Restaurant: Yunnan Rice Noodles (Brossard, Canada)

Asian food is having this nice interesting wave on the Montreal South Shore lately, especially in the Chinese noodles sort of thing. Yunnan Noodles has also picked up especially in Chinatown so its nice to see it come into the South Shore as well. Yunnan Rice Noodles hasn’t been opened for a long time (I don’t remember when it opened) but finally got a chance to go check it out.

Yunnan Rice Noodles are also known as “crossing the bridge” noodles which derives from a Chinese tale about a wife bringing lunch to her scholar husband. The menu actually had the story written out for those who didn’t know about its origins before. However, while noodles is the focus, the traditional style rice noodles is the actual experience while the other ones feel like it is more like the normal experience. I’ll explain later when I talk about the food. At the same time, there is a free helpings of noodles (just the noodles, not the ingredients). Also, there are other foods on the menu such as appetizers and such as well as a pretty good selection of tea as the back has something like a tea “bar”.

Appetizer

Peanut Butter Dumplings

Slightly spicy because of the chili oil and mixed with peanut butter sauce, these dumplings are pretty good. They definitely have a nice kick to them. The taste of the actual dumplings are a little mild and perhaps for some, even bland, but then my taste buds are adapted to the milder flavors so it was alright for me.

Main Meals

Traditional Rice Noodles

Traditional Yunnan Noodles Traditional Yunnan noodles

The concept of the Yunnan Rice Noodles is that the noodles is separate from the ingredients and the soup so everything is added in in sequence with the meats going in first, the veggies and I honestly can’t remember if you put the noodles first or last. Point is, everything ends up being added to the broth and it gives it this more crispy sort of taste and the noodles don’t get as soaked up in the broth. Its an interesting concept and as with many soup noodles style, the broth is really the key to all the flavors as well as the texture of the noodles and this one delivered on both of those elements.

Chicken Leg Rice Noodles

My friend got the Chicken Leg Mushroom Noodles (something like that..can’t remember the exact name) and its one that already has everything inside like normal noodle bowls. I had a little taste of the broth and its a little more salty and other flavors mixed in. My friend said that its good. It looks interesting especially as it has goji in it as well.

Overall, Yunnan Rice Noodles is a decent spot. The service was good, the decor was comfortable and the food was pretty good and the prices are relatively good as well.

Have you had any Yunnan rice noodles before?
Is the noodle/ramen phase hitting wherever you are?

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What’s Up – Week 20: New Things, Old Things and Catching Up

20 weeks into 2019 already! Spring is finally showing its face and as I go out to do more things, some of these bits might get slowed down a little bit. Its still a little too early to know but I’ve been transitioning between different elements of life and somewhat swapping my routine a little. As some TV series also winds down, I’m thinning it out a little to try to get some extensive backlog out of the way. It won’t reflect here but gradually, as Montreal events start coming into play as well.

READING

crossline

Currently reading: Crossline by Russ Colchamiro

I’ve been getting hit with some spring fatigue so I’m still reading Crossline at a very turtle pace, which needs to be remedied because I have another book lined up that needs to get started by the end of next week. Crossline is pretty good but I’ve been also watching movies with similar themes that I’m not sure if I’m getting an overdose of sci-fi. Keeping an open mind and I’m only slightly past the quarter mark in the book so its just the set-up phase done and things are started to unravel.

PLAYING

The Witness

Currently playing: The Witness

For a moment, I honestly thought this week would be no gaming at all except maybe some mobile game titles to fill up some space here. Those are going well but I like to keep it a little mysterious for the mobile games roundup segment. However, the husband started up The Witness last night and we played a few puzzles together, which was pretty cool. I’m probably going to start it up on my own also and play some of the puzzles also.

