At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Like everyone, I too have an opinion about the Scots independence vote set for tomorrow. For those readers just tuning in, the Scots nationalists have pushed the envelope, and a nation filled with sheep-rearing hairy men in skirts may soon leave the union.

Unlike the Americans when Mississippi stormed out of the dance, taking the rest of that bunch of bourbon-swilling syphilitics with it, England won't pitch a hissy, but seems resigned to the departure.

Probably even secretly delighted.

As I know I am.



Okay then. That was four whole minutes of Scottish musical talent.

Amazingly f*&king nasty, perfectly disgraceful.

Take a moment to heave.

When the hairy sheep-shagging bastards finally leave, we can start burning our bagpipes. No more will we have to put up with that instrument, pretending that we actually like their silly little party tricks with what can only be described as an infernal bellows, a ghastly implement, a horrendous tool of torture, possibly a weapon of mass destruction, that which infects, a sorry excuse for music, and quite the most repellent producer of ruptured eardrums, indigestion, suicidal tendencies, and frayed nerves this side of people speaking Swedish.

Fact: bagpipes were invented by Adolph Hitler.

Good bye, good luck, good riddance.

Call us when the oil runs out.

And take your haggis too.

Bobby Burns sucks.

Big-nosed git.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


A very good friend asked why I did not show up at the usual place on Saturday night upon my return from Marin County. Was I, she asked, trading nights? She and her husband had noted my absence.
No, I wasn't. I was avoiding sports-crazed yobbos.
And the screaming madness that entails.
Conversation is impossible.
During games.

I like going to the usual Saturday evening place. Not being in a relationship at present makes it an easy choice.
No, it isn't because of women.

There are in fact only three women who show up regularly there, as it is a cigar-smoking establishment, and women are nearly as shy about huffing stogies as they are about pipe-smoking and the clap.

Two of the women are attached, and the third is a mad partying type. And, truth be told, I am not really set on women who like cigars.
If a woman smokes, it should be fine tobacco in a well-chosen briar. That's much more ladylike, and shows common sense and good taste.

I like going there because of the conversation.
Which, usually, is calm and intelligent.
Except on game nights.

This blogger does not like sports, loud music, screaming, crowds, or drunkenness.

I'm rather a prude. A good place to spend some time in the evening, assuming that one does not have a relationship going on -- which I don't, not even a glimmer -- and dinner with a delightful creature of the suitable gender (female) is not part of the programme, is an environment where smoking (cigars and pipes) is allowed (encouraged), a spot of liquor (cheap Scotch) may be had, the lights are bright, and the clientele more than average interesting and thoughtful.

Sports fans, as everyone knows, are dull and stupid.
They smell bad and eat too much.
Besides swearing.
A lot.

I think the Giants or Forty-niners were playing.
That's a sure recipe for disaster.

Tea, anyone?

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Monday, September 15, 2014


One of the first steps is fixing a nice cup of tea. Then dump the stems into bleach. Ream and scrape the bowls, add alcohol to soften the hard muck, fiddle and repeat. More tea. Rims. Pick and twiddle. There's tar encrusted in the sandblasted grain around the top. Use dabbed alcohol and jeweler's screwdrivers to pick it out, much like a dental hygienist, albeit with considerably less foul language. Fix some more tea. Files, prongs, and a twiddly thing to get the tar and noxious build-up out of the shank. Again, the image of a dental hygienist, but this time one with lots of liquor and a sadistic streak. Jab, jab, jab. Swill with hot tea, because the mouth now feels dry; the effect of prolonged concentration.
At least and at last the insides are clean.

By the time I got through, the stems had sat in bleach for two hours, and all the oxidation had lifted off.


That sentence is in my notes. I have no idea what it means, and I must assume that it was an unintentional lapsus calami. Either that, or it's a negative judgement of the previous owner of the briar pipes I was working on. Some smokers leave their favourite pieces as filthy as a Roman sewer, and I suspect that they may not actually be able to tell the difference.
Back in the stone age of pipe smoking (a generation ago), the common wisdom was that you gave your pipe a completely personal character by smoking it regularly and often, developing a carbon layer that reflected your taste, and letting it age "gracefully", acquiring patina, colour, depth, and the occasional ding and nick as a record of your life and your unique habitus.
The corollary to that set of beliefs was that many people used only a few pipes, seldom cleaned the beasts, oversmoked them till they reeked and felt clammy and wet, and ended up with pieces of wood to which the term 'fugued-up to a fare-thee-well' applied.

There's one customer who drops off three or four pipes every six months to be reamed, cleaned, and restored. He only has eight pipes in all, and every time I see them I can smell them from ten feet away before even opening the drawer. The phrase "skanky pervert" comes to mind.
I know when he's been in; it's that evil miasma.
The howling gothic pit of tortured wood.
Nightmares, trauma, and agony.
Embedded suffering.

Can a piece of briar feel angst? I would like to think so. When you die, you will meet the shades of all the pipes you have ever ruined. They will drench you with the nicotiniac ooze and tarry slime that you never freed them from, every noxious aromatic gag-inducing dung mixture you ever rammed into them will be forced down your throat for all eternity.


There are six pipes that I'm working on now, even though it's a day off and I'm at home. They're in the oven at one hundred and eighty degrees, baking for several hours. This tightens up the wood, which is necessary after all that I've done to them. These are pieces that everyone else thought unredeemable, but like many such, they've become a personal Mount Everest. Yes, the nomenclature will be barely visible at best, but in their cases it was not an illustrious family tree anyhow.
The point is that they will smoke very well once I'm done.

The stems are in a little saucer to my left.
Goldang they look nasty.

Honestly, I cannot believe that someone put those things in his mouth. Necrotic and repellent, they bear the encrustations of several decades of idiot drool and slobber, and that particular shade of puss-green in all its impossible variation suggests kanker, fester, devolution, and moral filth.

These will require two hours in bleach.

Rinse, scrape out the air passages.

Then buff like a maniac.


Always let your pipes rest after smoking them. Do not abuse them with tobacco that reeks of Hello Kitty perfume or Vegas hookers, use pipe cleaners often, and don't drop or bang. Own enough pipes that you see different ones each day. If you do buy a prize piece for several hundred dollars, for craps' sake don't wreck it.

The way some men abuse their pipes makes you wonder how they treat their family. The traumatized wife probably dreams fondly of shooting him while he's whimpering on the kitchen floor after she whacked him with the toaster -- repeatedly, on the back of his head -- and his teenage daughters are going to run off with the very first preacher that winks at them from the pulpit. If he trips in the yard, the chained doberman will feast upon him while he still breathes.

The son-of-a-bitch probably raises goldfish for frat-boy contests.
Unheard-of diseases thrive in his loins.
Depravity and turpitude.

I bet cats hate him

The putrid sod.

