China Summer 2015 (I)

Last summer, I went on a month long trip to China. I never actually got around to posting about my adventures there, so I decided since I still have the pictures on my computer, why not now?

I’ll probably split into several posts as I have so many images and so many experiences that I want to share. The first part of my trip was spent in Shangtou, located in Guangdong, China, where my dad grew up. Its a rather undeveloped city located in the South near the ocean. The people there still hold onto seemingly conservative or old-fashioned views to outsiders, but are fiercely family oriented and so welcoming to visitors.

The most important purpose of our trip was visiting relatives and family members that we had not seen in at least three years.


This picture is taken at a relative’s house whose sons owned the apartment building. These are my grandparents on my dad’s side.


We are picking lychee from lychee trees with my father’s side of the family. One of my grandmother’s good friends owns the place.


My grandfather’s brother, so my great uncle, owns a farm that grows these special type of beans. If you see the little circular items, those are the beans! they have to be taken out of these large fuzzy pods individually before they can be sold.

Another really important aspect of visiting China is of course the food! Because Shangtou is near the ocean, we ate a ton of seafood. Also, as per custom in China, our relatives took turns taking us out to eat. We ate out almost every day!  One of my favorite places to go is a bamboo restaurant in a bamboo forest. They incorporate bamboo in almost every dish, bamboo from their forest, and everything else there is also locally sourced!


This is the place behind the bamboo restaurant I was talking about! Another one of its perks is going from inside the bamboo forest to the outside beautiful lake and its surroundings.


Lots of seafood – one of my favorites is squid!


Crazy dimsum!


Lychee is everywhere in the South!


some random exotic frui

And I can never forget the sights and views! Because of the humidity, you see very stereotypical plants common to tropical places, lotus buds and lily pads, palm trees, beautiful lakes, sandy beaches. Everything is just so so so beautiful.


more behind-the-bamboo restaurant pictures


backyard palm trees ❤


black and white


my mama makes chinese leek boxes (韭菜盒子)!

I attempted to look at the history behind Chinese leek boxes also known as Chinese chive pockets (as well as any combination of the two), but there wasn’t really much. I assume this is because that they are typically grouped together under the larger umbrella of “jiaozi” or dumpling.

Essentially, they are little pockets of dough filled with Chinese garlic chives, bits of egg, and occasionally some type of meat. They are pan fried and can be manipulated into any shape that you want. You make the dough, fold the filling into them, and simply fry them on a pan!

Some pictures below of the process 🙂


a pot of flour, a bowl of dough,and the swift hands of my mother making the dough circles


gently scooping the filling onto a dough piece


a close up of the Chinese leek boxes precooked! 


a close up of the filling, egg, shrimp, and chives


the half-eaten finished product, crisp and slightly floury, juicy and full of flavor!

the Philadelphia Museum of Art

A while back, I went to Philadelphia on a wonderful Sunday with my boyfriend and his family. We decided to go because it’s actually pay what you want the first Sunday of every month for the Philadelphia Art Museum.

We first stopped by this cute Italian restaurant called Serafina. The streets nearby were so adorable and so cute! (as you can see from the pictures below :))  The food was also very delicious though a bit expensive, in my opinion. I got the Tagliolini Al Salmone with everyone else getting other types of pasta with a shared appetizer of kalamari and Carpaccio di Tonno (fresh tuna and spinach).


aside from the sports bar sign, look at all these cute little bushes in front of this tea shop!

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my salmon pasta that was slightly salty but very filling and delicious!


the streets right outside, lots of people and cars, but such bright buildings!

We then went to the Philadelphia Art museum. We didn’t have that much time there as we ate lunch for too long and got there late, so we quickly started with the modern and contemporary art and barely had time to look but a glimpse at some of the other exhibits. I would definitely recommend going here earlier in the day and taking the time to look through all the exhibits. It’s definitely a worthwhile experience!

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made with plaster, i think 

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metal with holes 

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everything is in pairs! except the sponge

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eggshell chair? 

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fake flowers

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modern art 

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thread pictures


right outside the Philadelphia Art Museum… really beautiful

Pizza by Elizabeth’s

Last Tuesday, I went on the cutest date with a friend to Pizza by Elizabeth’s for the first time. I had heard of it so many times before since it is one of the most Instagrammed eateries in Delaware, but I do have to say it definitely exceeded my expectations. The service was fantastic, the area was decorated in such a unique picturesque way, and the small touches of embellishment were seriously the cherry on top. A couple of pictures below 🙂
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* Edit, picture is below and not above… I decided to change it for orientation purposes. IMG_5149.JPG

Pizza by Elizabeth’s

3801 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE 19807


my mama makes… zongzi!

My mother has always loved watching cooking videos on the Internet. Each time, they inspire her to try something new and fun, usually enlisting me to help her with the activity. This time, it was Chinese zongzi!

Zongzi are typically made in celebration of the Duanwu Festival in Chinese culture, a popular belief being that it is in commemoration of the death of Qu Yuan, who committed suicide due to grief when his hometown was conquered. Villagers threw packets of rice in the waters where he died so that fish would not eat his body.

The ones that me and my mother made today are tetrahedral shaped and of two types: sweet and salty. The salty ones had a combination of dried shrimp, pork, Chinese black mushrooms, dried scallops, and sticky rice. The sweet ones were made with mung beans and sticky rice. We wrap each of the zongzi up with soaked bamboo leaves and tie it with string. After we finish making them, we boil them for a couple hours, cut the string, and can eat them in the leaves. 🙂 A couple of pictures below of the process.



