Wok Wednesdays – Velvet Chicken with Asparagus

This recipe comes from Stir-Fry to The Sky’s Edge page 128 by Grace Young

Velvet Chicken and Asparagus

Velvet Chicken and Asparagus

My husband says, “This is the way to do chicken breast.” Steve is not a fan of chicken breast. He eats it because I prepare it wanting to create a more healthy dish. However, this dish requires very little oil and very little corn starch. The dish is very fresh if the asparagus is done correctly. It is easy to overcook. I chose to blanch and then put the asparagus in ice-cold water to stop the cooking. Also, we added our own sauces on the side. I added Indonesian sambal and Steve picked Vietnamese chili sauce to spice it up.  As always, very good recipe and great dish to eat!!

They payoff...plated Velvet Chicken with Asparagus

They payoff…plated Velvet Chicken with Asparagus

What does this sign mean?


Sign in the window of a KFC in Shenzhen

Sign in the window of a KFC in Shenzhen

Recently in Shenzhen, Steve came across this sign in the window of a KFC. Of the American fast food restaurants in China, KFC is very popular; however, you would never recognize the menu choices as the American KFC we know.  It made a big statement, so Steve snapped a photo.

We wondered what it could possibly be saying.  A big and strong fist coming at you. Steve thought it was maybe “fist bump” advertising that they were hiring. “Come be part of our team.” All I could see in it was the old Soviet propaganda posters. The simple graphics and colors.

Back at the Shenzhen office, Steve showed the photo and asked for translation. What it says is:

Strictly choose rest-assured chicken.
Science of cultivation, Without hormones.

What it means is that the chicken is safe. In the wake of the H7N9 virus and worries, they want you to continue eating their chicken.

I never would have got that from a big fist. I can only guess that it was used to catch your attention. That it did and apparently the message spoke to the clientele, because the restaurant was very busy with people eating an Asian-style version of the Colonel’s recipe.


“Nothing says Easter like a trip to the monkey park!” Our first visitors to Hong Kong left just one week ago today. Jim and Marcia returned to Boise, ID wearing the special badge as our “first visitors to Hong Kong.” Put that in your Foursquare stats! They came with just one request, and that was to visit Kam Shan County Park in the New Territories to see the wild monkeys roaming freely. Easy enough, and we planned to fit it in on Easter Sunday.

Drinks at Sugar- Mar 2013

We made many a memory that week (besides visiting the monkey park). Starting with the fact that the Lyons arrived on the stormiest night we have had since our arrival in Hong Kong.  Thankfully, the storm paused long enough for them to make a safe and on-time arrival. The storm resumed later that night with pounding rain and so much lightning and thunder that the sky was white with light. Even though Hong Kong is experiencing an uncharacterically cool and wet March, we had many a moment of nice and dry times which made for an enjoyable week weather-wise.

At the  Ruins of St. Paul Church, Macau

At the Ruins of St. Paul Church, Macau

I did my research before Jim and Marcia arrived and came up with a pretty comprehensive plan. The List of everything we wanted to show, experience and eat was aggressive, and we managed to check off  a “Lyon’s share” of the items. Highlights included: the city-bus ride to Stanley; turbo jet ferry to Macau; the Ruins of St. Paul’s Church; rain and more rain; The Museum of Macau; a bright colored parade of umbrellas; a visit to our favorite Macau bakery; dim sum at the Lung Wah Tea House; taxi ride to Hac Sa beach; dinner at Fernando’s (accentuated by being inside to watch a gully-washer of a storm while we stayed warm and dry and well fed); a ride on the Star Ferry; rain and more rain; bus ride to the monkey park; Easter Sunday stroll through the monkey park; Easter supper at The Pawn; a visit to the Hong Kong film archive; a movie, A Fishy Tail, presented during the Hong Kong Film Festival; drinks at Sugar; dinner at Feast; breakfast buffet Hong Kong style (with wi-fi password) at the YWCA Garden Inn restaurant; checking in on Foursquare and Instagram; numerous photo ops; pursuit of the free wi- fi; walking through the Hong Kong Zoological Park and the Botanical Gardens; a trip on the Tram to The Peak; shopping for gifts; beef brisket noodles; a walk on The Peak trail; reading The Hungary Ghosts; wok-stir-fried dinner at our flat; visiting temples and cemeteries during Ching Ming; spiral incense; ash in the air from the burned offerings; spying a dog in Chuck Taylor’s; martinis; gin and tonics; Jenny Bakery cookies; Walled-City Park of Kowloon; a visit to the bird market; a visit to the flower market; navigating subways, taxi’s, buses, trails and hills. We even managed a nap or two in the midst of all this.