WATCHING

  • The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)
  • Europa Report (2013) – rewatch – Review

I’m not going to lie that this list kind of probably should add in rewatching Jaws 2, 3 and The Revenge to refresh my memory for the Triple feature HERE. However, I won’t because I honestly just played it in the background to remind of the story and dialogue and wasn’t actually looking at the screen. So we are left with two films. One is a rewatch for an upcoming podcast which is Europa Report, a little found footage-esque sci-fi film. Trying to get things done in advance is always a good thing. And as I’m still a tad behind on the double features, I’m also trying to save up some more movies gradually and moved onto the M selection. I’m using a general of movies in my list that are rated badly but still I would like to watch so I ended up checking out The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. I love Shadowhunters, the TV series thats in its last season (if it hasn’t already ended) so seeing how the movie interpretation would be. I’ll share my thoughts on it in the double feature but lets just say, when the background world or lore is too heavy, its hard to just rally it all up in 2 hours and hope that its not convoluted.

BINGING

Put Your Head On My Shoulder

  • Dream Space (Season 1, 2019)
  • Put Your Head On My Shoulder (2019)

Currently binging: Le Coup de Foudre, Go Fridge (Season 5), Great Escape, Produce Camp 2019, Nailed It (Season 3)

Two TV series done this week. I’m feeling quite accomplished. One of them is a Chinese social variety show called Dream Space which is something like a matchmaking show which takes a look at romance and opening up a space for single women and men to focus solely on their romantic sides for a few days. I’ll write about this variety show even if I don’t for others because its worth it. I have a few thoughts on this one and they are having a season 2 already getting new candidates so I’m pretty excited to see how it changes. As for dramas, Put Your Head On My Shoulder wrapped up as well and its a nice little dose of cuteness along the line of the A Love So Beautiful universe and they make a point at the final episodes to address that to clear up some of the suspicion that people have been having. More on that in the TV binge at some point….

Most of the things currently binging is still very much the same. The only new addition is Nailed It which released its Season 3 on Friday. Because there were too many other stuff to take care of, its probably one of the first seasons that I didn’t finish it in the first weekend but we’re about 6 episodes in so its not a whole lot left to watch but its still very fun. The only other one I want to talk about is Great Escape which is heading into some more intense escape room experiences and its getting very intriguing to say the least.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
What have you been reading/playing/watching/binging?

Restaurant: Mama Dumpling (St.Hubert, Canada)

Sometimes we find the things we are looking for when we aren’t quite looking for it as is the case with Mama’s Dumplings, a Chinese dumpling restaurant on the South Shore of the island of Montreal. As dumplings become quite the new thing popping up over the last few years in Chinatown, its been a hunt to find out where to find it on a more suburban setting and then I came across this place and called up my friend who is equally passionate about finding a dumpling place not in downtown. And here we are! At this point, we had gone back a second time, both recapped together. The main suggestion for going to dumpling places is to get a bigger group to be able to order more types to see which works the best to your tastes.

Food

First visit

Chicken - Mushroom Dumplings

Chicken-Shitake Mushroom Pan-fried Dumplings

Pork-Cabbage Steamed Dumplings

Pork-Cabbage Steamed Dumplings

Beef-Coriander Dumplings

Beef Coriander Pan-friend Dumplings

The first visit was just a little trial where we gave each type of meat a try so we took the more basic flavors: Chicken and Shitake mushrooms, Beef and coriander and Pork and cabbage. These are very normal ones. Some types have choices of pan-fried and steam while others one have one or the other option. For each, the wrapper skin is different. For dumplings, that is a huge component to how heavy the dumpling is and how the bite of the whole thing is. its one of the things that Mama Dumpling does well.

Talking about the food here, the first time around the one that stood out was the chicken and shitake mushroom. It had to do a lot with how the pan fried was done well and not too oily. Plus, the mushroom elevates the chicken especially because these ones have some soup sort of thing on the inside like the soup-filled dumplings (shanghai specialty) so its pretty tasty. The beef and coriander tasted almost exactly like the beef balls dim sum. While the pork and cabbage was exactly as you’d expect and the taste is good.

