Fresh baked “Fong Bao” from the oven – 方包出爐

Random musings & meditations straight from the oven. Hopefully some food for thought as well…

Archive for July, 2009

The dog days of summer

I don’t remember the last time it was this hot for this long in Vancouver but it must have been at least 10 years ago. Funny how we’re complaining about the heat now when we were screaming for warm weather just a few months ago.

I don’t mind the heat as much as I hate to sweat, especially when I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt and a tie during the work week. That sticky feeling bothers me to no end hence I usually avoid venturing outside “The Bakery” unless I absolutely have to.

Don’t get me wrong. This current heat wave is nothing compared to the humid summers I’ve experienced in Hong Kong but it’s hot enough to make me feel uncomfortable, especially at night when I’m trying to sleep. There were nights I wished there’s an A/C unit in our place.

Where’s the rain?


This summer a lot of out-of-towners, some I haven’t seen for quite awhile, came back around the same time and it’s been great catching up with them. Hanging out with friends. That’s probably something I’ve missed most since I’ve gotten older through the years. Thank goodness for Facebook, a platform that allows me to maintain some sort of connection with people whom I have lost touch.


Item du jour

I love what Pie Pie Lo wrote on her Facebook status the other day.

“Pie Pie Lo has officially melted. The end!”


When Drumstick “met” Jessie

Dealing with Little Drumstick is quite a chore these days as she’s becoming more and more active and mischievous than ever before. Every time she comes over for a visit Pie Pie Lo and I have to pull out all the stops. Kind of reminds me of the famous quote from one Dan Patrick.

“You can’t stop her, you can only hope to contain her.”

Michael Jordan she is not but Little Drumstick does not back down quite easily.

So we usually end up bargaining / negotiating with her by offering some sort of incentive in exchange for some good / civilized behaviour; hoping she will follow through for more than 5 minutes.

A few months ago, we offered to bring Little Drumstick to Build-A-Bear Workshop and surprisingly she tried her best to be “good” for an extended period of time.


Build-a-bear-logo8 years ago Pie Pie Lo and I went to Vegas and saw Build-A-Bear Workshop for the first time. We thought it was such a neat concept that we “made” each other a bear and, for the longest time, both bears sat quietly in our bedroom until Little Drumstick discovered them. Then a connection happened. According to her, she had become friends with the 2 bears and it’s not uncommon for Little Drumstick to question the whereabouts of her 2 furry friends whenever we spend time with her.

As much as Pie Pie Lo and I have spoiled Little Drumstick, we both felt compelled to offer her the opportunity to have her own build-a-bear experience. So we waited and waited until such time we felt right to extend the offer.


Last Saturday we finally took Little Drumstick to Build-A-Bear at Metrotown after a discussion with her parents. When we arrived, she was a bit sheepish and took a bit of time finding her bearings (no pun intended) in the store. The choices were many but it became apparent Little Drumstick had narrowed down to 2 candidates: a bear and a doggie, both brown. It wasn’t an easy decision but she finally settled on the latter.

Throughout the entire process, from stuffing, stitching and cleaning, we noticed Little Drumstick was quite fascinated; especially the part when she had to bless and kiss the little heart that she had to place inside the doggie. You can feel the anticipation, joy and amazement when she held the doggie for the first time.

A Kodak moment.

When it came time to name her new canine friend, “Jessie” was Little Drumstick’s choice. And it was the only choice. We don’t know why but it just felt right.

When Drumstick met Jessie…….

Item du jour

Little Drumstick’s 2 furry friends

The 2 furry friends

RIP Walter Cronkite

The cell I call “My Office”.

Looking out from my office

(* = Lingo alert)

My office is located, literally, in the heart of the “bakery*”. It is sandwiched between the book vault, where we keep all our stationary, and 2 safety deposit rooms where clients use to check the contents of their safety deposit box. So the walls of my office are, understandably, a bit thick. Add a heavy wooden door that’s at least 2.5 inches thick; with a window the size of a sheet of legal size paper and you have an office that resembles a cell. If you add padding to the walls, the ceiling and the floor…….

What my office would look like with padding all around.......

But I digress…….(Come to think of it, sometimes I wish my office was padded.)

The view from my seat

Working in a window-less office can be somewhat depressing. Add to the fact I now spend only 2.5 days in that space, there’s a sense of disconnect with the rest of the “bakery*” as nobody seems to know what I’m doing and vice versa. But the trade off is privacy and I’ll admit I do enjoy the peace and quiet of my office whenever I need to devote my attention to a certain task. As long as the AC is functioning properly, I can close my office door and work away while listening to my iPod. (Believe it or not, listening to music while working actually helps me concentrate.)

The back of my office

There’s really nothing special about my office but I’m thankful that I can call it my own since a lot of colleagues in my role have only a cubicle or a work space to call home. So who am I to complain about?

