I have been busy. Real busy like you do not believe it. Life had been pretty much consumed by “China” ever since I was landed right smack in the middle of the new project. As much as I want to be positive and say that work will tone down to normal levels soon, the truth is it will stay at this heightened level for some time. I had kept insane working hours, at times starting at 4AM in the morning. With teams working on Beijing, London, Hong Kong, Atlanta and with me alone directing the project right at the edge of timezone, I do feel like I am working around the clock on some days.
And the travelling is not helping too. I am down to working two weeks a month in London and Beijing until the end of this year. Just yesterday, I got an email asking me to consider being based in Beijing until the end of the year! But work had been exciting. All these came about when I managed to pull off a particularly difficult delivery two weeks ago and my just reward was emails floating around that I could bring some other distressed areas of the program back on track … “he needs to be there, get him there” was what people are saying.
So I really do need to juggle my priorities. Chowtimes is one of them that gets relegated to the lower rungs. Although writing by itself does not take much time and Suanne helps greatly doing up the pictures, I need the creative juices flowing to wring. You know how I write my posts? I compose posts in my mind throughout the day, like while driving or walking. By the time I sits down at the computer, I already know what I want to say and can hack away at a post in a short time. But these days, my mind is dominated by work matters alone.
So what does it mean? As much as I hate to say it but with work and travelling, it is nearly impossible for me to keep up the level of writing I want. I don’t want to stop writing. No sir. So, the best I could do is to change how I write and what I write about. Chowtimes is about food and travel. Chowtimes is about sharing the life of Ben and Suanne. That will not change. What will change will perhaps be that the posts will be lighter.
Let’s see how things will evolve. I am on forced vacation next week (boss says to take the week off because I still have 20 days of vacations banked) and so will attempt to write next week.
Today, I want to speak of my latest addictions.
For the past couple of months, we had not been exploring new restaurants. Since we had so many posts yet not written and that I can’t even find time to write, there is no point going to new places.
Instead, we went to our favourite places and much nearby home. That pleases Nanzaro and Arkensen a lot. One of the restaurants we had gone back to several times is the Szechuan Delicious restaurant. We like that place because it is inexpensive and there are much more to discover on their menu.
One of the dishes we are utterly addicted to is the dish above. Remember the popular Sichuan appetizer dish called “saliva chicken”? Well, we like this version of the same dish using “beef tripe”. We love the crunchiness of the tripe and the same spiciness of the chili sauce. This is awesome.
I have not come across this version in other restaurants and just wonder if it is commonly found in other Sichuan restaurants. If you like “saliva chicken”, you will probably like this too. BTW, the name “saliva chicken” is my preferred translation over “mouth-watering chicken”. :-)
My other addition is this one above. I have to blame grayelf for introducing this to me.
We had stocked up on these snacks at home. We got them from T&T and they came in two sizes, small at about $2.50 and bigger one at about $4.00. It might not be easy to spot in the T&T supermarket shelves. Just remember to look for the package that has the “chowtimes chili” logo. LOL!
This is called Huang Fei Hong, named after Wong Fei-Hong. When I was young I remember he was the rage on movies.
This is spicy and hot and numbing. What makes this stands apart from all the other similar snacks is the cracked Sichuan peppercorn. You get a numbing sensation from these peppercorns. The peanuts were extremely crunchy even if left out of the packaging for a few days.
There are a lot of peppercorns left even after the peanuts are gone. So we kept those fragrant peppercorns to sprinkle on dishes we cook at home. Real nice.
While we were buying the Huang Fei-Hong snacks in T&T, we came across another snack from the same company with packaging with the same “chowtimes chili” logo.
This packaging is yellow and has the English word “Magic Chili” on it.
This one is actually more “terror” than the peanuts only version, although it does not have Sichuan Peppercorns in it. It does have peanuts, the same crunchy peanuts. This one is our favourite. Once we take one bite, we can’t stop.
Go buy them and see if you like it.
Tell me now … what are YOU addicted to lately?
Anyway, here is one video above which look so amazing. I think it is fake but it sure is well made!
Have a good rest of the weekend, everyone!