The first visit was a quick run and we managed to eat all three plates with just 2 people. It worked a ton for us so it was obvious that we’d come back for a second run which happened the week after….

Second Visit

Pork and Mushroom Dumplings

Pork and Mushroom Dumplings

Shrimp, Pork, Leek Dumplings

Shrimp, Pork, Leek Dumplings

Pork and Green Onion Dumplings

Pork and Green Onion Dumplings

I’m going to be honest that I can’t remember if the last one was pork or chicken with green onions. Its not like it shows that much difference. With that said the second time around, the three different types of dumplings were better than the first time. The first visits standout was the chicken and mushroom. Anything with shitake mushrooms has a really nice flavor to it so the pork and mushrooms was really good because of that. Green onions in dumplings are best pan fried because it doesn’t only taste good but smells really good also. Finally the star of the show goes to the Shrimp, pork and leek ones where the dumpling itself had a small whole shrimp in there which gave it both a nice texture and a good flavor. This choice is only available steamed and it works so very well. The wrapper was really delicate but not too thin that it’d break either. This second visit was really tasty.

Overall

Mama Dumpling is a nice environment. The description on the menu talks about it being originally a chain from China. I don’t know where but the dumplings that we’ve tried so far is good to great so definitely a place that delivers some nice stuff. The only dumplings we didn’t try yet are the vegetarian ones which I might go back one time with my mom and give it a go as well. There are also some other appetizers on the menu that look really interesting. I can feel there is a strive for authenticity here and being healthier than other places so I’m looking forward to go back and check out more items on the menu. I have a massive unexplicable love for dumplings. Its kind of my comfort food so this find is a great one especially since I don’t have to stick to the same choice available in Chinatown.

Are you a fan of dumplings?
Are there any dumpling places you’ve tried that you recommend in your city or somewhere that you’ve visited elsewhere?

Music Obsessions – March 2019

Music Obsessions

Time is flying by as we head into March and its time to share some more music that I’ve been listening to in the past month. I’m not sure that I have anything particularly new but then I’m still watching The Singer 2019 and that is charging up most of my playlist. Then that inspired to watch Super-Vocal then the other half is charged with this music. Then there’s the random song from movies and soundtracks and such. I do hope you enjoy! 🙂

Perfume – Jason Zhang

As my husband graciously puts it, this guy is like Chinese Charlie Puth. Well, like ten years Puth’s senior probably but the style of music definitely works in the same way. Especially as his song sparked the whole “perfume dance”. You will know what I mean when you watch the video. Its fairly entertaining. There’s a lot of serious music in this music obsessions so I decided to start off on a light and fun mood with this pick which has subconsciously playing in some variety show backgrounds until I heard the song.

She Is My Sin – Neil Gao 高天鹤

As one of three (I think) countertenors on Super Vocal, there is no doubt that this song shows off the perfect mash of modern music and operatic style as Neil Gao shows off his skills and his masterful control of his voice whether using his countertenor range or his normal vocal range. This performance is definitely one of the most unique in the show and showed off this new side of Neil Gao to be one of my faves.

超能守护神 Super Protector -TeamSpark

My Amazing Boyfriend 2 is my main TV series lately. Its so much fun to watch and those 6 episodes released per week truly make me so happy. With that said, the theme song isn’t quite as catchy as the the first but I still really like it a lot. It matches the vibe of the show so much.

