Success! Yak Poutine

Success! I have done it. Yak Poutine.

With the first trial of the yak poutine, it was definitely something along the normal frites, gravy and cheesecurds of Montreal.

To introduce, la poutine originates in a small county town somewhere in Quebec Canada (specific location argued), and is a staple in many restaurants in eastern Canada.

The basic components of the poutine are french fries, cheese curds and a gravy or salty sauce. Available in many chains, the likes of KFC and McDonald’s will never compare to St. Hubert’s or other small Quebec shops. It’s true that the platter is loaded with oils and fats, but if you have the right ingredients and the right chef, it’s an amazing mixture that ignores being scientific and enjoys the life of eating. I prefer my fries crunchy, not soft, with the cheese soft but supple, warm and aromatic, and the gravy spiced and salty and hot, not warm.  Some prefer an entire soft mass, like mashed potatoes with toppings. But that’s not poutine then.

Scroll to China.

It is by far a long stretch away to get anything remotely related to poutine, especially good cheese.

So I improvise.

In a quaint little hidden secret alley of  Lijiang is a grungy but homey Tibetan restaurant. I first came to have a great meal of Tibetan cuisine, and a large variety of dishes were all exceptional. I was served a dish with sweet, fried yak cheese, put some in my mouth and finished it, licking the plate clean and all.

A ‘Reminder Revelation’ occurs. Cravings, deep cravings for poutine emerge. Eyes open wide .O_O.  A soft, low, heavenly voice, whisper-to-the-ear chill came: …~ Poutine ~…  it chimed so sweet, tastebuds rejoicing in the memories of Montreal …~ Poutine ~
And I was determined to have some the next time I was here. I hope I am credited with bringing the style of poutine the mountain regions of China ..!

From the image at top, it was trial 1. Clearly something awkward and confusing to the chefs, waitresses and customers of the restaurant, but I persisted. A small crowd formed. I continued the request …

Details of the yak poutine:

1 / Fresh local potatoes sliced and deep-fried to a crisp, with a bit of chili for taste. No salt added.
Individual result: Absolutely amazing on it’s own, requiring no salt to taste. It had a natural potato aroma, sort of yam-like, and not the empty starch taste you get in your local fast food chain. Crunchy. The ‘nacho’ chips were one thing, but fries will be next.

2 / Fresh yak cheese fried cut to small chunks and sweetened.
Individual result: Again, another amazing thing to have. A light cheese aroma, a bit oily, but sweeten quite a bit. Great with bread, dry roast baba (a type of local cake), rice and crackers. Soft and delectable. Perhaps less sugar for the next platter. Great with the chips.

3 / The sauce. Made of a previous Tibetan beef stew and boiled with added corn starch to thicken.
Individual result: Was not warm enough, was watered-down (from the less content) and had too much starch. But individually, it had a slight hint of the stew and the peppers and light spices that made it a great stew. Again, the starch was a bit much, as it quickly cooled into a gelatin. Next time add more salts and chili powder, less starch, no added water.

Combination: High potential to be a great dish! A few modifications and it’ll be a huge culinary wave across China and the Himalayan countries! … at least with Canadians.

“Which restaurant is it? I want some!”  Said earlier, it’s a little hidden restaurant in Lijiang, off the main road of 七星街 (Literal translation: 7 Stars Road) and the following is their plaque… Care for a try? Drop me an email as you wish. 

Zang Ba Bao Butter Tea Museum (Tibetan Restaurant) : 藏八宝酥油茶馆 (ZhanBaBaoSuYouChaGuan)


…~ Poutine ~
Darwin Ma
mooseandhorse / foodvamp


moved / hiatus

Ahoy there! foodvamp is temporarily on hiatus, until it starts up again, come over to

I love Darj – the best 4 day trip ever


Darjeeling (Ghorkaland), India: AWESOME.

Overview: transport up from Kolkata, train, SUV taxi. Sher-E-Punjab. Hasty Tasty tasty. Big Bite Sucks. Tiger hill sunrise. Kangchenjunga mountain, third highest mountain in the world 8586m. Taxi down, wave to mountain girls goodbye. Mountain girls cuter than Cantonese girls. Strike in Sonada, friendly Nepali offering a cup of tea, assuming I was Nepali. Monkeys. Andrew’s confrontation. Crowd the back. Puking kids. Blowjob on the taxi.