Item du jour



昨天晚上外母大人告訴方包她煮了紅豆沙,叫我有空便去她家取。(我們都是住在同一個城市屋屋苑 – Townhouse complex) 今天午飯過後回家途中便順道拿了一大碗。正準備離開時發現飯枱上有一盒類似買給「小膝頭」的認字卡,但仔細一看發覺正是想找的「潮語卡」,不禁大呼「過癮」!心想:莫非外母大人想教貫藉潮洲的「小膝頭」學「潮語」?!  Pie Pie Lo不禁笑方包己經「上晒腦」。

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Bonqula – A Yoshoku (洋食) Experience

YoshokuMy first experience with Yoshoku (Japanese style western food) was almost 30 years ago in Japan but honestly I don’t remember a whole lot about the food except the fact that it looked and tasted different from what I’m used to back home.

Later on in life I was introduced to dishes such as Japanese curry, hamburger steak and Omurice (tomato rice wrapped neatly inside an omelette) but they were hard to come by because not a lot of places serve them.

Yoshoku 2

Yoshoku Ya on Denman Street was, for a long time, the only restaurant of its kind in Vancouver. That is until a few years ago when I noticed this name – Bonqula. Somehow it caught my attention because I had no idea what it meant but was intrigued by it nonetheless. If my memory is correct, Bonqula was in 2 locations around “downtown” Richmond for a very short time before disappearing. Out of mind, out of sight, I never did find out what Bonqula was all about.

Last Christmas, by chance, I came across an article about this Yoshoku restaurant in Richmond and, lo and behold, it turned out to be Bonqula. Having liked what I saw and read in the article, Pie Pie Lo and I made a visit on a Sunday afternoon.

The décor is very homely though not as intimate as I envisioned it to be. Regardless, I felt very comfortable.

Compared to Yoshoku Ya, Bonqula’s menu seems to be more extensive and has a lot of things that I’ve never tried before, which adds to the curiosity factor.

Have a look at some of the items I’ve tried in this album.

This may sound strange but eating at Bonqula is a very…comforting experience. The food is rustic and taste like a home-cooked meal any mother would make for her family. And you certainly feel the warmth and care the chef has put into the food through its preparation.

Bonqula, IMHO, has heart.

And that’s becoming a rarity in the restaurant business.

Thoughts and happenings from the week that was

“Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.” – James Thurber

July 1 was the start of the NHL free agent frenzy and what an anti-climatic day it was for Canuck Nation.

It started with the re-signing of the Sedins just before the opening bell but since then, all quiet on the western front. (Few minor signings notwithstanding). All the speculations never materialize (including my laughable predictions) and the likes of Gaborik, Cammalleri and Niedermayer all signed elsewhere. While it’s a relief the twins are back for another 5 years, part of me was kind of ticked off that the Canucks couldn’t bring in the top-6 forward and/or the puck moving defenseman they so desperately need on Wednesday. In some ways I wished Mike Gillis had to go to plan B. At least it would have made things interesting but I guess we’ll never find out.

Cue the Sundin watch. Part deux. Well, maybe not. Now that we have Samuelsson in the fold


Whistler is a place so close yet a place I don’t frequent much. This week Pie Pie Lo and I spent a day there. Here are some highlights from the trip.


Had a chance to get caught up with 2 of the 4 summer blockbusters I’ve earmarked: Transformers II and Terminator Salvation. I’ll leave the reviews for someone else since I find movies to be a very subjective topic. People watch for different reasons. For myself, I just want to be entertained; be it the plot, the cast or the action sequences. Oscar worthy they are not but I was entertained by the 2 aforementioned flicks and Star Trek as well. Hopefully G.I. Joe (insert joke here) will complete the list.


A few weeks ago Ms. S told me about these annual summer architectural walking tours offered by the AIBC (Architectural Institute of B.C.). They started this past week and I went to a couple of them (Chinatown with Cdn Gooner and Strathcona by myself). Interesting and informative, I was pleasantly surprised. In fact I would highly recommend the Strathcona tour for anyone who’s interested in the local history of a truly unique neighbourhood.

Be a tourist, for a few hours, in your own city.

Some teasers for you to look at as I’ll need some time to compile the photo album.


So much for watching Zidane live in Vancouver on July 4th…….

The match between the “Canadian All-Stars” and “Zidane & friends” was cancelled 2 days prior, likely due to poor organization/marketing and a general lack of interest. That’s just fine with me. If it wasn’t for Zizou, do I really want to pay money to see the likes of Bob Lenarduzzi and Carl Valentine getting thumped by a bunch of international footy has-beens?


First it was Farrah Fawcett & Michael Jackson, then Billy Mays (Mr. Oxi-Clean) and now Steve McNair. All within a span of 2 weeks. Yet another reminder how fragile life can be.

Item du jour

Brett Favre – Take it to the bank!