Berkel Berkel when Berkeley’s cold

The cold weather kicked in. When wind and rain hit your window panes, jackets start dominating your closet, and colorful scarves make their presence at every clothing store, what is the first thing in your mind? A cozy snug-up with a book, maybe dreamy smoke rising up from a mug of hot chocolate, or early Christmas shopping? Ever since a friend took me to this Korean dine-in, it has become the Call of the Wild Tummy on wintry days. Telegraph avenue is a busy street. Tents set up on both sides with multitudes of youngster jewelries, flashy windows with vintage clothes, beggars with voice stronger than a football coach… But there is one wooden door that looks so humble it stood out amidst the restless noise. I like Berkel Berkel because of its wooden doors, its dimly lit interior, its young customers gathering quietly around small tables, the unadorned facileness, and the affable host (dressed in white in the picture below). No matter how cold it is outside, once you’re in here, you’re warmed up by the familiarity. Wrapping my hands around a cup of Continue reading Berkel Berkel when Berkeley’s cold

Mid autumn and the moon cake

That time of the year has come. Time for the first midterm exam of the undergraduates, and the first exam-grading party of the graduate students. Time for looking back and asking what have I been doing since school started, beside avoiding my advisor for fear of his question “how is the research going?”. Time for kids to buy lanterns, if you’re in Vietnam, and for adults to return home, if you’re in Korea. Time for Walmart, Michael’s, Kroger and the gang to pull out a full display of Halloween and Thanksgiving colors. Time for Asian expats to savour their mooncakes. It isn’t called “mooncake” for no reason. There’s a moon inside the cake. A bright deep yellow egg yolk, salted to perfection. I always eat this last, putting the whole ball in my mouth and slowly eroding it away. The background of the “moon” can be anything, from assorted nuts and lap cheong to sweetened bean paste. Kinh Do churned out the green tea version (nonexistent in Saigon when I was there 5 years ago). Talk about 2-in-1 convenience, now you […]

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