Friday, April 14, 2017

Interesting quips from 涂磊

Our fav youtube show before we got netflix was 爱情保卫战, though it is slowly being replaced by another favorite 一转成双, which I was reassured by Mr Bear that would deliver violence on top of the volatile relationships ( I had to watch like 20+ blurry episodes before someone finally got slapped).

But of course 一转成双 does not have the erudite 涂磊, whom we cheekily nicknamed a nice foul word courtesy of the Canton dialect. He can toss 4 worded, 8 worded chinese idioms like 蒺藜火毬 at warring couples. Sounds very bombastic, but I cannot really understand them (possibly because my Mandarin is pretty shite).

Here's a great sample:

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Korean adventures in Blowfish aka Pufferfish

Yesterday, we wanted to have dinner at my aunt's favorite Korean restaurant, Xing Xing Korean Restaurant, along Tanjong Pagar road (which I also had lunch at with colleagues to celebrate the end of fucking horrible 2016 *an epic horrendous year of losses*). Unfortunately that evening the restaurant was fully occupied with a Korean tour group (seriously,  you come to Singapore to eat Korean? It's like me going to Korea to eat mee pok :D but I can understand. After a few days in Australia, my mother and I wanted to just find rice, any rice.). 

So we ended up at another Korean restaurant which I had eaten before, because I wanted to ask Bobo to try sea squirts, only to receive a vehement "NO". The BBQ was cheaper but because we were freaking cold from the relentless rain, we decided to order a hotpot. I wanted to get codfish (they were out *sigh*) so I suggested blowfish. 

"Blowfish? Is that pufferfish?" Bobo asked. Yeah, turned out it was. After a few grumbles about being poisoned, we chose the pufferfish. As we were eating the hotpot, Bobo suddenly piped up, "wait a sec, didn't we have pufferfish the other time?"

"You mean at Jagalchi? It was abalone."

"No, that pufferfish specialty restaurant."

금수 복국 specializes in pufferfish
Oh Yah! That pufferfish specialty restaurant 금수 복국! Back in Jul, we decided to go to Busan and Seoul for a week. As usual, I used blogs for references, earning me a lot of brickbats from Bobo this time as many of the suggested eateries are no longer open. I must say that South Korean turnover is super high, as compared to other recommendations I get from blogs for other countries, we encountered close to 70% failures.

Fortunately, 금수 복국 was open. In fact, it was bustling with lunch hour business when we reached in our usual blundering, confused mode (GPS and Google maps suck when standing along narrow streets especially with nearby tall buildings. The business is split into two floors, one floor serving the busy lunch crowd of ajummas and ajussis (I noticed an overwhelming proportion of older folks) who just want to eat, gossip, and glare at us two strange morons not necessarily in that order. The top floor is the more atas, zen establishment where you can dwell in silence about being potentially dying from a bite of the poisonous fish.
The saner priced menu (downstairs)
I was determined to try the atas "Kaiseki" menu, of course, having read that the blogger had a romantic set which I thought was reasonably priced. Bobo kicked up a fuss of course, because that salty olive wanted to eat the cheaper dishes downstairs.

But of course I prevailed.

But the so called romantic set was no longer available. Instead we ordered the fugu sashimi lunch set (40,000 won per pax). On hindsight, this is still cheaper than eating in Singapore (the hotpot alone was S$75, didn't even come with rice. Is so banned by me now).

For this price, we enjoyed the following:
See? Upstairs is different. Once you sit down, there is a chilled pumpkin soup

Banchan comprising of anchovies, cabbage kimchi, eggplants and octopus (or was it Jellyfish?)
Palate cleanser of "gelatin-like" fugu skin salad

La piece d'Resistance, Fugu sashimi

The service is different upstairs and downstairs. Downstairs they were polite, efficient but abrupt, even had a lady who could communicate in Mandarin. Upstairs, while the Manager could not communicate well in English, he was really effusive and endeavored. The lady who served us could not speak a word of English, but was very kindly and gentle, guiding us on how to eat the fugu sashimi. To roll chives and fugu skin (white strips in middle of plate) in a slice of see-through flesh before dipping in wasabi or gochujang, whichever floated your boat.