On a brighter note, I smoked several bowls of Rattray's Hal O'The Wynd yesterday, in between the many cups of tea. Bought the tin over three years ago, finally opened it on Saturday. Nice.
I  had so much caffeine that I was spinning.
Didn't eat until after four o'clock.
Far too much fun.

Fruits. Peaches, plums, and even nectarines.
There's a high natural sugar content.
Red Virginias, touch of other.
Fragrant. Heavenly.

Ionones, damascones and damascenones.


NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Yesterday evening on the bus back from Marin several passengers asked the busdriver how they could get to Chinatown. Golden Gate Transit is a fount of information, but that isn't part of it. They'll get you to the city, but what you do then is something they will not think about.

So I verbally stepped in.

'Get off at Sacramento and Van Ness. Walk to the corner of Clay and Van Ness, take the Number One California across the hill. Get off at Stockton. And lo, you are there!'

Me: "So, what do you plan to do in Chinatown?"

Them: "Eat dinner, but we do not know where."

Me: "If I may, I have a number of suggestions...."

I had heard them speaking Mandarin all the way over, as they were sitting right behind me. My Mandarin is rather ramshackle, but I can write fairly decently.

['saam-yeung ka-fei chan-ok' *]
848 Washington Street
San Francisco, CA 94108.
Telephone: 415-296-8228

Between Stockton and Grant, corner of Ross Alley

Noodle-soup and small eats to the Sino-Viet taste
Yuè huáqiáo fēngwèi de fěn tāng yǔ xiǎoshí
['yuet-waa-kiu fung-mei dik fan-tong yue siu-sik']

You go here for noodles and unpretentious Viet-Chinese food, well done, tasty and interesting. Plus either Vietnamese coffee or milk-tea.
I often have the bittermelon and pork or chicken over rice, or the grilled pork strips and rice-stick noodles in soup, but there is a lot to choose from, and you really have to try to be dissatisfied.
Unless you are from the Midwest.
In which case it's easy.

* "three suns coffee dining room"

['king to tsan-kwun' *]
839 Clay Street
San Francisco, CA 94108.
Telephone: 415-397-6269

Between Waverly Place and Hang Ah Alley

Family-style Cantonese food
Jiātíng shì yuècài
['gaa-ting sik yuet-choi']

Salt and pepper chicken wings, whole steamed fish, crustaceans and shellfish, home style dishes, nicely stir-fried vegetables and the regular real Chinese restaurant standards, as well as rice-plates. Fish flavour eggplant (魚香茄子), fish and fresh vegetable (菜遠蘢利魚飯), or black bean bitter melon and fish (豆豉凉瓜魚片). Lo fo tong if you have a rice plate. Very popular with the Chinatown crowd, but Europeans are often baffled.
That's a common thing, by the way.
European bafflement.

* "metropolis dining establishment"

['seung-hoi fan-diem' *]
640 Jackson Street
San Francisco, CA 94133.
Telephone: 415-982-0618

Between Grant and Kearny

Shanghainese and Huai beautiful eating
Hù huái měishí
['wu waai mei-sik']

Wu-Huai cuisine, very good. I highly recommend it for couples on a date, small family groups, and five or six friends who simply want some darn fine food at a darn fine place. The waitstaff is courteous and professional, the kitchen standards are extraordinarily high.
For Shanghainese exiles it's a breeze from home, but for this blogger it's where I get steamed dumplings (蒸的水餃子) when I absolutely must have steamed dumplings.

* "on sea rice shop"

['ling naam siu gwun' *]
631 Kearny Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

On the corner of Commercial, between Sacramento and Clay

Best high-grade Cantonese Cuisine
Zuì hǎo de gāo pǐn yuècài
['jeui-hou dik kou-pan yuet-choi']

Top-notch Cantonese food in a nice restaurant setting, probably the best you can find in Chinatown, maybe even the entire city. A very popular place, where you can also have an expertly crafted cocktail. Like all fine Cantonese dining establishments, they assume that  you really want to order seafood, and get out of your shell culinarily. Unless you're from the Midwest or Europe, in which case you'll probably order the dishes you always get at your local take-out, and you'll be disappointed.
The Chinese regionymic handle of this establishment proudly advertises Cantonese. Which absolutely means fish and crustaceans.

* "high-passes south little establishment"

I sincerely hope that wherever they ended up, they ate very well. Judging by Yelp -- which exists primarily so that people who are always angry can slag businesses which made them more so -- there is nothing worth eating in Chinatown, and "my aunt from Hong Kong hated it".
Or maybe the aunt was from the Midwest.

I myself stayed in last night. I knew there was an evening ball game on, and consequently the place where I would normally go for a drink and conversation while smoking a pipe or two would be filled with screaming sportsfiends, and any discussion would be impossible.
Likely quite futile to attempt.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Saturday, September 13, 2014


The past half year has been in some ways a feast of solitude. Good food, cooked as I like it, without worrying about other people's tastes and dietary peculiarities, in between nibbling snacks in Chinatown.
Given that I am a middle-aged single man, this is easy to manage.
I buy many of my ingredients in Chinatown, primarily because such things as sparklingly fresh seafood and streaky pork (五花腩 'ng faa naam') are not commonly available elsewhere, and non-Asian supermarkets and groceries never stock bitter melon, long beans, mustard stalks, or lactuca indica (A菜 'ngaa-choi').

The other reason I get my food in C'town is because I tend to cook sort of Chinese a lot of the time. Also Dutch or Dutch-Indonesian, slapdash Indo-Chinese, and due to prolonged exposure, Indian.
But in the last half-year, mostly Chinese.

[The recipes linked below will eventually end-up cross-posted on my food-blog (Cooking with a Lizard, but I haven't gotten around to that yet. It's been updated to the first of this year, but not further.]

You might enjoy revisiting these food essays.
Or telling me how wrong my recipes are.
Feedback is always appreciated.

And if you have dishes that you want to tell me about, please do.
On reading what's below, you'll know what I go for.
Feel free to surprise me; I like surprises.

A traditional dish among the Fujianese (福建人) in South-East Asia. Fat-layered pork sealed on one side, slow-braised to perfection with soy sauce, sugar, and a splash of sherry or rice wine. As the fragrance rises, you remember favourite aunties and the meals that they prepared.

Probably the easiest way to prepare bitter melon. I myself am inordinately fond of bitter melon, but there are a few people who can't seem to bend their buds around the taste. Very sad for them.

Large meaty balls in broth. Very Shanghai, very Hong Kong. At its simplest it is profoundly old-school and tastes of home, but if you doll it up it is also festive. Very satisfying.

Streaky pork simply steamed. The pig is a marvelous animal. No wonder every one's fondest memories taste like pork. And ginger. And shrimp paste.

TUESDAY, JULY 15, 2014
Boiled eggs. What could be easier? And why are you actually buying those, when you could make them at home? Soy sauce, dried orange peel, star anise......

海味或乾海產 -- XO醬
Not so much a condiment as a cooking ingredient. And not at all precious and rare, despite the hoopla. Make a batch at home, rather than buying an expensive and tiny jar.

FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 2014
Home-cooking, Szechuanese style, as Hong Kong people imagine it, and Chinatown restaurateurs provide in many convenient locations.
But why eat out, when you could eat in?

A favourite snack of Fujianese people, especially in Singapore and Penang. But also popular as late-night munchies in Taiwan.
Almost a cliche, but a good one.

SUNDAY, JUNE 01, 2014
Typhoon Shelter Crab: a very Hong Kong specialty, and one of the must tries of your visit. If you go to Hong Kong. Otherwise, make it at home. First time, for yourself; you're experimenting. Second time, for your wife or girl-friend; that's why you experimented first.

THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014
That doesn't look Chinese, does it? It isn't. What it is, is a very nice simple Netherlandish stew. Profoundly a taste of somewhere else, even exotic, here in the New World.

Well now. To finish with something very Cantonese, about as totally Cantonese as it can possibly get, here's lobster:

['geung chung lung-haa']

One lobster, about two pounds.
Quarter cup chicken stock.
Quarter cup cornstarch.
Quarter cup sherry.
One TBS oyster sauce.
Half a Tsp. freshly ground pepper.
Half a Tsp. salt.
One thumb of ginger, peeled and slivered.
Half dozen scallions, cut diagonally.
A few drops sesame oil.

Oil as needed.

Mix sherry, soy sauce, and one tablespoon corn starch in a bowl and whisk smooth. Add chicken stock and set aside.

Dump lobster headfirst into a cauldron of boiling water, and cook for about three of four minutes more after it returns to a boil.
Remove, rinse under cold water. Drain.

The head may be removed and cleaned to decorate the serving platter, OR chopped in half and whacked, cleaned of some of the weird stuff inside as you see fit, and treated the same as the remainder of the beast. 
Some people like sucking on the head.

Twist off tail and claws. Using a heavy cleaver split tails in half along the length, then across into large chunks. Whack each part of the claws to expose the meat.
In a large bowl, dust the lobster pieces well with the cornstarch and the salt and pepper, tossing to coat.

Heat one or two cups of oil in a large wok till almost smoking. Slide in the lobster pieces and fry till pale golden and barely crisp. Remove and drain in a sieve over a metal bowl.

Decant almost all the oil, and heat what remains till almost smoking. Add ginger, scallions, and stirfry fragrant. Return lobster to pan and stir to mix. Re-whisk the sherry and cornstarch mixture, and pour into the pan. Once the glaze thickens, add a few drops of sesame oil and slide everything onto a platter.

Remember: rice and Sriracha hot sauce with everything, plus Oolong tea or Pu-Erh for clarity and harmonious digestion, followed by a pipe full of matured Virginia tobacco, or a cigar.

If you really want to go total Chinatown, have a bowl of "old fire soup" (老火湯 'lo fo tong') alongside the meal. Blanch some meaty bones plus chicken and lean pork (瘦肉 'sau yiuk'), rinse, and dump in a pot to simmer with a slice of ginger and a carrot. Tonifying herbs if you wish, and know how to use them. Use plenty of water, the broth should be light in flavour and clear. Simmer for several hours on a low flame, adding liquid as needed. A few minutes before you need to serve it, add watercress or pre-soaked wood ears, plus maybe a little cilantro. It is not a hefty dish, but merely a pleasing liquid accompaniment. Done well, it is a fundament, as much as the rice and the tea.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


Friday, September 12, 2014


A young fellow in Wuhan refused to give up his seat to an elderly person; a seat which was specifically designated as due the aged, the infirm, and others of much need. Precisely like, in fact, the seats at the front of a San Francisco bus, which must also be yielded.
Even though they are often not.

The number of times when some self-satisfied prig who works in the law offices located down in the Embarcadero Center refuses to vacate for an elderly person or a pregnant woman is well-nigh countless. Because, of course, he or she had a long day working for lawyers doing important stuff; they are justifiably tired, whereas an aged or infirm person obviously didn't do anything nearly so meaningful.

Especially if they are Chinese.

The rush-hour buses are standing room only at least one block before Chinatown.

Important law-office white people do NOT offer their seat to pregnant Chinese women, elderly Chinese of either gender, or damned well anyone else at all.

Again, that's folks who work in the Embarcadero Center office towers, where there are more lawyers and law-offices than anywhere else in the city. It's the beginning of the Number One California line.

In the video below, the disrespectful Wuhanese yuppie gets roundly chivied by several old folks. His lack of common courtesy and civilised manners is not appreciated.

Very actively dis-appreciated.


[SOURCE:; it can also be seen here:]

It used to be common in the Western World for younger people to yield their seat to older passengers, and men to stand so that women could sit down. Not so much an unwritten code as taken for granted.
That's how I was taught, and I'm not even an antique.
But many people today weren't raised like that.
Law-office support staff, for instance.

In Wuhan, the other passengers reacted with ire to a younger man being so uncivil, and he got the worst of it.

I would love to see that happen on the Number One California.
Heading up Nob Hill with a full load of law office garbage.

Instead, what I usually see are passengers studiously absorbed in their cell-phones, so that they do not have to act like human beings, social creatures, or folks with any sense of ethics, decency, or manners.

They believe that it is only right and proper that elderly Chinese people should stand while they sit. Because, after all, they are not like them.

Apparently the young man in the video was not injured.
Which is a very great pity.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Per a tradition dating back to when I lived on Broadway and The Amphibian worked at the second-hand bookstore of lamentable and not-to-be-mentioned in polite company name, once a week the both of us end up at a dive bar in Chinatown.
Start with horrible wine on Broadway.
Pint of beer elsewhere while observing craziness at the intersection from our perch above the mob, as well as art in the alleyway.
Finish with whiskey while people screech.
Full service karaoke.

I am still baffled why Deutsche Welle was on the television at the dive in Chinatown.


Deutsche Welle is the German 'mission civilisatrice'.
News, kultur, and existential angst.

No, it's not Sprockets

Panel discussion, four participants, as near as we can tell talking about child refugees, mistakes made in the fight against Ebola, and the upcoming Scottish separatist vote.

Brent Goff, Usman Shehu, Karl Kopp, and Billy MacKinnon.
Two journalists for Deutsche Welle.
A European asylum activist.
And a Scotsman.

Remember, it's a bar with Chinese people.
And a karaoke machine.

The sound was off on the television, so the Amphibian and myself were the only ones paying attention to the roundtable discussion, and that only because Billy MacKinnon has the most bizarre hand language. Flying, swooping, jabbing, fruit-picking, diving, and twirling, twirling, twirling.

Twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling, twirling!

Flutters, twitches, and a series of full upper torso wobbles to boot.
Like watching a man with syphilitic muscle spasms
Or directing an imaginary orchestra.
Inner karaoke.

William (Billy) MacKinnon has quite a few praestations under his belt.

