2009/11/27

Hue Specialties


"flour, shrimp, pork, and spies"?!
I wonder what kind of spies they use.
CIA? KGB? or MI6?

Since June 6, 2010:
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Pho Sai Gon/西貢河粉

Rating: Worth a Shot
評等:值得一嚐
Address: 10 Nguyen Van Cu, TP. Hue, Viet Nam

Another fine restaurant recommended by folks at Binh Duong I Hotel. English menu available.
又一間Binh Duong I旅館的帥哥推薦的好餐廳。有英文菜單。



Pho Bo/牛肉河粉/Beef Noodle Soup VND 20,000


I found a worm in the greens. The silver lining of this cloud is the absence of strong pesticide. The dark side is the risk of paracite.

我在生菜裡找到這條蟲。好處是:證明低農藥殘留;缺點是:可能有寄生蟲。

Hence the best way to eat vegetable is not salad, but slightly cooked in at least boiling water. It is washing rather than cooking.

因此,菜最好別生吃。至少燙一下。就當作是在洗菜吧!

Banh Bao/肉包/Pork Dumpling VND 7,000


Fillings include pork, mushroom, a quail egg, and sausage.

內餡含豬肉、鵪鶉蛋、香腸、香菇。

Chicken Banh Bao is VND 10,000.
雞肉包一萬盾一個。



Since May 12, 2010:
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2009/11/25

Ngoc Son Temple/玉山祠

2009年10月20日越南河內還劍湖玉山祠
Ngoc Son Temple, Ho Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi, Viet Nam, October 20, 2009




"NGOC SON TEMPLE
This is a famous place of historical and cultural interest at the heart of the city of Hanoi.
Being built on the Ngoc (Jade) Islet and dedicated to Confucian and Taoist philosophers and the national hero Tran Hung Dao. The temple dates back from time immemorial and was expanded in 1865 with many works that we can see today - Thap But (Pen Tower), Dai Nghien (Ink Slab), The Huc (Welcoming Sunshine), Bridge, Dac Nguyet (Moon Contemplation) Pavilion, and Dinh Tran Ba (Pavilion Against Waves) - each of them has a significant meaning.
Together with Ho Hoan Kiem (Sword - Restored Lake), it has become a beauty spot, beautiful and historic, of the capital of Hanoi."
玉山祠 龍門/Dragon Gate "硯台筆塔大塊文章 唐科末榜士子階梯"
"人間文字無權全憑陰德 天上主司有眼單看心田" "The words of human carry no weight, deeds are the only things that matters; The Lord above has eyes, that watch only the hearts." 虎榜/Tiger List
硯台/Ink Slab
 Ngoc Son Temple 敬字亭/Gazebo for Tribute to Words This is a Chinese tradition I have only read of, but never seen it in action. Words used to be considered so sacred that papers with words were to be treated with proper respect. Hence disposed paper with words were required to be incinerated in order to sent the words back to heaven. “道有主張北文明之象“ "The priciple of Tao is a sign of the civiliation in the north, in the direction of the Big Dipper;" “人同瞻仰南禮樂之都“ "Everybody admires the land of rites and music down south in the state of Jiao." Jiao is a state established by a Chinese emperor in 111 B.C. It is an ancient name for the the region consists of middle and northern Vietnam, and part of the southern China. Practically  it is the "Chine" in the French word "Indochine". Friendly staff giving away free city maps. 親切的職員免費奉送河內地圖 1968年還劍湖中捕獲的巨鱉/Giant turtle caught in 1968 龍馬河圖 神龜洛書 Notice there is a sword on the turle's back. This signifies the legend of Sword Restored Lake. In short, it is the Vietnamese version of King Arthur, with a giant turtle replacing the lady in the lake. 注意龜背上有柄劍。長話短說,這個故事是越南版的亞瑟王,不過湖中的仙女換成一隻巨龜。 筆塔/Pen Tower Free counters!

轉載:台灣逆轉勝,從宜蘭開始

台灣逆轉勝,從宜蘭開始:轉載自Freddy的部落格


(我一歲與阿嬤的合照)

我是阿嬤帶大的孩子,她是我兒時最親的家人。小時候她常跟我講以前的故事,日本時代躲美軍轟炸、跑防空洞、戰爭後蔣介石來了、獨裁集團的惡行惡狀。阿嬤的故事,跟國民黨教的大中國歷史教科書完全沒有連結,再加上學校禁說台語,我對台語越來越生疏,甚至被敎著鄙視台語,我漸漸覺得阿嬤越來越陌生。