雪花的快乐 The Happiness of Snowflakes – 黄子弘凡 Lars &方书剑Shujian Fang&梁朋杰 Pengjie Liang&张超Zhang Chao

The Greatest Show – 刘宪华Henry Lau&郑云龙Yunlong Zheng&张超Zhang Chao&方书剑ShuJian Fang&黄子弘凡Lars&梁朋杰Pengjie Liang

I couldn’t choose so I decided to just do a two in one deal. To be honest, I’d have done a 3 in 1 deal because its so fantastic. The 4 guys in Super-Vocal did two quartets together and they called themselves the 1975 group which was because their average age is 19.75 years old. This one was the latter one and I thought it was pretty good although the first one had more energy and a catchier song, still this one was more poetic. Its nice to see how they’re confidence changed from the first performance to the final one when they were joined by one of the judges, Henry Lau and their more experienced musical actor teammate, Yunlong Zheng. I haven’t watched The Greatest Showman yet (I know, shame on me), but I love the energy and confidence in this performance. Its one of my faves.

心脏 Heart – Super-Vocal Team

Last week’s The Singer 2019 was a nightmare for one of the members of this team and yet, the song they chose is from one of Chinese musicals. I’ve only heard it and never saw it. They do such a great job even with one having a huge flu or bronchitis or something. After watching the Super-Vocal show, I’m actually even more appreciative of their performances. Their voices are truly amazing. I think this quartet is absolutely fantastic.

As an extra…here’s a solo performance by Yunlong Zheng, probably one of my faves from the show:

That’s it for this Music Obsessions!
Few more English songs than I though there was which is great!
What have you been listening to?

TV Binge: The Inn 亲爱的客栈 (Season 2, 2018)

I’ve never watched the first season. Apparently there are a few changes, prominently the location and the employees and part-time celebrity employees and guests changed. This results in different dynamics and different challenges.

I’ve attached the playlist of the entire season below. You have to open and go back to the episode 1 probably but it should be mostly subtitled.

The Inn (Season 2, 2018)

The Inn

Network: Hunan TV

Boss: Wang Ke & Liu Tao
Full-Time Employees: Dylan Wang, Kido Ma, Philip Wu, Shen Yue
Part-Time Employees: Myolie Wu, Sean Chen, Tengri, Andy Yang, Bridgette Qiao, Jiang Zi Xin, Johnny Chen, Zhang Lingzhi, Angelica Lee, Cheng Xiao, Vega Li, Mao Buyi, Ziwen Wang

The Inn is a reality TV series that centers around businessman Wang Ke and his renowned actress wife Tao Liu who goes to a rural area of China to set up an inn for 20 days which will then be passed over to the government to help with tourism and economics in the beautiful secluded area perfect for citygoers to recharge and get in touch with nature. Its all part of their slogan of “creating beautiful life”. During the stay, various guests come and share their stories while renowned celebrities will also show up as part time workers. Of course, there are also celebrities there which are full time workers. This season’s set in Bai Lang Zhen is part of northern China near the border and started with three full time workers Meteor Garden 2018’s Dylan Wang, singer Philip Wu and Kido Ma and later is joined by Meteor Garden 2018’s Shen Yue. This is all an effort to not only help build the physical inn but also to set up a working business model with some prominent people in the town there to learn to manage after the team as left.

the inn 2

With that said, The Inn Season 2 is a stellar show. On one hand, it shows the struggles of building a business and the reality that the young employees learned that no task is easy to achieve. On the other hand, it looks also at the success of what they can bring with something like this where a lot of guests and part time employees through these human interactions shared their conflicts and difficulties and dilemmas and in some ways found their solution or untangled a bit of their thoughts as well. The heartwarming aspect of the show definitely takes a front seat here. While some criticisms did suggest that perhaps some of it is staged, I don’t think a lot of it is staged but rather that the after production of adding in little comments and such make it more charming and engaging and at times, funny. Considering the hours spent there and the amount of cameras, it was more an idea of what post-editing felt like was more entertaining for its audience plus it had to play a lot on things like the current trends, such as last year’s shipping of Meteor Garden’s Dylan Wang and Shen Yue and adding in things like Season 1’s My Little One Philip Wu making a comment that his dream girl would be something like Shen Yue as well as the addition of Kido Ma who eventually becomes the one that gets paired up with Shen Yue as we see their friendship getting a lot of mentions by the end.