Writer (6 credits)
2014 Dawn (adaptation)
2012 Aufzug (The Lift) (Short)
2009 Wayfaring Stranger (Short) (writer)
2007 Savage (Short)
1998 Hideous Kinky (writer)
1996 Small Faces (written by - as Billy Mackinnon)

Producer (5 credits)
2012 Violine (Short) (executive producer)
1996 Small Faces (producer - as Billy Mackinnon)
1990 The Last Crop (TV Movie) (producer)
1989 Sweetie (co-producer - as William MacKinnon)
1986 Passing Glory (Short) (producer)

Miscellaneous Crew (5 credits)
2014 Shongram (story editor)
2010 The Orgasm Diaries (script editor)
1999 Mauvaise passe (script editor)
1993 The Piano (script editor)
1989 Sweetie (script editor)

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director (2 credits)
1998 Hideous Kinky (second unit director)
1996 Small Faces (second unit director)

[SOURCE: The Internet Movie Database. ]

Honestly, I had never heard of Mr. William (Billy) MacKinnon before.
Now I cannot get his ridiculous hand mannerisms out of my head.
A flapping of fingers till the feathers fly.

His bucket-load of nervous tics.

Or the evil of his smirk.

Stop that!

It must have been a good show, but unfortunately all we know is that that man needs a straight-jacket, if only so that his fellow tablers don't seize one of his hands and smack it down on the table. "Stop moving those hands, just stop!" Perhaps lock the offending extremity down by jabbing a steak knife through it and pinning it to the table. He'd swoop his other hand around in expressive indignation, good, that one gets immobilized too.
With both out of action, maybe he'd finally fall silent.

How do you know when Billy MacKinnon is talking?


If you think I'm making too much of him and this, it's because I am.

His fellow paneleers started unconsciously emulating him, gesticulating ever more absurdly, and soon even the Amphibian was nearly levitating from the wild wingbeats with which he punctuated his witty commentary on the spectacle. It was altogether irritating and embarrassing, plus intensely and painfully annoying. It grated horribly upon the eyes.
Very gay, but not in a nice way.

No doubt there's a medicine for that.

Valium should work.

Or a taser.

Flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping,  flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping!

Once again: valium.

Horse pills.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Recently a reader posted a question in my 'letterbox' (which is linked at the bottom of this and other posts), writing: "I just moved to SF and was wondering if you knew of a place to find Dong Gu 冬菇 the Chinese Winter Mushrooms. I'm not Chinese and don't know the city too well but it seems like you might know. Thanks so much! "

Of course I promptly wrote back.

Because it's a food quest.

Food is great.

[Begin cite]

Hi G.L.,

Almost any grocery store that caters to Asians will carry those. In C'town, check the places along Stockton Street that have bottled sauces and dry goods. But there are also shops on Jackson between Stockton and Grant.

Wing Scene: 898 Stockton Street, corner of Clay Street, is as good a place as any, as well as at the Stockton Seafood Center (green awnings) across Clay at 900 Stockton, which sells only dry goods, including herbs and tonics. But further down Stockton between Washington and Broadway is filled with food places that are good for browsing.

BTW: on Jackson, between Stockton and Powell, north side of the street, are butcher stores that sell the preferred Cantonese cuts of meat, including the Wah Hing Market (華興公司), where a number of basic Chinese grocery store items can be found, including odd sauces and dried ingredients.
Note that none of these stores have much of a visible English language sign presence; for their customers, that isn't necessary.

The very best kind of dong gu (冬菇) are thick, beautifully puffy looking, and have an even crackly skin on the cap. These will cost a lot more. For regular purposes, lesser grades are just as useful, however.
You might find those at Nan Hai Corporation, 919 Grant Avenue, between Washington and Jackson. They're good to keep in mind for many Chinese dried goods, as well as an extremely impressive selection of teas.

There are also numerous Chinese-Viet grocery stores in the Tenderloin, and along Clement Street, as well as in the outer Sunset and Richmond.

Good luck.

[End cite]


A) - First two stores mentioned

Wing Scene
['wing sing sik-pan gung-si']
898 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108

A multitude of groceries. Dried goods, wafers, biscuits, crackers, Chinese candies and snacky things, sauces, etcetera. One can also find imported mooncakes here, during the season, as well as patent remedies and eggroll cookies.

Stockton Street Seafood Center
['chung-chou seng hoi-mei dim']
900 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108

Mostly dried fish of various types, dry shrimp, dry oysters and other bivalves, tonic herbs and bulk dried vegetables, canned abalone, and similar things. Plus some staples.

The dried mushrooms (冬菇 'dung-gu') are arrayed opposite the bins of sea cucumber (海參 'hoi-saam'); they also have Indonesian pure white swallows nest (印尼白燕窩 'yan-nei baak yin-wo'), beautiful humongous dried African abalone (非洲鮑魚 'fei-chau baau-yü'), Japanese purple ling zhi fungus (日本紫靈芝 'yat-pun ji ling-ji'), fish belly (魚肚 'yü tou'), San Wui aged dried orange peel (新會陳年舊陳皮 'san-wui chan-nin kau chan-pei'), Yunnan tienchi (雲南田七 'waan-nam tin-chat'), and Guangdong ji red fruit (廣東吉紅果 'gwon dung kat hung gwo';a type of hawthorn). Plus, for tea purposes, Hangzhou tribute chrysanthemum flower (杭州貢菊花 'hong-jau gung guk-faa'), Xinjiang Kunlun snow chrysanthemum (新疆崑崙雪菊 'san-geung kwan luen suet guk-faa').
And of course American ginseng (花旗參 'faa-gei saam').

B) - Places along Stockton Street

Just walking down from the tunnel to Broadway, a number of shops strike the eye. Not all of them will sell dried mushrooms, but many of them do. Besides numerous fascinating condiments, dried goods, and fresh foods.

Between Sacramento and Clay Street:

Won Kow Food Products
['waan-kau hoi-mei sik-pan gung-si']
814 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Dried seafoods, and a variety of other things. Nowadays, mostly magazines, movies, fifty-part television melodramas, and doodads for your cell device.

Wycen Foods Inc.
['cheung faat laap mei']
832 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Excellent preserved meats, sausages, cured pork. And of particular note: delicious beef jerky (美味的牛肉幹 'mei mei dik ngau yiuk gon').

Wing Scene
['wing sing sik-pan gong-si']
898 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108

Between Clay and Washington Street:

Stockton St. Seafood Center, Inc.
['chung-chou seng hoi-mei dim']
900 & 902 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Between Washington and Jackson Street:

Tai Sang Trading Co. Inc
['taai sang tong']
1018 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Hop Hing Ginseng Co.
['hap hing saam-yung yuek hong']
1027Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Tonic herbs and quality dried ingredients.

Rainbow House
['choi wan hin']
1014 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Fresh fruit and vegetables galore.

