Alphabet Spikes is a collection of stories, essays and experiments created from February 2017 until now--and in the future! The core of the book is here, on Amazon, but this ebook actually something like crowdfunding.
Once you buy the book, send me your email and you will get an updated ebook with new stories, as I add them. Right now, the version on Amazon includes stories about a game developer, Antigone Cloud and my brief encounter with Anthony Bourdain. Next will be journal entries from the Bubiko Orwell Tour, which voyaged through Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The purpose of the tour was to research food, to create a network of people interested in AR, and two work on two books.
Besides the tour journal, there are, and will be, short stories, interviews and essays about Southeast Asia and people, events and places connected to it.
Alphabet Spikes: Art and entrepreneurship go on a road trip in Southeast Asia. Lots of eating, a few meetings, and nonstop ups and downs.
In reverse alphabetical order, the following are some of my experiences in Hong Kong; these will become stories and essays. Questions? Leave in the comments section, as well as any info you'd like to share. Thanks!
Yam cha! The literal translation is "drink tea". However, yum cha usually means eating a meal of dim sum. Dim sum are the foods served in the round bamboo containers. Dim sum restaurants are everywhere in Hong Kong.
Xu Xi at the launch of Insignificance
“An audacious, inventive and original collection: these ‘Hong Kong’ stories are full of clever energy and lively strangeness.” - Gail Jones On Amazon.
Walsh, Joe. Performing with Shear, Jules and John, Doctor.
VR HMD ad on a tram.
Uniworks, the display of students' work, near the entrance of the Jockey Club Innovation Tower on the Hong Kong Polytechnic campus.
Boss: "Fruit. Westerners eat different fruit than Thai people. So when a coffee description in English mentions the name of a fruit, it doesn't always immediately register."
This is the second statement Boss said after he took his first sip of medium roasted SWC. "Apricot" was the first.
Neung, from Once Cafe in Chiang Rai, cupping Steve's Wild Coffee.
Then, with Neung, we began a discussion on the many variables related to describing the taste of coffee. The individual's sensitivity, cultural background and coffee-tasting experience for example. How do different machines affect the taste? The water? The weather? The soil, weather and growing conditions are constantly changing; how does a plant respond? It was only after Boss mentioned the word "apricot' that I became aware of the trace of tangy sweetness that he was referring to. And, after some thought, I think a young chiku fruit, not yet sweet, would be a solid comparison.
Beans on a plate on a blue and white patterned cloth.
The bottom line for the SWC Medium roasted, for this cupping, is that the texture is smooth and there is a slightly tannin taste as well as a hint of apricot. It is a flavorful drink by itself. Adding milk would likely mask this coffee's subtleties. We discovered peaberry beans among the flatbeans and this was a nice surprise! Peaberry, especially from northern Thailand is recognized as a quality bean.
The SWC dark roast was very similar to the medium roast, but with an additional taste resulting from a longer roasting time. The taste sensation, like so many, is difficult to describe."Burnt" strikes me as being too strong of a word. The flavor is not really "smoky", either. Well-roasted is a phrase that could be used, but it does not contain any specific description of taste. The beans look like smooth glossy stones, and this is because the roasting process brought some of the oil to the surface. An excellent post about roasting is here, on The National Coffee Association USA website.
The last version of SWC we cupped was a mix of 80% dark with 20 percent of an extended roast. The beans were dark and oily, as more oil was brought out because of the longer roasting time.
It tasted energetic to me, a little bit "burnt", a little bit fruity, a smooth but "buzzy taste"; energetic. This latte was made from the 80/20 blend and it was pretty gosh darn good.
Created by Neung, at Once Cafe, Chiang Rai
I will need sometime to think about the short description for SWC. Having no experience, I can't really judge things like Dry Fragrance, Wet Aroma,Flavor, Finish, Acidity, and Body.Let alone the procedures scoring methods found here. SWC is wild, and I am still researching exactly what that means. Overgrown estate? Birds or animals ate the coffee cherries from the government-affiliated plantations and then deposited the seeds throughout the hillsides?
