A blog by Guan Ming Teo

China VIII

I visited the famous West Lake in Hangzhou, which was about a 40 minute walk from the University. It was pretty, for a lake, I guess. Would’ve been nicer if there weren’t dead lotuses (lotii?) in the water, live ones or none would’ve been better. Anyway, some photos:

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China VII

Last week we went to a Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum. Quite a few photos so it took me a while to even work up the effort to resize these. Some gross stuff.

For my family at Accountants Australia:

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China VI

Three nights ago, I had one of the most disgusting meals I’ve ever had, here in China. Before that, I had a nice meal. So, here are some food photos!

I couldn’t finish it, about a third of the way through, I had to leave, it was making me sick.

I will pay more attention to what I order next time! Also, never go back to that restaurant.


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China V

Umm, here are some photos. I forgot my camera, so these were all taken on an iPhone 5. The quality’s not too bad.

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China IV

A list of things.

  • If you can’t access Wikipedia in China, how does anyone … learn anything?
  • I’m not sure why, but a phrase I hear all the time is, “You’re Australian? You don’t look Australian.”
  • While walking with my student tour guides for the Zhejiang University Zijingang Campus, we stop suddenly and I ask why. Turns out, they “are lost.”
  • I wonder if there’s a Chinese version of Facebook so Chinese people can still upload photos of their friends, passed out in a gutter from too much drinking.
  • When I tell people I’m a web developer, that I develop websites for a living, and they say “that’s so cool!” I can’t tell if they’re lying or actually believe it’s cool.
  • When discussing dinner, one of my tour guides asks, “do you like beef?” to which I reply yes. She then says, “well, it’s not really beef, but you can have that then.” I decide to ask, “If it’s not really beef, then what is it?” She replies, “how do you say …” looks the word up on her phone and finishes with, “rat.”

Will attempt using a café’s WiFi to upload photos later.

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China III

It turns out that there weren’t enough people in Level 1.5 or 2 for the administrators to keep it—which means those people get put into level 1 or 3 depending on the skill-level (and I’m not good enough to get into level 3! :/) so I’m most likely stuck :(


In other news, I had a Mango shake that was massive. 16RMB (that’s < AU$2.50!) and worth every fen:

Huge mango shake

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China II

I think I can survive entirely on foodstuffs that cost me 5RMB. There’s a sliver of vegetable there. Some of them even have healthy vegetables, and not just lettuce. Let’s face it; lettuce is a cop-out of a vegetable. May as well take a sip of water.

I’ve spent the last four hours studying in my room. I quite enjoyed myself. I’ve been teaching myself how to write Chinese. So far, I can write really simple stuff which is not impressive at all, but I’m trying. That’s something.

Why am I teaching myself? Because somehow, I have been placed in the beginners class. I was told I’d be heading to level 1.5, where the learning of Chinese characters takes place, for those with understanding of pinyin and know some words, but for some reason, I’m on level 1. Trying to convince them to put me up. Which may or may not work.

The horrible karma I experienced right before leaving is probably because I purposely didn’t give people enough space to get into the lane I was in whilst driving, for a couple of days. Really though, shouldn’t you have thought of getting in the lane a few hundred metres previously? Back when everyone else was waiting in the queue to exit?

I take that back. Screw you, Perth drivers. Screw you.

So anyway, my back’s doing a bit better, in that I can actually stand straight. I haven’t explored much of Hangzhou because I don’t want to walk too far and put my back out.

Nobody speaks English here except for the beginner students, and some of the teachers. It’s been a weird few days.

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5RMB lunches and dinners. That’s 77c in Australian money.


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One week left for the Big Cake Bake 2012!

Hi all!

So there’s just one week left to get your donations on, and if you happen to be nearby (anywhere from Nedlands and its surrounds, southwards to ... Leeming and its surrounds,) you can pre-order a cake from me! Just contact me if you’re interested.

About the online, tax-deductible donations, they’ll be accepted up until the end of August, and I have the following prizes for the biggest donations:

  1. The largest donation to my fundraising page will receive a generously donated recipe by celebrity Chef Emmanuel Stroobant (star of television series Chef in Black, writer of Cuisine Unplugged and Vine Dining - White) of mini chocolate fudge cakes, and if you’re not too far away, I’ll even whip up a batch and personally deliver them to you, on me!
  2. The two runner-up donations will receive a recipe for a choc-hazelnut cake, donated by my cousin, Tim Ong!