Golden Way Trading Company
[wai-hang mau-yi gung-si']
1024 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Booze, dry goods, cookies, candies, tea. Teabags especially. Friendly owners.

Mei's Groceries Inc.
['gaa mei jaap-fo gung-si']
1037 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Dry goods, vitasoy drinks, lots of condiments.

Kang Hua Trading Inc.
['hong waa saam-yung yuek-choi hong']
1040 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Mostly herbs and patent remedies, plus tonics.

Wan Cheong Ginseng Company
['maan cheung saam-yung hong']
1043 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Ginseng, herbs, and sea-flavour dried goods. Particularly sea cucumber (海參 'hoi saam'), octopus (章魚 'jeung yü'), and Japanese dried oysters (日本蠔豉 'yat-pun hou-si').

Vegiland Market
['chaang dei so-gwo dim']
1055 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Lots of fresh vegetables and fruit.

Between Jackson Street and Pacific Avenue:

Little Paradise
['do lok-chuk']
1101 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Vegetables, fruits, groceries, juices, candies.

Sheng Hing Market
['saang hing maa-git']
1105 -- 1109 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Fresh and dried goods, condiments. But by far, mostly lots of fruits and vegetables.

City Super
Lien Hing Supermarket Inc.
['leun hing chiu-kap si-cheung']
1108 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

D & T Market
['daai tung chiu si']
Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Fresh fruit and vegetables.

New United Supermarket
['san luen waa chiu-kap si-cheung']
1117 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Kin Sun Market
['gin san jaap-fo']
1118 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

['hoi sin sai-gaai']
1135 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Fresh fish, shellfish, pork, lamb, and poultry (家禽 'gaa-kam'). Please note that this business does not appear to have an English name, but is never-the-less an excellent resource.

Pacific Ave. Seafood Trading Co.
['san tung faat yü-chi hoi-chaan']
1143 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

An excellent place for lobster and live eel.

Liang's Food
['leung saang saang hoi-chaan']
1145 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.


Kwong Cheong Tai
['gwong cheung taai']
1199 B. Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Dried sea flavours, fermented fish, and mixed goods.
An enjoyable place to shop, particularly for desiccated shrimp and oysters.

Between Pacific Avenue and Broadway:

['daai jung waa saam-yung hang']
1201 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

A big bright herbs and dried goods emporium, with no English name.
Dates, ling zhi, fish maw, and shrimp.

Sun Sang Market
['wing fung siu-laap yiuk-sik gung-si']
1205 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

Fresh meats, roasted or barbecued meats like duck, pork, and chicken, and prepared dishes to take home.

Liang's Seafood Inc.
['yü haa haai']
1207 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

High quality fresh seafood. Reliable.

Sun Wah Trading Co.
['san-waa jaap-tuen yau-haan gung-si']
1211 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

New Louie's Inc.
['san leui si maa-git']
1213 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

Mostly fruits and vegetables.

Sunnyland Produce
['san faat sik-pan gung-si']
1215 - 1217 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

Fresh fruits and vegetables, plus condiments and canned food.

Chung Chou City
['chung-chou seng hoi-mei dim']
1230 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

Dried foods: beche de mer, seahorses, shrimp, dried fish.

On the awning:
鮑參翅腸,急凍海產。'baau saam chi cheung', 'gap dung hoi chaan'.
蟲草總匯,燕窩參茸。'chung-chou jung-wui', 'yin-wo saam-yung'.
Basically, that's abalone, ginseng, fins, stomach; flash frozen ocean products.
Company harvested products; swallow's nest and traditional tonics.

Inside the store certain things stand out, like "country bumpkin dried bokchoi" (鄉下佬白菜乾 'heung-haa-lou baak-choi gon'), dried flounder (大地魚 'daai dei yü') for stock, firewood fish (紫魚肉 'ji yü yiuk') for a yummy saveur, and a marvelous selection of dried mushrooms in apothecary jars: "monkey head mushroom" (猴頭菇 'hau-tau-gu'; hericium erinaceus), "slick kiddie mushroom" (滑子菇 'gwat ji gu'; possibly a relative of the common champignon), "precious concubine mushroom" (珍姬菇 'jan gei gu'; perhaps a relative of the tree oyster), "abalone mushroom" (鮑魚菇 'baau yü gu'; pleurotus cystidiosus), "dancing antlers mushroom" (舞茸菇 'mou yung gu'; grifola frondosa, maitake), and "goat belly mushroom" (羊肚菌 'yeung tou kwan'; the morel).

One other thing caught my eye, namely Jilin deer tendons (吉林鹿腳筋 'kat-lam luk keuk gan' ), and I can only hazard a guess what those are good for.

Kin Tat Co.
['haap daat gung-si']
1248 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

Fresh produce.
No, I don't know where the pronunciation 'kin' comes from.
It may be an alternate reading of which I am ignorant.

Sun Sun Trading Co.
['san san saam-yung hoi-mei hong']
1252 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

Jing Ye Co.
['ging yip gung-si']
1254 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

Best Food Produce
['san ding hou']
1262 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables

Kum Luen
['kam luen']
1265 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Between Broadway and Vallejo Street:

Chung Kui Imports & Exports Co.
['jung giu saam-yung gung-si']
1306 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

Medicinal and tonic herbs.

Pang Kee Bargain Market
['ping gei ping gaa si-cheung']
1308 & 1310 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

Canned and bottled items from South East Asia, and a vast variety of crunchy snacky things. Plus the flaky eggroll cookies (蛋卷;'daan kuen') in large red tins that you really need to buy for Chinese New Year.

Tian Shan Ginseng and Herb
['tin saan saam-yung yuek hong']
1341 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

New Nature Herbal Line
['baak chou tong']
1341 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

Sun Kau Shing Co., Inc.
['san gwok hing gung-si']
1352 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

Good selection of condimenta.

Between Vallejo and Green Street:

Lee's Market
['baak gaai chiu-kap si-cheung']
1401 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

Fruits, vegetables, and crowds.

Asia Herbs
['ngaa-jau saam-yung yuek-choi']
1418 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.

C) - On Jackson, between Stockton and Powell

JC Trading Company
['waa hing gung-si']
830 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Various cuts of pork much preferred by Cantonese people, and a good selection of dried ingredients and noodles.

Hang Seng Meat Market
['hang saang yiuk pou']
834 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Good meat.

D) - Nan Hai Corporation and Grant Avenue

Nam Hai Corp
['naam-hoi jaap-tuen saam-yung hong yau-haan gung-si']
919 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Probably the best place for loose-leaf teas in Chinatown, well-laid out and organized, with a friendly staff. There are also raw herbs, tonics, and patent remedies, as well as the usual naambaakhong clutter of ginseng and standard dry ingredients.

Look for 毛蟹王 ('mou-haai-wong'); the "hairy crab king".
It's a type of semi-fermented tea.
A lovely product.

Not strictly speaking relevant, but it should definitely be mentioned:

Ming Kee Game Birds Inc.
['ming gei gaa-kam']
1136 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133.

