研讀珠江三角洲的地圖，了解點中山市 (2年半前初訪，當時市區有些印象，現在多集中在: 中山火炬高技術產業開發區現下轄：張家邊、聯富、六和、城東、海
歌舞廳廣告: “小腰精”……這正是《马蒂斯的新娘》( La novia de Matisse ) 富豪路易斯抓住侍從胡里娅當自己的妻子的狀況…..(米歇尔是个
研讀珠江三角洲的地圖，了解點中山市 (2年半前初訪，當時市區有些印象，現在多集中在: 中山火炬高技術產業開發區現下轄：張家邊、聯富、六和、城東、海
歌舞廳廣告: “小腰精”……這正是《马蒂斯的新娘》( La novia de Matisse ) 富豪路易斯抓住侍從胡里娅當自己的妻子的狀況…..(米歇尔是个
La Dolce Vita, or The Sweet Life, is actually tinged with bitterness. Romans still adore the film that recounts the escapades and struggles of a tabloid journalist trying to find himself. But as Nancy Greenleese reports, they're divided on whether La Dolce Vita lives on in Rome.
As John Laurenson reports, the services on offer range from private detectives to legal advice to so-called "love coaching".
Passengers can now enjoy a selection of books made available to them at a public library. Our correspondent Cintia Taylor checked-in at Schiphol Airport to check-out the new library for us.
陳 定南遺孀張昭義將象徵陳定南「頂真」、廉能精神的復刻版公事包，贈予縣長林聰賢，重現去年縣長選舉前，傳承精神的感人畫面。張昭義說，陳定南當縣長時，是 最快樂的時候，為理念打拚，歡喜做、甘願受，看到大家為陳定南出錢出力，她很感動，也感到抱歉，心情複雜。張昭義參觀館藏時，看著與陳定南的婚紗照，想著 種種回憶，充滿了不捨與懷念。
IN a private room in a mysterious little restaurant in Chengdu, my fellow diners goaded me to eat the turtle. It was soft-shelled, they said — as if that made it more enticing. They laughed and joked in Chinese, which I do not speak. Eating turtle grows a man’s bank account, my translator said. I didn’t get the meaning at first. Then it sunk in.
I plucked bibs and bobs of turtle from between the top shell and underbelly. It was bitter, spicy in that classically Sichuanese way, and startlingly good. It was paired with a mouth-cooling chaser, a gazpacho of coconut milk and buoyant tapioca balls.
We were at Zi Fi, a restaurant in the capital of Sichuan province in south-central China. Chengdu is one of many Chinese cities little known by the West but exploding with activity nonetheless. And Zi Fi is one of many Chengdu restaurants that are daring in these heady times to experiment with one of China’s most beloved cuisines.
Kung pao chicken, eggplant in hot garlic sauce, shredded pork with chili and soy — Sichuanese food has conquered the world. For many, it has become synonymous with Chinese food itself. My parents ate Sichuanese food as children in Mumbai. I grew up on it in Ohio. My children will probably grow up on it as well.
During a recent trip to Chengdu, though, I found a traditional cuisine broader, stranger and tastier than its facsimiles around the world.
In Chengdu, a crop of restaurants is making the Sichuanese food scene new, one turtle at a time: reviving forgotten recipes, cooking old dishes with new health-conscious techniques, applying familiar spices and styles to new ingredients.
When a country changes things, the diaspora can be the last to know. But in the belly of Sichuan, a culinary revolution is gathering.
My translator, a lecturer at a local university, had merely asked the tycoon, for whom she had once translated, for restaurant recommendations. But in Chengdu, renowned for its hospitality, he took that as license to convene a dinner for us — and two of his friends — at Zi Fi.
And, indeed, Zi Fi is a restaurant designed to make the successful businessman feel at home. At restaurants like this — those favored by wealthy Sichuanese — you don’t order. You sit in a private room and food arrives, course after spicy course, until you are bloated and drained and swear that you will not dine on Chinese tomorrow. (Of course, you still do.)
First, though, you must reserve two days in advance. You then enter a nondescript building and find yourself in a darkened courtyard with no tables in sight. Dining takes place in private rooms, each with its own servers. A vague air of secrecy pervades the place, with all the action taking place behind closed doors.
