Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chinese New Year events in London

The big celebration in London's Chinatown will take place on Sunday 2nd February. There will be a stage in Trafalgar Square, food stalls and gift stalls in Chinatown an for the first time Shaftesbury Avenue will be part of the festival are becoming Little Hong Kong. Get there early as it is likely to get extremely busy. For more info please see:
The V&A will have a special Friday Late free evening to celebrate the Year of the Ox. They are also putting on a forum on the 2010 Shanghai Expo. For details see:
The Museum of London in Docklands is hosting a free family day of activities on Sunday 8th Feb, they are also showing films as part of the Chinese Film Festival (see my earlier post).
More at www.museumindocklands.org.uk
A good site for all London events is:

Playlist 27th January 2009

Photograph by David Thurston.

  • Happy New Year - Tsui Ping & Friends (EMI 45 EP Chinese New Year Songs)
  • Cow Thief Skank - Lee Perry & the Upsetters
  • Cow Cow Boogie - Ella Fitzgerald & The Inkspots (45 EP Ella and Her Fellas)
  • Kiss of Spring - Yao Lee (Miss Yao Lee vinyl LP)
  • Cow Cow Blues - Davenport (Les Triomphe Du Blues Vol 10)
  • Yakkety Yak - The Coasters (B side to Stand By Me 12")
  • El Toro - Roland Alphonso & The Beverlys Allstars (B side to 007 45)
  • Buffalo Gals - Woody Guthrie (Buffalo Skinners Recordings)
  • Welcome Happiness - Tsui Ping & Friends EMI 45 EP Chinese New Year Songs)
  • Cow Town Skank Version 2 - Augustus Pablo
  • Two Dragons Playing with a Brilliant Pearl - Cantonese Mental Music LP
  • Sixteen Tons - Chang Loo
  • Voice of Spring -
  • Spring Song - Paul Robeson (Songs for Free Men)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Year of the Ox predictions

Not a good year for investments (if you have any money to invest right now!) but good for marriages and babies.

恭喜發財 Gong Xi Fa Cai - Happy New Year!

Sing it Andy.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sweet and Sour Showdown

On Tuesday's Dim Sum lunch box I tried out some recipes for Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce. Then I went to the Chinese restaurant/takeaway Hing Loong on Borough High Street and got their sauce and asked the chef for his recipe. Mark Wu and I tried the sauces with some deep fried crispy squid. I have to say the Hing Loong sauce won out. One of the recipes I tried was from an old Ken Hom book I have, it was basically equal parts orange marmalade, ginger marmalade, sugar, rice vinegar salt and hot water. It was too orangey, perhaps it was the cheap marmalade is I used? Another was sugar, salt, rice vinegar, ketchup and hot water. That was tangy but too tomato tasting.
I think to get the right thickness you need to boil up and simmer down into a syrup.
Sweet and sour sauce is not as easy as it sounds and contains many ingredients. Here's the recipe I got from the chef at Hing Loong, though Mark reckons you need to add some fresh orange too.

  • tomato paste
  • rice vinegar
  • sugar
  • salt
  • lemon
  • celery
  • onion
  • chilli
  • water
  • ginger

Boil up and pour through a sieve when you want to use (so not bits), it's important to serve it warm.
I'll try this recipe at home and let you know how I get on.

Playlist 20th January 2009

  • Mama Tian Na - Sa Dingding (Alive CD)
  • Sweet Bitter Love - Aretha Franklin(Where The Girls Are, Volume 5 CD)
  • This Precious Night - Koo Mei(from the 45 EP of the same name)
  • Sour Apple - Lord Kitchener(Grandmaster of Calypso CD)
  • Great Affection - Connie Chan Pao Chu & Lui Kei(B side of 45 from the film The Magic Cat)
  • Why Birds Follow Spring - Alton Ellis (Count Shelley Greatest Hits LP)
  • Mushroom - Carsick Cars (Carsick Cars CD)
  • Clear Moon, Quiet Winds - Beijing Angelic Choir (Chinese Lullabies CD)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Japanese Style Herring Recipe

I got this recipe from an excellent book, Japanese Street Food by Emi Kazuko. In the book sardines are used but I used herrings instead as they were in season. The Japanese name for the recipe is Iwashi no Nanban-zuke and it is served as a starter or snack.


  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 8 smallish herrings (get them cleaned, heads on)
  • Plain flour (for dusting)
  • Half an onion (thinly sliced)
    For the nanban sauce:
  • 100ml rice vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons mirin (a sweet rice wine with low alcohol content)
  • 1 teaspoon dashi granules (instant seaweed/fish stock, packet pictured right)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soya sauce
  • half teaspoon salt
  • 2 fresh bird's eye chillies (de-seeded and thinly sliced)

WARNING: Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated and that your housemate/partner doesn't mind the smell of fried fish lingering for a day or so!

Heat the oil for deep frying (I used a large wok). Dust the herrings with flour and deep fry 3 at a time in the hot oil for 2-3 mins each side (until golden). Remove and drain on kitchen towel.
Mix all the nanban sauce ingredients in a pan with 5 tablespoons of water and bring to the boil. Add the onion and remove form the heat. Pour into a large bowl (large enough for all the fish, I actually used a large tupper ware box).

Heat up the oil again and when hot return the herrings for 1 min each side. This gets the fish really crispy. Use a stop watch if you like, crucial not to fry for too long.
Remove from oil and put them into the nanban sauce straight away. When all fish are in spoon over sauce to make sure they all get coated. Let them cool then put on a lid and refrigerate for 1-2 days. Serve at room temperature.

