Wednesday, November 19, 2014


The Maus was the biggest tank ever built. Naturally, that excites the passions of many men, because large military equipment paints pictures in their eyes worth more than a thousand realities. This is mirrored in the mental state of souvenir shoppers, when they see a humongous multicoloured vase in a Chinatown window.

"It's big. So big. Dang, it's beautiful!"

Actually, it's a piece of crap, and the kiln that produced it put someone else's name on it because they do not wish to be known for such garbage. But it IS big. And they know how your mind works.

We take travellers' cheques and credit cards.

And we'll ship anywhere.

It's 'big'.

When it comes to martial hardware, it isn't just men that act all gooey. Heck, martial anything. This past Saturday evening a lot of gentlemen in dress uniforms wandered around the Financial District, with drooling dewey-eyed does dripping from their arms. And yes, they did indeed look deliciously manly.
They were also bright-eyed and freshly scrubbed.
And very well behaved.
A credit.



The combination of cute girlies and butch equipment is dynamite. Surely you remember Rosie The Riveter? Well hot dog jayzus, totally killer.

I can understand the appeal of Girls und Panzer to many viewers, heck, even I find the show charming, innocent, and strangely thrilling. Japanese schoolgirls, military marches, and rolling stock. It is, if you will indulge me, both loopier than and better than The 'X' Files. Fairy tales for the over-excitable.

Due to several previous youtube searches, one of the videos that ALWAYS shows up, no matter how inappropriate for the moment and non-sequitorial to the item viewed, nay absurd in any context, is an instructional piece on making Cantonese Roast Pork (燒肉'siu yiuk').
In Vietnamese it is called "thịt heo quay".
Yep, halfway down on Girls und Panzer. Same when watching IDF soldiers marching to the wall. Lectures by a rabbi? There's the roast pork again. Videos of crows, badgers, ferrets, bears, and kittens?
The battle hymnn ("Dimonios") of the Sassari Brigade? Isis shock videos, the Muppets and Kermit the Frog, Swedish Chef making Pöpcørn with "captions" (hoo ha!) turned on? Thịt heo quay.
Youtube desperately wants me to enjoy pork!
Why, it's delicious! It's huge!
Thịt heo quay.

I've got my own recipe.


Two LBS pork belly.

½ tsp salt.
3-5 tsp sugar.
1½ tsp five-spice powder.
½ tsp white pepper.
1 tbsp 花雕 (Faa Tiu rice wine from Chekiang).

[Dry sherry can substituted for the rice wine. The tastes are very similar, and sherry is available from nearly every supermarket, unlike good rice wine from Shaoxing (紹興 'siu hing').]

Rinse the piece of pork belly well. Heat a little water to boiling in a shallow pan, put the meat skin side down in there to blanch; most of the flesh should be well clear of the water. This will tighten the skin.
Take it out, let it dry skin side up for an hour. Stab the skin very many times with an ice-pick. Flip it over, and jab at the meat fiercely with a knife to make shallow thin gashes. Mix the ingredients for the marinade together, and thoroughly rub it into the meat and the sides, keeping the skin clear. Place the pork belly, meat side down, in a dish with the rest of the marinade, rub some vinegar and a pinch of salt over the skin.

Place it in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. This will dry out the skin, while the marinade flavours penetrate the meat.

Remove the meat from the fridge, and put it on a rack over a pan of water, skin up. Rub a little more vinegar into the skin. Preheat the oven to 400 - 425 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 220 degrees Celsius), then bung the whole arrangement in to roast for forty to forty five minutes.

At this point the skin should be fairly crispy, but you can stick it under the broiler till the optimum degree of crispy-crackly has been achieved; the skin should be bubbling.

Take it out, let it cool for twenty minutes or so, and chop it up.

It's wonderful with rice and a squirt of Sriracha.

Siu yiuk is far better than that dry turkey your aunt Pattipoo always insists on making every Thanksgiving, which is coming up again in eight days. Maybe you should prepare some in advance, and sneak it in.
Your siblings will thank you, and if you give the plate of turkey to the dog, Fluffy will quiet down for an hour or two also.
It's that stuff in turkey.

Probably the only reason why turkey is so traditional is because it's big. Very big. Enough for an entire family and several generations.
It's a BIG meat.

By the way: the three characters on the tanks rolling across the screen near the end of the video above are 黑森峰 ('haak san fung'; black forest peak or cliff). Probably the name of a girls' school.

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


Graham W said...

Blogmeester - the "Maus" sucks - big but far too square-headed. Small is beautiful never overlook the "Ontos" which leads to the sad facts that the "gooks" ate/eat & still enjoy digesting cats & dogs - and that I do not own an "Ontos" with which I might clean up the neighbourhood to my own satisfaction & would like to drive to work now & again to slightly spook my immediate superiors just a tiny bit.

The back of the hill said...

The Ontos looks like a perfect urban vehicle. Especially in my neighborhood.

Search This Blog


Several years ago I had a coworker down the peninsula who would leave work related voicemails on people's answering machines all weekend...