the inn 2

One of the most valuable traits of The Inn is how it brings together this genuine sort of feeling. It has to do with how its guests are picked with very real every people such as being pressured to marry or being afraid of getting pregnant or not having sufficient amount of time for family because of work, etc. It emphasizes that the people that we meet every day whether just a passing moment can bring something new to our lives. As much as The Inn is an escape, its also a place to contemplate life and hopefully find some positive way to change or resolve some of their own problems. Everyday problems that people have. Even with the guests that show up, they all show a part of themselves that help out. With the young stars, it gives them a chance to experience this new side of things while the more mature guests share their intellect be it about marriage or loss and so on so forth. Its because there is so much to discover that makes this show so fun to watch. It feels genuinely like watching real people going through real things and at the same time, sharing thoughts and positive ways to resolve and just open up other people’s minds about different topics. It took me on a roller coaster of feelings full of funny laughing moments and some touching moments as well. I’m desperately looking forward to the next season. In the mean time, maybe I’ll go back and watch Season 1 and see how this reality show started in the first place.

Music Obsessions – February 2019

Music Obsessions

Welcome to this month’s Music Obsessions! The past month included a whole lot of Nicholas Tse and TV series theme songs and then the past 2 to 3 weeks have been all about the songs performed on The Singer 2019. It makes it a little hard to decide what really did stand out because of the sheer amount of music that I listen to on repeat. Just saying, its going to be heavy on The Singer 2019 because its the music I’ve been really into lately. Plus Chinese New Year is right around the corner so somehow Chinese music fits here really well.

Abyss 深淵 – Nicholas Tse 謝霆鋒 feat. Jackson Wang 王嘉爾

I could choose a ton of Nicholas Tse’s older music which essentially has been going on repeat on my end but he recently dropped his newest single. Perhaps a new album is on the way at this pace. He has had a good few singles in the past year or so. Either way, I like this one well enough. Not my favorite but this one is pretty cool.

我比以前更寂寞 I Am Lonelier Than Before – 杨坤 Kun Yang

I’ve always heard of Kun Yang but never actually a lot of his music before but The Singer 2019 really made an impression with me when he did his first performance. It wasn’t as well received by the audience voters there but to me, I thought it really showed such a depth both his voice and just emotions and it had a good balance. I’ve been trying to check out more of his music but his three performances have all been so unique and awesome so I just decided to share the first one that impressed me.

劉宇寧 Yuning Liu – 讓酒 (Tomb of the Sea Song)

Yuning Liu is someone recently on my radar even slightly before The Singer 2019 on Happy Camp. However, although he got beat out by ANU (which I will post some of their music next time), I felt like the version of the song he chose is fantastic so I went looking for some other songs and landed on this one, which isn’t a cover but a song in a TV series from last year (that I didn’t see but is on my radar). I really like the depth of his voice as well. There’s this nice pop vibe to it but also this husky rougher bits that really give it his own uniqueness.

我們 Us – 吳青峰 Tsing-Fong Wu

Playing both the MC of The Singer as well as a competitor is Taiwanese singer-songwriter. I hadn’t followed his music since his days as lead of Sodagreen, which is a little while back since it was at the tail end of when I was listening to Taiwanese music before falling out of it for a little bit. Hearing him now especially his version of Eason Chan’s Us is really good. I actually had never heard this song before but the lyrics is fantastic especially the fact that he connected with this song in a way that I can relate to and the lyrics that rings out to me: “My biggest regret is that your regrets is related to me.”

Your Love 你的愛情 – Escape Plan 逃跑計劃

Escape Plan is a Chinese indie rock band. Well, its obvious that they have talent but still, it seems perhaps that they are in the wrong competition or that indie rock is still too new in China. Its my personal opinion of course. It may be on the rise but they stuck with singing their own songs for the first two rounds which resulted in them being the first performers to leave the competition. Sad because I really like how this song turned out. Escape Plan is definitely on my radar especially when they made a comeback performance and covered Bruno Mars’ When I Was Your Man. Personally, I think they did good to stick to themselves and their style with their own music but if they did something mainstream like Bruno Mars for one of the performance, they might actually have stayed around longer. Who knows, right?

