Moving out!

26Jul10

From Inzlingen, Germany to Pudong, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China, and from http://minhang.wordpress.com to

A pretty subjective Shanghai blog is awaiting you ^-^

I’d love to welcome you as reader!

Elisa

* Most 爱丽莎 在 上海 posts are deleted


You might have noticed that I, for whatever reason, adore cats, felinae and owls. I regard both as the most beautiful and cutest animals and collect everything that has to do with them. Or at least take pictures of it. My boyfriend went crazy in NY, let pictures speak:

Owls and Kitties and Rock n Roll

Yes, they had a lot of owl stuff to buy. And yes, they had annoyingly cute solar-powered waving kitties. And yes, If I didn’t buy them, I at least took pictures of them after half an hour of “Awww”s. Love you for your patience, Seb!

What I’m heading at is to make you buy into the fact that I desperately love kittens and owls. But how come that it is exactly this mixture???

Yesterday I had Chinese class and my teacher, a kind and fun native Chinese speaker, lent me a Chinese – German Dictionary that was especially designed for A1-B1 levels, which means it offers a bunch of basic information on pronunciation and several example sentences.

Due to my sympathy for a certain animal species (you may have noticed), I first looked up “cat” (māo) (I already knew the pronunciation and pinyin, but not the character).

*looking up* … oh there you go… *looking closer* …
.
.
.

WHOA!!!

.
.
.

To my amazement, “cat” and “owl” had the same basic character (it’s called “Radikal” in German, but I don’t know whether radical would have the same meaning… ?) and they were the only two words with this character as basis. WOW! Of all things, the Chinese put together a feline animal and a flying nocturnal animal. And of all things, these are my two beloved favourites. How come? In my opinion, this connection is stunning and I would love to find out more about it. Maybe it has some historical reason or, both animal resemble each other in Chinese view… anyway, once again, Chinese language is really fascinating. These two words definitely belong from now on to my treasury of Chinese words and characters … made simple due to the same basic character. Happy End.

Apropos of nothing: Right now, I’m listening to MONO, a wonderful Japanese Post Rock-something band. This saturday (Nov 27th), they play at MAO (speaking of… māo! ha!) Livehouse (570 Huaihai Xi Lu near Hongqiao Lu) in Shanghai. You can find additional information and mp3s here at SmSh. Anyone with good taste in music located in Shanghai right now… go there for me! :)


Today we want to learn the words “cherry” and “cherry blossom”, since these are two beautiful things. I hope that I can use these words once I’m in China: 1) to buy fresh cherries and order cherrypies 2) to give my springtime photographs a dramatically authentic name (btw yes I know, the inscriptions on the kawaii cherry are Japanese… but we just ignore it and go on)

Cherry, Kirsche (f), cerise (f): 樱 [yīng]
or: 樱桃 [yīngtáo] (the version I actually learned it at school, other might be an abbreviation?)

Cherry blossom, Kirschblüte, fleur de cerisier: 樱花 [yīnghuā]


Several weeks ago, I had this culinary delight as dessert in a thin consistency version (wrote about it here). The starch pearls which I only knew as “sago” so far (tapioca is much more widespread today as it seems) didn’t stop to rankle my sweet tooth and I decided to do my own cooking.

So here’s what you need (I promise it’s the simplest recipe you will ever ever read):

Tapioca Pearls, Sugar, Coconut Milk (I took the cream-like with ~10% fat), Water

#1 Bring the water to a boil. Gradually stir in the tapioca (stirring frequently especially on the bottom of the pan) until the tapioca pearls become softer and have a white dot in their center (about 15 min)
#2 Pour off the tapioca-water through a fine sieve just like noodlewater and put the tapioca pearls back into the pot
#3 Now gradually add the coconut milk (for 50g dry tapioca about 100g coconut milk and so on) and stir
#4 Add tons of sugar (always test until it’s sweet enough…) and boil everything up
#5 If it’s winter, put the whole pot onto your terrace or similar ;), if it’s not winter, be happy and let the pot cool down. Then put it into the fridge for about 2 hours.
#6 Tatatataaa!

Don’t be too concerned about the consistency of the dessert. I made some pudding but I’ve also already eaten it as some kind of cold soup, which was delicious too. If it’s too creamy, add some cow milk or water, if it’s too thin, you might cook some additional tapioca or freeze it.

If you want it extra yummy, top it with some fresh fruit; banana, pineapple and everything that you like together with coconut goes well with it.

Additionally some random information on Tapioca Pudding:

    … Pearl tapioca is the widespread commercial form of tapioca starch which is extracted from the root of cassava, a plant species native to the Amazon, Brazil.

