Wuxia Web Novel Series Live!

Hello world!

I came back from a 3-week adventure in Shandong and Henan provinces; Nanjing, and Beijing. Then, I launched a web novel collaboration with Taki tentatively titled, Gathering of Heroes series: Anhu. Whew! It’s been busy but great things are in the works. Here’s a snippet of the story to tide you over:

The illusion of peace is shattered for the residents of Dong Ying on one fateful night, when the cogs of a near-forgotten legend begin to turn. Two young women whose paths were never meant to cross find their stories slowly begin to intertwine as they are challenged by assassins and demons in this new world. Can Zhang Huizhong, a noble with a stubborn streak, and Li Chunfeng, a bandit with a penchant for erupting, unravel this centuries old legend before it consumes the lives of their loved ones – and that of Weiguang Kingdom?

Check it out and let us know what you think! In the meantime, I am earnestly compiling my journals, including my 2017 trip to Japan and South Korea.

Gathering of Heroes Series: Anhu

Gathering of Heroes Series: Anhu

Toronto, Ontario 2018: Other Delectable Chinese Restaurants Part III

During the week of March 31 to April 8, 2018,  my family and I visited Toronto, Ontario. It was simply a homecoming for all of us. The primary reason for our visit was to celebrate my aunt’s 80th birthday and to gather with family and family friends. The majority of the time was spent in Markham and Richmond Hill; both cities are located in the suburbs and centers of the Chinese community in Toronto. Once again, we enjoyed the delicious Chinese food and noted changes since 2013 (our last visit).

For the remaining days that we spent in Toronto, we tried various types of Chinese cuisine.

Elegance Chinese Cuisine & Banquet 雅景豪苑

On my aunt’s actual birthday, together with our extended family, we went to this Chinese restaurant and tried their set meal, consisting of winter melon soup, mustard steak, Peking duck with thin pancake slices, lettuce and crispy rice wraps with a mixed duck meat and nut filling; soy sauce chicken, stir-fried vegetables with bean curb and goji berries; and eggplant with meat claypot.

The food came elaborately decorated, especially the winter melon soup. The taste was mediocre and the food was saltier than expected (especially the eggplant with meat claypot). We did feel that we were not given the entire Peking duck when they finished cutting the crispy skin from it, judging by the size of the dish that we were given. The best dishes were the winter melon soup and the mustard steak for its flavor. Overall, the food was average at best despite the ornate atmosphere of the restaurant.

Winter Melon Soup

Peking Duck

Continue reading

Toronto, Ontario 2018: Eating Chinese – Hong Kong-style Cafes Part II

Hong Kong-style cafes typically have a variety of dishes on their menus but the most prominent are the following:

  • Congee (rice porridge) with different toppings, such as preserved vegetables, and meats (beef, chicken, fish)
  • Chow mein
  • Fried breadsticks
  • Dim sum
  • Soup noodles (e.g. won ton noodles)
  • Barbecue foods (e.g. roast dick, roast pork, char siu)

We tried two places: Congee Queen and Congee Wong (which translates to Congee King).

Congee Queen

This is a restaurant franchise that has multiple locations throughout the Toronto suburbs. It is a great place to go for every meal of the day, if you fancy something simple. My family and I have eaten at this restaurant a couple of times but at different locations. This time we ordered fried Singapore-style rice vermicelli, wonton noodle soup with shrimp dumplings, ride noodle breadsticks, roast pork rice, Chinese donuts, house special congee, and stir-fried snow pea leaves.

Wonton Noodles

Continue reading

Toronto, Ontario 2018: Eating Chinese and Aunt’s 80th Birthday Banquet Part I

During the week of March 31 to April 8, 2018,  my family and I visited Toronto, Ontario. It was simply a homecoming for all of us. The primary reason for our visit was to celebrate my aunt’s 80th birthday and to gather with family and family friends. The majority of the time was spent in Markham and Richmond Hill; both cities are located in the suburbs and centers of the Chinese community in Toronto. Once again, we enjoyed the delicious Chinese food and noted changes since 2013 (our last visit).

Ocean Seafood Restaurant 東海海鮮餐廳

We visited this restaurant with our family from Canada to celebrate my father’s and my other aunt’s birthdays on March 31. We tried the set meal for eight people consisting of steamed fish, roasted duck, shark fin soup, garlic crab, stir-fried vegetables with eggplant and mushrooms, and fried yi mein (or e-fu noodles). Overall, not too greasy and salty. The fish and duck were very flavorful and tender.

Steamed Fish at Ocean Seafood Restaurant

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Aunt’s 80th Birthday Bonanza on April 1st

My aunt’s birthday bonanza was held on April 1st. Family members from both of my parents’ sides came to celebrate. Continue reading

TRAVEL: Hong Kong 2015 (September 26-30, 2015)

Nightfall on Harbour City

Attraction List

  • Nan Lian Garden and Nunnery
  • Ocean Terminal and the Peak – View of Victoria Harbour (day and night)
  • Avenue of the Stars (Tsim Sha Tsui)
  • Hong Kong Museum of History

After visiting Macau and Lantau Island, we spent a few more days in Hong Kong. We last visited Hong Kong in 2010, so this entry is more of an update of the attractions one can visit.

