Category Archives: Travel/Adventure

Old Taipa Village Stroll, Macau

Our readers will know we are primarily interested in sipping ’n snacking.  We rarely engage in flights of fancy that eschew our primary objective. Having said that, we enjoy walking as a method to ensure our sipping ’n snacking is counter-balanced, to a degree, by exercise to ensure maintenance of our less-than-trim figures.  Tough racquet!

With that in mind, we woke-up one morning, donned our walking shoes and sallied forth down the the narrow streets and luvly lanes of the “old” Taipa Village of Macau. Below, we have included some photos, which say more than words, and some thoughts regarding our stroll. For more detailed information and a useful map, we suggest you visit the Macau Government Tourist Office.

After walking through the approximately USD2 billion, nearly 3,000 room and 555,000 square meter (nearly 6 million square feet) Galaxy Hotel complex, we crossed the street to Old Taipa Village.  Whew, we already felt tired from sauntering through this mega-entertainment extravaganza that boasts more brand names, slot machines, restaurants and bustling people than should be legal, well, anywhere on the planet!  Can you say contrast on steroids!?  Thus is the “old” vs. “new” of Taipa!

Macau Galaxy
Macau Galaxy

As we entered the Village, we noticed significant contrasts from the outset as new, modern buildings with intriguing architectural designs were popping up against the backdrop of the tiled sidewalks. In with the new, but definitely not out with the old. We applaud the continued, measured development with the preservation of the old Portuguese charm. We call this “intelligent gentrification”. Good on ya, Macau city planners!!!

Old Taipa Village
Taipa Village

Our first stop was at the  Tin Hau Temple, which is considered the oldest (approximately 1785) such place of worship in Taipa. Tin Hau (Heavenly Empress), is also known as A-Ma, who had the power to save boats and drowning people from danger. Given the fishing and trading culture of Taipa, A-Ma is one of the most respected of all the Gods. Over the decades, we have seen other temples dedicated to Tin Hau throughout the seafaring places of southern China, and all we can say is “praise be A-Ma!”

Tin Hau Temple
Tin Hau Temple

Continue reading Old Taipa Village Stroll, Macau

Street Nibbles Stroll

We woke up Monday with a novel idea: let’s go for a Street Nibbles Stroll through one of the local towns called Luen Wo Hui 聯和墟. We packed up all of Buddy’s essentials, put on our least interesting clothing and departed on our culinary adventure.

Street Nibbles
Luen Wo Hui 聯和墟

As we rolled into the outdoor carpark, we could see Buddy’s excitement mounting. He loves the car ride, but turns delirious when he knows something new is about to take place. Et voila, he bounded out of the car like Super Man on steroids almost yanking our arm out in the process. His 220 million olfactory receptors were working in overdrive as he had mili-seconds to figure out and enjoy all the smells around him. A happy Beagle, he was.

We passed the small St. Joseph’s Church on the left before entering the town. A Catholic church established in 1926, St. Joseph’s Church is luvly. The maintenance of this Grade 3 Historic Building by the Antiquities and Monuments Office is stellar. The grounds are well-kept. The people at reception are all smiles and welcoming to visitors. From A to Z, St. Joseph’s Church is simply a nice, peaceful and spiritual destination that softly requests your visit when you are in town.

Buddy was pulling us like a crazy Beagle as the overwhelming attraction of the smells no doubt reminded him of the movie we saw the other day “PERFUME”….scary dude who had a sense of smell like Buddy, but he took it to a yucky-pooh level! We dare you to watch it!

Our first stop for victuals was “Chuen Fun” (rice rolls 腸粉), “Siu Mai” (shrimp/pork dumplings 燒賣), “Fun Guo” (mixed everything – scary – dumpling 粉果) and “Ngau Yok” (Beef Ball” 牛肉)  (see photos at the bottom) at Four Eyes’ Boy (bespectacled youth) Chuen Fun  (四眼仔腸粉) . The name of the stall made us wonder about how virtually every Hong Kong boy and even girl we ever have met dons spectacles at a very young age.  Genetic?  Bad air?  Fashion statement?  So, with approximately 4 million “four eyes’ boy” in Hong Kong, we were wondering who was behind this one!?  In any event, it is a small food stall located on Luen Shing Street 聯盛街, and they make very yummy “chuen fun” with a spicy, brown, sesame peanut sauce dip. It is a lot of fun to eat while standing on the street and watching the people walk by.

Although small, this town was bustling at 11am. Buddy was poking his nose in everyone’s privates as they walked past. It becomes evident he is the The StudBud because everyone smiled even when he got a little too close to licking in the wrong (well, for Buddy, the right) place.