That’s it for this Music Obsessions!
What have you been listening to?

Festival du Nouveau Cinema: Ash is Purest White (2018)

The 47th Annual Festival du Nouveau Cinema has started in Montreal and will be around until October 14th. I’m not sure why I’ve never thought about joining into this one before but this year had specifically this film that I wanted to see so I took a look at the other movies and ended up joining in the fun.

Ash is Purest White has been making its festival route and maybe theatrical screenings in China. The word about it is almost all positive which has me incredibly excited and one of my top picks for this year’s Festival du Nouveau Festival.

Ash is Purest White (2018)

ash is purest white

Director (and writer): Zhangke Jia

Cast: Tao Zhao, Fan Liao, Yi’nan Diao, Xiaogang Feng, Zheng Xu

A story of violent love within a time frame spanning from 2001 to 2017. – IMDB

Ash is Purest White is a movie that names itself as Jiang Hu Er Nu, which means in direct translation, Underworld’s Sons and Daughters. What seems like it is a crime and gangster movie quickly changes shape in its second and third acts.  Ash is Purest White is a slow-paced film that is essentially an epic romance that propels the life of a woman through a span of many years as she enters this world that she ends up being a part of because of her boyfriend. The story mainly revolves the perspective of Qiao, played by Tan Zhao where her boyfriend Bin, played by Fan Liao, only have scenes with her but rarely individual ones. At a runtime of over 2 hours, Ash is Purest White never feels like that despite its deliberate slow pace, in fact, it takes it time so that we get to know Qiao and her story and her emotions and especially  her strength and loyalty. Set in the beautiful outskirts of China in Datong in the Shanxi province, the cinematography also deserves a great nod as well as the fantastic soundtrack.

Ash is Purest White

With that said, the outstanding role here that definitely carries Ash is the Purest White is Tao Zhao. I’ve never seen her in anything else in my memory but she falls so beautifully into this role. Capturing her innocence and life in the early parts of the movie as she follows her boyfriend and supports him as he is the leader of his gang and fights off the opposing forces. There’s a loyalty and love here that binds them as individuals and makes their relationship strong. For a film to be carried by almost completely by one character is hard but Tao Zhao does it so fantastically. She has a strength to her character as she goes from her happiness of being under the protection of her boyfriend to when she stands up and sacrifices for him which changes her life around by then those things she learned from him becomes a circle and takes her to where she ends up years later when he needs her help. There is such a loyalty and commitment as well as regrets to their relationship that resounds.

Ash is Purest White

Don’t get me wrong though. As strong as Tao Zhao’s character is, Fan Liao’s Bin cannot be ignored. Even in his quiet expressions and his few words, he manages to show a lot of emotions. A sign of a great actor are in these skills. While his character might not be in a lot of the scenes in the second act for example. His character always has a presence in the other’s life and that is the power of this love story. However, there is something of a flip role as we see how both of their similar experiences has ended up with very different results. The debate in their character is what does “jianghu” does to them in some ways.

Overall, Ash is Purest White is a slow-paced romance that takes a fairly  unconventional route that brings about the loyalty, regrets of two people but their differences from what happens that changes them and also breaks them in some ways making them find and lose themselves respectively. There’s a perpetual aspect to their love even when they aren’t both on the screen. The story is crafted so delicately that it works to help us truly be bonded with these two characters. Even in two hours, it rarely feels like there are pacing issues but yet, every detail here is done to help the audience understand these characters and their experiences and think about it. There is a beauty and art here that is hard to ignore. Its one that might resounded to myself as I thought about it more and more.