2010 In Review


The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 41 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 63 posts. There were 112 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 10mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 1st with 176 views. The most popular post that day was Photos.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were blogcritics.org, en.wordpress.com, taste4travel.blogspot.com, mail.yahoo.com, and WordPress Dashboard.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for chinese keyboard, how do chinese use an english keyboard, how to make scrambled gee, china great wall wine, and how do chinese use english computer.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Photos October 2010

2

About September 2010

3

How Do Chinese Use An English Computer Keyboard? November 2010

4

Media October 2010

5

Maps November 2010

How To Make Chinese Chainsaw Chicken Chow Mein


A few posts back I wrote about chicken feet. Today, I thought I’d write about the rest of the bird.

~Chainsaw Chicken refers to the way chicken is often prepared and served in China: hacked to pieces, bones, head, and all, and then dumped into the pot. There’s a lot of spitting out of bones onto the tabletop. I gave up ordering it in the more “rural” restaurants. Also, I have a sneaking suspicion some restaurants save back the meat and use it elsewhere. Maybe they’re selling it to KFC?

Chinese Chicken

Chinese Chicken

~KFC is the number one Western fast food chain in China. It’s so pervasive that most of my students think that hamburger (han-bao-bao) means chicken in a bun. The Chinese name for KFC is Ken-de-ji. While I’m at it, McDonalds is Mai-dang-lao and Pizza Hut is Bi-sheng-ke.

~If you look at a map of China it sort of looks like a chicken. Chinese sometimes joke about this. Take a look and see what you think.

Does China Look Like A Chicken?

Does China Look Like A Chicken?

~If you like to eat turkey, you’re kind of out of luck in China. They’re pretty scarce. I did find frozen ones in the Metro Store in Guangzhou, though.

~What you will find in great abundance is duck. I will post a recipe for duck soon, but for now:

Here is my recipe for Chinese Chainsaw Chicken Chow Mein. Don’t worry, I left out the bones, head, feet and feathers!

Okay, here is the recipe. Only, I changed it to Turkey Chow Mein in honor of Thanksgiving. Substitute chicken if you’d like:

http://blogcritics.org/tastes/article/nothing-says-thanksgiving-like-chow-mein/

The Inventor Of Peanut Butter Omelets Offers Advice On Cooking


Article first published as Caution: Man At Wok on Blogcritics.

In China it’s really easy not to cook. Especially if you’re a middle-aged white guy whose greatest culinary achievement is the peanut butter omelet. I can exit my front door, walk in any direction, and most likely run smack dab into a restaurant.

For less than 25 kuai I can have the full meal deal and a floor show to boot. Well, not exactly a floor show like, say, Wayne Newton. Who? But it’s always entertaining to watch the people.

Chinglish Movie Poster

Chinglish Movie Poster

Funny thing is, you never know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. It wasn’t until I returned to the good old U.S. of A. for an extended hiatus that I realized what an idiot I am. (I heard that!) I should have been paying more attention. When I return to China, I promise to cook more and dine out less. Yeah, right.

In my hometown of Walla Walla they just opened a Panda Express. While it’s definitely a step in the right direction, it’s still not the same. But you knew that already, huh? Too much meat and not enough veggies. Really.

For a former cattle rancher, that seems like a weird thing to say. We Americans are victims of our own success. We want what we want when we want it. That means meat. Big slabs of it. Only right now things aren’t so easy in America. It’s OK – adversity builds character. And maybe even a slimmer waste line. I mean waistline.

So, with that introduction, let’s grab our woks and start cooking. If you don’t have a wok, use what you’ve got. That’s what I’ve been doing. My woks are still in China.

Oops! We’re not ready to cook yet. Put your wok down and grab your Chinese knife. What?? Oh, this is getting ridiculous. Use what you’ve got. That’s what I’ve been doing.

Actually, today we aren’t cooking at all. Today we’re just checking to make sure you’re ready to take the jump to warp speed with some basic principles of cooking the Chinese way. Here they are.

Fresh is best. In China, they still go to market every day. To be fair, it’s a little easier for two reasons: (A) There’s a farmers market in just about every neighborhood. And (B) there are usually more adults around to share the load. Their nuclear family is three generations, not two.

Be prepared. The basic tools are a Chinese knife or cleaver, one or two cutting blocks or boards, and an assortment of dishes to hold the prepared ingredients. If you want to see some REAL gong fu, just watch Nai-nai wield that cleaver!

To everything there is a seasoning. Several basic spices and seasons are mainstays. They are salt, ginger, garlic, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil. Other essentials include spring onion, anise, five spice powder, and chili.

