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Hong Kong Style fried beef flat rice noodle

乾炒牛河 is one of the most popular dish in Hong Kong, or any where you go that serves Cantonese cuisine, I guess it’s not difficult to order this in a Cantonese or Chinese restaurant. 

The most important ingredient is the flat rice noodle, as it is a bit difficult to buy the fresh one. There are shops selling freshly made noodles, rice noodles and wonton wrap, try to explore that in your neighbourhood or otherwise try to see if you can find that at the wet market. I have to say, you can only do this with the freshly made ones, if you are using those dry ones which are not good enough. Not sure where can you get this in other countries, maybe in China town? 

First of the, cut the beef in thin slices and follow the grain. Marinate them with dark soy sauce, sugar, corn stratch and some water, for at least 15 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make sure you separate each flat rice noodle within sticking together. When you are ready with all key ingredients, onions in strips, bean sprouts, spring onion, and get the sauce ready, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and sugar. I also like to add a touch of spice, so I add a bit of red chilli pepper which is totally optional. 

Heat up the wok with some oil, get the beef fried quickly in hot temperature until they are almost done. Set them aside for later use. Then, get the wok ready again with some oil and fry the onions until they turn soft, then add the bean sprouts and fry until they start turning soft. Now add the flat rice noodles into the wok, stir fry them with onions and bean sprouts. Watch out after you add the mixed sauce, as there is sugar in it and things will started to get burn and sticky easily, so we have to act really quick. Add in the sauce, keep stir frying and then add in the beef, chopped chilli and spring onions. Fry until the beefs are done, and serve the noodle with some sesame seeds and a touch of chilli sauce.

I also would like to have more vegetables, so I was having that with some choy sum. Guess this fried rice noodle should be much more healthier than those ones that we used to eat at cha chang tang, this is not difficult at all, you can also try to make it at home 😉 

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Slow living – enjoy riding the 7ram home

The pace of life in Hong Kong is the fastest in the world I have to say. Living in Hong Kong since I was born, no matter where I go, I feel no where can compare to Hong Kong if we talk about speed. For example, New York, I think everyone from the States would have said that everything in New York is quick, but I feel that NYC is quite slow to me. Even Tokyo, is almost at the second place right after Hong Kong, but I still feel no where can beat Hong Kong.

Just like having a meal in the restaurant or especially at the cha chang tang (茶餐廳), the waiter / server will come to you to take the order right after you set down. You better know what are you going to eat, it’s like they don’t allow you to think, and actually all locals order so quickly. Another example is doing grocery in the supermarket, when you need to pay, you better be very quick, otherwise you will be the one slowing the entire process or system down. After you paid and the cashier gave you back your change or credit card, as well as the receipt, you better pack all your money and get all your grocery and run. The person standing next in the queue will be pushing all the grocery all the way to the front and the cashier will start working on the next customer without waiting for you to get done. It’s kind of stressful if you are not used to it. Sometimes I wonder why everything has to be so quick, maybe we should really learn to live slow.

That’s why riding the tram is such a contradictory activity that you can do in Hong Kong, consider everything is in a faster tempo. The tram is one of the earliest public transportation that is still running, since 1904, more than 100 years of history. Tram only runs in Hong Kong Island, almost through the entire northern part of the island, from Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan. For those people not living next to the MTR (metro system) station, like me that living in Happy Valley, tram is one of the best choice as a connection from the station to home. In the past, that works for people that lives in Kennedy Town or Sai Ying Pun as well, but since the West Island line opened for business last year, I guess less people rely on tram to get connected to the station. But for me, living in Happy Valley and working in Kowloon side, I enjoy riding the tram home every night after work. Get out from the MTR station in Causeway Bay, and hop on one of this tram. It’s a very short ride, just around 5 minutes, and I love to enjoy the scene of the race course. There is always something going on, different teams practicing in the middle of the field, like rugby team and football team, people jogging, dogs walking, and etc. Nice to watch and enjoy, instead of playing with your phone. I also enjoy the ding ding sound very much, it sounds so nostalgic, reminded me of the old days. My father brought me to the tram ride, that’s one of the activity we used to do, ride from one side to the other side of the island. And I think, that’s one of the most romantic transportation in the old days, riding the tram with your loved ones.