(If you wish to remain anonymous publicly, email me a copy of your receipt and nobody else will know.)

Please donate now!

Remember, there’s just a week left, so put your generosity hats on and send the Australian Red Cross some money :)

Thank you!

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Red Cross Big Cake Bake 2012 update

Hello everybody!

I’d like to say a very big thank you to celebrity Chef Emmanuel Stroobant, as he has graciously donated a recipe (that looks children-friendly!) in the name of charity. Here’s the deal: whomsoever donates the largest amount (a totally tax-deductible donation) will win a batch of Chef Emmanuel’s mini chocolate fudge cakes, on me, as well as the recipe itself! So get donating!

(If you wish to remain anonymous publicly, email me a copy of your receipt and nobody else will know.)

Please donate now!

Now, onto the first tray of baked goods …

The nàweí

This is the first in the line-up to help the Red Cross (here’s to hoping it tastes nice!)

Today I have the nàweí: a sexy mixture of pistachios, rose water and white chocolate, smashed together against their will into a friand.

The nawei: pistachios, rose water and white chocolate friands

As I’ve plugged many times already, this is fundraising for the Australian Red Cross, if you’re too far away to buy something, you can make a tax-deductible donation!

If you want some carbs for your buck, then by all means, the lucky (or unlucky?) few at the University Website Office and surrounds will be my test subjects customers.

I’m also up for taking pre-orders, if you are somewhere near me and want a batch of these! Just drop me a line :)

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Dry-ageing beef

A friend found an article that details how to dry-age beef at home, which sounds so fantastic that I couldn’t stop myself from trying even if I am on a diet that I’m going to conveniently ignore.

So, I decided we’d have a control. Two whole sirloins (also known as Porterhouse in Australia,) both started wet-ageing for nine days. One stays wet-ageing, the other I will dry-age. At the end of the ageing, cook both up side-by-side and compare the difference in taste and texture.

What you need: a chunk of beef, decent paper towelling, a wire rack, a catchment plate

This morning, I took one out and began to dry-age it.

Wrap the beef in paper towels, place on wire rack, and then into fridge

Since the dry-ageing process says it will lose about 10% of moisture in a week, I used the slightly bigger chunk of meat to dry-age.

Traditionally, beef was dry-aged, and purists believe that it holds much more flavour than the relatively-new wet-ageing. Since I don’t believe in believing in something just because other people believe in it, I’ll be doing this test to see just what the differences are.

Here’s to hoping it works!

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Australian Red Cross Big Cake Bake fundraiser 2012

Hello, internet.

I have been bullied into hosting a campaign for the Australian Red Cross’ Big Cake Bake fundraiser.

It goes to a good cause—depending on how much I can raise, your contributions could go to food, clothing and shelter for those in need, amongst many other things.

Donations can be made directly through the GoFundraise! website, which are tax-deductible and head directly to the Red Cross (I don’t handle any money for these):

Please donate now!

I’ll also be holding a continued bake sale, where the funds will also go to the Red Cross (this money will be handled by me, but I am pretty awful at counting … so, I’ll be enlisting the help of my parents over at Accountants Australia, don’t worry!) I’ll be drawing up a menu, taking pre-orders for whole cakes as well as selling slices, brownies, and cookies about the offices of UWA and from home. I also hope to organise something else in a bid to generate even more donations, so stay tuned for that!

Again, it all goes to a good cause, so … please donate now!


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Long absence

I know I haven’t posted in a very long time, which is terrible, but I’ve been … under the weather.

I will have new stuff coming soon. Recipes, reviews, interesting stuff!

Until then …

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A letter from a fan

Dear Bee Gees,

Firstly, I must tell you that I am a long-term fan of your work. I have listened to your songs since I was young. At first I mostly liked the earlier stuff that I confess, I had confused for the Beatles (sorry for mentioning the B word) but am appreciating the later stuff these days, you know, like the bits you sing in falsetto.

This is not the only reason I am writing to you today. Unfortunately, I have some news for you, something that perhaps you overlooked, or maybe the meaning of the word has changed in today’s society. That word is Manganese. You’ve probably stopped at this point, and are thinking, “I don’t understand what’s the deal with Manganese,” but that’s okay. I come to you today not just with a problem, but with a solution also. I like to think ahead.