A week of festivities and wedding gets a great vibe for the Tangra Kolkata Chinese community, those Kolkata is still is a much dump. So a 4-day trip to Darjeeling is a relief and an amazing one. Let me tell you the happenings from the start along with some introductions.

Tilak Thapa, is a relative of Cynthia and Ricki’s, along a long string of branches that is too long for me to remember. He is Gorkhali of Gorkhaland, an area in northwest West Bengal seeking independence from India since the late 1980s. Married with a son, he comes from a family of 11, 6 brothers and 4 sisters, himself being birth number 8. Soft-spoken and kind, Tilak is a great friend and guide along this mountainous range.

foggy day though =(Darjeeling is a mountainous region, populated with about 1.5 million heads, demographics roughly 70% Gorkhali ethnicity, 30% Nepali, Hindi and Tibetan residents. Quaint and beautiful, being 2200 m high you are guaranteed to be awestruck with the serene scenery and amazing locals, peaceful. Mind you, this is a tourist city, but one of the greatest I have been to.

Day 1: Upon arriving to the transit stop Siliguri from the train station, we take the auto-rickshaw to a SUV-taxi “station”, a place to prepare for our ride to Darjeeling. The time is noonish, thus we are hungry. Sher-E-Punjab was the choice, and a grand choice it was. Everyone agreed their dish was amazing and flavourful, from the Paneer/Alu paratha (goat cheese/potato roti pancake), to fried rice biyrani, to butter chicken. I highly recommend this restaurant for anyone in Siliguri.
awesome food! Just dunno how to give you directions... Peddler peddler peddler, oh what has befallen you to be a peddler?

Our group, Tilak Thapa, Andrew and Cynthia, Ricki and I, along with 6 others, crowded into an SUV taxi and the 3.5 hr trip commences. Bumps, jackknife turns, potholes litter the route to Darjeeling… That and gas. Fart gas. Sorry, I had paneer. But it turned into one of the best laughs on the trip! … Again I’m really sorry with a smile. To the Indian guy who smelt it too, sorry. *snickers*

Darjeeling is beautifully located and I am especially amazed that there are 1.5 million people living on this mountain side! The streets are narrow and clean, the streets are crowded daily with no stench of sewage, and workers are lugging bails of dirt or bricks from a strap held up by their forehead. (Seems like an easy way to break a neck.) One immediate thing I notice upon arrival: “mountain girls” (as we’ve coined it) are more beautiful than the girls of Kolkata and of Guangdong! (haha)

Tilak separated from us to meet with his hometown friends and his wife, leaving us to explore a little, and deciding on the “recommended” Glenery’s restaurant by Lonely Planet India. It’s a quaint place, top floor Tibetan motif, bottom floor a bakery. Eat eat eat eat eat! Here starts the eating journey of 8 plates of various dishes! Boy it gets fun. Glenery’s however, offers an average food selection. Even after a full course plus, we were still craving something… MOMO’s! Momo’s are dumplings in Tibetan, and found THE restaurant of choice: Hasty Tasty, just down the street from Glenery’s. Hasty Tasty, a vegetarian restaurant, has an amazing menu selection, from rice to noodles, dumplings to paratha, dosa to chola bautola. This night, we only had momo’s, but they were AMAZING. Best in the World over! China’s fried dumplings? NOPE. Vancouver’s vast food selection and award winning chefs? NOPE. Cannot beat it. We ended up on our 4-day trip returning every day for a snack, a lunch, and a dinner, all very worth it and highly memorable. A Spanish pair of tourists agreed as well, as they came when we came.

tibetan, indian cuisine with moderate fun, westernizedat grenary's










2: Touring

Gandhi sure knows how to write.

Taxidermy softness...

dead animal stuff, no not oil.