Nowadays, people complains that it’s too hot to ride the tram in Summer time, which it’s true. If there is traffic jam and the tram is not moving, it can turned into hot sauna. But I guess that’s the authentic part of the tram, being slow and hot. If you need something quick and with air condition, take something else and there are plenty of choices, like bus, mini-bus or taxi. Few days ago, the Hong Kong Tramways was starting to test this new air-conditioned tram. I still prefer the original tram, but let’s see if I am going to bump into one.

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Dogs are not meant to be leashed


Dogs are born to be social, they are pack animals and enjoy living with their pack. In some developing countries, not in the city centre, you will not see dogs on leash. For example, in the rural area in Philippines, Thailand or Indonesia, dogs are all off leash and they just stay around their territories. They might go around somewhere, but I don’t really see any problem caused by them. In the cities that we are living, dogs must be on leash, and that’s according to law, you could be fined if your dogs are off leash, especially for large dogs. 

If you have ever watch this show of Cesar Millan, most of the dogs are crazy even with their leashes on. It is not the dogs having behaviour problem, it’s just the human behind them having issues. They just don’t know how to walk their dogs or put it in a simple word, they just don’t know how to be a pack leader. That’s why their pack is not listening to them. The way we train our dogs, we trained them to be able to walk off leash and they will still behave and heel. But having a dog in Hong Kong is not easy for dog owners, especially having big black dog. It’s so often people just screaming when they see two black Labradors. They will be very scare because they are big, and just because they are black, that will be more scary! People here they have no clue about dog breed, and it’s so often that people asked me if they are Rottweiler or Doberman. That’s already so not making sense to me! Second of all, those people are going to think, all dogs will bite, and that’s why they get scared. I think we should start teaching about dogs in school here, so people learn how dogs behave and they know how to react to it. 

I do admit that there are a lot of irresponsible dog owners, and they do not know how to control their dogs. I do see a lot of dog behavioural problems and I think they all need Cesar Millan. Not blaming on the owners, but I guess HK government should do something with it. Maybe they should ask all dog owners to get certificate of how to own a dog before getting one. A lot of people have no idea how to train their dogs, they just have one because they want some company or they think the dog is so cute. But we need to act like a pack leader, and provide what the dog actually needs. 

My husband is from a European country and he grew up with dogs and horses. He do prefer not to leash our dogs, as the leash is more a mind control thing than a physical leash. Of course I’ve learned a lot of dog behavioural knowledge from him, and he is my Cesar Millan live version. We got ourselves into trouble one time because our dogs were unleash and those people want to sue us because they are scared. Our dogs were not doing anything, one is only barking but the person get scared. Of course in the end, nothing happened, but we really want to get this exempted dog certificate, so that our dogs can be unleashed according to law with exemption. Both of our dogs passed the examination and they both got that medal with the Exempted Dog Certificate. They can walk around off leash legally, but of course we still can hear a lot of comments from the others, such as “You must leash your dogs!” 

Understood that not everyone knows about that certificate, but at least people could be more polite to ask or try to understand. A lot of people are so rude and having dogs are like something sinful to them. I wish people could learn more about animals, understand that dogs are not necessarily need to be leashed if they are well behave, and try to be a bit more dog friendly here in Hong Kong. 

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If you are not sure about adoption, try to foster a dog to start with

Max is waiting for the fetching game, today with Mia

I brought my two labradors with me to a gathering the other day at my friend’s place, her husband just love them. He always likes dog, and now he really wants to have a dog but my friend is still not sure about it, as she is not sure if she is ready to commit. I think if people are not sure about adoption, can always try to foster. You can try and see if you feel comfortable to have a dog in your life, to test it out and see if you can handle the walking part and activity that you have to do with your dog. If you are not sure, can still return the dog after the foster period, but I guess most of the people will ended up with adopting the dog.

