February 2007 Archives

Xiao Fei Yang Montreal

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Xiao Fei Yang

It was well worth the lineup of more than an hour and a half for a group of seven people, as we were given the "VIP" room, serviced with individual hot pots. The experience of the hot pot is generally defined by the single communal basin where all participants throw and intermix their meat and vegetable. The lineup disappeared soon after 8PM.

I wouldn't say that it was an overwhelmingly better, or special hot pot (it wasn't), but then, it's all about the wrapping: waiters in that green uniform, floor boss in "traditional" "Mongolian" outfit, various weapons of lesser destruction hanging on the walls, and the feel of a modern-looking restaurant in Chinatown. I can't give up the fact that this same place was previously the permanently empty Cactus Cafe. My friends thought the old staff overlapped with the new one, and I speculate that the ownership also might.

It is an all-you-eat scheme for around $16 (haven't had the reflex to memorize the rather simple menu), and you will typically only be able to eat two plates full. Dessert and drinks (strawberry kool-aid, and soya milk) were also all-you-can-eat. I repeat for any Chinese restaurant: don't wear clean clothes. XD

If for some reason, you want to take advantage of improvements made in a newer distribution, you can do so fairly smoothly with Ubuntu. It has happened before, perhaps in the Breezy era, that there would be pieces of (custom?) configuration left behind that clogged the new distro (esthetically, such as residual menu buttons). However, the system still worked, and that was the most important point made.

I am starting off with a fresh install of Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy) made in November, with Beryl installed on the side from official repositories. I found instructions to upgrade using the graphical tools, but those didn't work for me (I had "authentication" issues). What I did instead was changing my apt sources, and doing a dist-upgrade:

sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list

Changed all occurrences of "edgy" by "feisty".

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Go for it, wait for the downloading, and the installing, and you're done!

Yu Hang

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Then, after flirting with the uber-full Xiao Fei Yang, we settled for hot pot at Yu Hang, a rather new non-Cantonese Chinese restaurant on the outskirts of Chinatown (400 Rene-Levesque W). Were told that it was a Sichuan-style hot pot, but then, I don't know how to distinguish between types of hot pot. I suppose that the fact that one half of the pot was filled with dried chili peppers made it more Sichuanese. *g* At $15 a person, the all-you-can-eat hot pot, and not on the regular menu (apparently), it is one hell of a good deal (better than, say, overpriced shabu shabu joints in Chinatown).

Xiao Fei Yang Montreal (preview)

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Montreal is a world city, because it now has a xiao fei yang. As far as I know, HK chains don't bother coming to Mtl, and one Taiwanese bubble tea chain appeared for the time of a summer (2003). We did not eat there tonight, but still attempted to get a seat. How did Cactus, one of the three bubble tea places in Chinatown, become this very nice and very Chinese-nice (there isn't another single Chinese-nice place in all of Montreal) is a question I can't exactly answer. I think of its opening as the tipping point for Mainlander dominance over the Chinese gastronomical landscape in Montreal (I am going to die if some restaurant chains like Din Tai Fung or Crystal Jade Palace, respectively Taiwanese and HKese, opened here). Upon climbing the stairs, you couldn't help but think that you were in China (complete with crowds and crowds of people that you only see in the summer, and almost exclusively Mandarin-speaking). Mind you, the tenants before Cactus (Chinese buffet "Nanjing"), I remember, also enjoyed large numbers of patrons at their beginnings. We will be finding the time in the next month to try it out.

While most, if not all, Chinese restaurants in Montreal are sort of family businesses, this Xiao Fei Yang is a serious corporative operation, competing in style with your usual family restaurant chain, like St-Hubert, but catering to the growing Chinese population. The heaters are electric and integrated into the tables; the decor is elaborate, yet very typical of Chinese restaurants in Asia or in other world cities (with folkloric items hanging on the walls - seemingly not innocently chosen); the staff dressed in non-generic restaurant uniforms. To say the least, very frighteningly Chinese for a city like Montreal (and I'm raving about it without having actually eaten the food - must say a lot about how shocked I am). Corner of Clark and De La Gauchetiere.

(Edit: Here's an actual review after going to Xiao Fei Yang.)

There's now a Chinese-English dictionary on this site. It is basically a modification of the interface written in Perl for cedict, the Chinese-English dictionary project. I only take credit at following the instructions in this readme.

And back from the Big Apple!

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And apparently I am back... Before the stories, there are the pictures. Enjoy!

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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