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HungWeiLo's Profile

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Master Chef July 7

My thought was that it wasn't "condescending". It was downright racist.

Imagine saying, hey, you're a black guy from the South, Big Willie, therefore in this challenge for [stereotypical black people food], we expected more out of you.

Racist treatment of Asian Americans is still alive and well and very well-accepted in mainstream media and by the general public. For example, search for the thread on CH about a restaurant called "Chink's Steaks" in Philadelphia. It got pretty heated and 2 out of 3 posts were moderated away.

Jul 11, 2014
HungWeiLo in Food Media & News

What kind of restaurant has the highest profit margins?

There are at least one or two of these Japadog carts here in Seattle. And yes, I did first see them up in Vancouver.

On a grander scale, there are lots of food carts / vans that hound workplaces which I'm sure have pretty good margins. There was one called "Gobble" (http://www.gobbleexpress.com/) that came by our work for a few weeks before deciding we were not worth their time. They listed a grand menu of turkey-based items like soups and sandwiches, etc. But when you actually go up to them, they will be "out of everything" and will essentially only sell turkey bits deep fried in flour. Good riddance.

Jul 11, 2014
HungWeiLo in Not About Food

What kind of restaurant has the highest profit margins?

Those Jap-adog carts have got to take the cake on this.

A cheap low-end frank with 2-3 spoonfuls of cheap toppings for $8-$10. The margins have got to be stupidly stratospheric.

Jul 10, 2014
HungWeiLo in Not About Food

One FINAL request for my short mini-chowmeet with Singapore Hound in July

Canlis is in Seattle, not Redmond. Unless you meant coming back to Redmond for a breather at your hotel before heading out to dinner. In that case, watch out for bridge traffic around dinner time heading out to Seattle.

Jul 08, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Leave the gun, take the cannoli...

"Red wine with fish. That should have told me something."
Sean Connery - From Russia With Love

"I guess she don't like the cornbread, either." - Aliens

"Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions." - Woody Allen, Annie Hall

Jul 01, 2014
HungWeiLo in Food Media & News
2

Leave the gun, take the cannoli...

A Better Tomorrow Part II - Cult classic starring Chow Yun Fat.

You don't like my rice? What's wrong with with it? It's beautiful to me, but to you, rice is nothing... to us, it's just like my father and mother. Don't f**k with my family. If you have any dignity, apologize to the rice RIGHT NOW!

Jul 01, 2014
HungWeiLo in Food Media & News

Leave the gun, take the cannoli...

Once Upon A Time in Mexico. Crappy movie. Don't watch it just for the quotes.

El, you really must try this because it's puerco pibil. It's a slow-roasted pork, nothing fancy. It just happens to be my favorite, and I order it with a tequila and lime in every dive I go to in this country. And honestly, that is the best it's ever been anywhere. In fact, it's too good. It's so good that when I'm finished, I'll pay my check, walk straight into the kitchen and shoot the cook. Because that's what I do. I restore the balance to this country. And that is what I would like from you right now. Help keep the balance by pulling the trigger.

Jul 01, 2014
HungWeiLo in Food Media & News
2

Why do chinese restaurants insist on having "secret" Chinese menus their English-Speaking customers can't decipher?

Mexican food just seems to have trouble conquering the Asian palate. A good portion of this is the complete lack of cultural exposure and marketing (and the dairy doesn't help), but even in cosmopolitan hubs like Hong Kong there will be only less-than-adequate Mexican offerings. From the globalized commercial side of things, Taco Bell has tried and failed 2-3 times to establish a base in Asia - which says quite a bit for a market which clamors for Western fast food. I heard there are now about 20 Taco Bells in Seoul, which is a pittance compared to McD's penetration.

Interestingly enough, there's a small community in Guangdong province comprised of Chinese migrants who grew up in Mexico, but returned in a midst of an anti-Chinese hysteria. (Mexicali once had a Chinatown that was 50 city blocks, and the Chinese far outnumbered the Mexicans). A good number of them don't even speak Chinese at all. One wonders how much Mexican culinary influence got infused back into the local scene from this migration.

Jul 01, 2014
HungWeiLo in General Topics

Suggestions for later in the evening in downtown Montreal

Yeah - I'm probably planning on taking the 747 straight from the airport. I figured I'd be ready for dinner by then (Pacific time).

Otherwise, there'd be a tragic comedy of taking the free hotel shuttle back and forth from the airport just to do the 747, or to take the local bus adjacent to the hotel.

But then I've done much worse out of culinary desperation before.

Jul 01, 2014
HungWeiLo in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Suggestions for later in the evening in downtown Montreal

These are all good points. Depending on many factors - late flight arrival, tiredness, etc. I may just stick around the airport the first night.

