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Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/20/2019 in all areas

  1. 8 points
    My post in the 2019 thread is here (mostly for my own reference). Basically, flashcards are a routine for me for quite a few years now. This year I nuked my cards from the old HSK and began studying words from novels analyzed with CTA. Right now my deck is at 8k cards, consisting of the New HSK and cards from a few novels. The change of focus was a great move, it is tempting to check off these word lists, but it isn't a good learning strategy. Learn the words from your text books and then from your reading/watching materials instead. Don't be like me kids! But of course I knew this too when I started grinding through the HSK6 list, and then ALL of the old HSK lists... Now flashcards do not take up much of my time, which leaves room for... …reading. I finished 圈子圈套 , read 许三观卖血记 and then finished of the year by completing 圈子圈套 2. I have used Pleco Reader and I have cheated myself by checking to many words, but I still feel I have made some progress. I definitely know more characters, my reading speed has improved and I’m much less fatigued after a session. I haven’t really read much else at all, so I spent some time with an article from 南方周末 this morning, and even without the Pleco training wheels I was able to read it. Note, not 100% comprehension or recognizing every last character but I could easily summarize it and think I got some of the finer points. And not only that, but I can now drop fun facts about Shanghai’s garbage recycling at cocktail parties (article here , for my own reference). I set a goal in last year’s thread to read a page every day. I haven’t read every day, but I’ve read reasonably consistently over any given week, so I’ll call it a success anyway. The plan is to start 家 on paper, to quit the pop-up habit cold turkey. If I don’t have access to the book, I’ll read some article on my phone instead (in Safari, no addins). I’ll maintain my goal of one page a day; I’ll do less when I’m busy, more when I have free time. Since reading is reasonably under control, I’ll also work on my listening skills. I have a hard time keeping my interest up when it comes to podcasts directed at learners, so I’ll have to find some native material (perhaps a TV show) and do my best with it, even if it means pausing a lot. I watched a few clips before posting this to gauge my level, and it’s bad. Vocabulary is less of a problem now, but making out the words, and then fast enough is a challenge. I’ll have to drill quite a bit to get somewhere. I’ll be realistic and aim for two hours/week to start with. So another year of horribly unbalanced, slow and spotty progress. At least I enjoy it
  2. 6 points
    my goals for the next year: whole year: take HSK5 and pass with a good score read a few easy Chinese novels each month: write at least one essay longer than one page each week: take 2 classes with 50/50 focus textbook/free talk read a few news articles watch at least one episode of a TV show / consume some other video content each day: vocabulary study (~10 new words)
  3. 6 points
    get a Chinese driver's license do a full immersion summer volunteer retreat
  4. 5 points
    I haven't really thought about my goals very thoroughly, but here's what I got. Chinese-related goals: - Read more popular Dutch books. If I want more Dutch people to read Chinese books, I need to get a clearer idea of what kind of books they (we) like. It will also be helpful when pitching books to publishers. - Read more Chinese literature, both novels and short stories. - Publish something Chinese literature in translation. I don't care what it is and who pays for it (the Chinese government, likely), but something. A book with a serious Dutch publisher would be best, but anything is good. And in general: - Take good care of myself and feel good & happy. Includes being outside every day, eating vegetables every day, regular exercise (rowing yay), finding fun things to do and doing them with people I like, getting into and out of bed in time. I'm sure there are a few goals from last year I can recycle, but setting few, achievable goals generally works best for me.
  5. 4 points
    I hand an off hand compliment last night. I was at a 湖南饭馆 last night. I was sitting around a corner kind of out of the way. at one point, I called out 服务员, the waitress instantly stopped and looked around for who was calling her. She turned to the guy sitting at the table behind her and asked him what he needed, he said he hadn't called her. She did the same with another customer. I then called her again and she made eye contact with me. This was a small victory, because when I first started, I could never seem to get a response from saying 服务员, last night the waitress thought it could have come from a native speaker😃
  6. 3 points
    I would echo what ZhangKaiRong said above. I have undergraduate degrees from both Fudan University and one of the top universities in the UK. There are a few things to consider. One is the quality of education. In China, the syllabuses are essentially the same across universities, which are dictated by the few standard text books available. Most lectures will essentially just consist of a lecturer going through exactly what's in the textbook. Exams essentially rely on you memorizing the material by rote - there is little scope for creative or your own analytical input. I'd say this contrasts with the UK, at least, where the emphasis is on your understanding and application of the material, rather than just your ability to regurgitate it. Also, I can't speak for all institutions, but cheating in exams in my UK university was almost unheard of. Yet in Fudan, cheating (mainly through talking to each other and reading each other's answers) happened to a greater or lesser extent in every exam, and the invigilators did little to curtail this. This puts you in a difficult position - either you stay honest and suffer against everyone else's inflated marks, or you join in with the cheating. The other thing is, no matter how good your Chinese is, covering the vast quantities of material will be difficult, especially when you are competing against some of the most diligent students in China at those top universities. Also worth considering is that learning resources are very limited - apart from the standard textbooks, there is little other material available, either in Chinese or English. Resources on the web in Chinese pale in comparison to those available in English (Wikipaedia for example), and most of the outside web is blocked from China. You can use VPNs to circumvent this, but they are slow and unreliable, and who knows whether these will be working at all by the time you get to that stage. Doing a degree in China is an experience. I would not want to dissuade anyone from doing this if it is the experience they are after. But from a purely academic point of view and in terms of future job competence and prospects, I would really recommend you do a degree in your own or another Western European or similar country.
  7. 3 points
    Actually, it's very Chinese to try and puncture a friend's small balloon of happiness like that.
  8. 2 points
    Reading 活著 now, about 70% through on Kindle. It is my first full novel aside from a few children's novels. I find it very easy with only a few sentences here and there that don't seem to click for me. Damn it's depressing though.
  9. 2 points
    For those of you considering whether you should respond: While some of the surveys posted here were poorly developed such that I didn't respond, this one is good. It didn't take much time. I liked that it offered the chance to type some free text. For Daidai: In terms of improving the survey: it asks whether the user's goal is to write Chinese characters. I assumed this meant "hand write characters." I now spend zero time trying to hand write characters (我不会写), but I want to improve my ability to type Chinese (打字). While some who post to this website also are learning to hand write characters, there are also likely many like me whose goal is to be able to communicate verbally & electronically.
  10. 2 points
    I meant a component part of the first character! As written, it does say "bed" as Lu pointed out, with an extra 木 component it would be a different character, 麻, which makes a recognised word in combination with the other character which looks like 利. Is it written on a piece of fabric like a cover slip then? Can't think of any part of a bed that's known as a 床利, but there is the homophone 床笠 which means a mattress cover. Is that a possibility? The latter character of the second word is a bit rarer and the person may have written it wrong.
  11. 2 points
    Good question, @mungouk -- Thanks for asking. It has a fresh, bland flavor which is similar to young Brussels sprouts or Napa cabbage. Not bitter. It does best when combined with a meat which has lots of flavor. In Chinese cooking, it it usually stir-fried with a flavorful meat. Examples are sausage 香肠, smoked bacon 腊肉, and pork belly 五花肉。Here in Yunnan, it is often stir-fried with our famous slow-cured ham 云南火腿。My approach in the recipe above was to steam it in the rice cooker while making rice with sausage slices on top. Did it that way in the interest of efficiency and reducing the need for dishwashing/cleanup. Texture is tender after it's cooked. Could easily slice through a piece with the side of a fork. Around here, seeds for them are planted in September, seedlings are set out in October. Harvest is late December through mid February. It's a traditional food of winter; often associated with Spring Festival banquets in these parts. It's sometimes pickled, sometimes served room temperature as a 凉拌 (Chinese salad.) It's actually quite different, in that it is mainly a tough, woody stalk 梗 about as big around as my arm. The most frequently eaten part is the "knees" or "knobs" that extend from that heavy main stalk. One of the stories about how the vegetable got its name is that these knobs are "sons" of the big mother -- 儿子。 It's hard to explain clearly, but these pictures might help. These first two show the big vegetable entire ("the mother.") I've split it down the middle to expose the tough woody interior. (I only use this part for soup.) The tender parts which are most commonly eaten are the knobs growing from the sides of the main stalk. These are the "sons" -- the 儿子。You break them off with your fingers and slice them or quarter them before cooking. I marked them with arrows. Upscale markets, such as @DavyJonesLocker is talking about in his reply, often sell the knobs alone, pre-trimmed and packaged. This makes for less labor and less waste. Below left is a picture of those. I've sometimes bought them like that, gladly paying more because I was in a hurry. Below right is a picture of the tough stalk, cut up and getting ready to become part of a slow-cooked pork bone 猪骨 winter soup.