The food came in Chengdu-banquet style: everything on a lazy susan, with small nibbles followed by a long arc of courses. We began with abalone cooked with slim mushrooms, then the turtle and its coconut antidote, followed by a delicious clear soup graced with an edible flower.
The heat of Sichuanese food is well known. But Sichuan’s is a peculiar spiciness, in part thanks to the native peppercorns, famous for their vaguely anesthetic power. Chengdu restaurants like Zi Fi play a game of scalding you with spice, then cooling you off, then scalding you again.
It can be turtle chased by coconut milk, or pork chased by green-bean juice, or — my favorite — Zi Fi’s magnificent venison. The dish pranced between tradition and modernity, pairing nontraditional venison with the more traditional accompaniments of peppercorns, chilies, scallions and mushrooms — and then serving the dish in a nest of very nontraditional cotton candy, bits of which you eat to cool things off.
The end of the meal caused some confusion. A sweet custard seemed to conclude the meal, but it was followed by a salty sea slug topped with green chilies. Finally, the actual meal-ender: a tender, subtle Chinese snow pear deep-fried in a beignet-like crust. Magic.
With the help of time and intoxicants, the businessman relaxed. Soon we were taking turns declaring what an honor this dinner was. We were transcending acquaintanceship to become part of one another’s guanxi — the wondrous Chinese phrase for one’s web of enduring relationships.
Zi Fi, 27 Kuanxiangzi; (86-28) 8663-3737; zificlub.com. A multicourse meal in a private dining room begins at 400 renminbi (about $61 at 6.52 renminbi to the dollar) per person, and can easily double or triple depending on how extensive you want the feast to be. Reservations must be made two days ahead.
Gingko Fusion Sichuan Cuisine
For those who are not seasoned Chinese businessmen, Gingko offers a more tourist-friendly version of nouveau Sichuanese. The restaurant, which abuts the Nanhe River, is fancy in the Chinese, and not the Western, way: the lights as bright as electrically possible; the dining space a vast, undivided hall; two servers standing at attention about 10 feet away at all times, seeming more like prison guards than waiters.
But the food was tasty and accessible, with no exotic organs offered. Kung pao chicken was spicy but not too, and sweeter than is usual. In another dish, deep-fried bits of dried beef were cooked, in a touch of fusion, with pine nuts. The best was a long piece of eggplant, structurally reminiscent of garlic bread: sliced but not detached from its base, with minced pork wedged into the top.
All in all, I was impressed. But my translator told me I liked it because it catered to my foreign palate. The sugary chicken, pine nuts, elegant eggplant — these were a watering down of Sichuanese food, she said, shameless pandering in a city where eating is not supposed to be easy. I was duly chastened.
Gingko Fusion Sichuan Cuisine, 12 Linjiang Middle Road; (86-28) 8555-5588. A meal for two, without drinks or tip, is about 300 renminbi.
Dong Hu Shou Xi
Having digested the rebuke, I returned to the traditional. Dong Hu Shou Xi is set in an old, labyrinthine house, with the curved roof that Buddhists believe wards off evil spirits. It has tables downstairs and private rooms upstairs; we went for the one with ornate gold napkins and a matching tablecloth, with huge windows overlooking a pond.
The old Sichuanese standards were marvelous: steamed pork leg with bok choy; noodles, finger-thick, swimming in a broth made from the bones of pig, chicken and duck. The star, though, was a dish that every respectable Chengdu restaurant attempts: wood ear mushrooms, somehow rendered both soft and crispy, tossed with sesame oil, vinegar and fresh cilantro.
But even here we found fusion: a significant hunk of New Zealand beef, served in a skillet with onions and peppercorns. The meat was soft and mildly sweet, with the usual peppery tingle: Sichuanese steak au poivre.
Dong Hu Shou Xi, 8 Guoxin Road, East Five Section; (86-28) 8453-8888. A meal for two, without drinks or tip, is about 300 renminbi.