      … it is often used as thickening agent

    gluten free and nearly protein free

      … the pearls are also called “fish eggs” while it is often called “Fischaugen” (literally “fisheyes”) in Germany

    … it is very popular in Asia, especially Vietnam, China and Hong Kong (“Sai ma lo”)

      … the coconut milk pudding is great for lactose intolerant people

    … tapioca or sago as big pearls are these dots used in bubble tea, so now you know what they’re made of, all natural :)

Speaking of, a bubble tea joint I can really recommend (if you live in or if you’re going to visit New York City) is VIVI Bubble Tea at 49 Bayard St, Chinatown (cheap, wide range of bubble tea sorts and soooo yummy…). I can’t wait to sip Bubble Tea in China! Sip blop blop.

Sip blop blop. Anyway, not to forget: Enjoy your easy-peasy coconut tapioca pudding and enjoy what’s left of the weekend!


This stunning photograph of the Hong Kong Skyline, contributed to Wikimedia by “Base64″, is one of my all time favorite shots. This is, indeed, Night Photography, and the image quality is, imo, excellent. Hence my final decision on my first additional lens is to acquire the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Telezoom lens. Furthermore, I tinker with the idea to replace my 450D with the new 500D (15MP and new: HD Video) … prices are falling at the moment (YES, even in Germany!).

I really hope to get the possibility to visit Hong Kong during my year in Shanghai, even if it is only for a weekend. Hong Kong must be vibrant and the views enchanting. I already spotted a great place to stay (on budget): It’s called Yesinspace and is located on Kowloon’s seaside. I definitely have to see HK!!!


Bibimbap

16Nov09
Yesterday evening, I tried “Bibimbap”, a traditional Korean dish for the first time. We went two times to a Korean or Asian Fusion Restaurant in Little Korea, New York, but both times I had soup since it was so delicious (a huge bowl of hot Seafood / Chicken soup).
Bibimbap anyway is actually a mixed rish dish and that’s what it means literally, too. So I got a huge bowl of rice topped with any kinds of salad (yip, salad, not veggies) and you get a mix of hot rice and cold salad (fresh cucumber, soybeans, lettuce, cabbage) topped with some slices of roasted beef and fried egg. In addition to that, you get a bowl with some red chili paste called “gochujang” – it was intended to be hot, but mine was mild and tasted like some sort of tomato-pepper-paste with sesame… maybe some Korean style ketchup or whatever. To it, a soup that turned out to be the most delicious soup ever was served. It was some kind of beef broth with sesame seeds and algae and, simultaneously, the first time ever that I liked something with algae (besides sushi with nori) and that it did not taste like some week old fish.

Bibimbap
Photo via flickr. Unfortunately my bibimbap wasn’t this “versatile” (I would have loved mushrooms!) – (and pretty expensive: 14 € or 140 RMB for rice with salad + small soup… alright… … NOT)

The kind waitress even showed how to eat bibimbap since I started to pick single cucumber sticks and rice balls out of the bowl… which was terribly wrong. So I sat there like a Kindergarten child and watched the waitress stirring my bibimbap with tons of chili paste, getting a bowl of chaos with qiān ingredients all mixed up. It was really delicious and also had the typical Korean kimchi-roast-whatever taste I remembered from the restaurant in NY (there it had been my and my boyfriend’s first time ever to try Korean food – unintendedly, since we just went into this restaurant because it was the only affordable one in Korea Way. Tourned out to be Zagat and TONY rated … and was a great joint to visit with our Korean roommate again!).

Not to forget and speaking of our Korean friend that really enjoyed beer drinking with us… – we had so called OB Korean Beer (in Germany, o.b. is a tampon brand, – I know why this beer is not that often imported) to drink. It was very sweet (enriched with glucose syrup…) and like, you know, pleasant to the taste… mmh. Here’s the link to the OB Website (in Korean): http://www.ob.co.kr/

So much for now.
Will hold my last of three required presentations tomorrow (in: Geography on: Tokyo). Jia you!

Zai jian, Elisa


Recently, Chinese Restaurant “Lotus” which had so far à-la-carte menus only reopened with a Kaiten Running Board. This saturday evening, my boyfriend and I tried it and were enthused and absolutely STUFFED after one and a half hour of nom nom.

A wide range of dishes passed by, from cucumber sticks, soup, steamed veggie spring rolls and other starters, maki-sushi, nigiri-sushi, veggie futo-maki of all kinds to warm plates with sweet-sour pork, chicken with sautéed broccoli and mushrooms, pan-fried sweet beef, steamed dum sim and pale jiǎozi, both with meat and vegetarian soy stuffing, delicious roasted duck breast on bean sprouts (I noticed anise… mmh), grilled scampis, fried scampis, shrimp tempura, aioli mussels, and not to forget wooden bowls of veggie rice, pure rice, fried noodles… from time to time, never-seen-before dishes like fried sushi made their way… well, interesting :). Everything was presented and tasted great. What the heck do they NOT have??? The only thing I missed was a clear soup, for example miso soup, but hey, this is a Chinese not a Japanese restaurant and if they don’t have it it’s absolutely alright.