The "wild" part of this experience is what interests me. I briefly worked on a permaculture farm, and it seemed that the intent was to simulate an "uncivilized" growing environment, ie
the wild". The main reasons for growing in the permaculture style are taste and environmental respect. Now, I do not have the time to see for myself what wild means in terms of SWC, meaning I cannot go to the growing areas.
I will just have to make another cup and sit and write a description.
A photograph of a Pa O woman in the Coffee Traveler magazine displayed on the counter
As the beans are harvested in the wild, there cannot be a "single estate" labeling. However, the beans are all harvested at nearly the same time in the same area. They are all roasted within the same time period.
The supervising producer has over 40 years experience with organic teas. Though this is a new venture, they have invested three years in research, education, training and the finest equipment, including a laboratory and a Giesen roaster. Education and training are the foundations of this enterprise.
The beans are harvested, then stored(aged) 8-12 months before roasting.
The supervising producer has extensive experience with international shipping, customs and regulations.
If you love coffee, sell coffee, are a coffee roaster and/or distributor and want to know more, please get in touch. For a long time I have thought of producing my own line of teas and coffees, and this may be it!
The following emails are reprinted with permission. They contain information helpful to those visiting Chiang Mai. More than this, the professionalism and obvious joie de vivre of Olga's emails make them casual,little masterpieces of written communication.
Enjoy Chiang Mai, I like this place. It’s touristy but special. The more I stayed, the more I liked.
We are now on Koh Phangan. It’s a beautiful island, rather quiet despite its reputation for Full Moon parties. It becomes very busy for 3 days for the party before becoming again a sleepy island. Sapphire-blue sea and white sandy beaches, exactly what I was looking for. The only downside is food – the food is almost twice expensive compared to the rest of Thailand, and local food stalls are not everywhere. We drive for 10 min to eat locally (but expensive compared to the prices we used to pay). But well, we have sea in return.
Sure, you can post my recommendations. I have a few more 🙂
Another specialty of Chiang Mai is Chiang Mai sausage. It’s unbelievably tasty, spicy, with a lot of ingredients inside such as lemon grass etc. One of the best is at Isan stall I recommended yesterday. The best sausages are in the places where are not many tourists. Otherwise, they don’t make it spicy as it should be.
· Hideya Ramen: surprisingly great Ramen. It’s a tiny place operated by one passionate man.
· Rosy Cheeks: tasty and very photogenic. A little Asian fusion restaurant.
· Rustic and Blue: delicious and beautifully presented western type dishes. All coming from their farm. But expensive.
But what I really miss is the quality coffee of Chiang Mai. There are many barista style coffee places, with the quality comparable to the coffee in Sydney, the best place for coffee in the world
My favourites are:
· Akha Ama: great coffee, and the prices are very reasonable. They have 2 locations. One is near the Old City.
· Ristr8 is absolutely the must. In Nimman.
· Ristr8to Lab: same owner as above but different in style. They are located close to each other. In Nimman.
· Cotton Tree: great coffee and great place to relax. Quiet compared to other busy places like Ristr8. Try their affogato – coffee with ice-cream, very special. In Nimman.
· Omnia: quality, great coffee with some unusual creations of the month. In a residential area of CM.
· Graph Cafe: stylish tiny place in the Old City with great coffee. Their speciality is Nitro and Cold Brew.
· Ponganes: long-established place in CM, great coffee. In the Old City.
· Pacamara: same as above, long-established place in CM, great coffee. In the Old City.
· Asama Cafe: outside Chiang Mai in a beautiful garden near the lake. Really great coffee in a peaceful setting.
There are also 2 places I find special:
· Begin Again: coffee is not the barista level coffee but the setting in amazing. If you feel like you are in the middle of a jungle. You can find photos on our website https://anywayinaway.com/coworking-spaces-cafes-chiang-mai/
Penguin Ghetto: nice place, quite special, odd I would say, and coffee is very good.