For all your ptarmigan and grouse needs.
Treat your friends to something fabulous.


You will have noticed that I did not include any of the small eateries on Stockton Street or its vicinity. Those are detailed here: snacky things, in an article that also mentions places elsewhere in Chinatown.

Nor are any of the bakeries listed. Many bakeries can be found in this post: pastries and milk tea; and again, not only Stockton Street.

Roast meats, particularly fowl, will be listed in dream duck. Quack.

Kam Po Hong Kong Kitchen (港新寶燒腊小食) at the intersection of Powell and Broadway, and Gourmet Delight Carousel (新凱豐燒臘店) between Pacific and Jackson on Stockton.

Lastly, a place where you can eat roast goose:

Yee's Restaurant
['man-chai-gei siu-laap cha-chan-teng ']
1131 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133.

They have a pretty darn good selection of both roast meats to go as well as hot dishes to eat there, and can accommodate larger groups. But the single diner will be treated as well as anyone else.

Their name brings up another subject: the cha-chanteng (茶餐廳 "tea restaurant"). That being a style of eatery where strong milk-tea (港式奶茶 'gong-sik naai cha') is served, or half tea half coffee with condensed milk (鴛鴦 'yuen-yeung'), plus unique Hong Kong interpretations of food may be found in such a place, such as syrup bombe HK French toast, dolled-up insta-noodle, fried spaghetti, and baked dishes.

Decent list here: milk-tea, and full ideal menu here: cha-chanteng.

Live well. Go ahead.

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A reliable authority informs me that my hoohah smells 'narsty'. That is the news, as of a day and a half ago. I have a 'narsty' hoo-hah, and I should wash with carbolic, definitely more than once every few years or so.

As background, I beg to inform that the small stuffed animals (collectively known as 'the roomies') come alive when my apartment mate returns home. They're fairly silent when I'm alone in the apartment, but as soon as she closes the door behind her, small rude voices pipe up.

They tend to say outrageous things.

I've been denying the small sock sheep the opportunity to become Head Roomie. That role belongs to the 'acting head roomie', a small she-sheep, and the 'senior Teddy Bear', who is on a sanity break.
Snidely desperately wants to be appointed 'head roomie', so that he can organize a grand parade (!) in his own honour.

I maintain that he is too young & silly.

In response, he maligns my hoohah.


I have no clue what my hoohah is. He cannot describe it. If I knew what it was, I could wave it at him (which I've threatened), or wash it.
I thought I was clean.
He says 'no'.

"Is it round? Square? Triangular?
Perhaps trapezoid shape?"


Since my apartment mate broke up with her boy-friend, she's been staying home a lot in the evening. The roomies utter meanspirited things towards each other and to me, while she quietly cruises the internet for period costume jewelry, and refuses to take part in the conversation.

When I started chanting "hoohah, hoohah, hoohah", she merely told me to stop teasing the little dude. Who was grunting as if constipated, in his frustration and fury.

Hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah, hoohah!

I didn't know sheep could squeal. He really does sound plugged up.
Probably too much candy, not enough veggies.


I don't know if my apartment mate found what she was looking for on e-bay. I was too intrigued by the concept of digestively blocked farm animals and veterinary high colonics to ask.

Feel free to speculate about my hoohah, whatever that is, either in the comments field or via personal message placed in the letterbox below. Just remember, it is very clean, because I bathe regularly, and despite mean-spirited statements, it does not smell.

It is round, square, and triangular.
As well as trapezoid.


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Tuesday, September 09, 2014


It's a valid question. But perhaps it's a bit inconvenient to answer right now, and you don't have to tell me. But your Nana has questions, nay, appears perversely fascinated by the whole subject! Your lesbianism, that is. And she's quite obsessed with holes.
Given that she's ninety years old or whatever, that's not entirely surprising. There's huge holes everywhere at that age, magically appearing and disappearing.
And lord knows when I reach ninety, I too shall insistently ask people inconvenient questions about holes. Perhaps not with the same single minded focus -- I expect I'll be a little off-target, maybe even in a haze of assisted care facility valium so that the overworked nurses can ignore me for an hour or two instead of dealing with my suggestive leers and kissy face -- but dangitall, I will want to know about those holes!

Sorry, I got a little sidetracked by the holes.
Thank you, someone else's Nana.
You brought them up.



I find Nana's curiosity and worry about the various holes infinitely more interesting and emotionally gripping than her granddaughter's lesbianism.
Okay, da girlie be gay; no problem.
Some very fine people indeed are flaming dykes.
But in grandma's day, lesbianism had not been invented yet.

"You kiss her and you love her?"

It's a very sweet video. I'm sure grandma will eventually get over it.

Maressa Darezzo, your Nana is hella cool.

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Monday, September 08, 2014


I think I may have turned a crotchet at a very young age: fourteen. That was when I finally started buying tobacco to shove into the pipe I bought several weeks earlier, when I was thirteen. As you would expect, within less than a month I was complaining that nothing was the same anymore boy back in my day sonny oh yes!

Women were blonder, and boobs still had magic!

The sky was more cloudless then too.

I cannot remember which pipe tobacco I smoked before Erinmore Flake, but it was probably either Niemeyer Scottish Mixture or Niemeyer Irish mixture. Whatever the case, it did not make me vomit.
That role was reserved for Erinmore.
Twice. Forsooth, I say!

I should mention that I presently have about three dozen tins of it. Underneath that fruity top-dressing, it's actually a very sound albeit hefty flake. The perfume burns off within moments, and if you smoke it with calmness, it is quite satisfying and yields a fine white ash.

It is surprisingly subtle.

Almost pongless.

But smoke it very slowly.

Almost on the cusp of going out.

If you don't, perhaps you too will barf.

I mention all this to highlight the fact that despite the constant stream of whiners comparing the past to today's horrid situation, vis–à–vis smoking and the availability of fine addictive substances, we actually live in a golden age. More fine tobacco is available now than ever before, and because all the fatso hairy-chested gold-chain-wearing vulgarians are huffing expensive stogies to show off their wealth and fantasy penis-size, we no longer have to worry about pimp-styling cretins ruining our reputation in the eyes of young impressionable people.

Break out the champagne, Cletus.

We iz become cool again!

Hot dawg!

And we smell good.

It's like we're magic, or something.

With a mysterious background hint of tropical fruits.


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Auntie Joy, Auntie Lou, and Auntie Esther, plus Baby, Honey Boy, Bong Bong, Joker, Pinky, Neneng, Sunshine, Jeprocks, Balsy, Pepsi, Cookie, Cheeto, Grace, RJ, JR, and Mary Anne, all agree that it's that sparkly sourness that makes it all special. And I'm inclined to agree.
I am not a Filipino-American, so I'm simply going with the flow.
Being agreeable and diplomatic. As is my natural inclination.


