Posts Tagged ‘Chinese’

Don’t Order the Chong Chin Chicken at Asia Cafe

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

For twenty years worth of the Saturday Dining Conspiracy, I’ve had good dishes and bad, but never before until this past Saturday had I just sent a dish back as completely inedible.

The Chong Chin Chicken was described as seasoned with lots of hot peppers and peppercorns. I didn’t really see the peppercorns, but I definitely saw the hot peppers; it looked like they dumped a giant fistful into the dish. Though a chilehead, I’ve never had that many dry hot peppers in any dish before.

That’s not why I sent the dish back.

The first few bites of the dish seemed incredibly dry to me, and it tasted like they hadn’t used any sauce whatsoever, which was an odd choice.

That’s not why I sent the dish back.

After a few bites, my tongue’s taste receptors just seemed to shut off, ruining the taste of the dumplings Dwight and Andrew had ordered. Shortly thereafter I realized what the big problem was: it was the most salty dish I’d ever tasted in my life.

An image of the chef preparing the dish.
Normally my tolerance for salt in my meal is higher than most, but this was beyond the pale. I had my co-conspirators try it, and they all agreed it was inedible salty, even Andrew, who loves salt more than I do.

A dish too salty for Andrew and too hot for me; it was like some sort of anti-miracle.

So I sent it back and got some orange peel chicken instead, which was far more edible.

I wouldn’t discourage you from going to Asia Cafe, but unless you look like this:

The only diner who might enjoy the Chong Chin Chicken at Asia Cafe.
I would strongly urge you not to order the Chong Chin Chicken…

(Cross-posted to The Logbook of the Saturday Dining Conspiracy.)

Movie Review: Silk

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Movie: Silk
Director: Chao-Bin Su
Writer: Chao-Bin Su
Cast: Chen Chang, Yosuke Eguchi, Kuan-Po Chen, Kar Yan Lam, Barbie Hsu, Bo-lin Chen, Chun-Ning Chang, Fang Wan,

I can honestly say that this is the first horror movie I’ve seen using fractals as the main plot device.

A modestly-budgeted Taiwanese film, Silk follows a team of researchers using a Menger Sponge in an attempt to trap a ghost, ostensibly as part of government-funded anti-gravity research. More specifically, they plan to capture the ghost of a child trapped in a single room in a Taipei tenement, repeating the same actions over and over again. Hashimoto (Yosuke Eguchi) is the crippled leader of the team with an ulterior motive, while Tung (Chen Chang, the desert bandit love interest from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) is the “man of action” brought in because of his skills at keen observation and lip-reading. Naturally, as the research progresses, complications ensue. For one thing, the ghost really doesn’t like people looking at him, and he can reach into their chests and stop their hearts…

This harks back to a number of early SF works on scientific methods for capturing ghosts or the soul. The Menger Sponge functions as a sort of universal plot device: because of its ability to store different wavelengths of energy, not only does Hashimoto intend to use it as a ghost storage jar, but they also use special Menger Sponge film to photograph the ghost, Menger Sponge eye-spray to see the ghost, coat the walls of the room to prevent the ghost from escaping, etc. It has just enough of a veneer of plausibility to engage your sense of disbelief, and is certainly more plausible than the magic icky fluid in District 9.

This is a very solid, well-paced ghost story with some intellectual novelty, albeit one that owes a number of stylistic elements to recent Japanese horror movies like Ringu and Ju-On. While modestly budgeted, it doesn’t come across as cheap, and the special effects are simple but effective. (The only place where they fail is in the CGI for an SUV crash, which looks like it could have been rendered in the latest Grand Theft Auto. Even so, it’s still miles above the digital bloodshed in Ugandan action films.) Best of all, they’ve eschewed all the boo-shock scares that infest modern horror films in favor of a certain amount of depth and subtlety.

The DVD contains deleted scenes and outtakes that were properly excised. However, do watch the director’s original ending, which is considerably darker, more effective, and more appropriate than the one in the film.

Here’s a trailer:

Like all fractals, Menger Sponges engender a certain geeky fascination, so I’ve found a couple of videos that show various Menger Sponge animations and recursions.

Here’s a Menger Sponge recursion (which is far less disturbing than The Hasselhoff Recursion):

A level 6 Menger Sponge:

It is not, to my mind, as interesting as a Mandelbox: