Here’s an amazing time lapse video of Shanghai.
Archive of Posts by Jason Jose
Senior Graphic Designer, Asian Art Museum
“Tag, you’re it.” One staffer asks another AAM staff, artist, or guest a handful of questions. The interviewed subject then comes up with his / her own set of questions, and chooses whom next to interview. Just like a hearty game of tag.
To inaugurate this new series, we have Nicole Harvey – Museum Store Associate at the Asian Art Museum.
What book would you recommend to somebody?
This reminds me of a librarian in a novel who refuses to read anything in his library because he doesn’t want to become unduly attached to a single book, as attachment clouds judgment. I have no such problems and will play favorites whenever possible—but I have a lot of favorites.
Offhandedly, I love The History of Writing because it’s one of those fantastic over-arching tomes, beginning with cuneiform and oracle bones and ending with the internet. It’s an omnibus, excellent for those with a short attention span: just open anywhere and you’ll learn something.
But it would be lousy bus-reading, so I’d suggest something like Christopher Robbins’ Apples Are from Kazakhstan, because I’ll read anything on Central Asia, or one of the small, well-designed titles from Chin Music Press. Sorry, that’s not one book, is it? I could go on, but apparently you have other questions.
The cherry blossom festival just started in Japan. This annual event takes place in the parks, shrines, and gardens in the Tokyo area where millions of Japanese come out to view the blossoms. So I have this great idea: why not replace the trees surrounding the museum with cherry trees? I can just imagine how spectacular that might look when they start blooming this time of the year.
A while ago, I talked about my experience of eating a notable Shanghai delicacy called xiao long bao. Here’s a video of Andrea Nguyen, chef and author of Asian Dumplings, as she talks about the process of making this dish and what she considers the perfect xiao long bao at Shanghai Dumpling King. (short commercial at beginning of video)
Looking outside my window I noticed this garden taking shape in the Fulton Mall between the museum and the public library. If this is some type of beautification project, I like what I’m seeing. It’s kind of similar to the herb garden they installed in Civic Center during the Slow Food festival. If it were up to me, I would just fill the whole mall area with plants and install some meandering walkways. I don’t know, sometimes I have dreams of being a landscape architect.
The upcoming Shanghai exhibition got me thinking about Shanghai cuisine. What do I know about it? Absolutely nothing, well, except for this dumpling called Xiao Long Bao. According to the description in Wikipedia:
Shanghai does not have a definitive cuisine of its own, but modifies those of the surrounding provinces (mostly from adjacent Jiangsu and Zhejiang coastal provinces). What can be called Shanghai cuisine is epitomized by the use of alcohol. Fish, eel, crab, and chicken are “drunken” with spirits and are briskly cooked/steamed or served raw. Salted meats and preserved vegetables are also commonly used to adjuntify the dish.
As far as I’m concerned, any food “drunken” with spirits has to taste good. Anyway, back to Xiao Long Bao or “small steamer bun.” This dumpling is filled with pork or minced crab and soup. The soup is what got me the first time I ate it. Somebody forgot to tell me it was scalding hot and I put the whole thing in my mouth thinking it was just another dim sum. Apparently, there’s a technique to eating this innocent looking dumpling (filled with lava). You’re supposed to bite off the top, suck all the soup, then dip it in vinegar before eating. That was my introduction to Shanghai cuisine but I need to learn more. If you know of any other Shanghai dishes I should try, feel free to add your 2 cents.
On a recent trip to Granada, Spain I visited the Alhambra, the last and greatest Moorish palace. It attracts about 8,000 people a day and is one of Europe’s top attractions. The jewel of the Alhambra is the Moorish royal palace, the Palacio Nazaries. Built mostly in the 14th century, this palace offers a look at the refined, elegant Moorish civilization of Al-Andalus (Arabic for the Iberian Peninsula).
You just finished touring the Lords of the Samurai exhibit at the museum and now the adrenalins are flowing. You’ve always wanted to be a samurai but can’t afford a real katana. But your iPhone is always attached to your hand and now you too can simulate a virtual sword fight with your buddy, complete with klang sounds when you block the virtual blade, with this app for the iPhone. What will they think of next?!