Our first labrador Max is adopted, we got him from one of the dog shelter, Hong Kong Dog Rescue. That was a crazy day because my husband and I went to HKDR to see him, confirmed to take him home, even my husband was not too sure about Max (he said there’s a dark side of Max that he was not so sure about). We brought him with us, took him to the grooming center for a bath and then brought him home. We showed him around, and also brought him up to the roof top to show him some open space. Suddenly, he just jump over the wall and of course he fell from the roof down to the ground. We heard this loud smashing sound, and my husband and I looked at each other, said fxxk!!!!! We thought for sure he is dead! How could he survive from a 12 meter jump? We found him landed in the terrace of the ground floor, and after checking with the building management, the person lived there was out of town. Therefore, we could not open the door and save Max. My husband went to the side of the building and calling Max’s name, and he was able to hear him moaning, also can see his eyes in the dark. After a crazy long procedure with the police, and then SPCA, we finally got the firemen to rescue Max from the first floor. The firemen are always the best, so efficient, they got Max rescue in a minute. There was some blood coming out from his rear part, we brought him to the SPCA, and did the X-ray to check. Confirmed that all the internal organs were fine, but there was fracture at the pelvic. Luckily it’s not completely broken and collapse, otherwise can affect and damage the organs. We guess the canopy saved Max’s life, and he landed on the canopy before hitting the ground.

Luckily we were not living in a high rise building with roof top, just a low rise. Can’t imagine if Max jumped from 20th floors or even 10th floor. It took Max 3 weeks to be able to walk the stair or jump on the sofa again, we were carrying him everyday two to three times down the street to do his business. As we were living in a walk-up building, needed to carry him and took all those steps was not easy. I guess that incident helped us to bond very well, since then he trusted us a lot, of course with the proper training and rehabilitation. He used to scare of almost everything, like cats, brooms and etc. But my husband spent a lot of time to build up his confident and trust. That helps Max to become the best dog in the world! To rescue a dog, to save a life, it’s a lifetime commitment, and the thing that you can learn from your dog and what your dogs can offer you is priceless!!!

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Max could not moved so much after the injury

 

 

 

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Getting some positive energy – running with doggies on a sunny day

I don’t know what went wrong last night, something happened in Mongkok area in the middle of the night in Hong Kong. Since the Occupying Central event in Hong Kong in 2014, the tension between police and protesters became very high. Well, after all it’s Chinese New Year, I am not sure who is right and who is wrong any more, somehow you cannot just believe what you’ve seen or what you’ve read. A lot of media manipulation, what I would like to see is a peaceful Hong Kong. Watching the news and seeing people get hurt, both police and protesters. The entire street of Mongkok is a mess, and the street is damaged because the protesters digging bricks on the street, and burning rubbish. Still don’t know who is right, I guess they are very upset, but very sad to see Hong Kong like this. Can we just stay calm and make love not war?

It’s actually a very sunny day, so let’s do something good, and get the positive energy injected. I need some endorphin! Sometimes my two labradors looking at me and they have that look are so eager to have some exercise, to go out and have some fun. It maybe good to go for all of us to run, I love to run with my two labradors, they are great partners to run with. They just run right next to me, with nice pace. It is a good exercise to do with your dogs, go running / jogging together. What I used to do is to hang the leash on my waist, so I can run with both of my hands free without holding any leash. When your dogs are into the running mode, you actually don’t need to do anything, and they just run right next to you. The only thing is, they might need to pee or poo at certain point, you might need to find a spot mid-way, and let them release themselves as part of the reward and carry on for the rest of the exercise. Watch out the weather to make sure your dog will not get overheated, and try not to run for too long, maybe half an hour is good enough for them to start with. If you are not sure, bring some water with you, so they can drink if they feel too hot.

Good to sweat for myself, and also good for my two blackies to exercise and kill some energy, all of us should sleep better tonight 😉

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Going to the CNY f7ower market is a must before Chinese New Year

I remember when I was a kid, going to the CNY flower market is a must do activity before CNY. When I was still little, I used to go with my father, as mother was always busy with the preparation work for CNY. When I was a teenager, I used to go with my friends. When I was early 20s, I used to go with my boy friend. Nowadays, I used to go with myself only, as the major purpose is go there quickly for some flowers. I don’t want to stay there too long, because there is always packed with lots of people. I don’t know, not sure if I do enjoy going there with my husband nowadays, as there are way too many people as usual.