Less is more. Meat, that is. Chinese use small bits of meat to complement the vegetables, not the other way around. In addition to vegetables, they eat a lot of fish, fresh fruit for snacks and desserts, and they drink a lot of tea.

Rice or noodles? It’s said that Northern Chinese are noodle eaters and Southern Chinese are rice eaters. This is somewhat true, but all Chinese eat both in great amounts. No, you don’t have to give up potatoes completely. Just mix it up a little.

Chop, chop. Cut all your ingredients into bite-size bits. Pieces should be uniform and small enough to be picked up with chopsticks. Experiment with different ways of slicing up each item –an art form all by itself.

The heat is on. Once your ingredients are prepared, put the wok on the stove and turn it on high. Pour a little oil into the pan and watch for it to start to ripple with the heat. This is the optimum time to toss in your ingredients. Have fun.

Although the Asian diet is probably more healthful than the standard American diet, your family may object to radical changes at suppertime. So, try out a few simple recipes at first. If you don’t have one already, now is the time to buy a Chinese cookbook.

There are a couple more items I want to mention before the bell rings.

Chinese use vegetable oil or peanut oil, but there seems to be a growing trend towards olive oil. I think that’s a good thing. You should probably measure it out rather than just pour.

There are many exotic sauces and other ingredients in the Asian section of the grocery store. I would recommend holding off for now. Once you know the basics, you can make a lot of these from scratch.

You know those cute little paper containers for Chinese take-out? I’ve never actually seen them in China. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen a fortune cookie, either.

I’ll leave you with this last thought. Just as we’ve changed Chinese food to suit American tastes, the Chinese have changed American food to suit them. Next time you go to McDonald’s and they want to know if you’d like a hot apple pie with your order, ask if they have any red bean ones instead.

Manman chi!

Read more: http://blogcritics.org/tastes/article/caution-man-at-wok/page-2/#comments#ixzz14iWnWyZm

How Do Chinese Use An English Computer Keyboard?


“With thousands of individual characters, ever wonder how a Chinese person sends an email?

Business cards in China are offered and accepted with both hands. It’s a sign of courtesy and respect. After a couple years of exchanging cards, I’d managed to fill a rather large desk drawer with them. One day a fit of efficiency overtook me and I decided to go in search of a Rolodex or business card organizer. It took longer than I expected; most things do in China.

It wasn’t until I’d made my purchase and returned home that it dawned on me – there is no Chinese “alphabet.” At least, not in the way we think of one. Hence, no way to organize most of my cards. Duh. Which brings me to today’s topic, “How do Chinese use an English computer keyboard?”

Firstly, there are such things as Chinese computer keyboards. However, they’re not standardized and not widely used. There are also writing pad interfaces that work well for Chinese characters. However, most Chinese rely on software to change their keystrokes into Chinese text.

Chinese Keyboard

Chinese and English Keyboard

Perhaps the two most  common software transcription methods in mainland China are Wubi and Pinyin. Wubi means “five pen” or “five stroke” and is based on the idea that Chinese characters can be categorized with five fundamental pen strokes. In contrast, the Pinyin method is based on pronunciation of Chinese “syllables.” Each method has advantages and drawbacks.

In it’s simplest form, Wubi could be input with just the number pad of the keyboard: one for horizontal strokes, two for vertical strokes, three for downward right-to-left strokes, four for dot strokes or downward left-to-right strokes, and five for all other strokes. To utilize this method, users must be familiar with the correct order of strokes, which is actually fairly easy to learn.

Once a user has input the correct strokes in the correct order, Wubi software presents a number of possible Chinese characters from which to choose. This method is probably most suited to individuals with Chinese language background.

Pinyin, on the other hand, is a method more suited to individuals with an English language background. Pinyin breaks Chinese down into “Romanized” syllables. However, because Chinese is a tonal language, the user must also be able to select the correct tone for each syllable.

Mandarin Chinese has four basic tones. They are: first tone – “high and level,” second tone – “rising,” third tone – “falling then rising,” and fourth tone – “falling.” There is also a fifth tone which can be thought of as “neutral.” Cantonese is more complex, with between 6 and 9 tones depending upon the dialect.

A classic example of the difference tones make is with the syllable “ma.” With first tone the word means mother, with second tone the word means hemp, with third tone the word is horse, with fourth tone it means scold, and with the fifth tone the word becomes an interrogative often used at the end of a sentence. Here is an example of a “silly sentence” using the word ma.

Pinyin: māma mà mǎ de má ma?
English: “Is Mother scolding the horse’s hemp?”
(source: Wikipedia)