A recent trip to a wedding in Cork, Ireland, led me to a lovely beach which has a bed of seaweed. To our delight, we discovered lots of winkles under the rocks.
We stayed in an amazing hotel called Ballymaloe, which has been run by TV chef, Rachel Allen’s family for decades. We were well fed with great food though could not stop feeling peckish looking at the freshly collected winkles.
We just HAD TO eat them!
The lady at the reception told us we could not have a kettle in the room so we could not cook them by boiling. We pretended we would like to have tea in the bedroom but were told there was no kitchen in our building- so blanching/poaching could not happen either.
Luckily, as hotel guests staying for a wedding, there was at least one allowable heat source- an iron!
Upside down iron = Hot plate for searing winkles? We decided to have an experiment…. Continue reading to see how we cooked the winkles on a hotel room iron >>
I love Mah Jong! It is a fun game that requires lots of thinking, so much so that some think it is a good ‘brain’ exercise that helps reducing the chances of Alzheimer!
I enjoy playing this game with my non- Chinese friends too. Our Mah Jong evening usually starts with take-away roast duck(s) from Four Season, Queensway- allegedly the best in London. (Though I have to say it is still no way as amazing as the roast geese from Yue Kee in Hong Kong.) It is a great way for them to learn Chinese!
A recent trip to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China, led me to discover a new game (photo above). Continue reading to see what that is >>
Have you ever seen a pigeon baby? Well, you have now. (photo above)
This little one has just been fed, as you can clearly see the birdfeed through its thin skin. A little creepy! Though it is also amazing and magical that in just a few weeks, it turns into a beautiful pure white Fantail pigeon like below.
Or into a little odd but remarkable looking Frillback pigeon, which has bizarre curly feathers and ‘funky boots’, which are actually feathers on the feet! (photo below)
Or an Indian Pigeon which is full of character and pride. Continue reading to check out more funky pigeons >>
1888 is an outdoor mural (8 metre by 5 metre) which I created for London, to celebrate the heritage and vibrance of its Chinatown. It was unveiled on 18.08.08 (18th August 2008). Today, it is 3 years old!
It is composed of 1888 photos which are related to Chinatown, donated by the public. ‘8’ is a good figure in Chinese numerology – it symbolises fortune, so a triple eight is especially good. The number one, in Cantonese, sounds like the word for ‘every day’. When I created the mural, I wished that it would bring good fortune to Chinatown every day.
It started as an art competition, which I only discovered 6 days before the submission deadline. Even though I am an architect, I have never really entered anything like this – but I felt strongly about it and the ideas just kept coming. 1888 combined my passions (food, photography and event organising) with my attachment to Chinatown. The final idea came to me very quickly. And I won! Continue reading to see how the mural was made (video) and more >>
Cromer is a small traditional seaside town in North Norfolk, a 3 hour train journey away from London, famous for its crabs (photo below). We decided to investigate whether it is worth the travelling the distance to have a taste.
Like most famous seaside towns, e.g. Brighton, Cromer has its own pier. On a sunny day like when we went, it was full of people, all looking down. No, they were not trying to jump down- they were fishing/ checking out the crabs! Continue reading >>
I am lazy. If it was not for my friends visiting from US, I probably would not be bothered to head East for food, especially when the destination was a restaurant that does not take bookings. In this case, my friends decided to head there early to get a table. When I arrived at 7pm, the place was still not full so at least it was not a frustrating start to the evening.
Corner Room is the breakfast room of a boutique hotel, which was converted from and named after The Town Hall in Bethnal Green. It is strange to see such a smart hotel in a scruffy neighbourhood like this. I think in modern terms, that is ‘hip’. Like its big sister Viajante, Corner room is also run by Chef Nuno Mendes.
The dining area was lovely- simple and full of light. There was a lot of seafood on the menu. We had Mackerel with melon, pistachio & gooseberry granita (photo above) and Stone bass ceviche & broad beans (2 photos down) as starters. They were fresh, firm and well-seasoned. Though the mackerel was served in a curious straight line, offset from the centre of the circular plate. I did not realise at the time, but it was actually a preview of the bizarre presentation style that was to continue throughout the whole meal. Continue to see more! >>
With large numbers of people now owning smart phones with built in cameras, there has been a great amount of press regarding the new spate of augmented reality adverts, where one can simply point their smartphone at something, and a virtual layer can be superimposed over the real world. Today I decided to visit the world of augmented reality.
I had not stumbled across the augmented reality adverts in real life before, I had just seen them discussed in news articles etc, but while in a camera shop, I came across a number of advertising postcards for Panasonic‘s new G3 camera. The cards stated ‘To bring this card to life, download Aurasma Lite from the App Store. Point your smart phone/device at the image to access special, extra content.’
It was almost something out of Harry Potter, especially with the instructions on how to ‘bring things to life’. Continue reading about Augmented reality >>
I went to a Chinese concert recently and was intrigued by one of the Chinese wind instruments Hulusi葫蘆絲 (photo below). It has a Calabash葫蘆 head connected to a bamboo body.
The bamboo has finger holes which the performer blocks/ unblocks while blowing through the mouth piece on the top. It sounds a bit like flute but as the Hulusi is made from Calabash, a full bodied fruit that has been emptied and dried. It has a rounder sound. Click here to have a look at Hulusi >>
Just in time for summer, Heston Blumenthal, chef of Fat Duck ( the 3 Michelin starred restaurant and one of the top 3 restaurants in the world) and Dinner (which explores ancient British recipes) collaborated with high- end supermarket Waitrose to create two special ice-creams- Chocolate & Rosemary and Salted Caramel Popcorn (photo above). I decided to have a taste off – really just an excuse to have 2 tubs of ice-cream at the same time! So which one is better? Continue reading >>
I have not heard much about Takashi Murakami’s work before, but as I grew up in Hong Kong where Japanese cartoons are shown daily on TV and Japanese manga is pretty much part of people’s life, I am not a stranger to Japanese sexual fantasy, especially how women are usually portrayed as figures that have big breasts, short body and super long legs. Takashi Murakami has ’embraced’ this part of Japanese culture by making two 3 metre high sculptures of what would have been palm size dolls. You can check them out in the Gagosian Gallery, which held an amazing light exhibition of James Turrell earlier this year.
There is also a 2 metre high golden penis standing alongside an equally tall silver vagina. Both have a smiley face on top.
A series of paintings of naked women were on display on one side of the wall. They have been mounted in such a way that your eye level lines up with the level of their genital areas.
Hmmm…. Continue reading >>