For a foodie family such as mine, Benavidez Street in Downtown Manila is proving to be a haven. The original Masuki (Ma Mon Luk) is located there, as well as Wai Ying and Sushi Yum (affordable Japanese – will blog about it soon). Our newest Benavidez discovery is Lan Zhou La Mien, which serves authentic hand pulled noodles.
Lanzhou is a city in Northwestern China that is popular, among other things, for hand-pulled noodles. Hand-pulled noodles have always fascinated me. The pulling and twisting of dough that eventually produces noodles is another Chinese ingenuity. No tools are necessary – just strong arms!
One rainy afternoon, the bored kids wanted to do something- anything! So I taught them how to make dumplings.
I gathered everything we’d be needing for making pork dumplings. I posted the recipe here in my blog some time ago. This time, I left out the shrimps since Nate is allergic to them.
Our favorite way of cooking dumplings is by boiling. But frying makes the dumplings yummier, especially when the dipping sauce is oomphed with chili oil. *slurp* Making dumplings is a fun and easy activity you can do with your kids this rainy summer.
Here are some updates on the recipe I posted two years ago:
Have you ever wanted to learn Mandarin but do not know where or how to start? One of the methods of learning Mandarin is Chinese Character Canon.
For the longest time, I’ve been trying hard (in the truest sense of the words “trying hard”) to learn the Chinese language.
When my daughters are having tutorials, I would sit close by and listen. I have a nice CD of Chinese love songs in the car that I listen to once in a while, hoping that, through subconscious suggestion, I will one day start singing along.
Whenever they (husband and kids) are watching Chinese flicks, I’d watch along too (as if I understood a fourth of whatever was going on in the movie). Buti na lang, my I.Q. is above average (kuno, hehehe) so my guesses on the plot goings-on are usually correct. (Naah, some Chinese movies are just too predictable!)
The thing is – the Chinese language is very complex. It does not work like the English language, which has 26 letters put together to make up words. There is no alphabet in the Chinese language, only characters – over 80,000 characters! Of course, only about 1,000 characters are required to be basically conversant and literate.
But even so, how long does it take to learn a thousand characters effectively? My 12-year old daughter, who has been studying in a Chinese school for eight years, will probably recognize about 300 characters ( I am not even sure of this). As for mastered characters, the count will probably come under 200. Because her interest to learn isn’t very high at the moment, how much she is able to learn is also affected. (Schools should make Chinese studies fun and interesting!)
In January of this year, the center where my kids have Chinese tutorials offered a Mandarin course. The course, called Chinese Character Canon, utilizes a non-conventional method to learn Mandarin. It is totally different from Hanyu Pinyin, where Chinese characters have phonetic equivalents in the English alphabet. Hanyu Pinyin is the system used by my kids’ school, and is slowly being adopted by more schools in the Philippines.
Chinese Character Canon is different, in that it uses a poem – a very long poem composed of 4,000 non-repeating characters. At the end of the complete course, one is supposedly guaranteed to master all 4,000 unique characters. I signed up for the first phase, where I will learn 1,000 characters in six months.
Last week, my kids’ school celebrated the Moon Cake Festival by allowing the students to play theMoon Cake Festival dice game. In previous years, school authorities did not allow the game to be played by the kids because some parents objected, saying it was a form of gambling.
Well, okay, it is a form of gambling, albeit harmless. it’s also an integral part of Chinese culture, and our kids need to learn the tradition for it to live on.
Though our celebration seems late, I am glad that the traditional game has been revived this year. Actually, the Mooncake Festival dice game is one tradition that I’d like to start in my own family. Though we weren’t able to do it this year, I hope we get to play it next year.
The Mooncake Festival dice game originated in Southern Fujian (Fookien), China, where most Chinese in the Philippines migrated from. Participants – the more, the merrier – gather around a ceramic bowl with 6 dice. They all take turns throwing the dice into the bowl with hopes of getting the good combinations, if not the best – called “chong wan”. The highest “chong wan” combination consists of 4 fours and 2 ones.