Tag Archives: hong kong

Russian Borscht Soup Hong Kong Style Recipe

My wife likes cooking and I helped her make this Russian Borscht Hong Kong style soup. This is a spin on the original Borscht soup which uses beetroot but uses tomato instead. This soup is a very popular in Hong Kong cafes that you can also find in many bay area chinese cafe style restaurants. As I was helping her preparing the ingredients, I decided to capture some shots to share.

The soup uses a lot of ingredients so it is very tasty. The ingredients and instructions are below the pictures below and was found from the Just One Cookbook.

Cutting up the vegetable ingredientsrussian borscht soup ingredients

More ingredients to add to the soup
russian borscht soup hong kong style ingredients

The beef stew and ox tail that needs to be prepared and cooked before the boiltomato soup ingredients

The final soup being boiled!
russian tomato ox tail borscht soup

Goes great with bread! Yummy!
russian borscht soup hong kong style ready and served

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Yield: Serves 6-8

    • 1.5 lb. (4-5 pieces) of oxtails rinsed and pat dried
    • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 1.5 lb. stew beef, rinsed and pat dried
    • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 2 medium onions, cut into slices
    • 7 celery stalks, chopped into small pieces
    • 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
    • 1/4 (3 cups) large cabbage, chopped
    • 2 (32 floz) packages beef broth
    • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
    • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
Seasonings A
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
    • 1 tsp. paprika
    • Freshly ground black pepper
Seasonings B
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt


  1. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add the oxtail. When the water boils again cook the oxtail for 10 minutes. Rinse the oxtail under cold water and drain it well. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile in a cast iron skillet (or frying pan), heat oil over high heat and sear the surface of the stew beef. This will enhance the savory flavor. Set aside.
  3. In a large Dutch oven or pot (you will need 6 ¾ – 8 quart depending on the amount of ingredients), heat oil on medium and sauté onion and celery until they are soft.
  4. Add the oxtail, stew beef, carrot, cabbage, tomatoes, beef broth, and tomato paste and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. During this time, skim off the scum and fat on the soup’s surface. This step can be tedious but it’s the key for clean (silky texture) taste when you drink the soup.
  5. Add Seasonings A and reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for at least 1 ½ hours, or until beef is tender and meat comes off from oxtail bones.
  6. Add potatoes and cook for 15 minutes or until tender.
  7. Stir in Seasonings B. Mix well and it’s ready to serve.

Chinese Weddings and Traditions

Happy New Year!
It honor of Chinese New Year, I wanted to write a post about traditional chinese weddings. The Chinese culture is a very respectful and customary culture where most of the Chinese in America still follow some of the traditions one way or another. Getting married is a very important occasion in any culture, but for the bride, it is a passage for the parents of the bride to give away their daughter and for the bride to gain acceptance into the groom’s family.

In China, it is common for the groom to present gifts or money to the parents of the bride as confirmation of the formal arrangement of marriage. A marriage is considered a joining of two families in Chinese culture and before the wedding day it is common for the parents of both bride and groom to meet and exchange gifts. The groom’s parents also give the family members of the bride, “loh paw bengs”, chinese pastries that literally translate to “wife cookies”.

Auspicious Day
To set the date of the marriage, an auspicious day is usually preferred and required. The lucky day is chosen with Fung Shui and the lunar calendar. The bride and the groom’s chinese zodiac symbols are used with the ancient secret theory of Former Heaven Sixty-four Square Chart. Using the combinations mentioned with Heaven Qi and Earth Qi patterns, it creates an element number and period number to calculate the  best days that are good for the specific bride and groom. The same auspicious day for one couple may not be lucky for another couple or even with another mate. Most bride and groom’s still follow this type of tradition in China, but I think for Chinese Americans or 2nd or 3rd generations Chinese, it is not as important as the location and time of year.

Lucky Color Red
The color red is also very important as red is considered a lucky color as well as signifying love, prosperity and happiness. Ideally, everything such as the wedding invitations, envelopes, and wedding dress is usually in red and include the double happiness character. In recent days, however, almost any color is fine now for everything. For the wedding dress, it is very common to have the traditional western white wedding gown and veil for the wedding ceremony while also wearing several other outfits for the banquet. It is very common for Chinese brides to switch into different dresses throughout the banquet. The second dress is usually a traditional red Chinese wedding dress called the “Churn Sam” or “Kay Po” for the banquet. A third dress is meant for the going away dress for when the bride and groom thank everyone at the exit for coming to celebrate the momentous occasion.

