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Do You Believe in Magic? 🏮

20 Feb

❤️❤️❤️❤️ I got transported by Chinese #DRAGON for Spring Festival / New Year’s. Oh Yeah 😎 Just getting in touch with my inner #Targaryen 🐉 Be jealous. . . . I’m livin the magic!

Up for splitting this with me?!? 😄 – #travel #foodie

13 Feb

😂😂😂😂🍴🍷

This was a #menu at a small restaurant on the lake in Sun Island Snow Park. I’m going for ‘Deep Sea Life Everlasting’ but I’m willing to share the Pickled Fish Skin Spots with y’all if you’d like! 😄 Aren’t
I kind! TBH their hot chocolate though was pretty good!

Drinks Around! #Alcohol and South #Korea

10 Feb

Glass of wine anyone? 🍷

Thought I’d drop a small Warning about alcohol for Visitors to #Korea during the #Olympics or well, visiting ever. 😀

Don’t get me wrong, the alcohol in Korea is good. But like #Baijiu in #China – you gotta be careful. One really famous Korean #drink is #Soju (소주) which usually ranges between 20% to 40% alcohol, but can be as much as 50%. 😱 VERY strong. You drink it in shot glasses and moderate the intake. The first time I visited #Seoul, two boys in our group drank it like Beer and were deathly ill the next day (and they weren’t lightweights). It’s fun and a great #Cultural experience, but be warned 😋

If you want a Good drink, but prefer something less likely to sterilize your insides, I recommend one of Korea’s Plum Wines. They are sweet and great to sip & enjoy! 🍾

Tip #1- Asian Culture (Including both #China and #Korea in my experience) is often built around the idea that an empty cup or plate is a sign the host did not provide enough. So if you don’t want them to keep pouring you more alcohol later, leave a medium bit in your glass. They are less likely to add to it. If your glass is mostly empty, thery are inclined to fill it back up.

Tip #2 – The more you drink at the beginning of the night, the more they’ll assume you can hold your alcohol and start encouraging you to drink even more through toasts. If you’re moderating, drink less early in the night. They won’t pressure you as much later.

Tip #3 – A lot of culture guides say you cannot refuse alcohol in cultures like this because it is ‘rude.’ That’s not true. In my experience in Korea, they were always understanding if I said I wasn’t drinking tonight. They usually just assume it’s for religious or health reasons and move on. Though it’s easier for women to avoid than for men.

If you are gonna party hearty, drink responsibly! Bring a friend who can make sure you A) get home, B) don’t accidently get in a fight or trouble, and C) don’t accidently offend the locals around you. 😀

Fellow #Foodies! Have you tried #Chicken Feet?

10 Feb

My life is strange. I now live in a country where #chicken feet are A) sold in giant piles and B) more valuable than all the other chicken parts. . . . Chicken feet dishes are really popular in #China but I still can’t go there. I finally really like fried pig ears, but I can’t get into the whole feet thing. 😱🐔🍗😝

Happy #Dog Days!!

8 Feb

Awww, #Starbucks has little #puppy cups for the #Chinese New Year Festival ❤️🐶 This is the year of the dog!! If you were born in 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, or 1958 – this is probably your year!!!!!

BTW – today is the Small Chinese New Year when you clean the house, get rid of last year’s stickers & tokens, and send the kitchen god to heaven to report on the family’s behavior over the past year All in preparation for the big day!. Happy Small Chinese New Year!

Translation in #Asia – Miscommunication Much?

8 Feb

This is why living in #China or translating from Chinese – English is so hard. . . . Apparently this was supposed to say ‘Copy Business Hours’. Instead it says ‘Check toilet’ 😂😜 Most translators are like this! Even #Google translate sucks with Asian languages 😭 *For anyone visiting #China I recommend #HanpingLite. It’s a great dictionary. If you’re in #Korea to visit or for the #olympics, I recommend #codegent Korean Lite app. 😀

#Foodie – Red Pepper Snickers

1 Feb

Hot (辣 – la4) and Spicy Red Pepper #Snickers Bars 😳😱😨😭🙀💀. . . . . There’s something just evil in that. It’s wrong. Dark-side esque Destroying the fine reputation of a delicious treat🍫. A sacrilege of the great ambrosia beloved by the gods. A travesty to #chocolate!!!

#Gryffindor House (It’s real!) aka the #China Spring Festival

27 Jan

Chinese Spring Festival🐉 . . . when all of China turns into gryffindor 🦁 house and red and gold colors 🇨🇳 rule.