Street Nibbles Stroll

Just a few stalls down the road, we stopped off at the shop called 草澤堂 where they make a most excellent “Yau Sei Mei” (廿四味) or 24 herb tea. We never dare to sip until we have returned home and find ourselves comfortably within jumping distance of a clean toilet.  “Yau Sei Mei” has a “je ne sais quoi”? cleansing impact on our insides unlike any other such product, Big Pharma included…did you say flush!? Continue reading Street Nibbles Stroll

WE LOVE PINOT…HERE IS A PRETTY GOOD EXPLANATION WHY

WE LOVE PINOT…HERE IS A PRETTY GOOD EXPLANATION WHY:  We disagree with anyone who exclusively sips Pinot Noir.  Having said that, the character Miles Raymond in “Sideways” makes a compelling argument when asked why he was so into Pinot:  “Uh, I don’t know, I don’t know. Um, it’s a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It’s uh, it’s thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s, you know, it’s not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it’s neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they’re just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and… ancient on the planet.

EXCERPT from GastroNaughties’ Gallivant
Sipping’n Snacking California Central Coast and Las Vegas

Read our tasting notes on PINOT

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GastroNaughties
GastroNaughties’ Gallivant – Sipping’n Snacking California Central Coast and Las Vegas

Hiking through Plover Cove Country Park

We consider ourselves nature-lovers – so long as our love of nature includes a comfortable couch, bottle of nice wine and an 84” television screen tuned into the National Geographic channel. Otherwise, we tend to avoid the bugs, poison ivy, snakes, humidity and other reasons why God created houses, air-conditioning, etc.

Having said that, we occasionally get the urge to expand our horizons in one of the globe’s greatest ecotourism destinations: Hong Kong!

That’s right. We all know Hong Kong is one of the world’s busiest, 24/7 cities. However, did you know out of the total 1,108 square kilometres of land, about three-quarters is countryside of which 44,300 hectares is designated as country parks? When you combine that with the many five-star hotels, hundreds if not thousands of excellent restaurants and a nightlife rivalling any city on the planet, we think you have a special sort of ecotourism! Continue reading Hiking through Plover Cove Country Park

Something about Wineries

SOMETHING ABOUT WINERIES: Perhaps because the staff tend to be simple people who love The Noble Grape or the setting or the je ne sais quoi. We just think there is something exhilarating about wineries. Sure, we love to taste…who doesn’t? It is more than that. The blend of people, place, wine, nibbles, and that “I cannot quite put my finger on it” feeling just works. We have visited more than a lot of wineries in the USA, Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. It does not matter where…the feeling is similar…we call it happiness.

 

EXCERPT from GastroNaughties’ Gallivant
Sipping’n Snacking California Central Coast and Las Vegas

 

More on winery visits

Chung Yeung, The Tang Clan of Leung Yuk Tau and Poon Choi

We were invited to join our friends (and 400 villagers) for the annual Chung Yeung Festival at the The Tang Clan’s family ancestral shrine complete with a “Poon Choi” feast. More than a lot to explain in that sentence, but we will try to keep it brief and let the photos do the talking!

Chung Yeung is celebrated on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese calendar. In Hong Kong, it is fairly common for family members to join together to visit their ancestral grave sites to clean them and leave food. The ceremony dates back approximately thousand years and is an opportunity for families to get together for sipping ’n snacking! Jolly good event!!!

We, of course, missed the grave-sweeping event and joined our friends for the “Poon Choi” feast at The Tang Clan’s family ancestral shrine. It was not our first dance with Poon Choi, but sitting at the head table of The Tang Clan with our friend who is one of THE leaders was, well, an unexpected treat.

The Tang Clan of Leung Yuk TauThe Tang Clan of Lung Yeuk Tau is one of the “Great Five Clans” settling in Hong Kong in the 11th Century. During the Song Dynasty (960-1276), which was a time of significant advancement in agriculture, iron-working, and printing, one of the sons of the ancestors of the Tang Clan of Lung Yeuk Tau married a Song Princess. All descendants of that marriage, incluing our friend (23rd generation), are considered to be of royal blood. We now cannot help ourselves but refer to him and his better half as Prince and Princess…seems appropriate, he smiles shyly and we sip wine with royalty…the good life! Continue reading Chung Yeung, The Tang Clan of Leung Yuk Tau and Poon Choi

The Breadbasket

THE BREADBASKET: Did you know that California is often cited as the breadbasket of the world? It is the world’s fifth largest supplier of food and agricultural products and boasts more than 400 different crops. We were delighted every stop on the way to experience the best California has to offer whether it be on the plate or in the glass. Wow, fresh veggies and wonderba wines make life that much better. Parachute into the breadbasket, folks, you will not be disappointed!!!