How about a pig knuckle or two? Dim Sum at Long Wah Tea House, Macau

How about a pig knuckle or two? Dim Sum at Long Wah Tea House, Macau

Bringing out the incense coils at Kun Iam Temple, Macau

Bringing out the incense coils at Kun Iam Temple, Macau

Marcia and Monkey- Mar 2013

“Say Cheese,” but don’t get any ideas. We don’t have any cheese! I’m not staring!!!

Our Monkey Friend- Mar 2013


Umbrellas of Macau- Mar 2013

Not icicles, just a good Macau gully washer.

Not icicles, just a good Macau gully washer.


Come out of the rain!

Come out of the rain! At Fernando’s.

What a delightful week it was. We so enjoyed showing off our new/temporary hometown. We are to so lucky to have such good friends that are willing to make the long journey to visit AND to bring a suitcase full of our requested US goods.Thanks Jim and Marcia! Thanks for the great memories. Thanks for being such great visitors! Thanks for your friendship; We love you guys! We loved the monkey park too!


Wok Wednesdays – Hakka-Style Stir-Fried Cabbage with Egg

Teh finished dish.

The finished dish-Hakka-Style Stir-Fried Cabbage with Egg.

This recipe comes from the fabulous cookbook by Grace Young, Stir-Frying to The Sky’s Edge page 204. It is part of the Wok Wednesdays project which can be found on Facebook.

Today, in Hong Kong and China, is the festival for Ching Ming (tomb sweeping day). Steve is home from work, and we just spent a great week touring our new hometown with our first visitors to Hong Kong. We both have spent the morning catching up on email, finishing an online course and trying to organize all the photos we have taken recently.

Luckily, I remembered that I needed napa cabbage for the Wok Wednesday recipe this week, and picked some up on my way through the wet market near our flat. I decided to make the Hakka-Style Stir-Fried Cabbage with Egg (this week’s Wok Wednesday recipe) for a brunch.

Washed, chopped and ready to stir-fry.

Washed, chopped and ready to stir-fry.

The ingredients are simple, and the stir-fry is quite easy and very quick once you complete the prep work.

Teh final stage, add the egg and stir-fry until egg is cooked and mixed through

The final stage, add the egg and stir-fry until egg is cooked and mixed through

This is great comfort food and perfect for a light meal. We had leftover stir-fried rice from an outing earlier this week, and it complimented the cabbage dish nicely. I would also do as the recipe recommended; serve with plain white rice.

I have really been enjoying the stir-fried cabbage dishes from all of Grace Young’s books. They are reminicent of the German-style wilted lettuce salads that my mom used to make with leaf lettuce, bacon drippings and vinegar. I did add a sprinkle of rice vinegar to my bowl of the Hakka-Style Cabbage. It was a nice compliment and enhanced the flavors. Steve added a bit of hot and spicy Indonesian sambal (homemade from our dear friend Ari). It was also an excellent compliment to the dish.

The Hakka people are known as the gypsies of Asia. Their histroy has been nomadic. Portable kitchens and quick meals with simple ingredients are characteristic of many Hakka-style dishes. If you would like to know more, see Grace Young’s notes on The Hakka Diaspora on page 102 of Stir-Frying to The Sky’s Edge. Also, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakka_people for additonal information.