com/hdmzy9t

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