But then again, I have a newborn at home, so sleep is overrated anyways. :-)

Jul 01, 2014
HungWeiLo in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Suggestions for later in the evening in downtown Montreal

I'm certainly not opposed to using the personal kitty to supplement the per diem for Joe Beef. However, it may be tough for me to figure out when the make reservations as the meeting schedule is bound to be erratic and unpredictable. I'll certainly give it a go when I return for pleasure instead of business.

Jun 30, 2014
HungWeiLo in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Suggestions for later in the evening in downtown Montreal

Yes, I'll be at the airport. But good info for the restaurants nonetheless! I'll probably try to hit l'Express on the first night. Thanks!

Jun 30, 2014
HungWeiLo in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Suggestions for later in the evening in downtown Montreal

I'll be doing a business trip for 2 week-nights, and will be staying at the airport Hilton Garden Inn. I'm planning to take the 747 express to downtown from the airport to downtown (unfortunately, taking a taxi back and forth would blow my per diem quickly).

What are good $20-$30 options for dinner? I'll be landing on Monday night at around 9pm, so I probably won't get downtown until 11pm-ish. The next evening should be better timing-wise, where I should be able to trek down to the city by 7-8pm.

I live in Seattle, so we already have some at least adequate East Asian and Indian offerings. Suggestions that are uniquely Quebecois would be nice as I'm someone who hasn't visited in ages. Or otherwise French / European continental, but really open to anything easily accessible from the metro. Thanks!

Jun 30, 2014
HungWeiLo in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Why do chinese restaurants insist on having "secret" Chinese menus their English-Speaking customers can't decipher?

Yes, "startup". Maybe my toddler will "allow" me more sleep tonight.

On the eastside, Joi's and Top Gun are pretty decent (if we're talking about Cantonese dim sum - which DTF is not). Not Vancouver great, but pretty decent. I think the only real decent place in Seattle proper is Harbor City. There's a new place called Cascade Garden in Issaquah - it's not too shabby either considering it's in Issaquah and it looks like a Americanized Chinese joint from the outside - and no waits because no one apparently knows about it yet.

Jun 25, 2014
HungWeiLo in General Topics

Why do chinese restaurants insist on having "secret" Chinese menus their English-Speaking customers can't decipher?

Even in large cities, this is not always true.

East of Seattle, despite the fact that 1/4 of the residents are Chinese, along with a wide assortment of international clientele courtesy of high tech, all Chinese restaurants still have at least a few "safe" items if not an outright Americanized menu.

Both my wife and I work outside of Microsoft, and I can count with 1 hand the number of coworkers who want to venture past sandwich shops and wine bars for lunch, despite having great dim sum, ramen, and Sichuan within walking distance. This is a city with a Din Tai Fung and a Santouka, but these coworkers practically retch at the very mention of "dim sum". I thought that may be it was just my workplace - but I've seen the same thing when I worked in a upstart with lots of young people in downtown Seattle.

Speaking of Din Tai Fung, it's quite obvious that the Asian (specifically Chinese) diners order vastly different items than the other patrons. I've noticed that the waiters will recommend different items to new diners depending on their ethnicity. Not having the "safe" items on the menu is a stupid business decision, even in a place with supposed sophisticated palates.

You're bound to lose considerable business when someone goes back to the office that goes "ew, that place down the street sells chicken feet - it said so on the menu, so therefore it must accidentally land in my beef broccoli from time to time" - I wish I was making this up.

Jun 25, 2014
HungWeiLo in General Topics

Meloui

I'll have to go try. I've been trying to make msemen at home without much success.

Just a filling-less plain one dipped with a touch of honey is flavorful enough for me.

May 27, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Ever been recognized on the street by a fellow Chowhound you never met before?

I've been outed a few times on TA as a CHer. Probably because all my trip reports evolve around food. Angkor Wat? I'm looking for that noodle stall around there though...

May 16, 2014
HungWeiLo in Not About Food

Ever been recognized on the street by a fellow Chowhound you never met before?

I did do a real-life meet of a person from an online group back in the newsgroup days. Of course, the interesting, talkative, insightful individual turned out to be quite the bore in real life. And this was back when online dating or meeting someone you randomly met online had quite a bit of stigma attached. Everyone asked afterward if I still had possession of my vital organs.

And plus I've got enough offline friends and I don't spend enough time with them as it is.

May 16, 2014
HungWeiLo in Not About Food

Seattle visit

People here care about getting good food (that's also why you're here) and want you to have the absolute best experience in Seattle. They're just trying to be helpful, that's all.

If a random stranger on the street asked you to recommend a car for them for their next purchase, the first thing you would do is probably try to find out what they like, their needs, etc. and not recommend Brand X just because you like Brand X.