The hardest thing about Sichuanese cooking, Ms. Dallas told me, is timing. The dishes come together in a blur, with the intense heat of tall flames and short bursts of activity. She often realizes a minute into stir-frying a dish that she has overcooked it by 30 seconds. “It’s hard for someone who’s used to making béchamel sauce,” she said.
So it was no surprise when food arrived moments after we sat down at Yang Yang. Ms. Dallas had ordered just moments earlier what quickly revealed itself to be the best Chinese meal of my life.
Sweet-and-sour pork, bathed in egg batter and cooked with scallions and sugar, was the perfect equilibrium of the two flavors. Tender beef slices came in their own Jacuzzi of chili oil, having been boiled, stir-fried, then soaked in the oil — all within minutes.
But Yang Yang’s greatest victory came in the seemingly pedestrian form of potatoes and eggplant. The former arrived as a shredded heap, cut like hash browns and cooked like French fries. And the latter — well, it was the filet mignon of eggplant: thin slices deep-fried and seasoned with fermented bean paste and many cloves’ worth of garlic. The result was buttery, sweet and savory and gently numbing. It was Sichuanese eating at its finest — and one of the many little-known secrets of a very well-known cuisine.
Yang Yang, 32 Jin Yuan Xiang, Wu Hou Qu; (86-28) 8523-1394. A meal for two, without drinks or tip, is about 150 renminbi.
HASTILY rebuilt after the Korean War, Seoul is shedding its once-gritty image to become one of Asia’s most glittering metropolises. Under its design-obsessed mayor, Oh Se-hoon, the city has been spiffed up with everything from sleek bus shelters to decked-out bridges. What’s more, it was named this year’s World Design Capital by an international design alliance. But that’s just the beginning. Seoul has a booming contemporary art scene, fashionable stores throughout the urban landscape, and a thriving pop and youth culture that now rivals that of other Asian capitals like Tokyo.
1) CULTURE, THEN AND NOW
The convergence of art and architecture, Korean and Western, old and new, finds a marquee home at the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art (747-18 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu; 82-2-2014-6900; leeum.samsungfoundation.org). Squirreled away in a hilly residential section of the Itaewon area, the museum showcases the Samsung Foundation’s impressive art collection in a campus of buildings designed by Rem Koolhaas, Jean Nouvel and Mario Botta. Pieces date from historic Korean Buddhist paintings and celadon ceramics to works by Mark Rothko, Anish Kapoor and Nam June Paik. Then, for a contrast to the Leeum’s polished presentation, walk five minutes to Ggooll (683-31 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu; 82-70-4127-6468; choijeonghwa.com). The experimental artist Choi Jeong Hwa has turned this former hovel into a riotous, well, hovel that doubles as a cafe and alternative gallery.
2) KIMCHI REDUX
It was only a matter of time before Korean cuisine got the nouvelle treatment, and a pioneer in this growing movement is Jung Sik Dang (3F, Acros B/D, 649-7 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu; 82-2-517-4654; jungsikdang.com), next to Dosan Park. The dining room is modern and subdued, with white tablecloths and leather chairs. The rotating set menu (100,000 or 120,000 won, or about $92 or $110 at 1,085 won to the dollar) might include sea squirt bibimbap, anchovy paella and “Five Senses Satisfaction Pork Belly.” There is just a handful of tables, so be sure to make a reservation.
3) SEOUL AFTER DARK
Seoul has a panoply of night-life districts that cater to different crowds, but perhaps the trendiest is Garosu-gil. It’s home to cute cafes and immaculate boutiques like p. 532 and Ilmo Outlet, but at night its many bars throb to life. Two cool spots include Café des Arts (2F, 545 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu; 82-2-541-0507), with its beer and flea market vibe, and the yuppie-ish, dark-and-moody Wine & Dine (535-18 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu; 82-2-545-6677).
4) DESIGN DIGS
The Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a massive complex designed by Zaha Hadid, will be a centerpiece of Seoul’s design transformation when it is completed as early as 2012. Though still under construction, its impressive, space-age skeleton is already worth a look (2 Eulji-ro 7-ga, Jung-gu; 82-2-2266-7330; seouldesign.or.kr). So is the new Hadid-designed park that surrounds it, which elegantly incorporates recently discovered ruins, including a military complex from the Choson dynasty (1392-1910). Small design exhibitions accompany a museum chronicling the site’s history.