阿嬤她在世的最後幾年搬到宜蘭二結,開始唸大學的我,台灣意識剛啟蒙,也重新練習講母語。我常開著北宜公路去宜蘭找年近九十的阿嬤,每次見到她我都泣不成聲,已經老人失智的她,一直安慰我叫我不要哭;我告訴阿嬤,我重新講台語了,妳以前跟我講的事情我都懂了,但是她根本連我是誰都認不得。最後,她在羅東聖母醫院過世,我跟阿嬤之間被國民黨切斷的記憶臍帶,永遠都斷裂了。

六十年前,國民黨來到台灣,展開戒嚴統治幾十年,用槍桿子掃除台灣人千百年來的共同記憶、消滅台灣社會不易得來的現代進步性。一年半前,國民黨重新統治台灣,用行政資源、御用檢調、媒體名嘴掃蕩台灣人近年來建立的自由與多元價值。工具不同,但是國民黨骨子裡的壞卻是相同,對於台灣價值的恨,已經深入國民黨的骨髓,四年前上台的宜蘭呂國華更是徹底展現。

幾十年來,宜蘭人建立的價值,是與自然共存的生命觀、是對文化與創意的追求、是對人本與自由的認同;這些價值,也是台灣人對一個優質國家的想像,成為台灣人共同的認同。然而,對於擅長破壞性開發、崇拜獨裁專制的國民黨,這些價值是他們最痛恨的價值。呂國華沒有帶來更具效率的團隊執行力,沒有帶來新而進步的價值,政見幾乎全跳票;但是要讓「童玩節」停辦,讓「綠色博覽會」崩壞,他們的效率十足,毫不怠慢,這些凝聚宜蘭人向心力的悠久文化節慶,就是他們急欲摧毀的宜蘭歷史與光榮感。

國民黨這個中央、地方與國會三位一體全面統治台灣的怪獸,重新大規模地要抹去這代台灣人的共同記憶與價值,而呂國華就在台灣價值的最前線做地毯式的掃蕩、清理,把宜蘭人的光榮感徹底踩在腳底下,不斷補槍,務使台灣價值無法重見天日;這位自稱宜蘭馬英九的呂國華,力圖貫徹主帥馬英九的意志,日以繼夜地想讓自己更像馬英九、變成馬英九。

雪燧開通以後,大家都說去宜蘭方便多了。但我最喜歡的,還是從新店上山,經過坪林下車吃午餐逛茶行,再繼續開著北宜公路,悠然地在山中彎來拐去,當開闊的蘭陽平原與龜山島映入眼簾之時,暢快的氣流如醍醐灌頂,身心好像完成病毒掃描、磁碟重組然後重新開機的舒爽,想著回去看阿嬤的日子,台灣意識啟蒙時期的明朗感、大學時代的幹勁也都回來了。

日前,我們台灣青年逆轉本部特別把營隊辦在宜蘭,面對接著的縣長選舉,我們更是全力動員親友、連絡拉票,在這個與國民黨短兵相接的最前線,台灣人絕對不能鬆懈,我們不只要攻下這個灘頭堡,還要大勝!十二月五日,請大家用我們最強大的武器-「選票」,終結宜蘭的馬英九「呂國華」,台灣逆轉勝,就從宜蘭開始!

Since May 16, 2010:
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2009/11/24

轉載:你準備好吃美國牛內臟了嗎?

你準備好吃美國牛內臟了嗎?

2009/11/23

Close Shave in Prague/有驚無險布拉格

有驚無險布拉格:2009年11月23日刊載於自由時報

When I visited Czech Republic, I had the luck of running into World Bank Summit. Hotels in Prague was flooded by attedants and protestors. It took me quite some effort to find a bed. In the lobby of the hotel, there were local business cards. One of them read "Relaxation... Turkish bath, massage"

I thought that place was a SPA. So I hiked across the city after walking the city the whole day, and a concert. At the gate, there was a security searching everyone with a metal detector. In the hall, a super model like hottie greeted me. She was going to show me their facilities.

The first stop was a lounge with strip tease. (hmm... this is Europe. Folks have a very open altitude on this aspect...)

The second stop was steam bath and massage tables. (Now we are talking.)

The third stop was lockers for valualbes (How thoughtful.)

Finally... A small room filled with a king sieze bed! She said this would be my room after I made my selection in the lounge.

Crap. I was still an over aged virgin then. In addition, I was dead tired after hiking around the city the whole day.

"This is not what I expected." The lady's expression turned stern. "What were you expecting?" "I thought this was a spot that I could take a bath, and perhaps also massage." The lady became ever so tense, and led me to the manager. At the entrance, the manager was surrounded by a bunch of super models. My hostess was speaking in Czech, which I knew only how to say "thank you" then. Everyone listened with very straight faces. After her report, the manager turned to me, waved his right index finger, and said "No! No! No! This is all about sex. Come back, when you are ready." At the drop of his voice, everyone burst out laughting, including myself. That was my exit cue.