I think Walmart might be secretly connected to Chinese hogwarts. Walk inside and its gryffindor pride
everywhere.

*Personally, I’m a slytherin – which fits, since my Chinese zodiac Animal is the snake 🐍

Northeast #China – It’s freezing (literally)

25 Jan

When temperatures hit -32C (about -25F), the inside of my pantry window turns into #art!

No, but seriously, I have about an inch of #ice INSIDE my window. My refrigerator pantry turned into a walk-in freezer. All my #fruit froze 😭❄️

Happy Laba Festival!

24 Jan

Did you eat your porridge yet?!?

Today (January 24)  is the Laba Festival ( 腊八) or Rice Porridge Festival in China!  On the Chinese lunar calendar, La is the 12th month of the year, and ba represents the 8th day of that month.  So basically Laba means 12th month, 8th day.  And that day is today!!!  

The Laba Festival (like so many Chinese festivals) is mostly famous as a food holiday, one where the Chinese cook and eat delicious foods like the Dumplings of the Ghost Festival, the Moon Cakes of the Moon Festival, etc.  On the Laba Festival, people make different kinds of rice porridge filled with beans, nuts, dried fruit, etc.  

The next Laba will fall on January 13, 2019.

 

The Legend

According to the old stories, the Laba Festival was traditionally a day of offering sacrifices to the ancestors in honor of celebrating the harvest season.  I’m not really sure if this was the “upcoming planting for later harvest” festival or a “after the end of winter wheat harvest” festival, none of my students seemed to know either.  However, we do know that in the old days, the word for ‘sacrificing to the ancestors’ was ‘La’ and it happened on the La month (January-ish).  

Sometime during the Southern and Northern Dynasties (1st century AD) the festival was finally fixed to the 8th day of the La month.    The myths say that the number 8 “Ba” was chosen because it was on that day (La Ba – 8th day of La month) that Sakyamuni (Gautama Buddha), an Indian prince, was able to finally achieve enlightenment and rise as a Buddha. Sakyamuni was the son of an emperor from northern India who grew sad when he saw his people’s suffering.  He eventually abandoned the throne and chose to seek Buddhist enlightenment.  One day, starving and tired, a young shepherd girl offered him porridge made of rice, giving him strength to continue on his way.  A few years later, he attained enlightenment on the 8th day of the 12th month.  In honor of his suffering and success, people began offering rice porridge to the Buddha every year on that day.  

Over time, the harvest festival and the Buddhist festival came together in one big celebration. 

Celebration

Image result for laba congee

Here in Dongbei (Northeast China), my students are all wishing each other Laba Day greetings and reminding each other to eat porridge.  The porridge they are talking about is sometimes called Laba Congee instead.  There are different variations; for example, some have lotus seeds and others have peas,  fruit or nuts in it.  Some have all kinds of stuff mixed together.  Apparently some areas of China have meat or tofu in it, and some vegetables, because my friend posted a picture of that kind.   

Because it is the 8th day, the Chinese like to add in 8 ingredients to make the porridge (I love China and their love of numbers).   So they boil it like normal porridge, with maybe some extra sugar to sweeten it. It takes several hours to make, especially the beans which have to soak.  

The first bowl is offered to the ancestors (for those who still honor them — it’s not quite as common here in China anymore, but the thought is there).  Then some can be sent to neighbors or friends, grandparents, etc.  Then the family eats the remainder together. Hopefully, you have plenty!  If there is some left over, it means next year will be bountiful! (Remember this is still a harvest festival). 

Image result for laba congee

Apparently in some of the old times, the businessmen and government officials would give it to the employees on Laba Festival as a treat, but it’s history goes even further back than that. Some say it was originally served only to the ancestors during the Hong dynasty and later became more commonly served in the Song dynasty.  A few say that it is made in remembrance of an emperor who grew up poor eating only congee and later asked everyone in the empire to eat it once a year to remember their origins.    Whatever the origins, Laba porridge has been part of the festival since the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD).  

Some people will also make Laba Garlic  as well.  A couple students I know have posted pictures of the process on their WeChat.  They peel the garlic and add it to a jar.  Then they fill the jar up with rice vinegar and sugar.  Eventually it turns GREEN!  They’ll keep it until the Spring Festival when they eat it for the holiday.  

Image result for laba garlic

 

 

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