The day started early, drinking buttery Tibetan tea and eating paratha for breakfast, we met with Yogis, our driver for the next two days. Destination one was the West Bengal Natural History Museum. Two floors of taxidermy and jarred mammals and reptiles were spread among two hotel sized rooms, and that was all. Out in front, state several quotes to note as seen in the pictures below:

read it!

japan is here for the peace on the mountains



Destination two is the Japanese temple and the peace pagoda. The peace pagoda, spreading across the world for the name of peace, is the response of a Japanese Buddhist monk Fujii Guruji to world war two’s nuclear bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The phrase NA MU MYO HO REN GE KYO is a prayer to say in Japanese with no direct translation, to provide clear the mind and purify the land – the message of nonviolence. The Darjeeling Peace Pagoda was built by Nichidatsu Fujii on March 11th, 1972. There I met with a nice Nepali fellow, whom wishes all the best and has memorized the prayer chant.


endangered, hunted in china for galbladderD3 was the surprisingly entertaining and inspirational Himalayan Mountaineering Institution (HMI) of Darjeeling and the zoo. The zoo itself feels VERY comfortable, unlike the crowded, uncomfortable zoos in, say, Kunming, Toronto, Tokyo. The zoo do not have any foreign beasts, like polar bears, but this is good. It improves the natural feeling for their environment which already boasts the natural array of species, all feel so… natural. The HMI was a treat to explore and learn. A Gorkhali named Tenzing Norgay was part of the first pair of humans to summit Mount Everest (the other is Sir Edmund Hillary, Britain) May 29th, 1953. Thus after, Tenzing provided guidance to future sherpas to climb many mountains to come. The original clothing, thin and simple, is comparatively simple and primitive to today’s equipment and stored within a casing. (No pictures were allowed within, but when I saw his equipment, I got chills.)

honoured by his partner englishman Sir Edmund Hillary

HMI Restaurant is CRAP. Avoid unless hungry.

Onward to number 4 at the Tea Gardens where the “famous” Darjeeling tea grow. Bushels upon bushels decorate the mountain side, and we sit in a little hut sipping the tea. Nice.

Finally, the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre, a place where Tibetans running from China seek refuge in Darjeeling. It is a small community of simple craftwork pieces to sell mainly for tourists. As a Chinese Canadian, I have heard from both sides of the Tibetan argument, and when asked what our party’s ethnicity was, I held back and said Hong Kong Chinese. Why do I have this awkward hesitance and fear…? I am not into the support or denial of the Tibetan’s arguments of independence and struggles, but enjoy culture and understand religions. Spin the wheels of Good Luck and healing clockwise, to help clear your mind.

End of the day? Hasty Tasty dinner. So good, So tasty.

The next morning starts at 5am, heading up to Tiger Hill, a lookout peak observing 1. The sunrise and 2. Kangchenjunga mountain with a hint of Mt Everest. Unfortunately, the two days we had spent were lightly foggy, and today was not the same. We were able to see the orange glow for an hour or so, lighting up the third highest peak in the world, but shrouded thereafter. There I met a friendly Hindu Swede named Bramma, sharing the India experience with his friends from Bulgaria.



Afterward, the Ghoom Monastery, is known to be one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in India, housing a 12 ft Buddha and emanating rich colours and peace. And… outside sat a woman beggar with a baby…

Later, we headed to the Gorkha monument, in honour of Gorkha warriors protecting the land in the early 1980s. Not much to see but a great view (even with the fog)(binoculars with aluminum tubes anyone?).

With the departure of Yogis (good guy!), the day is left for us to explore! … or take a nap. Tilak came in the early afternoon to venture together across around a park where up to 4 stray dogs followed us on our walk around the park. Hey! Where are you guys running towards? Oh, monkeys! Afterwards, a nice ice cream on sizzling chocolate covered brownie sweetened the night. Had a nice dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, good for lunch or dinner but not for breakfast. So the next morning we head to our favourite and most memorable place, Hasty Tasty!!!


Good bye Darjeeling, I’ll get a home here soon. *waves goodbye to mountain girls*

Down the hill, the strike of Gorkhaland protesters have hit! We are stuck in Sonada for two hours, and a nice Nepali restaurant gave us a free cup of hot tea. Boy, they’re sweet people.

More monkeys on the roof!

AKA fried deliciousness dumplings




See you again Darjeeling, with hopes of clearer skies and a better tomorrow.

Remember kids what I’ve told you? Make a story out of every day.