5) WHITE CUBES
The city’s contemporary art scene is blossoming and it’s centered in pleasant Samcheong-dong. Blue-chip spaces include Gallery Hyundai (80 Sagan-dong, Jongro-gu; 82-2-2287-3570; galleryhyundai.com); Kukje Gallery (59-1 Sokeuk-dong, Jongro-gu; 82-2-735-8449; kukjegallery.com); and Arario Gallery (149-2 Sokeuk-dong, Jongro-gu; 82-2-723-6190; arariogallery.com). Anchoring the area is the Artsonje Center (144-2 Sokeuk-dong, Jongro-gu; 82-2-733-8945; artsonje.org), founded in 1998 to support contemporary and experimental art. Meanwhile, over in the Cheongdam area is the Platoon Kunsthalle (97-22 Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu; 82-2-3447-1191; kunsthalle.com), an alternative art space built from stacked shipping containers.
6) CHEAP OR CHIC
For lunch in Samcheong-dong, try the Kukje Gallery’s upscale continental restaurant (18,000 won for the scallop risotto). Or slip into one of the hole-in-the-wall restaurants tucked into the hilly side streets, like Cheonjin Poja (148-5 Sokeuk-dong, Jongro-gu; 82-2-739-6086), where an order of pork mandoo dumplings will set you back 4,000 won. There’s also aA (55 Sokeuk-dong, Jongro-gu; 82-2-722-1211), a new four-level temple to vintage modern furniture, though the draw is more the Danish lighting than the 8,000-won ham and Brie sandwiches.
7) CREDIT CRUNCH
There’s no shortage of ways to max out a credit card in Seoul. The heart of temptation lies in the Cheongdam-dong district, and spreads out from there. Watch international brands try to outdo one another, be it with the vegetation-covered Ann Demeulemeester (650-14 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu; 82-2-3442-2570; anndemeulemeester.be); the new concrete-on-concrete Rick Owens (651 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu; 82-2-516-2217; rickowens.eu); or the unapologetically decadent 10 Corso Como (79 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu; 82-2-3018-1010; 10corsocomo.co.kr). For homegrown luxury emporiums, stop by Boon the Shop (89-3 and 79-13 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu; 82-2-542-8006; boontheshop.com) and the edgier Daily Projects (1-24 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu; 82-2-3218-4075; dailyprojects.kr). And for local skater and streetwear design, Humantree (4F, 653-1 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu; 82-2-514-3464; humantree.info) shows off its hoodies and T-shirts next to a Planet of the Apes blow-up doll.
8) FASHION BARBECUE
Given that its proprietor is a former editor at Vogue Korea, you might expect Tadak (412-29 Hapjeong-dong, Mapo-gu; 82-2-333-6564) to be a tad pretentious. Quite the opposite. Stylish yet low-key, this warm-and-woody Korean barbecue restaurant opened earlier this year near the Hongdae student night-life district. Beef, pork and vegetables are grilled over wood charcoal at your table, accompanied by all the pickled and bean paste fixings. The prices are just as palatable: 10,000 won per one-person portion. A serving of cold naeng myun noodles is 4,500 won.
9) WHERE THE KIDS ROAM
Seoul has its share of sleek bars and sophisticated clubs, but for a bit of urban anthropology to go with your drink, head to Hongdae. Packed with teenagers, university students and other 20-somethings, this carnivalesque, neon-lit area is where on weekend nights you might find yourself dodging a stilt walker as a rock band plays nearby. On the main drag, you can’t miss Luxury Norebang (367-39 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu; 82-2-322-3111), a multistory karaoke palace that looks like Pee Wee’s Playhouse as decorated by Laura Ashley. For a more upscale party vibe, check out Lound (83-13 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu; 82-2-517-7412; 74lound.com), which draws a fashionable set to its hyperslick spaces.