Actually, however, the best thing about all those other people being Filipino-American is that I might eventually get some Adobo. Yes, I can make it myself. But even if it tastes exactly like anyone else's Adobo, it tastes better when someone's mom or auntie made it.
Vinegar is one of the ingredients.

But there's more than that. According to the video below, there are actually NINE best things about being Filipino American.
Including Halo Halo.

Halo Halo is iconic.

Talagang kahangahangang, na.

Vinegar is usually NOT one of the ingredients.



Did you notice the bottle of vinegar? I'm sure you did. Vinegar is the ever-present Filipino magic potion, and in some guise present at every meal. Often the most evident manifestation of vinegar is a little bowl with chopped or crushed garlic  in pure white vinegar.
Especially good with pork, and shrimp, chicken, deep-fried food, noodles, lumpia, sisigan, pata, crunchy things, alimango, tsitsaron, batchoy, vegetables or whatever, and more pork.
Or just spooned over your rice.
Especially if there's pork.
Either in, or on.

Magdagdag suka sa lahat ng bagay; highly recommended.

Datu Puti White and Cane Vinegar

From the 'Philippine's foremost producer, marketer and distributor of quality sauces and condiments': "Datu Puti Vinegar provides "Mukhasim" sourness. It will enliven & awaken the flavors of your favorite Filipino dishes . It provides the distinct kick and spike needed for dipping and cooking applications Datu Puti, pakawalan ang tunay na asim!"
[SOURCE: NutriAsia Group.]

It's masyadong maasim, masarap to da max. Talaga.

Face-scrunchingly sour.

I once gave a bottle of homemade hot chilipepper vinegar, with garlic, peppercorns, and other spices, plus touches of citrus, salt, and sugar, to a friend. A few days later she told me that she and her husband had used the whole bottle for dinner, on their pork chops and rice, and it was ganap delicious!

Okay then. Entire bottle.


Mafran Banana Ketchup should've also made the list.
Making it 'ten best things'.

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Sunday, September 07, 2014


The Football Season has barely started, and already I am being called un-American and potentially dubious because of a complete non-interest in the game. The sight of glandular freaks wearing shiny spandex over their well-rounded bulbous buttocks, posturing and shoving, does nothing for me.
Big galoots made bigger by protective gear, semi-anonymous with gladiator helmets? Colour me soooo apathetic!

Yes, truly the sight of the very finest specimens of American manhood battling it out in majestic combat before thousands of cheering citizens, after a heartfelt tear-jerking rendition of our national anthem, leaves something dead inside.
All of you passionate sports fans are out of your minds.
It is a jejeune and repetitive spectacle.
Unmoving in the extreme.

On the other hand, when the games are on, the streets are empty.
It would be perfect for romance, if that was possible. One could, as just a hypothetical example, walk up to a likely miss and say "I really dig yau choi, do you dig yau choi?"And within minutes, two committed foodies would be deep in conversation, comparing recipes, cooking times, ideals of crunch, and dry-braise versus seethe in a world of stirfry.
Stalks in the pan first, or blanch?
Oyster sauce versus garlic.
I know, both!


Qué romántico!

Yau choi (油菜) is one of my favourite vegetables, along with bittermelon (苦瓜'fu gwaa', 涼瓜 'leung gwaa'). Both have a bitterness I find quite pleasing, retain their crunch upon cooking, and pair well either shrimp-paste or pork.

If Americans knew what they were missing, they might forgo the stupid spectacle for some nice stir-fried yau choi. and, in fact, it is easy to cook, and far better for you than any amount of cheese pie and beer in front of the television set. If you aren't striking up conversations with attractive complete strangers on a quiet street during the game, you should try this instead.

"Oyster-sauce stirfried mustard stalk"

One bunch of leafy yau choi (roughly one pound).
One TBS oyster sauce (蠔油 'hou yau').
One Tsp. fish sauce (魚露 'yü lou').
Two TBS sherry or rice wine (雪利酒 'suet lei jau'; 米酒 'mai jau').
Two TBS stock or broth (高湯 'gou tong').
Two TBS water (水 'seui').
Two or three cloves garlic (蒜瓣 'suen paan').
A little ginger (薑'keung'), suitable quantity (适量 'sik leung').

Rinse the yau choi, shake dry, and trim the ends. Snap in half, for ease of cooking.
Chop the garlic and ginger.
Mix the oyster sauce and fish sauce with the sherry, stock, and water.

Heat your wok till smoking.
Add a drizzle of oil to the wok, and dump in the garlic and ginger. Almost immediately follow that with the yau choi, and stirfry to coat all of the vegetable. If there are still droplets of water from the rinse adhering, good; simply let them sizzle off. Then pour in the oyster sauce mixture, but gently, so that it can seethe when it hits the hot pan. Keep agitating the pan over heat and stirring to coat the vegetable, and while it is all still moist slide it onto a serving plate.

How hard is that?

This yields enough for two people. Ideally, there would also be a plate of Thüringer bratwurst, sliced after grilling and resting. Plus rice.
And plenty of sambal. For me.
I like sambal.

My friend the bookseller (aka "amphibian"), who also rather sneers at American football, would no doubt serve gnocchi ('nyokky') or gnudi ('nyuri') instead of rice, especially if the wurst were part of the programme.
And some braised chard (炆牛皮菜 'man ngau pei choi') too, I bet. Both red chard (紅牛皮菜 'hung ngau pei choi') and green (青牛皮菜 'cheng ngau pei choi') benefit from slowish cooking and a bit of fatty sausage.


Vegetarians may substitute bean curd (豆腐 'dau fu') for everything they themselves would prefer not to touch, but if they traditionally cook like wasps, they should keep in mind that far too often manducare repulsiva coagulatum-fabais est, quia abominabile est.


My apartment mate cooked herself some pigs tongues the other day. Slow-braised, or simmered, in a stock which was flavoured with lemon grass, oyster sauce, wine, and a little lime juice. All evening long the apartment filled with the fragrance of star-anise and meaty goodness.
I myself ate noodles with crisp veggies and chopped pork in a red curry sauce, with a hefty shplook of Sriracha. Then I got on the computer and visited Wikipedia for the rest of the evening.

I believe foot ball was on, as it certainly was yesterday.
There were scenes of howling sadness and despair.
Brutes gave tongue, and voiced despondence.
Others gloated mightily; their team!
Meh. Urk. Whatever.

Real San Franciscans are more interested in food than football.

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Sometimes admitting that I am able to comprehend conversational Cantonese and even halfassedly make myself clear in that language has interesting and unexpected results. Several people have suggested that there is something sexual or romantic about it -- okay, being able to talk in any language IS very sexy and INCREDIBLY romatic, I'll admit, and that is a characteristic I would absolutely require in a date, pretty much ahead of anything else -- and they've even hazarded that I am either married to, or seeing, a female of Chinese ancestral derivation.

Others want to know if it really is true that Chinese people sneer about us behind our backs, saying all kinds of mean things, and plotting to take over the United States.

