Monday, 27 June 2011

Travel show promo clip 旅遊節目宣傳影片

FTV's new promo for the mini (English) travel show.

Our travel show in English airs Friday nights on channel 53 at 2357.
The Mandarin version as a news story (just slightly different than the show) airs Saturday mornings at 0600 and is repeated throughout the day on channels 53 and sometimes 6 and digital too.

Thanks for watching!




On assignment in Dapeng Bay 大鵬灣採訪

This week's travel feature. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Debut Cafe, Shimen 石門德佈咖啡廳

Designed by ceramics artist Zhang Geming (章格銘), this looks like a great place to spend several hours. Most of the light comes through the windows, it's spacious and it's clean. Not sure how comfortable the student chairs will be after a while, but I'd like to give it a try sometime, perhaps on our next tombsweeping trip to Jinshan.

If you're a fan (like me), you can maybe take a peek and see what Mr Zhang is working on on the bottom floor of the school. If he's there. Maybe. Pity he doesn't sell any of his work here (yet).

Debut Café (Shimen branch)
#47-2 Alilao, Shimen, Xinbei City
former auxiliary campus Qianhua Elementary School

+886 2 2638 2578

德佈咖啡 (石門店)

Thanks, P-chan!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Ho Chi Minh - Kem Bach Dang coconut ice-cream

Ic-cream made with coconut milk, scooped into a coconut, topped with fresh watermelon, strawberry, dragon fruit and candied pineapple. I thought the ice-cream was just plain vanilla, and didn't find it all that special 'til the lady saw my puzzled face and taught me to scrape off the meat on the inside of the coconut and eat it together with the ice cream. Ahhhhh, much better it was. Gonna tell them to hold the chocolate sauce next time. Too sweet for me.

Kem Bach Dang
26-28 Lê Lợi, Phường Bến Nghé, Quận 1
Hồ Chí Minh
+84 8 8292707

Ho Chi Minh - street view

The first impression I had of the streets of Ho Chi Minh was the mopeds! After that, one thing after another, including hawkers and night markets and plastic chairs kept reminding me of Taipei, perhaps in different periods of economic development. Binh Thay Market was flooded with people and everyday goods from backpacks to fresh food to be sold. When not busy, some moms helped their kids with homework while sitting on red, plastic stools next to towers of shrimp chips, and some young people tended to each others' acne problems...

One fruit I saw for the first time was what the locals call "bom bom." It looked small, round potatoes, but strung up like grapes. The skin is thick and soft, the meat tastes like pomelo, the texture like lychee, but the seed is tiny enough to accidentally swallow. It was good!

We did't get much time to explore the city, including its historical, multi-cultured sites, but I hope to next time!

Ho Chi Minh - Mekong

We had a one-day whirlwind tour of Ho Chi Minh, half of which we spent in the Mekong Delta. We got on a motorboat to an island for tourists where handicrafts were sold while children of shop owners played nearby and local fruits like rambutan and jackfruit were served with people performing traditional sounding music in front of us. Although it couldn't have been more touristy, the canoe ride back to the motorboat was fun.

Video of canoe ride:

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Jakarta -Ancol artist village

Though touristy, visiting the Ancol artist village was a good decision. Mom and Dad bought wooden ducks for their bookshelf and I got to see a couple of local artists paint and carve in huts and stalls. I bet it would look like a performing art fair on weekend days. Too bad it was a weekday and since there weren't any vacationers (aside from us), almost all the artists were away on holiday.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Jakarta - cuisine: Spicy cow brain and stinky beans.

While most of the food in Jakarta seemed to be spicy, the little choice I had left was somewhat of a comfort - it was not chock full of garlic like it is often the case in much of southeast Asia. Garlic does not agree with my stomach.

Our new friend Amele took us to a Padang restaurant, where dishes are literally piled up in front of customers. Once we sat down, the food came so shockingly fast it was almost like a performance. Pile pile pile pile pile. Clang clang clang clang clang. Table not big enough? Servers immediately pulled the next table over and kept piling until practically an order of each offering they had was served. We eat what we want, and they only charge for what is eaten, even if it is one fried chicken wing and the order came with two. I don't know what they do with the other half of the order when that happens. Amele assured me they don't sell it to other customers, and she guessed that it becomes lunch or dinner for restaurant staff. While menu items include the common grilled chicken, it also has some delicacies an adventurous eater would love to challenge - stewed cow brain and spicy sator beans (petai), which makes your urine smell really strange (they say it has detoxification effects).

This is what a website says about sator beans:
Packed with protein, potassium, iron and fibre, the beans are widely believed to offer a number of health benefits and effectively conquer a range of ailments including high blood pressure, PMS and constipation.

Unfortunately, there are some less appealing side effects. Similar to other beans, their complex carbohydrate content can cause strong-smelling flatulence. And similar to asparagus, certain amino acids found in sator add a green tinge to urine, as well as intensifying the smell.

While the health benefits sound good enough to make me eat more of those stinky beans, I just could not get used to the taste.

Mr Chen of Taiwan's trade office in Jakarta took us to a Peranakan/Nyonya (a mix of Chinese, Malay and other cuisines) restaurant one night, and while the food was interesting, the decor was what really caught my eye. I have something for lanterns, and this restaurant was full of them.

Kedai Tiga Nyonya
Jl. KH. Wahid Hasyim No. 73
Menteng, Jakarta
+62 21 316 0971


Monday, 13 June 2011

Jakarta - Istiqlal Mosque

Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia. The first floor can hold 20,000 people, and the entire mosque can accommodate 120,000.

But I was most impressed with the smile of these two Chinese and Indonesian girls who happened to be there on a field trip.

Jakarta - faces

Live, traditional music was played in the lobby of the Sultan Hotel, and the Balinese sculptures are at the Suharto Museum, where gifts to former president Suharto by locals and foreign heads of state are on display.