24 May 2012

Why Chinese like to squat?

If you have been to China before, I am sure you would see lots of Chinese squatting anytime, anywhere.

You may be puzzled, confused or intrigued to know why we like to squat, but since this is not part of the culture in Hong Kong*, I try to make up top 5 reasons why mainland Chinese** like to squat. 

Photo via strippedpixel

1. Practice Makes Perfect – Chinese use squat toilets more than sitting toilets***, in order to have strong thighs to support our little business, we need to practise more.

2. Talk At Same Eye Level – Remember when you talk to a really tall guy for 10 minutes and you neck starts to feel sore? That’s why we squat so everyone can talk at the same eye level without pain.

3. Mysophobia – You want us to sit on the dirty floor? What you are talking about? We are such a clean freak that we have absolutely zero tolerance to allow our ass to touch that stinky, dirty, disgusting floor. NO WAY.

4. Healthy - Modern science has proven the squat as an efficient posture that reduces pain on the patellar (knee) tendon. Need me to say more?

5. Remember Us – is there any easier, better, more compelling way to let you all to remember us? Just a simple squat, yes you guess right, we are Chinese.

Let's Squat!

* If a Hong Konger impersonates a Chinese, the first thing he/she would do is to squat.
** I know Hong Kong people are also Chinese, but we still like to categorize into Hong Kong Chinese and mainland Chinese.
*** A lot of people prefer sitting toilets than squat toilets, but believe me, if you travel to rural area in China, you would never want to sit on a toilet.

23 May 2012

Hutong Shopping in Beijing - Wudao Ying Hutong

During my trip in Beijing, I randomly ran into a hutong filled with cool cafes, restaurants and shops after a visit at Yonghegong Lama Temple - Wudao Ying Hutong (五道營胡同)

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We went there on Sunday and it was certainly where the cool kids hanged out. Despite only 700m long, Wudao Ying Hutong offers an array of vintage shops, designer boutiques, cafes (lots of them), bars and restaurants where you can easily spend a lazy Sunday. 

Unlike the touristy Nanluoguxiang (南鑼鼓巷), Wudao Ying Hutong is a local’s secret with only a handful of tourists (at least Westerners) in sight. Even so, don’t expect things are cheaper here, a cup of coffee cost around Y30. Things are really getting expensive in China.

Photo Credit
When I went there again on Monday to explore the shops a bit more, it turned out most of the shops are closed on Monday…

How to get to Wudao Ying Hutong

Wudao Ying Hutong is easily accessible, just get off at Yonghegong Lama Temple Subway Station (Exit A), go south and walk for around 200m.

22 May 2012

Chinese Fashion Designer on World Stage

I am very happy to know Uma Wang is currently in New York as guest of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund’s Chinese Exchange Program. After Vera Wang, Alexander Wang, Anna Sui, Jason Wu and other names who are raised and educated overseas, it is exciting to have a designer who has 100% Chinese background.

Graduated at Donghau University (former China Textile University ) in fashion design, she spent a few years working in different labels before further studies at Central Saint Martins and launched her label in London in 2005. She is one of the hottest designers in Chinese fashion world.

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It is refreshing to see a Chinese designer not putting any Chinese heritage in the designs, don't you think? 

While China is famous for its world-factory status, making products for other big brands (Burberry, Prada, Coach  - to name just  a few), it is time for us to build our own brand. 

I expect a lot more Chinese newcomers taking on the world in the near future.

Can we storm the whole fashion world like Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo in the 80s?

21 May 2012

HK Street Food - Rice Noodle Rolls & Curry Fish Ball

Only $12 is enough to make me happy!

I know the picture doesn't look that attractive. But I promise you, once you mix everything up with sweet sauce, sesame sauce, soy sauce, curry, it tastes divine!

20 May 2012

Tiger Leaping Gorge

My first trekking in China is Tiger Leaping Gorge and it was a fantastic experience.

Tiger Leaping Gorge  is located 60 kilometres (37 mi) north of Lijiang, Yunnan.

After spending two nights in Lijiang (we stayed in Naxi Mama 3) and bought a van ticket at Naxi Mama 2 (2 minutes from Naxi Mama 3, this one is good for single travellers as it offers dorm room) for Y25 which took you to the entrance of Tiger Leaping Gorge.

The ride took around 30 - 45 minutes. After we paid the admission fee of Y50, we were dropped at Qiaotou. We stored our backpacks at Jane’s Guesthouse for Y5 each and had some food first.

We left the Guesthouse in the midday, passed a school and saw a High Rail sign on our left.  That means it is the real entrance to explore the beauty of Tiger Leaping Gorge.

There are well-marked signs throughout the route so you need not to worry and you can easily get a route map in hostels. When we were there, we saw couples of trekkers as well as Chinese guys offering donkey riding service.

 After walking for 7 hours, we spent a night in Halfway Guesthouse. It was the most expensive hostel (¥150 per night) we stayed during the trip, yet it offered the best view.

The next day, we walked for another 4 hours and had lunch at Sean’s Guesthouse. After that, we decided not to go down to the river and returned to Jane’s Guesthouse instead.

The guide book says you can easily take a bus to go back to the entrance, well, it is not true! Since the bus only ran once everyday from Tina’s Guesthouse (if I remember correctly, it starts at around 4pm). We were told in Sean’s that the only option we had was to rent a cab which ridiculously cost ¥100 for a 15-minute drive! He also suggested us to walk to Tina’s Guesthouse and see if any backpacker would share a cab with us.

Well, we took his advice. On our way, we saw a black car which didn’t look like a rental cab, so I waved my “magic hand” and it stopped! The Shanghais couple inside graciously offered us a lift and took us back to Jane’s.

They marked the perfect ending of our Tiger Leaping Gorge adventure! Big thanks!

(Note: I used my film camera to take the pictures but forgot to switch off the date mode! It wasn't even the right date! I went there last year not in 2000!$%*^&**(&^)

19 May 2012

Five Flower Tea

It is ridiculously hot and humid recently in Hong Kong. Whenever I feel very thirsty even though I drink tones of water and acnes are starting to pop out. I got myself some five flower tea.

I grow up drinking this herbal tea, it is said to "clear heat and expel dampness" in Chinese medicine's perspective. I know this may sound funny to foreigners, let's say it this way, five flower tea can relieve fatigue and help with your acne situation - that's fact.

The main floral ingredients of five flower tea are honeysuckle, chrysanthemum, silk cotton, Plumeria rubra and Pueraria lobata (金銀花、菊花、槐花、木棉花和雞蛋花). It is a common herbal tea in Guangdong Province due to its hot and humid weather.

How To Make Five Flower Tea?

It is very easy to make this. In Hong Kong, I can just simply go to any Chinese medicine pharmacy and ask for a pack of five flower tea. After soaking it in the water for 5 minutes, I drain the water  put the herbs and candied water melon (糖冬瓜, you can also buy it in the pharmacy) in a pot of water (around 8L-10L). Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer it for another 45 minutes. You can serve both hot and cold.

We often joke how foreigners survive the hot weather in Hong Kong without drinking it. Next time if you have chance, try this in Hong Kong. It tastes nice! 

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18 May 2012

Taboo in China


We Chinese believe fortune and luck lay on our shoulders when we are gambling. So if you pat on our shoulders when we are pouring our heart and soul to win money, we see you as our biggest enemy in life by trying to rub off our fortune and luck. 

Don't ever try this, we take gambling very seriously. Don't cry if we punch you in your face!

When I am playing mahjong, I don't care if that's Obama giving me a friendly pat. F**K OFF!!!