Thereto we both had imported Qingdao (Tsingtao) beer and really enjoyed it. And as if that wasn’t enough, a bunch of desserts entered the kaiten: Jell-O, fresh fruit, panna cotta with caramel, strawberry or chocolate topping, ice cream, fried banana, vanilla-chocolate cream and my favorite of all times, some cold refreshing coconut soup with sago bubbles, I loved it and couldn’t even resist to eat two bowls of it… Oh yeah, and there was a slightly damaged tangerine that no one seemed to want to have that passed us about six or seven times and we started to hum epic hymns everytime it passed… cute, sad? Dunno… comedy of the situation :D
The empty plates piled up on our table and we were freakin stuffed in the end.
I really liked the Kaiten Running Board concept and the range of different dishes. My favorites were definitely the fresh veggies with fruity dips, nigiri-sushi, the wooden bowls of fried rice with all sorts of veggies and not to forget, the divine bubble dessert. My boyfriend was more into warm dishes like the pan-fried beef and duck breast.

Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera with me, but I found some ok pictures of the running board:

Of course we ate with chopsticks (always in proper style) :).

I am thrilled what jiaozi taste like authentically in Shanghai. They better be better :D

It was a very nice evening and a running board delivering fresh food bit by bit is a cool dinner concept.
So, now it’s time for rating!

I’ll split it up in starters, main course, dessert, service and athmosphere. In fact this is already a test post of a restaurant rating – I want to do tons of them once I’m in Shanghai :).

Starters: out of
Pro: Fresh veggies. Critique: Only one kind of soup was served (Beijing soup)

Main course(s): 4 out of 5
Pro: Variety. Critique: Dim sum / Jiaozi fair, but not more than that.

Dessert: 5 out of 5 !!!
Pro: Coconut-sago-dessert

Athmosphere: out of 5
Pro: Simple, still all new. Critique: Could be a bit cleaner.

Finally: Dadadadaaaa…. Passed! Recommended! Peachy eatery!

Got hungry? Location @ GoogleMaps


Looking forward to Expo 2010, this video does a good job in presenting Shanghai from its best sides. I for my part am once again completely wrapped in anticipation, see for yourself:


So… my 19th birthday was crowned by my parent’s cool present: the cute 10.1” acer aspire one netbook with installed flambant neuf Windows 7. It is black with light glitter effects and really comfortable to handle, weighs less than 1 kilogram and can be carried around in a casual handbag… and it fits an airplane’s folding table, which is important for the avid traveller that I am… :D However it gives the whole Internet-Social Networking thing a much more fitting environment, since it’s just so mobile and light `n` slight. Speaking of, I just started twittering and it is indeed better than I expected. But the MakeUseOf Twitter manual‘s complexity (remember, it only deals with Twitter – a website where you post messages of max 160 signs) amazed me kind of.
A CBS Hip Hop Radio makes me listening to this wonderful song “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z
In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you
Well, that leaves me dreaming of some point in my future where I’ll hopefully get the chance to spend time again in NYC, just with myself, my camera and thoughts, since cette fois, it was plenty of activities and I and my friend, we had a bursting schedule. NYC however, I think, is a city in which you can just let yourself go and discover all its curiosities if you’ve got the time and serenity…

Bye bye for now with a desktop screenshot of my ramen-slurping pandas:


2 °C (36 °F) in the morning and I just found the perfect defense against it – Jasmine Tea, 茉莉花茶,pinyin: mòlì huāchá, coming from Jasminum, Persian yasmin, i.e. “gift from God”, a delicious tea for these days. I bought 100g for 4,50 € (45 RMB) from a local tea shop (sort is called “chiung tao”, but I guess that’s a fantasy name, from Benny’s Teeladen in Loerrach) that has, besides my every-day-version of it, some more sophisticated jasmine blends in stock. They scent wonderful, but are way too pricy for me: 18 € per 100g, means 180 RMB per 100g and due to that probably better suited for a nice little present.
Now I have dried jasmine flowers, but in an asian-fusion restaurant in Little Korea (Korea Way), NY, it appeared like this:

Artsy, even the tea, since we were in NYC. (A rhyme!) Confusing if you’ve never seen it before… :)
And to keep the beautiful China in mind, a jasmine flower by a chinese painter of the 12th century:
The flavour is subtly sweet, mild and somehow rose-like. The scent is floral and fragrant. It has usually a green- or white tea base and the jasmine flowers as an addition to it. In China, it first came up during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). They knew what’s good.

To learn about the benefits of Jasmine Tea, see this motivating list: “5 Reasons Why It Is A Healthy Beverage”.

So, now I will enjoy my cuppa jasmine tea and , literally, warmly recommend it to you to have one aswell!



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