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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Vietnamese Salad Rolls

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A friend commented that he could make really good Vietnamese salad rolls.

I was curious how the refreshing rolls were being prepared and we said let’s have a demo party!

And tada, what a colorful and delicious dish!

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Sriracha

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A friend told me that whenever she sees spicy food or Sriracha in the restaurant or grocery store, she thinks of me because she always see me eating spicy food.

Come to think of it… It’s true that whenever I eat any savory food, I would dip it in spicy hot sauce. This has become such a habit that it just feels so natural to reach for a bottle or a pouch of chili sauce to add more flavor to the food so it tastes better.

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My love for spicy food must have become well known among my community gathering. One time while gathering at a Japanese restaurant buffet, a few people played a trick on me. During the dessert time, they offered me a nice bowl of mouth watering, smooth green tea ice cream. I was delighted as green tea is one of my most favorite desserts!

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While enjoying each spoonful of the delicious ice cream, I suddenly choked and screamed! Without my awareness, one of the people had hidden a slab of spicy green wasabi in the green tea ice cream to play a joke on me — yikes!! The people around me were almost falling off their chairs, laughing at my reaction on the trick they successfully played on me.

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One day while shopping, this friend saw a key chain with a small empty Sriacha bottle. She couldn’t resist buying it for me.

On my birthday, she brought not only one small empty Sriacha bottle but a bag filled with Sriacha goodies!

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Before, I just simply enjoy spicy food without much thought; but these days I often have to think about this giver first before eating any spicy food!

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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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