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川菜!Sichuan food! The best in the world!


Yammmmm! Yam me doooown! That’s right, I don’t spell the word you say when something tastes good, with a U. I prefer the letter A. Take a word like 蚊, (man, meaning mosquito but also dollar). Most of my native English students would spell that ‘mun’. But the next time they read that word, they invariably pronounce it like ‘moon’, presumably because it sounds more Chinese, and also because of the spelling of stuff like Tuen Mun. So I would always spell the ‘AAH’ sound with an A.


So anyway – yesterday. Four guests, four dishes. It was the hottest day of the year so naturally I cooked heavy, starchy and oily food. And after ten years, I think I may have cracked the secret to cooking good Four Seasons Beans (四季豆 sei gwai dau). But I’m not going to share it here. You can read all about it in my next book, Cook It, Sichuan Food Made Easy.


川菜,(chuen choy, Sichuan food), truly is the best in the world, 世界第一 (saigai dai yat, World Number One). I love having guests, it’s the only way I get to taste a lot of dishes.

The kitchen is running all summer, but why not take a crash course in Chinese menu reading first?

復活節快樂!(Back to life festival happiness!)

Hoi hoi, it’s that time of year again when I look in my diary/calendar and re-remember what Good Friday is in Chinese: 耶穌受難節: Jesus experiences difficulties-festival. (Yeso sau laan jit.) Oh what joy. And really – ‘good’ Friday? From a, Easter-y point of view, that of Jesus in particular, can’t see what’s so good about it?

Easter itself is of course called 復活節 Return to Life Festival (Fuk Wut Jit), also very apt. ‘Easter’ – from ‘east’? Wind direction perhaps? As usual, the Chinese have nailed this very western ‘festival’ linguistically. And they do right to concentrate on eating bunny rabbits rather than harping on about Jesus in my opinion.

Because: If Jesus was born on the same day every year, why did he die on a completely different day every year, eh?

Always look on the bright side of life.

打風 Typhoon!!!!!

What are those dogs? Shooting Town Geezer and Country Geezer (2009)

What do cows do when a typhoon signal 8 is raging, I wonder?

T8: 八號風球(baat hou fung kao – 8 number wind ball) The scourge of Lantau. Not! As usual, the weather bureau says we’re going to have a direct hit. Even seven hours ago when this typhoon was just a gleam in the raincoat-covered TVB reporter’s eye, all kindergartens closed. Come ON! What’s wrong with Hong Kong? When did we become so damned weak? One would think drops of water were acid the way the government carries on. The kindergartens closed at 8:30am. Now it’s 4:17pm and still no rain.

Anyway, in Cantonese, typhoon is a verb. 打風, (da fung – hitting or striking wind). I used to think the word typhoon came from 打風, but no. It’s actually 颱風,(toi fung, typhoon wind). But that’s not much used, it’s normally 哎呀,今日會打風呀! (ai ah, gamyat wui da fung ah! Oh dear, today will hit wind ah!)

Always connected to the Canto world

If you survive the onslaught, why not take a Cantonese course this year? You’ll never be short of weather expressions again!

Always connected to the Canto world

Always connected to the Canto world


I learnt a new verb today. A taxi driver asked me “有冇 搶香蕉呀?" Yau mou cheung heung chiu ah? (something like that) – Have you CHEUNG bananas?
I thought it meant ‘hoard’ but arriving at the character via an article in Apple Daily, I found that 搶 means rob or grab.

He also told me that HK people are cheung-ing rice, salt and oil like mad. ‘Make a run on the supermarket’ – one word! I like that.

But why? Just to be fashionable? I sauntered into my local Park’N’Shop and it was business as usual. According to the taxi driver the shelves in the rest of Hong Kong are robbed clean. 搶 baby 搶!

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