India: infrastructures, poverty

Here for a wedding, this new world and perspective is quite different to see, yet the same as well. A friendly argument was sparked between myself and Ste (for privacy purposes, will just be the first 3 letters) about poverty structures between Asia and North Americans, AKA politics. India has an exceptionally large poverty gap, where a daily earnings of minimum wage personnel is about 120 rupees (approximately 3000 rupees monthly), “barely” enough for many to get by, as some may say. But compare, Canada’s low incomes earn about 70$ CAD minimum daily full time wage, at approximately 1500$CAD per month, and it can be comparable to know there is a dissident of poverty differences. With disregard of international currency value, the domestic numeric values are The poverty gap in Asia are a chasm compared to the “balanced” effects of Canada. The developments of Indian infrastructures and Chinese infrastructures are low, with lower government involvements to assist the families struggling and corrupt.

… In short, be lucky to be a Canadian, you have the opportunity to succeed through education, government student loans and municipal programs.



Canadian road infrastructures are horrendous, especially Vancouver’s. One, is the reluctant preparation of winter, blah blah global warming. The other is that the organization of the city’s road systems are unmatched in inefficiency. As as logistics manager for over 5 years, the roads are not prepared for growth, and the development of new routing are denied or ignored, due to monetary needs, political and local reasons (money, scenic views, etc). The Lower Mainland needs a better road system! I will extend an arm up high in the support to streamline all the roadways, especially Richmond to Coquitlam: needing to go through 3 bridges, several lights along 1km AND the downtown core of New Westminster, there is the no need for travelling through so many suburbias, known as the “fastest” route. Right. 15 km taking 1 hour. Unnecessary. Create a highway. Move New West’s city centre. Create an underpass, being there are so many hills. Have more lanes. If Vancouver is known to be a relaxed system, than take this road stress away too.

Samsung is offering full refunds for faulty INTEL chips. I am starting to think things from Intel are becoming faultier, and releasing the products for lack of funds. Intel is 100% responsible for the refunds.

You can source many sources… of the following:
Egypt’s government gets rocked by protests for reform. Do they want Communism too? Or democracy? Sometimes, the people do not know.
Makes me think, India, with a massive population needs something like China’s communism to help maintain unrest, and manage Conservatists. Change is needed. We’ll never have flying cars then.

Plenty of Fish got hacked. Change your passwords!

aaaaaaaaaaaand… GO Nashville Predators GO!


Learn your own prospective, than another.
‘ll have 1 more opinion, you’ll be that much wiser.


Relocation: Kunming Yunnan China

So… Hi! It’s been awhile hasn’t it? Relocating to Kunming Yunnan China for the purpose of learning/refining a language has so many perks, it’s a recommendation.

As I am 3 months plus into this new latest adventure, there will be some “STEPBACKTRACK” sections in postings to review things in the past, with new news.

The following will be a small intro to the stuff of the future.


So many doors and gateways...

 Kunming, 昆明 , regularly known as the Spring City 春城  for it’s moderate climate of 10*C to 30*C year round, holds a dense population over 6.5 million, the largest city in the Yunnan Province.

The languages spoken are Putonghua (mandarin) and the local Kunming dialect, English is a distant distant foreign language, but still capable in special places.

Things I’ve noticed:
Great weather. (no snow though)
GREEN CITY: emphasis on solar power energy! They sit atop of their buildings and on sunny days provide hot water. On days without, natural gas heats the water. Also, as motorcycles are banned due to safety and emission concerns, electric bikes are largely used along with public transportation and under-construction subway, further enhancing the image of GREEN in Kunming.
“我的城市我的家” is one of the city’s slogan, translating to “My City, My Home”.
Fairly clean, relatively, and a great city, a portal to many southeast countries such as Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, giving a decent diverse culture to the city and province, holding the most native minority groups 民族 (22) in all of China.

Street traffic is terrible. Taking a bus between 0800 and 2200 is terrible along

many routes. Humans yield to humans, cars to cars. The in between does not concern either parties much. Also, spitting is the most exciting and disgusting thing you’ll ever hear and see! That, and bus tuna cans. I hate spicy foods. 米线, rice noodles, is the specialty of Yunnan, but it tastes bland, losing any rival to egg noodles anyday. …Enjoy!


The Medical Exam room for International guests staying for residence purposes.