Artsy Instagrams

I just wanted to share some of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow right now 🙂 These people are just so creative and talented!

  1. Esther LeeScreen Shot 2016-04-05 at 11.32.34 PM.pngEslee is a photographer. Thus, it’s obvious her pictures are consistently perfectly in every way. They all give off a pleasing peaceful aura. Also, love her pictures of fruit 🙂
  2. Jennet LiawScreen Shot 2016-04-05 at 11.33.40 PM.pngDiscovered this Instagram through Wong Fu, but seriously, how talented is Jennet Liaw? She does typography and lettering for Nike, but I just love how she manipulates text. Making it look pretty is one thing, but making it punny? Sleek? Clever?  Such a breath of fresh air.
  3. Samantha LeeScreen Shot 2016-04-12 at 11.11.18 PM.png

Love love love Samantha Lee’s motivation for her beautiful Instagram – to make beautiful and appetizing food for her kids! I’m so amazed by her decoration and her creativity. Also, so fun to decipher which foods she used to make her ultimate image. 🙂

  1. RedhongyiScreen Shot 2016-04-05 at 11.33.17 PM.pngRedhongyi was someone I discovered simply through other people when looking for artsy instagrams. For her, her instagram is not so much the art product but the display for her art. She works with anything except for the traditional art tools, pencil, paint, etc. to create beautiful images. You see the bear on the left? Completely out of celery sticks.
  1. Li-Chi PanScreen Shot 2016-04-05 at 11.33.02 PM.pngI think what works for LiChi Pan is her use of the same filter for extraordinary pictures of food. Absolutely insane the different types of food she posts, but I suppose that’s why it makes it interesting and delicious.


YouTube Day 3: Miniature Space

My suitemate from college showed me this YouTube channel and let me just say that I am thoroughly obsessed.

Essentially, it’s a cooking channel for miniature food. A mysterious person (face unseen) takes out these miniature knives and spoons, gets out his miniature pot, pulls out the matches, and gets cooking on food items approximately 10 times smaller than actually consumable material.

Although not particularly useful for someone who genuinely wants to learn how to make a certain dessert or side dish, it is fascinating how this person accomplishes these tasks on a miniature level – for example, stir frying or making french fries. There is a sense of imaginative exploration, which really draws viewers in.




Food Adventures in China

One of my favorite things about going back to China is FOOD. Here in the U.S., you’re pretty limited by the hamburgers, fries, and the occasional freedom of different assortments of pizza. China, however, has had NO qualms about experimenting with the sketchy and the dangerous. As a result, they have very much a hit-and-miss sort of relationship with food, which in my case is always a hit 😉

I took these pictures of random meals that we had – when my uncle took us out to eat, the final dinner in China, a large lunch on the mountain, etc. Obviously, it’s just a sample, but I would say a good representative of my three week food adventure.


I believe that this above picture was taken when my uncle took us out to eat. The main bowl in the middle is some kind of shrimp stew (absolutely delicious) and the one on top is rice cakes covered in tomato sauce, which is definitely a new yet equally delicious combination.


On my last dinner in China, I believe we had these tiny shrimp stir-fried with green peppers and other vegetables and tofu.


My fave – LYCHEE ❤


The famous and delicious “tanchupaigu” (sugar vinegar pork) They look absolutely divine do they not?


A casual pic before our meal 🙂 We all look pretty excited clearly.


Lunch on a mountain! We drove up to a mountain where villagers have a small restaurant that’s notoriously good. Almost all of the food is made out of organic ingredients – the chicken they raised themselves, the yams they grew, the eggs, etc. Also, if you notice the foil covered items, one of the ways they cooked the food was wrapping everything in foil and sticking it in a hole with dirt and covering it up with really hot bricks (or something like that), and then the food cooks just like that. It apparently gives it a very earthy rich tone to the food. I am afraid not a food critic extraordinaire, so I could not tell the difference, but overall such an authentic and once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure 🙂


This does not look super promising, but was actually one of my absolute favorite meals I have ever had in China. What it is is warm, soft baked bread in the shape of a box topped with ice cream. The bread inside is cut into squares and cubes, so you add a little ice cream to your bread slice and eat it together for a scrumptious heavenly experience.

Weekly Faves 2


This is a website in which you virtually simulate being poor. Reading this… it kind of seems very offending, but the website, I think, gives you a nice over view of what those who are in poverty may be going through and a greater insight into what could have led to their troubles. You go into the website, you choose a low paying job – a waiter, a small administrator, etc. and then you have to go through a month without ending up with a balance of zero. However, you are faced with constant troubles and constant financial difficulties that come as a result of life – mother’s medication, death of dog, counselor meetings, kids, etc. After playing the game – which is actually really addicting, you understand the actions that those in poverty, who are desperate, have to make. At the end, it also asks you to donate $10 to Urban Ministries of Durham. I think it’s a good cause, so I’m definitely spreading the word about it ^_^

2. Mexican Rice Bowls!

I think it’s pretty obvious that everyone is in love with Chipotle. But not only is the food so delicious and so good, it’s also so healthy and so easy to make right in your own house! I love my Mexican rice bowls with avocados, chicken, lettuce, beans, etc. It’s your choice whatever you put into it and guh, so good 🙂


Hehe. I’m kind of obsessed with her absolutely adorable tumblr. She has all these cute characters in these comics responding to statements, topped with perfect drawings and clever puns. Check it out. Sooooo cute.

4. Listen to Our Hearts

I have always loved this song. It makes me so happy and so worship hyped. Not to mention it features one of my favorite artists, Tim Be Told.