So, while your original lyrics are good, they’re a bit vague, and really don’t highlight the issues that a diet lacking in Manganese could cause. Where you have: “Manganese! When the feeling’s gone and you can’t go on, it’s Manganese! When the morning cries and you don’t know why, it’s hard to bear, with no-one to love you you’re going nowhere.” I think it’s a good start, but can be improved. I have provided you with a new chorus that I think explains the problems associated with Manganese deficiency a little clearer. My proposed new chorus:

If you’ve malformed bones and some hearing loss
When your brain seizures and your blood don’t clot
It’s hard to stand
Without falling over and hitting your head

When your hair grows slow or its colour changed
If you’re infertile or your BP’s high
It’s true I swear
Take MANGANESE now or your growth will impair

I hope you like it; I spent all night on it. Now, I think enough time has passed that you could release some kind of 10-, 20- or whatever-year anniversary special edition of this song to dominate the charts, so you’re happy, I’m happy, and people will be happy that they’re better informed about Manganese. However, I am prepared to recognise my proposed lyrics may not be quite to your taste, so I have also made some samples of other possible lyric changes:

When you’re just too fat and you wear short shorts

Also, perhaps you could try:

When you go to France and you get Roquefort

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you would like to collaborate further on this song. I think we can turn this great piece of music into a greater piece of music.

In return, I only ask for umm, 25–30% of the profits? I’m not greedy.

Yours sincerely,


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Taking experiments too far

So, pork. When done right, it’s tender, juicy, and packed with flavour. It pairs well with a lot of different things, which makes it a versatile and whimsical meat. Sometimes though, too much of a good thing is a very, very bad thing.

Introducing my dinner:

Seared pork and scallops, roasted hazelnuts, savoy cabbage and green apple ice cream, with a black tea and bittersweet chocolate sauce and granita

If you’re morbidly curious, here’s how I did it.


  • Half a savoy cabbage, washed and leaves separated;
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced;
  • 1tsp dijion mustard;
  • 1 egg yolk;
  • uhh … a dash of whipping cream, I don᾿t remember how much I used, maybe only 50ml? 50–100ml I guess;
  • 250ml freshly brewed loose-leaf black tea (100°C for 3 minutes);
  • 40g bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa);
  • 1 titanium gelatine sheet, soaked for 5 minutes in ice cold water;
  • 1tsp potato flour, mixed with a dash of water until milky;
  • 1tsp raw sugar;
  • 3 pork steaks, approximately 160g each, marinated in Calvados for 1.5 hours;
  • 300g scallops;
  • a handful of roasted hazelnuts, no skins, crushed;

Creating Frankenstein’s monster

  1. Blanch the cabbage, then strain and reserve. Do the same for the apples, then pile into a liquidiser and purée until smooth. Add dijion mustard, egg yolk and cream while still hot, continue to purée for a minute or two while the egg and cream volumise the mixture. Add a touch of salt to taste, and place in the freezer, checking on it every 10 minutes to churn;
  2. Wait for the brewed tea to reach 50°C then add the chocolate in small chunks, stirring until combined. Add the gelatine while in an ice bain-marie, stir, and watch it not thicken. Wonder why it’s not thickening for a while. Pour a thin layer onto a dish and par-freeze. Pour the rest into a pot, add potato flour mixture, the raw sugar, and thicken over low heat. Remove from heat and reserve;
  3. When your ice cream has reached a decent temperature and consistency, make final preparations: lightly salt pork and scallops, then sear pork in a hot pan with olive oil for 1 minute on each side, remove to an oven at 60°C while you cook the scallops (adding a touch more oil,) again, for 1 minute each side;
  4. Plate up: quenelles for ice cream, swirls for black tea and chocolate sauce, add a touch of granita in the big yin-yang spots. Slice and arrange the pork, sprinkle over hazelnuts, and take a photo. Realise you’ve forgotten the scallops, but by the time you decide how you want to arrange them on the plate, the ice cream has melted more and you can’t be bothered taking a photo of the actual finished product anyway. Freshly crack pepper. Eat and try to keep it down.

Enjoy! Be warned: if you try this at home, do so at your own risk.

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