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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

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When travelling in Asia, I always delight in eating the food from the street vendors such as fresh coconut drink, sugar cane juice, roasted chestnuts, deep fried banana, bingtanhulu on skewers 冰糖葫蘆 –sour hawthorn coated in crystallized sugar.


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Eating food prepared by street vendors is like ordering food from a food truck. Almost every mouthful tastes delicious and finger-linking-good.

And my old time favourite —

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sweet potatoes broiled over hot charcoal — was not to be missed, especially on this chilling cold day.

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Once I paid for my share, I couldn’t wait to have a quick bite of this tender and temperature hot treat…

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that I ended up with a blister in my mouth instantly — ouch!

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I studied about the history of the magnificent Great Wall of China during my elementary school year, but never dreamed that one day I would step onto this ancient path. What a surreal experience for me to finally walk on this wonder of the world!

The most visited Wall is the popular Badaling Great Wall. It is an hour away from the city, so it easily attracts lots of locals and tourists.

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Badaling Wall is divided into two sections from the entrance: the northern side and the eastern side. The northern side is always congested with people due to access of cable cars and trolleys from the bottom of the hill to the steepest top. We opted for the eastern side which is the road less traveled.

People told us that the gorgeous time to visit is around mid-Oct where the vast surrounding ridges is decorated in vibrant red.

The time we went, most of the leaves were withered and the landscape were left with naked and bare bushes; nonetheless, it has its own charm of beauty.

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The day was filled with delightfully warm sunlight with gentle crisp wind under a clear blue sky, which is rare in this cold autumn season.

The pavement is easy to walk on with gentle winding slopes here and there, and we hiked to the very end where the trail is blocked off even though the wall continues to stretch for miles and miles.

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As I strolled along the wall, I couldn’t help but appreciate the hard labor the workers of long ago put into building this architectural masterpiece originally designed for military defense.

Along the way, we encountered more than a hundred energetic and fun-loving elementary students chasing each other and having their first experience on the wall as well.

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They appeared to be on a field trip with an assignment to ask passers-by about their experience on the Great Wall. The sights and sounds of the giggling children made this leisure walk an enjoyable one.

After we arrived back at the entrance, we decided to explore the northern side; Indeed, there were a lot of people, young and old, buzzing with excitement.

After much searching, we finally spot the monument that everyone longs to take a picture with to prove that they indeed have reached the Great Wall!

The monument is a stone engraved with this famous Chinese writing: “If you have never been to the Great Wall, you are no hero”.

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The idiom basically means that courageous people can overcome adversity… the background of this saying is that a long time ago, it was impossible to access to the Great Wall, so whoever tackled this difficult task and arrived was a true hero/heroine.

After we had accomplished our mission to climb the Great Wall and proved to be “heroes”, we are ready for a feast!

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For our late afternoon snack, we enjoyed mouth-watering food on skewers.


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A Peking duck delicacy, which one should not miss when coming to Beijing, was our evening meal.

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For a midnight snack, we went to explore this famous street that never sleeps, called Gui Jie. There we tried spicy Szechuan seafood which included crayfish (aka mini-lobsters), escargot, crab and frog dishes to our heart’s content. The food was numblingly spicy and deliciously satisfactory.



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Fruits of the Sea

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I enjoy eating all sort of seafoods especially when they are fresh out of the sea.

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During my recent camping trip, an especially fun and thrilling highlight was when our group had to get our hands and feet dirty to gather some of those fruits of the sea.

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Feet were soaked in the mud and it was pretty invigorating when we dug out clams after clams from the muddy seashore.

After carefully spraying away the dirt from the shells, we pleasurably enjoyed the fruits of our labor.

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We hopped from rock to rock along the white shell beach to hunt for fresh oysters for our seafood pasta.

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Harvesting the masculine orange-brown red rock crabs was always the highlight of the camping trip.

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We steamed the whole crabs and fried some with spicy hot chilly; and these finger licking good dishes were often reserved for our late night snack.

Gnawing away the chunky and juicy meaty crabs over a glass of white wine was simply crab-o-licious!

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A bunch of kelp drifted by the water; we pulled it out, sliced it, blanched them with boiling water: the leafy part we used for savory seafood seaweed soup, and we pickled the kelp stem for an appetizer dish.

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I can’t wait until next year… for another plateau de fruits de mer camping trip.

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Traditional Food of Medellin

IMG_1778The above  delicacy is a 6-inch  pizza adorned with  chunky chicharrón (Colombia-style fried pork belly), sausage, beans and guacamole, it is deliciously tasty.  

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Our team had tried many delicious meals in Medellin  and two of my favorite dishes were Sancocho and Bandeja paisa which happened to be the traditional meals of Medellin.

On our last day at the church, one family prepared this hearty traditional soup dish, sancocho, for our lunch.

The steaming clear bowl of savory soup was aromatic and flavorful and it is cooked with some meat stock and vegetable roots.

It consists of a big chunk of beef brisket, plantains, maize, potatoes and yucca, and is eaten with a side dish of rice and avocado.

This delicious soup tastes best when garnished chopped cilantro and lemon juice.

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Another of my favorite is Bandeja Paisa, the national dish of Colombia.