How do you find Chiang Mai? Have you been to Chiang Rai all this time? Was it good? We didn’t stay long time in Chiang Rai, just enough to explore the town and a couple of temples outside.
As for Chiang Mai, renting an apartment is much cheaper than staying in a guesthouse, however, they require at least 1 month stay.
If you want to stay in Old Town of Chiang Mai, we stayed in a few places. We like Nocky House, located very close to a local market with food and vegetables, in a very old traditional house, very charming.
Otherwise, just nearby, there is 9 Hostel – a very different style – very modern, cement walls etc. Quiet and clean. I liked, Errol found it impersonal.
There is also SK 1 – very good price for what they offer (swimming pool), near Somphat market.
If you like a modern area in Chiang Mai, it’s Nimman. We also stayed there but we rented an apartment on a few occasions.
· Chang Phuak Gate (North Gate) – local food market. You should try the “must” there – Cowboy Lady stall aselling Khao Kha Moo (pork legs that melt in you mouth). My mouth is watering just when I am typing…
South Gate Night Market: the most known market among farang. But the food is good, the prices are low, and the variety is unbeatable.
· Warorot Market: Chinatown of Chiang Mai. Interesting food that you won’t find everywhere.
· There is one local place called something Vegetable Organic. They have amazing food (non-vegetarian, their vegetables are supposed to be organic, hence, the name). The specialty of the house is different types of friend rice. I don’t like saying that but this is the best fried rice I have eaten. They are near Burmese Restaurant and Library (you can google to find). There is another restaurant a few step away – a small stall selling Isan food. Great food!
Three extremely simple foods that are difficult to prepare: mango sticky rice, sushi and pasta. Bubiko was very fortunate to spend time at La Rivetta Bangkok with Carlo Natale, who explained about pasta... and the Venetian Empire, Albrecht Duhrer's Melancholia and so much more.
Now Bubiko is looking for a sushi chef and a mango sticky rice expert!
Augmented Reality,art, Southeast Asian food, Bubiko Foodtour, VR, music, haikus, photographs, videos, unusualness... and discussions, readings from, and free downloads of, EBOOKS! The broadcast starts at 3PM September 30, Malaysia time, ends on Monday, October 2 at 3PM Malaysia time.
Until October 2, these ebooks are free downloads on Amazon:
I am writing this 30 hours after the marathon went live.On one hand my blog views are double what they usually are. On the other hand, there haven't been many viewers. That is OK. I didn't do any pre-publicity, I am not paying Facebook to blast the event and there are no costs, other than my time. I hope that towards the end of the 72 hours there are more viewers. For now, I can only say if you visit the FB live page, say hi.
Here is an email I've sent out to friends and associates:
Hello everyone... I hope the weekend is a good one for you.
Just to short note to say that I am doing a live FB broadcast from Ipoh-for 72 hours. I started Friday at 3, will finish at 3 on Monday.
The camera I am using isn't very good, the audio is so-so, the internet is slow and I am silhouetted during the daytime. Perfect!
Actually I am learning a lot, and my blog is seeing a nice amount of action. The free ebooks are trickling out of Amazon. I can see clicks on my blog posts about my AR startup plans. Yesterday I was interviewed by a reporter from the Malay Mail.
Anyhoo...stop by and chat with the silhouette... and meet Secret Donut World, the Doughbots and steamboatbubikofoodtourwillie.
This is the second post in a series in which I have fun with lei cha, haptics and Bubiko. Later, when things are more organized and clear, I hope this catch the interest of data scientists, information specialists and CG filmmakers/animators. There is a fun dimension to all of this, but I seriously wonder what would happen if 1% of the earth's population ate one bowl of lei cha a week...10%? 100% ?What would happen environmentally, economically and to the health of everyone and the planet?
For now, a list of ingredients. In a future post, I will describe the ingredients and add links.If you know some ingredients that I missed, please add them in the comments section. Also, tips on places that make great lei cha are always welcome! Those too, can go in the comments section.