A good place to buy Japanese ingredients in London is the Japan Centre near Piccadilly Circus. You can also buy online.

Movie News - January 2009

The Korean Hansel and Gretel is showing at the ICA at the moment. Alex Fitch has reviewed the tale here (definitely not for kids).

On last week's Lucky Cat Alex, Dan Lester and I all agreed that Tetsuya Nakashima's Kamikaze Girls is a splendid film and it gets a Lucky Cat recommendation. Ten minutes into the film I was in love: with the cinematography, the actors, the silly hairstyles, the comedy yakuzas and the kitsch wonderland that the film inhabits.
Memories of Matsuko also gets a Lucky Cat meow. With a stronger narrative of epic proportions this film will take you on a sour sweet adventure.
Both are out on 26th January.

Chinese New Year is fast approaching (actual date 25th Jan) and the London Chinese Film Festival takes place 31st January - 19th February at various London venues.
See www.visitlondon.com/events/detail/4301297 for details. Some great films are showing, including Hollywood Chinese, a documentary on Chinese in American cinema. I mentioned it last year as it won the award for best documentary at the Taiwanese Golden Horse Film Awards.
Kekexili: Mountain Patrol is also showing, which I saw a few years ago. It is a wonderful film set in Tibet (read my old post here).
The image above is from the documentary Young and Restless in China

Friday, January 16, 2009

Anna May Wong Documentary on Radio 4

There was a brilliant documentary on American Chinese film star Anna May Wong on Radio 4 earlier this week, you can listen to it here if you missed it (4 days left so hurry!):
The picture above is from Shanghai Express whom Anna starred in with Marlene Dietrich.
The movie of Anna's you really must see is Piccadilly which has recently been restored and is available on DVD from the BFI.
The documentary Anna May Wong: A Celestial Star in Piccadilly was written and presented by Anna Chen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Playlist Tuesday 13th January 2009

  • Isechoukou Blues - Aoe Mina
  • Talkin' Girls - Shonen Knife (Let's Knife LP)
  • I'm Blue (The Gong Gong Song) - The Ikettes (Hairspray soundtrack LP)
  • Since He Likes You - Kayama Yozo
  • Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall - Ella Fitzgerald (Ella: The Best Coral LP)
  • Yesterday's Memories - Lillian Leach & The Mellows
  • 九ちゃんのツンツン節 - Sakamoto Kyu / 坂本九
  • I am Coming Home - Pat Kelly (PAMA 45 b side)
  • Munasurabi Tokyo - The Peanuts
  • If It Don't Work Out - Pat Kelly (PAMA 45 a side)
  • 禁じられた恋のボレロ - Mizuhara Hiroshi / 水原弘

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tetsuya Nakashima DVD Review Special

On tomorrow's Lucky Cat I will be joined by Dan Lester and Alex Fitch of Electric Sheep Magazine to discuss director Tetsuya Nakashima's Kamikaze Girls and Memories of Matsuko. Both films are out on DVD this week, available from amazon, play and all DVD retailers that are still in business in 2009.

Tune in via FM radio in London on Resonance 104.4FM or via www.resonancefm.com anywhere. 9 - 10 pm.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Pickled Mooli

One stinky snack that tastes great!

Mooli is a large radish with a watery, crunchy and peppery taste.

One cup of vinegar, third of a cup of sugar, third of a cup of water - mix in a bowl. Peel the mooli (use half a large mooli) and thinly slice and slice again in halves. Peel and chop some fresh ginger (2 inch piece or more). You can also add soem chopped chilli if you like. Put in a suitable jar and Pour over the sugar/vinegar/water mixture. Shake it. Refrigerate for at least 10 days before trying. Shake the jar every now and then to show you care.
You can drain the mooli and ginger and add it to stir frys or snack on it or have it as an accompaniment.

With left over mooli you could make mooli paratha?

Playlist 6th January 2009

  • Willow Tree - Alton Ellis (Greatest Hits LP, Count Shelley)
  • Angelitos Negros - Eartha Kitt (Eartha Revisited LP, London)
  • Hot Reggae - Byron Lee and the Dragonaires (Reggay Hot Cool & Easy LP, Trojan)
  • Digital Monkey - Balkan Beat Box (Nu Med CD)
  • The Higher The Monkey Climbs - Jutsin Hines (Intensified! Ska 1962-66 LP, Island)
  • Signifying Money - The Big Three Trio (I Feel Like Stepping Out LP, Dr Horse)
  • One Monkey Don't Stop No Show - Big Maybelle (The Complete Okeh Recordings CD)
  • Sonny - Betty Chung (Wild Flame LP, EMI Asia)
  • Qin Shang - Sa Dingding (Alive CD, Wrasse Records)
  • Ba Xing Bao Xi He He Xi - The Twins (Twins Chinese New Year Songs 2008 CD)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Lucky Cat Scratches Again!

Just a reminder that I am back for Series 3 of Lucky Cat on Tuesday 6th January at 9phttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifm.
Hope you can tune in.
For further info or to join my mailing list please drop me a line:
luckycatzoe at gmail.com

Friday, January 02, 2009

Michelle Yeoh in The Guardian

Michelle's Yeoh's new film Far North is in cinemas now. The Guardian published an interview with her on 1st Jan.
Read it here.
They missed out my favourite Michelle movie - Wing Chun, "if her beauty doesn't floor you then her drop kick will". What a tag line.

Chiyoko Shimakura

Love the set design graphics and the fan kimono. Great dramatic song too, from 'the godess of Enka' Chiyoko Shimakura.
Find out more about Japanese Enka music here:
Barbara's Enka Site