So, I went to the Victoria Park CNY Flower Market today in the afternoon, I tried to avoid the night time, because usually it is more busy during night time. Today is the day before the New Year’s Eve, and it’s a Saturday, that’s why it’s full of people. I skipped the dry area (selling different things except flowers), and headed straight to the wet area (selling mainly flowers and plants). Daffodil is always one of my favourite CNY flowers, for sure I would like to get one again this year. But I started off with buying a bunch of pink lily, lily smells so nice and they are easy to handle. Going around, and trying to look for a nice pot of orchid. Been to few booths, but cannot get one in the end, don’t know why cannot make up my mind for one. In the middle of the way, there is a booth selling this popular terrarium. I’ve been thinking to get one already, so when I see that, just could not help myself and I ended up to get one of them. I think the terrarium is so nice as part of the home decoration, and I guess maybe one day I should go and learn how to make one myself. Finally I reached the daffodil booth, same company as I bought my daffodil last year. I understood it is kind of difficult for the all the florists this year, as the weather before CNY is so weird, it was so warm in the beginning and then so cold the week before, and not much sunny day. They must have a hard time trying to keep the flowers in good shape for this one time deal before CNY. So, it is hard to get a daffodil that is short and strong with a lot of buds, the one I got is not bad.

I ended up also with a small version of peach blossom, it is also hard to find a nice one, they all look kind of dry and not many flower buds, which is not good. One of the phase we say in Chinese is 花開富貴, meaning fortune comes with blooming flowers. So, that’s the reason why we used to buy flowers for CNY, and especially for flowers like daffodils and peach blossom, that we prefer to have the flowers bloom right on the first day of Chinese New Year. If the flowers are not blooming on the first day, that means bad luck. So, when we try to get flowers, we always prefer to look for flowers with more buds and estimate the time that they are going to bloom. So, I wish all the flowers are going to bloom nicely on the first day of Chinese New Year, which is going to be on the 8th of February.
  

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Love travel, and my Starbucks City Mug collec7ion

I love to travel for leisure, and I need to travel for work too. In the old days, I love to get some little things as souvenir for memory, especially something that you cannot get it back home. For example, I love Paperchase in London, nowadays you can shop everything online, but there was no such thing back then. When I was studying fashion design in university, I love to buy nice paper for presentation. Paperchase is a stationery store that offers a huge variety of paper selection. So, when I traveled to London the first time, I bought a lot of paper back from Paperchase. I’ve got so many that I still have some of them now after so many years. I also like to shop at Tokyu Hands, when I go to Tokyo the first time, I was amazed by how big Tokyu Hands is, and the range of products they offered. I wanted to buy a lot of things, but could not. Why don’t they just open a store in Hong Kong?

Nowadays, you can almost buy everything everywhere because of online shopping, and a lot of them do ship internationally. When I travel, I also try not to buy so much, unless it is very special. I just feel I did collect a lot of “things” along all these years, and it is so painful when you have to move, you just feel that you have way too many things to pack, or something that you packed but never unpacked. So, I try to minimise the amount of potential rubbish.

I found one of my collection kind of funny, because I was thinking to start collecting them, but then I stopped after I purchased the first one. After that, I am still so obsessed with it, and I am really trying very hard to hold myself not buying them, the Starbucks City Mugs. I first saw it in Kuala Lumpur, and I was thinking it’s a good idea to start collecting that, to have a collection of mugs that look different from one to the other and remind me of which city I’ve been. But then, I realised that might take up so much space in my kitchen cabinet, so I just dumped the idea. Few years ago, I saw this city mug at San Francisco Airport with the new design, so nice and I thought just to get it and for the memory of getting stuck at SFO for one night. Last year, I also get one in Beijing, just can’t help it… I will try to keep reminding myself when I travel, try not to buy that, and I am happy with only four of them right now. Of course with one representing my hometown, Hong Kong.