Some fishes. We can't understand Korean, but by the staff's hand gestures, they should be and were super yumz
More fugu in a yummy sauce
Fried Udon to fill us up. I super like!
Tempura. So-so I thought.
Finally we had the fugu stew. You could choose between spicy and non-spicy, which both of us tried. Spicy was better.
Both spicy and non-spicy versions came with golden mushrooms, watercress and bean sprouts with the fugu. You could add condiments, which came at the side.
I thought that for the variety and service we had, the price was worth it. Also there was the beautiful and quiet ambience, nice to relax and cool down after a morning trek to the gorgeous but bloody ulu Haedong Yonggungsa (famous temple by the sea). Note: one of the Busan's outlet malls is about two bus stops down from the temple's bus stop. I would have stopped but Bobo didn't let me *infuriated*.

Seriously no joke, trekking in the hot Korean summer to reach the temple.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Lisa Beazley - Keep me Posted

Two sisters separated by oceans started writing to each other after being inspired by their grandparents during Christmas reunion. Each sister encountered family life problems, one self inflicted by her own unhappiness and low self-esteem, the other by her husband's infidelity.
The book is written from Cassie's perspective, so we only hear about the other Sid from her letters. Sid is definitely the more lovable and zen character, reminded me of my own aunt, than her sister who is hung up about her own regrets to a point where she neglects her wonderful husband (he splurged his life savings so that she could have IVF treatment to have their beloved twins, ceded to her when she wanted to stay in their beautiful apartment which became too tiny to contain the same boisterous twins and didn't even complain when she spent nearly 4K on clothes), preferring to get excited about meeting an ex who treated her badly.

I thought it was an easy read for a dull afternoon, though the happy ending had me rolling my eyes a bit lot. Oh come on, it's a little too good to be true.. [spoiler in white: Cassie gets to share a beautiful new compound with her beloved sister and their families]. I kinda want to slap Cassie, I thought her husband and her sister gave in a little too easily. I mean her sister spurns social media and her idiotic little sister accidentally posted their letter exchange online with "Slow News Sisters" blog that goes viral. I WOULD HAVE PLACED HER BETWEEN MY THIGHS IN A MOUNTAIN POSE AND SLOWLY CONTORT THE BREATH OUT OF HER. I am not convinced that Sid loves her husband, it felt a little as if she just went with the flow since she is so zen. And the husband character just existed so that he can pay up for the expensive alimony at the end.

It was like the author gave up towards the end, and like "fuck it, lets give a nice ending so that I can stop writing."

3 out of 5 stars (because of the ending).

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

Just Kidding.

Happy Father's Day to all Daddies (including mine) out there!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Susan Mallery - The Friends we keep

Edit: I mistook the writer as Jill Mansell (another of my favorite authors. Ah, the errors when reviewing via phone. Sorry Jill!
Susan Mallery's books usually revolve two or three women who are related to one another. In "The friends we keep", three friends who know one another from "Supper's in the bag" face their own life challenges as they prepped their meals three hours a week. Interesting business concept, I must say.

Gabby Schaefer, the law graduate turned second wife/stepmother, is readying her twins for kindergarten so that she can return to part time work. She doesn't really have to work because her hubby's quite well to do. But she is dying to find herself after being a hausfrau for five years. Ah first world problem, as compared to her friend Hayley Batchelor who is shortchanging her and her hubby's life in her desire to have her own child. Never mind that she had five miscarriages and her husband's desperate pleas for her to have a hysterectomy to save her from hemorrhaging. 

Nicole Lord, the only person in this story who i find is the protagonist of the love story, is the last friend who makes up the trio. Her ex was just the sperm donor to her lovely son Tyler, so much so that her son no longer cares whether the man shows up to see him. Instead he latches onto the author of his favorite book series, Brad the Dragon. Too bad mommy had a bad impression of Jairus after he mistook her for a hooker. Interesting friends he has but too bad, the book focuses on her friends instead and we never get to see his friends. Would have been interesting to meet the kind of people who might get their friend a hooker after he complains of a dry spell.

All three stories are engaging, sad and touching all at the same time.  Nicole's story was romantic but very run of the mill.  Could have predicted that she would fall in love with Brad the Dragon's author. Boring. Hayley's story was a bit whiney, not about her not having kids but her emo baggage from being an adopted daughter. Gabby's a great mom and I liked her story the most because it showed the progress of her relationship with her step daughter strengthening through adversity.

Fairly interesting read. 3.5 out of 5 stars


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