  12. 2 points
    If it happens around my neighborhood, I let it slide. Other times, I will generally say something. For these discussions, I always like telling the story of my 6' 5" Canadian friend that had a man cut in front of him at a supermarket in Beijing. Friend gently placed his hands on each side of the man, picked him up, and set him down to the side of the line. Guy was so stunned, he didn't know what to do, and that was that.
  13. 2 points
    I moved the posts on the etymology of this character to a dedicated new thread here.
  14. 1 point
    Guideinchina reports that WeChat pay is trialling a collaboration with Visa, Mastercard and AmEx, which would allow foreigners without a Chinese UnionPay card to finally pay for stuff without having a local bank account. Meanwhile The Beijinger also reports that the international version of the Alipay APP is now able to use the "Tour Pass" mini-program to pay for stuff via a "prepaid card service provided by the Bank of Shanghai" that can be topped up in RMB using an international credit or debit card.
  15. 1 point
    And this video to see how easy peasy and delicious it is to make egg fried rice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPVqyWBtE6M Sorry if you can't get YT.
  16. 1 point
    For the month of January, I am going to stop doing flashcards entirely. I am going to try following the advice thats often seen on this forum: practice whats hard for you (or something similar). I find it incredibly easy to repeat single words. However, full sentences keeping the correct tones, natural flow and the right grammar is another story. Even if just repeating them is a much harder task for me than single words. I think the reading and listening I do will act as natural spaced repetition for vocab anyway. My goal is(with the exception of naturally one word answers) no Chinese comes out of my mouth unless its a complete sentence.
  17. 1 point
    These episodes are on youtube if anyone's interested: S01E01 S01E02 S01E03 See also some reactions in China reported in English via Xinhua and CGTN.
  18. 1 point
    This blog post Top 258 Most Commonly Confused Chinese Characters also has some interesting resources, including dictation practice split across 3 levels of difficulty, and transcriptions which give common ways of describing the characters, e.g. 刀、力 刀刃的刀 — dāorèn de dāo 力量的力 — lìliang de lì
  19. 1 point
    hey @jannesan, i tried another file on your website and it comes up with "bad requests" Its just a plain Unicode text file , it opens fine in MS notepad Actually , I'll pm you the file
  20. 1 point
    Personally I prefer pushing the rice to the side, crack an egg in the wok within that space you’ve made, wait about 10-30 seconds, then put the rice Directly on top of the egg. From there stir vigorously. This way you get some Of the egg coating the rice and some in pieces.
  21. 1 point
    Depends. Some friends shave their friend's eyebrows off when they are drunk. Encouring the friend to get a 拒绝毒品 tattoo would be consistent with this modus operandi. As it stands, I'm quite hoping his friend will post a picture of the tattoo when it's done.
  22. 1 point
    Can't beat a brassica! Thanks for another great recipe write-up, love these and always learn something.
  23. 1 point
    @dtcamero yeah i was the same at the start. This is what I mean in my earlier post. You need to learn how to handle this situations , deal with it gently and pick you battles otherwise you will go insane calling everyone one (subways etc). I just say 你好,别差对吧 I think you need say it quickly rather than mull over it as resentment starts to build. I do notice that in more and more places in Beijing anyway, the counter personal are not letting people cut in line.
  24. 1 point
    当初 back when this started 还不就是 is it not (precisely) the case 为了 it was because 看中 [they (implicit)] had set their sights on 他们那个医院 that hospital of theirs - so the 他们 I take to be this Dr Zhang and his associates etc. - did he own it or run it or was a partner etc.?
  25. 1 point
    I'm surprised you'd never seen this one before. One of my 华侨 university classmates had this surname, so it'd never struck me as rare. It's also the surname of Mei Lanfang.
  26. 1 point
    Well, I was suggesting scoping out what's being offered first, rather than applying, but whatever works for the OP really.
  27. 1 point
    Oh, and btw, I lived in Prague for a year back in 1999, that's Europe isn't it? Same sort of thing append there
  28. 1 point
    You're taking this personally? Yeah, it happens to everyone. Other cultures are different from your home? Who would have guessed?
  29. 1 point
  30. 1 point
    Tomsima, Thank you for sharing your experiences at Bath through this blog. It’s inspiring to read about people working with Chinese and English at such a high level! I wish you luck in your upcoming studies and future career.
  31. 1 point
    Well done @Tomsima and thanks for posting your experiences along the way. I appreciate your approach.. I'm always telling my own students that it's just as important to try something and learn that it's NOT what you want to do, as it is for the opposite. Looking forward to hearing where you go next!
  32. 1 point
    They quit smoking. No small feat — congratulations!
  33. 1 point
    I think Chinese Pod is worth it just for the library of existing lessons alone. It's how I started learning Chinese, and I have very fond memories of the experience.
  34. 1 point
    鑾 luán, the imperial carriage. Used as a euphemism for the emperor/imperial things, particularly when out of the palace. Turns up pretty regularly in 回鑾 'return to the palace', then I saw it recently in '金鑾' (as in 金鑾殿, the throne room in the imperial palace) in a piece of calligraphy by 文徵明 (元旦朝賀詩)
  35. 1 point
    Exactly! I Find I gain as much from listening to the native Chinese speaker making asides and comments than from the actual lesson. And yes, the native English speakers answer helps make the Chinese very clear and easy to follow. The new crew is a bit of a mixed bag imo. First of all there seem to be a bigger variety of host teams and they seem to be putting out quite a lot of content at all levels and topics. This is definitely good. Another positive is that they seem to have several laowai hosts who have good solid pronunciation. BUT, One thing I find annoying is that in the (admittedly few) lessons I've listened to, they seem to include more English. I just don't see why the native speaker has to speak any English at all once you're at the intermediate level. The absolute sweet spot was the John Pasden ones, I wish they could just follow that model. I wonder if they speak so much English because either A. the Chinese host wants to show off his/her English and enjoys speaking it - but frankly, I could care less to hear it, I'm not there for English pod. B. Maybe it's marketing thing and most customers aren't like me, they want entertainment primarily and things to be kept easy. There was a new lesson on alcohol, with 2 ABC(?) hosts and I jumped around the lesson looking for Chinese language would begin, but it seemed almost entirely in English! Here's the link to that example: https://www.chinesepod.com/lesson/chinese-drinking-culture (don't know if it'll open if you're your not a subscriber or not) Anyway, I DO think Chinese Pod is an amazing resource and a good value, this is just a relatively small complaint. I do think the new team is doing pretty good overall. Basically, I just cant wait for the day I can move up to a level where there is no English at all.
  36. 1 point
    This is what I've been trying to tell people for years Use flashcards for short term drilling, and regular reading for 'review' of that vocab. Glad to hear it! It's sounds to me like you've got a good routine going - regular reading, learning a small amount of relevant vocab each day, moving on rather than focusing on understanding every single thing, reviewing previous chapters, and reading a broad range of different things (Yu Hua vs school romance novels). The most important thing is to keep doing a little bit every day, and over time you'll make good progress.
  37. 1 point
    Thanks a lot, that sounds just what I'm looking for. I hope they include plenty of international news too, as some of the domestic stuff leaves me a bit lost (I think it's as much to do with my lack of knowledge of the political system as a language issue).
  38. 1 point
    In addition, while it is ubiquitous in English, the vaguely equivalent 它 is not in Chinese. Not to say using it is technically wrong, but there's a strong preference to avoid it in natural speech. Often the object can be dispensed with altogether: 那是我的气球! 给我!
  39. 1 point
    Here it's "activity" or similar - "to conduct an additional instance of a certain activity"
  40. 1 point
    Tā bǎ tā gěile yuēhàn
  41. 1 point
    Top two are 麻婆 as in Mapo Doufu, then bottom left is 麻 again, no clue with bottom right, might be the fu in 豆腐 but that's a guess based on the presence of 麻婆 and seems odd to repeat 麻 and not include 豆. ETA Should have searched first, seems 麻腐 is a dish too: https://baike.baidu.com/item/麻腐/724234
  42. 1 point
    Well, a couple of days the books arrived. And I can say that I've become rather obsessed with them. The book has some great pointers as to what constitutes as good writing, just to name one. Also, apparently even if you order 2018's course material you'll still receive 2020's material from Amazon. Which is great.
  43. 1 point
    Again, don't buy it. Here is a flashcard list of most relevant measure words. The location orientated and metaphor orientated measure words are less limited in scope that these flashcards might cause you to believe. Chinese Measure Words.txt
  44. 1 point
    My Chinese minor was the same, required a total for 4 Chinese classes (Basic I, Basic II, Intermediate I, Intermediate II), and two culture courses (one was film, one was literature which we read in translation). Because I'm a go-getter I also did a independent research project with the professor translating poems. I didn't start until my Junior year of college, though, so it felt like a good amount of commitment to make to something that wasn't even my major course of study. Had I gone in earlier, I would have been disappointed if there were not Chinese classes at least for all 8 years, but I doubt the markets really supported that at the time (in my program, there were about 20 people in Basic I, 12 people in Basic II, and even less in in Intermediate I and II). In the early stages, though, not sure I really could have handled more than 1 language class per semester. The class itself is already 3 hours per week, and then you consider that you'd require at least double that amount of time studying, and likely have at least 3 or 4 other classes... I think if you just want to learn Chinese and be totally immersed in it studying it and speaking it all day, every day, there are far cheaper options than doing it as part of a college degree (the pursuit of which would probably be ill-advised anyway).
  45. 1 point
    Watched it last night in Kaohsiung. Somehow I thought it would be in Chinese with Mandarin subtitles only. I figured I would be able to follow the plot anyway and did not want to miss it. Well, it turned out to be a mix of Mandarin and Cantonese (if I am not mistaken) with English subtitles. I was very satisfied! Maybe not as good as Ip Man 1 or 2, but still definitely very cool fight scenes
  46. 1 point
    I have been through it and still do it to some degree. I think it might be a possibly useful attempt at immersion when you are outside China ( I noticed the OP was in the USA). Its almost like food or drink and you can't get enough, when I started studying in 1985, there was a veritable wasteland of chinese books, films, anything in fact. I collected anything and everything I could, I have programs from going to see the Chinese State Circus, I bought every souvenir they sold with in my price range. I scoured second hand book shops for anything written in chinese and ordered books from the library and copied what I could in the time I had. As software started to appear I tried everything I could and bought some. I made memorable treks to London China town and the most wonderful Book stores there and visited the tea rooms, and sat in the center of it all drinking in the sight, sounds and smells, the beautiful colours of the fabrics and more, the voices speaking so fast I couldn't even begin to understand and the smell of Peking duck cooking. Precious, snatched moments of chinese life. I think that as more became available via the internet and the open door policy began, I started to become more selective and as my knowledge of Chinese increased I realised what was worth having. I still have a lot of books and will always keep them. I wouldn't worry about it, I do think it will come and go with your life and how it changes. Enjoy it all and learn what you can.
  47. 1 point
    Sounds good to me. Don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes people are trying to help and sometimes, even if they are, they can still be a bit stupid. This guy just sounds deliberately annoying.
  48. 1 point
    - Major Update (MOST FOREIGNER FRIENDLY EVER!) - If you've been hesitant when it comes to trying out this app; that's fair. After all, the complete vocabulary of the test is a humbling total of 17,789 words. Which, let's be fair, can be quite disheartening, especially if your own vocabulary isn't even half of that. That's why I too have been writing up “word lists" for every lesson to at least have some substance to plow through when practicing my pronunciation. This, luckily, is no longer necessary. The app has just been updated with a new function; 【 纠音训练模式 / 纠音强化训练 】, which plainly translates to “Intensive Intonation Drill". A function to correct the intonation of words and characters, you might be unfamiliar with. And to further point out which sounds you have the most difficulties. The best thing is YOU DON'T NEED TO KNOW THE WORDS/CHARACTERS for this function to be of major help. As, guess what? The pronunciation of ever word is provided prominently. It's not a test, rather it's a journey. And let me guide you through it. (While these terms might get technical, I'm merely explaining them so that everyone can try this out regardless of their Chinese) So, when you first use this function you'll be greeted with a blank data sheet. Going from top to bottom; 错及收藏字词 X 个: Here you'll see the collection of the issues you have divided up in 5(+) categories, 平翘舌音(flat to become warped lingual), which consist of Z, C, S / ZH, CH, SH, R 前后鼻音(front to back nasal sound), which are the middle and final part of Chinese syllables; an, ian, uan, ün, en, in, uen, iang, uang, eng, ing, ong, ueng, iong. N L / H F > This one is more straightforward, it basically targets the confusions between these pairs, which are common in Southern Chinese dialects. J Q X / 尖音(tip of tongue) 其他(others), which is a collection of syllables; A, O, E, I, U, etc. Then in the middle you'll encounter the total amount of words/characters with faulty pronunciation. It goes without saying that this number will rise till you've gone through all the content, to then slowly degrade as you start fixing your mistakes. Or if you don't like having a growing total of mistakes you can always fix halt your progress till you've fixed all your mistakes by clicking the yellow 强化训练 button in the lower left, which will help you hammer down the mistakes you've made so far. After that you'll have the 训练记录 just below that which is the accumulation of the scores from the standard test, which you can access by pushing the green 开始常规训练 button in the lower right. Finally, at the bottom of the page you'll have the total amount of word/characters you've gone through. Mistakes you've corrected. And, time you've spend in this test. Onto the actual test. They'll provide you with a collection of single characters and words for you to read out loud. Like I said; you don't need to know the meaning behind the characters, or their pronunciation as the pinyin is portrayed alongside the characters. Not only that they'll pronounce it for you beforehand, which you can skip. Once you've finished reading these out loud they'll mark them for you. Orange means that they're not up to snuff; that the program is able to distinguish it from your pronunciation, but that you have an accent. Red means that the program isn't able to pick it up, either because of faulty pronunciation or improper enunciation. Together with a mark for that section. In total they'll test 300 words, divided over 15 sections. When that is all said and done you'll be greeted with your score and given an overview of all the mistakes you've made. You can listen to your own pronunciation and they'll give you pointers as to which parts are wrong. It's really neat. You can take all the time you want. Let's move on to the big button at the bottom, which just like the yellow 强化训练 button in the lower left at the very start takes you to the function that aids you in hammering out (all) the mistakes you've made so far. The length of which you can choose for yourself. Whether you want to spend 3 minutes or 30 minutes, the program will adjust the exercises accordingly. Now, I'm going to assume that you've downloaded the app and have done some exercises. Because once you've done that you can access the collection of your mistakes and work on them individually as portrayed in the library above. PS: If you don't have a Chinese phone number you could always search google for "burner phone numbers", as Taiwanese/Hong Kongnese phone numbers work as well when registering an account.