2000年,頭一回到捷克,剛好碰上世銀峰會。與會人士跟示威人士幾乎把市內的旅店全擠爆了。我花了好大一番工夫才找到落腳處。旅社大廳放了不少市內商家的名片。其中有一張寫著「土耳其浴、按摩、放鬆…」

以為名片上那地方是個SPA,城裡走一整天,聽完音樂會後,我就過去了。還沒進門,在大門口,就看到警衛拿金屬探測器搜客人的身。進了門,迎接我的是個超模般的辣妹,說要先為我介紹他們的設施。

首先是大廳,有美女跳鋼管舞(歐洲比較開放,這大概是正常的);

再來是土耳其浴室、按摩間(恩,等一下可以輕鬆一下了);

然後是置物櫃可以保管我的貴重物品(真周到);

最後…是張大床。美女說,這是給我用的房間,我呆會兒先去大廳挑一個然後這個小天地就是我的了。

開玩笑!我那時還是個超齡處男呢!而且走了整天路,早累趴了。我說:「這跟我想的不一樣。」美女的臉垮了,問:「怎麼不一樣?你想的是啥?」我說我以為是個SPA,是可以洗澡、按摩、放鬆、休息的地方。美女,臉色鐵青,領著我回前臺見老大。

老大身旁圍著一群鶯鶯燕燕。美女跟老大說了一串我聽不懂的捷克語,老大跟其他人面色凝重地聽著。等美女說完,老大轉頭向我說:「不!不!不!這裡都是性交易。等你準備好了以後再回來吧?」話聲未落,鶯鶯燕燕們早都笑得花枝亂顫。我也跟著傻笑著揮了揮衣袖。


照片中的傳單是我2006年再次路過布拉格時拿的,多寫了「美眉、美眉」跟「伴遊服務」。不知那多出來的說明跟當年的我有沒有關係?

I picked up this brochure on my second visit to the city of Prague in 2006. This time, there were two lines more: "Girls, Girls..." and "Escort Service".

I wonder if I have any thing to do with that revision.





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2009/11/20

Imperial Dining/宮廷料理: Y Thao vs Tinh Gia Vien

Imperial Dining, Hue, Vietnam
越南順化宮廷料理

IMHO, don't. If you insist, then Y Thao is the place to go. Do NOT go to Tinh Gia Vien.

These restaurants are tourist traps. In addition to being over priced, almost no locals would visit these places. Tinh Gia Vien even quotes their prices in US dollars. Y Thao has relatively good value. That explains why I saw many tour buses dumping loads of toursts there.

Folks at Binh Duong I Hotel advised me not to try this style of dining. I should have listened. They recommended Y Thao after I insisted, because of the darn guide book.

個人淺見:別當暴發戶。如果您堅持要嘗試的話,推薦Y Thao,千萬別去Tinh Gia Vien。Y Thao相對來說投資報酬率較好。所以很多遊覽車送整團的遊客來這裡吃飯。

Binh Duong I旅館的美眉勸我不要浪費錢,可是我因為那本爛旅遊指南,堅持要試。所以她就推薦了Y Thao。

This is when I got really pissed by this crappy guide book. It recommended attempting imperial dining when in Hue. Even worse, it recommended Tinh Gia Vien, the worst restaurant in value I have ever been in during my entire visit to Vietnam.
More about 越南
這是壓垮駱駝的最後一根稻草。Tinh Gia Vien是我在越南吃過投資報酬率最差的餐廳。對這本指南徹底喪失信心。

Environment/環境:

Tinh Gia Vien:
Address: 7/28 Le Thanh Ton

It was quiet as I was the only customer that evening.
很安靜,因為當晚只有我一位客人。

Y Thao:
Address: 3 Thach Han

Some white trash allowed their brats to roam wild in the garden making a lot of noise.
兩個沒家教的死囡仔在花園裡吵鬧。


Y Thao wins on hardware, Tinh Gia Vien on software due to lack of business.
Y Thao的硬體較優。Tinh Gia Vien因沒生意所以清靜。

Tinh Gia Vien: Menu/菜單


Dance of the Phoenix/鳳舞:

Tinh Gia Vien:


Y Thao:



Tinh Gia Vien wins by slightly better taste and guantity. The making of this dish is not as difficult as it appears. You first roll up layers of materials into a stick, then slice. The main ingredient is Vietnamese ham, available almost every where.
Tinh Gia Vien以質、量勝出。這道菜其實沒那麼唬人。做法跟紫菜飯捲類似:先捲成一根棍子,然後再切片就很容易了。主料是到處都買得到的越南火腿。

Pineapple Lantern of Assorted Appetizers/鳳梨燈籠開胃菜:

Tinh Gia Vien:


Y Thao:


Y Thao wins by presentation, quality and quantity.
Y Thao以質、量、呈現勝出。

Surprise Soup of Hue:

Tinh Gia Vien:


Y Thao:


Neither leaves a lasting impression on me. Let's cconsider this round a draw.
沒印象。算平手。

Tinh Gia Vien: Vietnamese Spring Roll in the Form of Peacock/孔雀春捲:


Y Thao: Banh Khoai


Y Thao wins.

