A wet and salty treat


"Daddy, what are we having for dinner?" we asked. My mother was in the hospital and my eight-year-old brother, my father, and I were on our own for food. What could three people who did not know how to cook, cook? We’d never made anything more than simple sandwiches.

The answer came in a box from the Korean grocery store.

Don't tell the Japanese instant noodles is really Chinese!


In 2000, the Japanese public voted instant noodles as the most important food invented in the 20th century. Little do they know that it was invented by a Chinese.

It is on record that Momofuku Ando (above) of Osaka, the founder of the giant food concern Nissin Food Products, invented instant noodles in 1958. What is almost never mentioned is that Ando, now 98, was born a Chinese named Wu Bai-fu.

How Wen Jiabao likes his noodles


Fearing political unrest due to runaway inflation, China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has made scapegoats out of noodle makers.

"China has 1.3 billion people. When you multiply a small problem 1.3 billion times, it becomes a huge problem." Wen Jiabao, China's Prime Minister, made that statement two years ago. Today he has his hands full dealing with exactly such a problem.

A tale of two terminals


The British and the Chinese both built airports. Who did it better?

In March 2008, two of the most groundbreaking airport terminals in history were opened within two days of each other. Both terminals were designed by British architects – the Richard Rogers Partnership for Terminal 5 of Heathrow (T5) and Norman Foster for Beijing International’s Terminal 3 (T3). Both were built at astronomical costs, of US$8.5 billion and US$3.5 billion, respectively, to deal with the rising numbers of international passengers.

Travel footnotes


Fell sick on your last trip? Your hotel room may be to blame.

I once had a boyfriend whose family members communicated with each other via scribbled notes, left where the intended recipient could not fail to see them. The house was a treasure trove of missives, but the one that really gave me pause was left by his mother on his father’s reading chair: “I see you are no longer using your cream. Congratulations on beating your fungus.” Yikes.

Arrested development


Will the Magic Kingdom ever make it to the Middle Kingdom?

Bob Iger, CEO and president of The Walt Disney Company, dreams of making his company a household name in China. He should be more careful what he wishes for.

Iger took control of the Magic Kingdom on October 1 last year. In the ensuing 14 months, Disney has become much more famous in North Asia, but for the wrong reasons: its name has been linked with two of the biggest corruption scandals in Taiwan and China.

News of Disney's involvement has left a bad taste in the mouth of Iger and his board of directors. Some investors are also beginning to be concerned. American legislation prohibits US companies from paying bribes to foreign nationals. There could be grave consequences for those found flouting this rule.

Mickey McCarthy?


Walt Disney was a life-long anti-Communist. What would he say, now that Disney's cozying up to China?

mickey and minnie mouse, chinese new year

Have the "Mouses" turned "red" in China?

Had he been buried (instead of cremated), Walt Disney would be rolling in his grave. On September 12, 2005, The Walt Disney Company unveiled its first theme park in China. The opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Disneyland drew a special guest from Beijing: China's Vice President Zeng Qinghong.

Ocean Park vs Disneyland


Under the sea, under the sea,

Darling, it's better, down where it's wetter...

(Under the Sea, from Disney's "The Little Mermaid")

Hong Kong's most famous theme park seems to indicate that under the sea is better than anything above.

In France, the Euro Disneyland is so popular that politicians fret about it undermining traditional French values. In Japan, the Tokyo Disneyland (together with its neighbour, DisneySea) is the best-performing theme park, drawing 25 million visitors a year, almost all of them Japanese. But when it comes to Hong Kong, the entire Disneyland cast, from Mickey Mouse to Donald Duck, has lost out to a bunch of jellyfish.

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