Nan Lian Garden & Nunnery

Nan Lian Garden and Nunnery is a classical Chinese garden built among modern sky rises in the Kowloon district. As you pass through the gate, the left side houses the Chinese Timber Architecture Gallery, which houses models of historical sites from China.

Nan Lian Garden & Nunnery

The rest of garden is built in a circular fashion allowing one to take a pleasant walk under the trees and admire the flora and birds. At the center, there is a Tang-style pagoda with a red bridge leading up to it. The overall attraction is worth visiting if you enjoy viewing Chinese architecture.

Nan Lian Garden & Nunnery

Nan Lian Garden & Nunnery

Victoria Harbour is the iconic view of Hong Kong. The best views are from the Ocean Terminal and the promenade along Tsim Sha Tsui. Continue reading

TRAVEL: Lantau Island 大嶼山 and Tai-O 大澳, Hong Kong (September 25, 2015)

Lantau - View from Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car

Lantau Island (大嶼山)

  • Ngong Ping 360
  • Po Lin Monastery
  • Tian Tan Buddha
  • Wisdom Path 

Ngong Ping 360 is one of Hong Kong’s newest attractions. The cable car takes you from the terminal in Hong Kong to Ngong Ping Village in Lantau Island, allowing an aerial view of the lush verdant landscape surrounding the bronze Tian Tan Buddha. At Ngong Ping village, you can explore the various attractions: Walking with Buddha and Motion 360.

Ngong Ping 360 Village

Nearby you can ascend several steps to the Tian Tan Buddha surrounded by various deities presenting offerings to the Buddha.

Lantau - Road to Big Buddha

Big Buddha's Deities & Their Offerings

Erected in 1993, the Tian Tan Buddha, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, faces north toward mainland China. The statue is modeled after the sculptures found in the Longmen Grottoes, which date from the Northern Wei to early Tang dynasties. Continue reading

TRAVEL: Macau 澳门 (September 24, 2015)

Macau From Above

Attractions

  • Macau Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Penha Church
  • A-Ma Temple
  • St. Paul’s Ruins
  • Monte Fort
  • Hac Sa Beach (Coloane, Macau)

In the southern Guangdong province of China lies the autonomous territory of Macau (澳门). Macau was once under the Portuguese during 1550’s to 1999. Since 1999, Macau is considered a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, meaning that the territory enjoys a high degree of autonomy with no or less control by the Central Government of China.

The Wynn in Macau

Macau is considered the “Las Vegas of Asia” with its main skyline dotted with world-renown hotels and casinos as noted in the first photo. The main languages are Cantonese and Portuguese. During our stay in Hong Kong, we visited Macau as a quick one-day trip (about an hour trip via ferry from Hong Kong). We arrived in the Outer Harbor area of Macau and rented two passenger vans since we traveled with several family members.

The weather was hot and humid, which warrants sun protection and plenty of water to keep hydrated. The first stop we visited was Macau Fisherman’s Wharf. According to Travel China Guide, it is a theme park and shopping area that utilizes different architectural themes: Dynasty Wharf (Tang dynasty), East Meets West Wharf (European), and Legend Wharf (a gaming area).

Fisherman's Wharf and Convention

Fisherman's Wharf and Convention

The vans took us to a panoramic sight on the hill, where Penha Church is located. It afforded a great view of the Macau Tower and the surrounding high rises. The church itself dates back from the 1622 and is still in use today. Continue reading

TRAVEL: Taipei, Taiwan in 72 hours (3/3)

September 22, 2015

Hazy Morning in Taipei from Park City Hotel

Attractions

  • Taipei Confucius Temple (台北市孔廟)
  • Linsheng Garden (鄰聖苑牌樓)
  • Dalongdong Bao’an Temple (大龍峒保安宮)
  • Taipei 101 and Mall

Mascots of Confucius' Temple

During our final day in Taipei, we visited some of the major sights of the city. After breakfast, we took the subway to the Datong District– an area that has several cultural attractions. First we visited the Taipei Confucius Temple (台北市孔廟); originally the temple was built in 1875 during the Qing Dynasty.

Confucius' Temple

Confucius' Temple

The original temple was destroyed during the Japanese occupation and later was rebuilt during the 1930’s. The temple walks the visitor through the story of Confucius and highlights the principles of Confucianism, such as social rituals and human virtues. The temple’s layout is very similar to that of the clan ancestral temple and has shrines to the Confucian sages, the Twelve Philosophers, and students of Confucius who made significant contributions to Confucianism. Continue reading