And recently, one person started talking about martial arts.
He would not shut up about it for nearly an hour.
I'm a very patient man, almost a saint.
Kung Fu bores me to tears.


Okay, in the interests of full honesty, yes, I was in a relationship with a Chinese American woman for a long time. We aren't each other's Significant Other anymore, but she is still a very good friend, and one of two people whom I would call to arrange bail. The other one is also a woman, and the main reason why she's not first on the list is that she in all likelihood would probably also need to be bailed out.
Her and her girl-scout sense of mayhem.
Or is it anarchism?

But no, I am not seeing a female of Chinese ancestral derivation.
Unless you mean the fellow passengers on the bus.
Who are just there by accident.

For the several individuals who evinced a racialist and linguistic worry about 'those people', the answer is affirmative. The Chinese do actually say all kinds of mean things in a language that you can't understand, while plotting to install a Masonic puppet government, and welcome the space aliens. They're particularly talking about you. And remarking how ugly and smelly you are in their eyes. Some of them are able to read your mind too, but fortunately you can prevent that by wearing a stylish tinfoil chapeau; it blocks the brainwave transmission.

Tin foil hats are cheap, and easy to make yourself. I advocate the ever-popular cone shape. For a normal tin foil topper, it is best to use at least three layers, as telepaths can easily penetrate the first layer. If you want to make a cone shape, which has the additional benefit of advertising your superior intelligence and suitability for unnatural selection, use six layers, and construct an internal shell out of thin cardboard.

As for Kung Fu, no, I do not practise it. I know nothing about it. Silly white guys making stupendous kicks, leaps, and twirls, and slamming their hands through several layers of concrete blocks, are neither an interest of mine, nor something I would ever care to witness.
Bruce Lee and Jet Li are not significant in my pantheon.

I really don't give a flying hoot about Kung Fu. No desire to learn it.
Please stop talking about it, you incredibly dull person.

Go home and pet your damned cat. Pathetic loser.

And a stupendous 'ni hao, sha gua' to you.


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Saturday, September 06, 2014


The other evening we discussed the internet habits of the adult. Which, despite Wikipedia and scholarly articles galore, plus art, poetry, cogent analyses, and philosophy, is mostly cruising for filth. Delicious, beautiful, despicable filth. Nah, shan't name the several people involved in this conversation -- primarily to protect the guilty -- but suffice to say it was ad hoc, though deep and intense. One casual mention of someone's nude selfie, and within mere seconds cigars had been lit, more Scotch ordered, and attentions caught.


Apparently, every one (!) visits naughty bits on line.
One person knows a smutty millionaire by association.
And somewhat envies his fine collection of automobiles.

Not being into fancy cars, this doesn't apply to me. The on-line merchant of orgasmatronic entertainment is welcome to his wheels, but I have utterly no interest in gas-powered strutting.

The others present were also not intrigued by the vehicles.

But the subject of internet voyeurism, however, struck a chord.

The internet is for porn.



My apartment-mate, on the other hand, is probably an exception to that. She's got some interesting mental blocks, and while I know that her drives and motivations are mostly normal, I believe that the only cruising she does on the internet consists of avidly searching through page after page of period jewelry, Mexican silver, and Kermit The Frog.

She's got a variant of Asperger's syndrome ('autism spectrum disorder'), and is remarkably clean-minded in consequence. It's an inability to react to key visual stimuli in the same way as everyone else.

A balding gentleman admitted that he viewed glossy high definition ickies probably about twenty or thirty times a month.  Understatement.

The drinker of Bunnahabhain noncommittally indicated that his depravity was lesser, without providing details.

A young woman said that she did so several times a week.

I will fess up to twice a month, or less, briefly.

Which is 100% true, by the way.

I'm also Aspergery.


Actually, the main reason I don't need to visit web-based nasties is that I have a rich and skilled imagination. That probably also links up to my enjoyment of smoking pipe restoration, as the tactile sense is powerful fun. My fingers tingle at the thought of briar textures, smooth finishes and sandblasts, and even now I can virtually feel the recent roots I worked on. My mind is picturing the sharp grain on a remarkable Dunhill Patent Number straight billard, smooth, group size three, with a saddle stem.
And, as a sidetrack, I should mention that the carbon rubber that Dunhill used in that day and age was truly superior, and even after a bleach bath to loosen the oxidation, showed a fine tight composition with a velvety feel, despite the micro-pitting that the treatment had caused, as well as a depth of blackness that could only make one marvel.
Oh yes. I'm excited now, baby.

But I digress.

I'm as filthy-minded as the next guy.

Just nicely internalized about it all.

Ask me about nipples sometime.

Or offer to share them.

I'll wax. Poetic.


But I just don't have an urge to search for nipples or other lady bits on the internet on a daily basis. Nor do I have a need to see county coroner-style lighting making a hash out of what may have been fine textures and glows, casting everything in the bright lights of the morgue, or indicating that the furniture may have seen better days.


The song below is from Avenue Q, a lighthearted satirical romp through existential angst and modern childrearing, with segues into serious shit like homelessness, despair, and bad religions.



The visuals are all lifted from the animated series Azumanga Daioh, which is a charming detailing of the lives of half a dozen fictional schoolgirls in Japan, and utterly inappropriate for any discussion of pornography at all.
It takes a rare genius to use it thus.
That being KumaOso16.

Well, two rare geniuses.

The second example was put together by UncleShoveit, whose youtube sensitivities are unique.



I don't know what my apartment-mate would make of either of these video pastiches. She thoroughly enjoyed Azumanga Daioh when we watched all the episodes together, years ago. She was completely incapable of seeing the sly send-up of fetishism inherent in the material, and, as far as I know, is utterly youtube illiterate.
Well, distinctly sub-literate.

Where I visit youtube, wikipedia, several news sites, dictionaries, blogs, and facebook on a daily basis, she uses her computer for, in order: costume jewelry, communication, and almost nothing else.
Plus, quite naturally, Kermit The Frog.
Rarely stuff about monkees.
Ebay, why yes.

She does have a facebook account. I think she maybe uses it once every six or seven months, and she doesn't friend people.
Hardly even in the real world.

Like many people with Aspergers, she does not have a love life.

But I'm certain she does not make up for it with porn.

At 47 years old, she's still innocent.

Albeit quite brilliant.


I, on the other hand, am far less Aspergerly afflicted than her, and am enthusiastically internetted. News articles and Wikipedia are constants in my life, and I'm reasonably connected to social media. Whenever I have a question, an internet search provides answers, and leads me into fascinating fields I previously did not know much about.

The internet is a purely wonderful research tool.

Which is also useful for a bit of smut.

Once or twice a month.

At most.

I probably need to find someone (female) who is as passionate about reference material and fascinating data as myself, and equally taken by textures and tactile experiences.
Together we can surf.

Filth, nipples, single malt, carbon rubber, and schoolteachers!


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