  49. 1 point
    Before moving to Kunming, I mainly thought of celery as something to turn into a salad. But here in China it is more often used as a hearty, medicinal vegetable. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) maintains that it dispels excess internal heat and lowers blood pressure. In addition to that, it boosts the immune system and fights constipation. As if that were not enough, it is also prescribed as a tonic to calm the nerves and fortify one against stress. By now it should not surprise you to learn that China has several kinds of celery, in fact 5 or 6 distinct types. The two main ones that you can find in every fresh market are the thick-stalk western kind 西芹菜that I used in today’s dish and a thin-stalked indigenous kind 本地芹菜that is typically used together with meat as a stuffing for dumplings and steamed buns. My photo, below left, shows the western kind, and the Baidu picture, below right, shows the indigenous kind. (Please click the pictures to enlarge them.) For stir fry dishes, such as today’s, celery works best when cut on a bias. The feathered ends cook quickly and soak up flavor well. After cleaning and cutting the celery, I blanched it in a pot of boiling unsalted water. When the water returned to a boil, I fished it out and dropped it into a large basin of cold water for a few seconds. This cold shock after blanching helps the celery remain crisp and retain its attractive green color. Rinse, pat dry and slice the small sections of dry tofu 豆腐干。This tofu product is immensely popular all over China possibly because it has tons of character and flavor. It is light years from boring and bland. The tofu is brined and marinated in interesting spices before being pressed and finally smoked. Works very well as a meat substitute. I'm not vegetarian, but I still enjoy it sometimes in place of meat. Ingredients all laid out, time to fire up the wok. As you see, I’ve also thinly sliced a red bell pepper 红甜椒 and minced a small amount of ginger 生姜 and garlic 独蒜。Used a couple tablespoons of corn oil 玉米油, added to a hot wok. Today we will exclusively work over medium-high heat, just shy of smoking. Quickly fry the ginger and garlic, being careful not to burn them. Add the red bell peppers. After only seconds on high flame, add the celery to the center. All new ingredients start out in the center since it’s the hottest part of the wok. Make room for each addition by pushing partially-cooked ingredients up the sides, where it is cooler. After you have added the tofu strips and mixed everything a couple of times, salt it well by sprinkling in a teaspoon or so of coarse salt from 8 or 10 inches up in the air. If you just dump in a teaspoon of salt, it might never get thoroughly mixed. Do the same with a pinch of sugar and MSG 味精 if you use it. (I use a little bit, a pinch -- between 1/8 and ¼ of a teaspoon.) A tablespoon or two of light soy sauce 生抽 goes in next. Pour liquid seasonings onto the back of your spatula and let it splash into the whole dish. Ditto for a tablespoon or two of oyster sauce 蚝油。Last of all, add the chopped scallions. They provide fragrance and touch of contrasting bite. If your left arm is strong, emulate the professional chefs by using it to shake the wok back and forth as you stir with right. Stir and flip like your life depended on it: this needs to be a fast process; time is not on your side. If you dawdle, the dish will overcook: the tofu will turn to mush and the vegetables will lose their crunch. You will forfeit your hard-earned Michelin star. Serve it up 装盘。Eat it with a bowl of steamed rice 米饭。Tasty, inexpensive and pretty darned healthy. Raw material cost, enough to serve two people, about one US Dollar. Took under 30 minutes, start to finish. Clean-up not daunting. Hope you will feel moved to give it a try. Very Chinese, very straight-ahead simple. Phoning for take-out has its place every now and then. But so does do-it-yourself.
  50. 1 point
    Thanks so much, Weyland and Edelweis! You guessed right about it being an AA related serenity prayer thing. I had a feeling 接受 wasn't really a synonym for "acceptance," but couldn't think of any word that worked. I'll run getting the whole poem as a tattoo by him. He might not want to give up the geometry of having eight big characters tattooed on him, but I think the whole tattoo would be better. I hadn't thought of that as an option. If it were my body, I wouldn't get any tattoo, and if I did get a tattoo, it definitely wouldn't be Hanzi. If I had to get a tattoo, it'd probably be a wrist watch with the face blank so I can write things like "party," "smashing" or "to go" on it with a sharpie and then point at it and say, "it's party time," "it's smashing time." or "it's time to go." This is why I don't have a tattoo. But I've been well trained and generally don't question my in-laws' decisions.
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