Green beans, red beans and Louis Cha

I’ve had what in English would be called a ’36-hour sinus cold’, but in Chinese would be called ‘yeet hay gon cho’ (internal heat and dryness). The sinus congestion is gone, but a little cough lingers. So I made myself some Chinese mung bean soup: all you do is soak the beans (in Chinese, mung beans are known as ‘green beans’) and boil with some sugar. Problem was I couldn’t remember how long to boil it (it’s been at least 20 years since I’ve made it.) I think I overboiled it, the kernels started to explode: so now they look more like Mexican refried mung beans. Maybe it’ll still have a curing/cooling effect.

Red bean soup is such a popular/generic desert at Chinese restaurants (cheap ingredients). Yet I never liked that stuff. Too mushy and bland. They even make popsicles out of it, which taste just as bad. Mung bean soup is ‘same same but different,’ another legume in the same type of desert, but I wonder why they don’t serve more of it in Chinese restaurants, espeically in the summer. I put up with it for the curative effects. Agar-agar (which is used in making almond or coconut jello from scratch) is also a good cooling desert, but today I couldn’t be bothered with scissoring it to bits, so that it will dissolve better. Even that takes too long.

* * * * * * * *
I stayed up til 3 AM several nights ago to finish reading the English translation of “The Book and the Sword” by Louis Cha. It was that exciting!

Known as Gum Yong/Jin Yong in Chinese, Cha’s a prolific writer of wildly popular martial arts novels with historic twists; many of which have been made into TV series and movies. When “Legend of the Condor Heroes” was showing on TV in Bangkok in the mid-80’s, it kept the streets pretty clear of traffic, as everyone would hurry home to watch. (Incidentally, the early 80’s TVB series of “The Deer and the Cauldron” starred the then up-and-coming Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Andy Lau.)

I can’t read Chinese, and I guess I could read the Thai translations of his novels, but there’s too many other things for me to read in Thai before I get around to reading translations of his novels. So I’m stuck reading the only three works of his that have been translated in English: “The Deer and the Cauldron” (in three volumes), “The Book and the Sword”, and in cartoon form “Flying Fox of Snow Mountain.” (I have yet to crack the shrinkwarp on the last one.) In his novels, there are usually so many characters in them, it’s hard to keep track of whom is who, but you have to, because they are all intricately braided up together in the threads of the plot.

“The Deer and the Cauldron” translations were rather slow in coming (1997, 1999 and 2005). I don’t go to Hong Kong all that often, but each time I’ve been (1997, 2003, and 2005) I’d find the newest volume! It’s been so long in between, I think I’ll go and reread all three volumes cover to cover.

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One thought on “Green beans, red beans and Louis Cha

  1. When I was a teen, I practically read all his books. Yep, I am sure I read everything of his translated to Vietnamese. Those series were darn long! I blame his books for my myopia that fully developed in 8th grade.

    I only knew of his pen name, and had no idea of his real name. Thanks for the tidbit…

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