THE MEDICAL EXAM – KUNMING – Late August 2010 (A short)
It’s a Friday, and it’s getting late. As part of the registration process in applying for a temporary residence visa, one of the requirements is to acquire a medical clearance, the other is getting a police record for potential future incidences.
My Cousin, (from now on ZP), got us out of the house by 2pm and by 3pm to the police station for data entry. With time passing on the bright sunny day, it was relaxing and exciting to get around the new city I’m in. The officer had explained to us that I would need a medical exam done, several blocks from the station. So we walked. We arrived 330ish at the Medical Clearance Center (shown above), registered and awaited the next step. It was 4 o’clock. Oh, ZP says, we have a few minutes before this place closes. Then we have an hour to get back to the police station before they close.
Forking out over 350 RMB, we ran and did the following run-down:
1. Sight: EWM3 stuff.
2. Blood pressure and weight.
3. Some kind of nervous system check (with clips around the ankle and wrists, plugs on the chest)
4. X-ray of chest – specifically the heart.
5. Ultrasound – it’s a weird feeling, to see my innards on a screen… that’s what babies look like!?
6. Blood sample (4 vials! Gah! )
7. Urine sample – pee in a cup equivalent to the cup found with cough syrup.
Done the health test!  Go go go! My aunt came along as well (as she was needed at the police station) in a taxi and picked us up right away, straight to the police station! We made it! …Oh. My cousin forgot to submit a form to the health office, so she ran back! Sadly, also taking my passport!  Clock 4:50pm. Two of the officers did not want to stay, urging us to go back tomorrow. “No time tomorrow! We must do it today!” we exclaimed! “Bah,” one argued and stormed out. Luckily, a third stayed with us. My cousin came back at 5:05pm. Done the police submission!
Calling a day today. Don’t wanna say to much in one go.
Darwinius Nomadis

Vancouver International Auto Show 2009


The 2009 Auto Show is happening from:
Tuesday March 31 2009 to  Saturday April 5 2009
@ BC Place Stadium

Admission: 10$ weekday, 15$ weekend; other prices may be seen on the website.

and will feature some neat things including the new eco-friendly Prius (yay…)
among other goodies. May put up pictures later if we attend. 🙂

March Chili Day

Another has passed, and in March, the day has come. This day, and the event’s soon described, were feared for many days and nights, dreamt of pain and suffering, and the like.

(having the balls to become fire balls!)

The raw consumption of YELLOW, RED, JALAPENO, SERRANO AND THAI peppers stand before us.

So here’s my “reviews”, with ratings from 1-10, 10 being stupidly hot, like eating charcoal from a recently burning barbeque pit:

The PreCrunch Colours

The PreCrunch Colours

Tequila shot. Nice starter to warm things up.

First in line were the yellows. (6) Almost gave up, but the first one is usually the hottest, being the “fresh” new flavour on the tongue. (I’m a crysanthemum (not a pansie!) when it comes to spiciness).  Woozy and light-headed, I was I was.

Nope. I was wrong, the big Red ones are much worse. (7). Friendly observants noticed slurred and lisped vocabulary. There were moment of  ‘illitherithy’ for that moment. GKW wanted to give up. JChu brushed his tongue (bad idea right?)

Thirdly were the Jalapenos. To me: (2), I was lucky. It tasted like a green pepper (no, it wasn’t a green pepper). GKW had a choice in the matter of picking 1 or 2, and somehow died during that. Too bad. LOST ONE IN THE BOONDOCKS! JChu went and brushed his teeth again. POINT TO NOTE: That just prepares you for another clean hit, dudes and dudettes.

Lastly? Yes, the serrano and the thai were consumed together. The idea was to do it all ASAP and wither away this last time, rather than twice more.  The serrano is a smaller breed of green, but still packs a punch (6)… the thai chili however, <BAM!>, (9)! One bite and I was swatting and hand flapping like a kid having his first sour ring… but disgusting.

Choked it down with some aloe vera and postachios. (See below).

theendresult TopView


And topped off (me only) with three more shots of tequila (‘Sauza’ brand).
Probably got myself some ulcers. It was bound to happen with alcohol some time in my life.

Tummy warm! (That’s a bad thing.) With the tequila! (Darn peer pressure.)

Fields of seeds in a muddy pool produced at the end of the day; wishing I’d have taken some pictures… how raw.




Thanks to participants GKW and JChu; “you kiss your mother with that?” and all the observants with magnifying glasses andthe burning sun.

(Personal logo in the works!)