Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The real Eddie and Louis Huang

On February 4, 2015, ABC debuted the premiere episodes of Asian-American sitcom "Fresh off the Boat".

The TV show is based from the blog and memoirs of Eddie Huang. It took me a few episodes before I became a fan of the show.

Like Eddie, I didn't grow up in a large Asian community. I share many of the same experiences Eddie did growing up in Orlando, Florida as I did in Columbus, Ohio.

To get a glimpse of the real Eddie and Louis, you can go to YouTube's Munchies channel and watch Huang's World. Eddie is the host.

The below video is part 3 of Eddie's and Louis's visit to Taiwan. At the start of the episode, they are on their way to eat at renowned restaurant Din Tai Fung. Currently, there are locations in Los Angeles, Orange County, California and Seattle, Washington. A new location in Santa Clara (Westfield Valley Square) is set to open in October 2015.

The last part of the episode is near and dear to my heart. Eddie and Louis visit Louis's father's resting place. Most of the rituals shown to honor him were exactly what I did at my grandfather's funeral in 2005.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Kevin and Kevin, 10 years later

L: Kevin Briggs, R: Kevin Berthia
On March 11, 2005, a distraught Kevin Berthia, then 22, was overwhelmed with his young daughter's medical expenses and recent job loss. He made a first time trip to the Golden Gate Bridge with the intent to end his life.

Sergeant Kevin Briggs of the California Highway Patrol, known as one of the "Guardians of the Golden Gate Bridge", successfully convinced Berthia not to jump.

After the failed suicide attempt, the Kevins did not see each other for 8 years. Then in May 2013, Berthia presented Briggs with an award from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for his work in saving hundreds who attempted, but did not commit suicide jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Recalling their first meeting 10 years ago, NPR and have recorded their story. 

Today, Kevin Berthia is working and has 3 children. Kevin Briggs retired from the CHP in March 2014 and is an educator and speaker on suicide prevention.

I first heard about Kevin Briggs in the 2013 Yahoo film, "Guardians of the Golden Gate". It was featured in my June 29, 2014 blog entry. Poignant and moving, I always have to reach for tissues when I watch.

You can also see it here:

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Chinese Noodles 101

Chow mein/source: eat2am
I grew up in the restaurant business. Ever since I can remember, I've been a big fan of noodles.

Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, Japanese, Filipino, you name it, there are few kinds of noodles or pasta I haven't tried.

For those noodle novices looking to venture beyond chicken or beef chow mein, here's a basic overview:

Filipino version of chow mein: pancit.
Japanese version: yakisoba

beef chow fun / source: eat2am
Chow fun is a flat, wide rice noodle. It's a staple in many Chinese and Thai restaurants.

The Thai version of chow fun is pad see yu. For me, I prefer pad see yu over chow fun because the taste is smoky, and usually not as oily as chow mein and chow fun often can be.

Next, are noodle dishes not as common but those experienced with Asian cuisine will recognize.
Singapore Fried Rice Noodles (mai fun) / source: dishmap

Mai fun, or rice stick noodles, is the Chinese equivalent to Italian capellini (also known as angel hair). It's my favorite due to the taste and versatility.

Soak mai fun in water, it can be used for cold dishes and pasta salads. Deep fry mai fun, it will expand 2-3 times in size. It's often used as garnish for Mongolian beef or Chinese chicken salad.

My first love of mai fun came in college when Dad brought me back an order of Singapore style noodles (curry based) when he and Mom came back from Sunday lunch. He ordered for me it so much I stopped eating it for a few years. I didn't have it again until I moved to San Francisco.

gee mein (Hong Kong style) / source: Chinese Cookbook
The last fried noodle from this rudimentary tutorial is the Hong Kong style noodle (also known as gee mein or cake style).

Because the noodles are deep fried and portion size is usually for 2 or more people, I only eat these kind of noodles at group meals or banquets.

Confused? Can't say I blame you. But if this helps you during those times when a pink, red or green take-out menu without pictures is all you've got, then I've done my job.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Goodbye, Mr. Spock

source: Twitter, +therealnimoy 
On Friday, February, 27, actor, director, poet and photographer Leonard Nimoy died at the age of 83.

Taking a cue from the phrase, "art imitates life", here's the eulogy and video clip of Mr. Spock's funeral in "Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan":

"We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted, in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. 

He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one; and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings.

Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels; his was the most...human."

Rest in peace, Mr. Spock.