Bridal Bed
The night before the wedding, the future bride and groom’s bed should be new along with new or red pillows, comforters and sheets. Young kids are also brought to the room to jump up and down on the bed to give good fertility fortune. Boys are usually preferred so that the couple will produce a son.

Door Games and Bridal Pickup
The big day usually starts bright and early with the picking up of the bride. Once the bride and groom and bridal party are all made up and ready, the groom and groomsmen head to the house of the bride to pickup the bride. In order for the pickup to occur, this is where the fun begins for the bridesmaids. For the groom and groomsmen to be allowed to enter, they have to go through a series of task or games that the bridesmaids have chosen in advance. These door games can vary from reciting poems, singing songs, answering questions, eating weird food, embarassing tasks, physical tasks, and lastly, a lucky red envelope that gets negotiated between the two parties.

Tea Ceremony
One of the very important aspects of a chinese wedding is the tea ceremony. This usually takes place on the wedding day after the door games although doing it on the day before is also common. The tea ceremony is a sign of respect for the elders when the couple serves tea to the family and relatives of both parents. In return, the relatives present the couple with jewelry and red envelopes.

Wedding Car
When the bride and groom are ready to head to the wedding ceremony, they head to the wedding car which is usually decorated with ribbons and flowers along with a miniature bride and groom figurine or plush in the front.  An umbrella is usually held over the bride’s head meaning “raise the bark, spread the leaves” which is suppose to protect the bride from evil spirits while relatives throw rice on her.

The best part of the Banquet is usually the twelve course meal that gets served as only the best and fancy items should be served. Shark Fin Soup, Abalone, Roasted Pig, chicken, fish, and lobster are customary default items along with other dishes that have happy and lucky meanings. More games are usually played throughout the meal to keep the event interesting on the bride and groom. An emcee usually directs the evening along with speeches and the games.

Everything I have mentioned are the typical ideal and traditional events and traditions that take place for a Chinese Wedding. Most weddings in China and Hong Kong follow these traditions in some form or another. In Hong Kong, western style weddings are also common now for couples who just want a simple City Hall Registration and dinner. In America, from my experience at least, the amount of traditions followed at Chinese weddings can vary significantly depending on what the bride and groom choose to participate in or in some instances, what the parents of the bride and groom require. Most 2nd or 3rd generation Chinese weddings in america only have certain aspects mentioned above mixed in with a western style wedding.  For inter-racial weddings, the Chinese bride or groom usually includes some of the tradition as a sign of respect for the chinese heritage and culture. Hopefully, attendees of Chinese weddings can find this entry useful as well as for Chinese wedding planners that may need suggestions on how to plan their wedding day.

Cactus V4 Final Update

1st review
2nd review

This is hopefully my last and final update of the Cactus V4 by Gadget Infinity. I have given up on these cheapo products and have decided to go with the Cybersyncs.  I sent back the 1st gen receiver and transmitter since the transmitter was faulty. After waiting about 2 weeks to get my replacement, I can finally test them again. I had also ordered an additional receiver. I tried to do more testing using the Cactus V4 and one of the recievers was not working. After wiggling around the hot shoe on it, it worked fine but once I removed it and put it back on, it didnt work again.

The one working receiver actually works fine and is pretty reliable but due to all these issues, I highly recommend against these units unless you dont mind the stress and trouble in dealing with getting them resolved with Gadget Infinity. I have exchanged numerous emails already about sending back the 1st generation transmitter and now I have exchanged more emails again about this faulty reciever. They said that there was no known issues with the receivers and gave me instructions on removing the extra clip on top of the hot shoe and said that might help with the issue. I tried that and still have no luck. The receiver is basically defective. Since Gadget Infinity is in Hong Kong, it is also troublesome exchanging emails since the time zones are switched and everytime I send an email, I have to wait until the next day to get a reply. Even if I send it during my nighttime which is their daytime, they are still not very responsive with emails.

I did manage to do two photoshoots with the Cactus V4, but only with one receiver, and they worked out okay but with all the trouble I had with these units, I refuse to use them anymore. 

I just recieved my new pair of Cybersyncs so I can now return the Cactus V4 units for a refund. Unfortunately, the shipping policy of Gadget Infinity says that I have to pay for shipping even if the units are faulty. This is pretty lame considering that the unit was faulty when I received it. Hopefully others can learn from my mistakes and issues and if you still decide to purchase the V4s, dont say I didn’t warn you!