Bandeja means “platter or tray”; and Paisa refers to “the people from the region in northwest Colombia”.

The “platter of paisa”, a sumptuous meal, is served on a plate with rice, chorizo sausage, fried egg, plantain, ground roast beef, corn bread, salad, avocado, and a long stripe of deep fried pork belly called  chicharrón.  The dish also comes with a bowl of mixed beans and potato soup.

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The most appetizing part of this dish is definitely the chicharrón (the long cracking, crispy, chunky strip of 1-inch thick bacon).

Whenever we had this dish, one strip of the thick fried, fatty and oily pork belly was not enough for me, but my team members loved to share their portions with me as they were not into this super fatty deep fried delicacy!

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At the leadership retreat by the country side, I had the first hand experience to observe how this national dish was prepared.

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It was an extremely time consuming dish to prepare for the belly!!

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roast beef ready to be shredded

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silken and creamy avocado

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delicious deep-fried platain

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Let’s dig in!

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Buen provecho!

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Another sweet treat  of Colombia is the crispy oblea and arequipe spread.

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Obleas – are thin slices of circular wafers;
Arequipe – dulce de leche, creamy caramel cooked from condense milk & sugar.
Our host was able to order 20 packets of freshly baked Obleas and packaged Arequipe for me to bring home to share with friends and family, and my Sunday School Children!
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This traditional treat can often be purchased at a street vendor.
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Gingerbread Gospel

Gingerbread Village at the Grouse Mountain!

It is well known that the concept of the gingerbread house originated from the sugar candy cottage in the Hansel and Gretel fable.

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However, I had never heard about the Gingerbread Gospel until I was asked to be the judge for the best gingerbread decorating contest in one of the Sunday School classes.

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When the children were decorating their fantasy dream snow cottage with lots of icing and candies, their teachers led them to reflect on the special homes of King Jesus:

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Heaven: Jesus’s first home, and what a perfect home.
Hut: Jesus’s earthly home in the stable.
Heart: Jesus longs to dwell in our hearts & to have a personal relationship with us.

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What a delightful and creative  approach to decorate the sugar candy cottage and be reminded of  the assurance of heaven and spending eternity with Jesus.

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Let’s celebrate!

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Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay;
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care;
And take us to heaven, to live with Thee there.

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A friend of mine was preaching the past Sunday and illustrated on the sweet family time together building the gingerbread house… reflecting on how our Heavenly Father intends to have a relationship with us in everything we do, although we claim that we are the ones that are doing the work, in fact it’s Father God who does it.

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Later, his friend used the picture and sketched the following cute picture of daddy & his two dolls decorating the sugar candy cottage!!

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“The Cake Master”

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I have a girl friend that is extremely passionate about baking and decorating cakes.

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The other day she baked a cake for special someone and decorated it with LTC.

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I wonder whose cake that could be for..

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Oh, they said it’s for me, oh really? Oh creamy cream!

They told me there was a surprise in the cake and wanted me to cut the cake and guess what is inside!

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I heard a crunch as I cut through the cake. Judging by the crunch I knew the special cake must be made out of Roca Butter Crunch Toffee. After several attempts, I gave up guessing what’s inside that mystery cake. Finally the “cake master” decided to reveal a slice of the creamy icing cake to all.

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To my delightful surprise.. it was a.. WATERMELON CAKE!
The sound of the crunch was from the sweet and juicy watermelon..

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absolutely delicious and refreshing, what a healthy cake, MMM MMM MMMMMMmm..

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Oh mind, this “cake master” outdid herself again, this is one of her latest craze that blown me into the far-away frozen wonderland!

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On this Good Friday, we contemplated once again on Jesus sacrificial love for us on the cross.

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Our contemplation was based on the Seven Sayings of Jesus on the cross.
(Three sayings from the gospel of Luke;
Three from the gospel of John;
and one from both the gospel of Matthew and Mark.)

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Since pretzel is one of the food for lent. We started our session by listening to the captivating story of how the tradition of pretzel came about…. of how the monks in the monastery used their left-over dough from the bread baking… of how they thought of the idea to knead the dough into the shape of prayer posture of crossed arm over the shoulder, hence the famous pretzel snack.

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It was also said that monks rewarded children with pretzels when the young ones memorized their prayers. Pretzel comes from the word Pretiola — in Italian meaning little reward. After the interesting pretzel story, we prayed with our arms crossed over our shoulders in the form of “pretzel” and enjoyed this “lenten” pretzels.

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Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
Luke 23:34

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Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.
Luke 23:43

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Here’s your son, here’s your mother
John 19:26-27

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Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
=My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34

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In this “darkest”station, we pondered how it felt like to be forsaken.

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I am thirsty.
John 19:28

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It is finished.
John 19:29-30

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Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.
Luke 23:46

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The children were intrigued by the old testament sacrificial ritual and had a better understanding of Jesus’ sacrificial love for us on the cross.

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After journeying through the Seven sayings, children paused to reflect on which saying of Jesus meant most to them.

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Children reflecting on family (yellow table represents warmth)
and “I am thirsty” (blue represents water).

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Of course, purple represents God’s kingdom.

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Children writing down their names and believing in Jesus promise of paradise!

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*The Bridge by William Ressler

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