10) TAPAS WITH A VIEW
Have brunch with the in-crowd at Between (124-7 Yongsan-gu, Itaewon-dong; 82-2-795-6164), a multilevel Italian and Spanish tapas restaurant, with a terrace and lounge, that opened earlier this year. Its airy, contemporary interior is an ideal place to wake up with an eggs Benedict (16,000 won) or prosciutto sandwich (17,000 won) and good people-watching.
11) BATH AND BEYOND
A staple of Korean life has long been the jjimjilbang, or bathhouse. And perhaps the biggest and most extravagant of them all is the seven-story Dragon Hill Spa & Resort (40-713 Hangang-ro 3-ga, Yongsan-gu; 82-2-798-0114; dragonhillspa.com). Something like an amusement park with a touch of ’80s Vegas, complete with pyramids and a Native American-themed pub, this family-friendly spot comes with sex-segregated spa areas, shared saunas, outdoor pools, Jacuzzis and more: picture nail salons, video arcades, an Internet cafe, even a cinema and putting green. (Admission 10,000 to 12,000 won; spa packages from 100,000 won.) A Zen retreat this is not. But it’s a fun (and funny) place for a few hours of entertainment — and maybe some relaxation, too.
IF YOU GO
The 185-room Park Hyatt Seoul (995-14 Daechi 3-dong, Gangnam-gu; 82-2-2016-1234; seoul.park.hyatt.com) occupies a 24 -story glass-and-steel building in the central Gangnam district. Floor-to-ceiling windows, warm wood finishes and granite baths outfit its spacious, modern rooms. Doubles start at 270,000 won (about $249).
The new IP Boutique Hotel (737-32 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu; 82-2-3702-8000; ipboutiquehotel.com) is conveniently situated in Itaewon. It has a colorful facade that matches the 132 comfortable rooms within: think lots of white with splashes of Pop color. Rates start at 200,000 won, with frequent discounts available.
Situated in the heart of fashionable Garosu-gil, the Hotel Tea Tree & Co (535-12 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu; 82-2-542-9954; teatreehotel.com) opened last year with 38 spare yet cozy rooms. Standard rooms start at 96,800 won.
By Argin Chang
TAIPEI | Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:11am EST
TAIPEI (Reuters Life!) - Need divine protection but pressed for time? Don't worry, just drop into one Taiwanese convenience store, make a donation and an offering will be made in your name at one of the island's most famous temples.
Such spiritual services symbolize the innovations available at Taiwan's convenience stores, whose increasing dominance of the local shopping scene reflects a deep social change as better wages and opportunities draw more people to city life.
Food shops, cafes, banks, travel agents, offices and even recyclers rolled into one, convenience stores are always open and on almost every street corner, catering to an ever-faster pace of life in the island's cities.
"As people's life patterns change because of urbanization, they are willing to pay a tad more money to buy convenience and time," said Chang Chia-ming, a sociology professor at Soochow University in Taipei.
"The 'convenience store-isation' of society is most intense in Japan, and then Taiwan. Now it is making its way to some cities in China too."
Most apartments in Taiwan's urban areas are only at most 500 meters from a 7-11 or FamilyMart, the dominant chains in Taiwan.
The island has one store for every 2,489 people, the highest density in the world, and figures from Nielsen show each Taiwanese shops in one on average 17 times a month.
"The higher the density and competition, the more convenience they have to provide," Chang said.
The dense interweaving of convenience stores and local culture may have begun in Japan, where the stores are ubiquitous and affectionately known as "konbini," but Taiwan's stores take services offered to new heights.
While sipping a freshly brewed coffee or eating a hot bowl of noodles, for example, you can pay your utility or credit card bill, insurance premium, tax or school tuition fees, or even order a replacement driving license. FamilyMart expects over 100 million bills to be paid at its stores this year.
Don't forget to bring used batteries and compact discs to exchange for a discount, or get $5 for a broken notebook PC or 50 cents for a mobile phone. One chain even trialed garbage disposal for a sort time.
For some, the stores almost seem to be life itself.
"It doesn't matter where I live, I will survive as long as there is a convenience store," said Ophelia Chen, a 30-year-old record store manager.
(Editing by Jonathan Standing and Elaine Lies)
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