Appetizers from Tinh Gia Vien do not differenciate much from the spring roll. Banh Khoai has more local colour of Hue. Y Thao also wins in workmanship for this dish. However, Hanh is the place to go for Banh Khoai.

Y Thao 勝出。

Tinh Gia Vien的開胃菜與春捲出現重複性,而Y Thao的Banh Khoai比較有順化的地方特色。而且這兩道菜比起來,Y Thao的手藝較好。但是真想吃Banh Khoai的話,還是跑一趟Hanh吧!

Fried Macsofish Sautee with TomatoShrimp/蝦:

Tinh Gia Vien: One shrimp

AFTER the "dessert" was served, I questioned the hostess why there was no fish? Then she informed me she "replaced" the fish with shrimp for me.

在上了「甜點」之,我問怎麼沒看到魚。侍者說,她用蝦代替了魚。

Y Thao: Two shrimps


I would choose two shrimps over the service.
我寧願自己剝蝦殼也要兩隻蝦。

Tinh Gia Vien: Sweet and Sour Papaya in the Form of Dragon/龍形酸甜木瓜


Y Thao: oops. I forgot what this was./我忘了這是蝦米碗糕。

Grilled Beef/烤牛肉


But who cares. This papaya thingie is available at Hanh at peanuts!
啊又怎樣?反正要吃酸甜木瓜,Hanh的好吃又便宜。

Tinh Gia Vien has one dish less than Y Thao.
Tinh Gia Vien比Y Thao少一道菜。

Tinh Gia Vien: Caontonese Rice in the Form of Tortoise

You must be freaking kidding me. Is this Vietnamese imperial dining or Chinese street vendor? Is Vietnamese still kissing Chinese rear end? Even from Cantonese rice point of view, this dish fails the oldest trick in the book: Use over night rice, for it is dryer. So the fried rice does not become soggy. If you crave for fried rice while in Hue, Chau Loan is the place to go.

開啥子玩笑?這到底是越南宮廷料理還是中國路邊攤?難道越南還在P中國的LP嗎?就算從炒飯的觀點來說,這道炒飯也超級失敗。看過周星馳的食神吧?沒用隔夜飯炒!又溼又軟,一塌糊塗!就算您在順化想吃炒飯,也請上Chau Loan,甭來這兒挨宰吧!

Y Thao: Lotus Rice/蓮子飯


Y Thao wins hands down. Lotus rice is one of the speicialties of imperial dining. The rice is loaded with flavour. This delicate dish deserve proper appliciation.

Y Thao大勝。蓮子飯是宮廷料理的特色之一。值得細細品味,千萬別狼吞虎嚥。


Dessert/甜點:

Tinh Gia Vien: I fail to grasp their sense of humor./哈! 哈! 哈! 不好笑。

I wonder if Tinh Gia Vien tired at all. The banana is still green. Nina Cafe's free fruit is better than this./拜託~這叫甜點哦?綠的香蕉也敢拿出來下兮下正!Nina Cafe的免費水果都比這裡強!

Y Thao: In addition to a well presented orange, the "flowers" are actually edible green bean pastries./除了弄得還不錯看的橘子外,那兩朵「花」其實是可以吃的綠豆糕。


Damage/帳單:

Tinh Gia Vien: US$20/VND360,000, for prix fix only.

Y Thao:
Prix Fix: VND 215,000
Lemond Juice: VND 15,000
Coffee: VND 10,000


Service/服務:

Tinh Gia Vien:
Snobish and neglect. This is not acceptable consider I was the only customer that evening. The hostess did not inform me the replacement of fish with shrimp in advance. At the end of the meal, she neither informed me it was the end nor bringing me the bill. She just let me hanging there dry. I thought she was bringing me the real dessert. After I had waited long enough, I had to cry out loud several time to get her attention. I regreted that I did not dash.
臭屁且忽略人客。當晚只有我一個客人,這種服務態度簡直不能接受。沒有事先通知換菜。上完最後一道菜後,既沒有給我帳單,也沒告訴我上完菜了,就自己跑去休息。我還在癡癡地等甜點咧!等很久以後,我還得大聲嚷幾回才有人鳥我。我很後悔沒有落跑。

Y Thao:
There were enough warm affection from the wait staffs to leak through the veil of "imperial" snobishness.
在深宮的冷漠中,仍然感覺得到服務人員的熱情。

Conclusion: In Vietnam, street food rules!

結論:在越南,路邊攤最好!



Additional Reference/延伸閱讀:Temple

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