May 15, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle
3

traveling to Taiwan - need gifts

On that note, gifting incense to Chinese/Taiwanese can be so easily misinterpreted as incense is tied with the dead. So that one should be scratched off the list.

Other no-no's: books, clocks, green hats (my favorite), etc. Here's a good quickie guide:

http://www.illuminantpartners.com/201...

But good liquor, coffee, chocolates, etc. are always welcome. I don't know if it's some cultural or price difference thing, but Chinese visitors always stock up on Centrum at Costco. Good tea is abundant in Taiwan, so maybe other things would be more exciting.

In Taiwan, a common gift when visiting someone's home would be a set of cakes and pastries from a local bakery / deli. Though that could be tricky if the students aren't near one / don't have time / don't have language skills.

May 13, 2014
HungWeiLo in Not About Food

Ramen

The good thing about having the new places pop up is that the older places have open tables at all times of the day now (Jinya, Kukai, etc.)

May 12, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Why do no national burger chains have veggie burgers?

Yeah, it's all about the sales. Most vegetarians here wouldn't even consider McDonald's even if they had a veg burger.

I saw a kosher McDonald's in Buenos Aires once. I later found out it was the only one outside of Israel.

May 09, 2014
HungWeiLo in Vegetarian & Vegan

Britain Indian Restaurant cheat

"And they're not going to scrape them back into the pot and serve them to someone else."

You'd be surprised.

May 07, 2014
HungWeiLo in Outer Boroughs

Late Night Eating in Bellevue

I was just there 2 nights ago, and it looks like we ordered the exact same things. I haven't been there in over 10 years.

The warped grill (shown in your pic) bothered me. I kept dropping meat through the wide openings. I thought it was a stylistic cue on the grill, but then I was told it was just damaged from the heat.

May 04, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Late Night Eating in Bellevue

If location is paramount, then Kobe is probably what you're looking at.

Pearl next to the Hyatt has happy hour until midnight. It's an expense account kind of place. But as you've discovered - there's not much night life in Bellevue.

Apr 24, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Late Night Eating in Bellevue

I drive by it every morning, and it looks like it caters to the tourist / convention crowd. The menu that they hang outside doesn't seem like anything exciting or inspiring.

Apr 23, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Late Night Eating in Bellevue

Boiling Point features Taiwanese hotpot and is open until 11pm.

Taqueria el rinconsito is open until 1am and it's basically a taco truck with a storefront, but it's 1-2 miles east of the downtown core.

Apr 23, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Do any Sichuan restaurants use whole, good-quality peppercorns here?

I wonder if it's because of all the real estate transactions going on down that way. Looks like the lot that the restaurant sits on (along with their toy store neighbor - "no, dear, those are not toys for you") is up for sale. The same thing is happening to the lot that houses Joi's. So in short order, 2 above average Bellevue eateries could be replaced with more bland condos and bland sandwich shops / wine bars.

I hope I'm wrong and they're not starting to fold up their tents in anticipation.

Apr 21, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

"Just eat it, you'll like it"

I've encountered this in an Egyptian friend's house too. To not endlessly provide food as a host is insulting. To not feign some attempt to eat everything served is insulting as a guest.

Asians (at least the older generations) do the same thing - to the point where your plate/bowl is sometimes grabbed and the food poured onto it despite loud vocal protests. And let's not even go to the topic of fighting over the bill at restaurants - it gets all WWF every time. As a kid, before I knew better I would always relish the moments when my dad would wrestle with other male relatives/friends over the bill - literally rolling on the floor of the restaurant like children.

Apr 17, 2014
HungWeiLo in Not About Food
2

Do any Sichuan restaurants use whole, good-quality peppercorns here?

Not necessarily the best items there, but some of what I've tried: (I haven't yet fully explored the Hunan section as much as the other stuff)

#7 - plain thick noodles stir-fried peasant-style w/ choice of meat
#26 - wontons w/ spicy broth slapped on it
#35 - Sichuan staple of sliced beef and offal in spicy broth
#36 - same as #35 but with sliced pig ears
The soups are worth trying at least once.
#66
#96
#113
#114 - I like this one, though peppercorn load may vary; I'll have to try #115 next time
#117 - a bit too KFC, but still pretty tasty
#125 - swimming fire fish - but with beef
#152 - irrational love for eggplant
#165 w/ garlic - irrational love for pea vines
#185 - not as good as the handmade tofu at Szechwan99, but the flavor's there
#187 - swimming fire fish

Many of these items use identical/repeated descriptors, altered only by the meat.

The frustrating part about eating there is the wait as they seem to do every dish in the kitchen serially. I almost always get takeout now.

Apr 16, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle