Yesterday was a tough day. I went for a neighborhood walk.
Along the way, I met a valley carpenter bee. She was the biggest bee I have ever seen.
Go to CookieBar Creamery and ask Nellie for the secret Li Hing Mui special. It’s date worthy.
“When you treat people nice, people will treat you twice as nice.”Roger Chan
Let’s be honest. You’re not prepared for this.
Funerals have a way of entering our lives most unexpectedly.
You may find yourself having to host a funeral when it’s not possible to gather in person. Like we had to.
If you need to organize an online funeral or memorial service, here are some tips and suggestions for what we did.
Our "Task Force" used Whatsapp and Google docs to plan the agenda and to share information.
People will want to know when the service is. We used evite, which has pivoted to virtual events, to invite people. Evite allows people to RSVP and will remind them when the event is about to happen. You can just send a calendar invite if you want to keep it simple.
Tip: Online events can confuse people in different timezones. Since we had family in North America and Asia, we had to pick a time that was good on both continents. Make sure that everyone knows when the event is in THEIR TIMEZONE. You cannot overcommunicate to people when exactly the event is if it is spread over more than one timezone.
You’ll want to create a shared home for photos and videos of your loved one. We used Google photos and it was a heartwarming and heartbreaking to see new pictures pop up every day. The pictures were also the source of a slideshow tribute that we created. Invite friends and family, but don’t make it publicly shared.
We used Kudoboard, but there are others like Forever Missed and GatheringUs. The memorial will be the place where you post an obituary and information about the deceased including info about memorial gifts or donations.
Tip: Minimize sharing personal identifiable information (PII) such as birthdate or date of passing in your obituary to reduce chances of identity theft. Don’t go overboard, but don’t make it easy for someone to steal your loved one’s identity.
Our family used Zoom. Zoom is mostly a work and school platform and is not that familiar in Hong Kong and China. China is known to block certain online sites so always do a test with your family and friends. Google Meet and Microsoft Teams are good alternatives.
Make sure that you have the ability to share screen and record the session. Invariably, someone will ask you for the recording.
Also test, test, test that their Internet connection and computers can handle Zoom.
Zoom makes it easy to share recordings during the session, either as a video or audio. Doing it this way allows you to better manage the time people speak and to reduce any technology issues that might crop up.
There will be information you’ll want to share such as where your loved one is buried, where to make donations, and other tidbits.
It’s never easy to plan a funeral, especially during a pandemic. This past year, we’ve been to an online funeral and we organized one.
If googling brought you here, rest assured, you will find a way to do it right and celebrate the life of your loved one. I wish you the best.
Uncle Roger, I miss you lots. I hope we did good.
This feels like a lazy post on my part, but two people I admire published essays that made me ruminate on the act of looking and paying attention.
From Eugene Kim
I am constantly amazed by what I’ve been seeing and learning and how ignorant I was for over four decades of things that were right in front of me.http://eekim.com/2021/03/robin-wall-kimmerer-on-attention/
The point being: Looking closely is valuable at every scale. From looking closely at a sentence, a photograph, a building, a government. It scales and it cascades — one cognizant detail begets another and then another. Suddenly you’ve traveled very far from that first little: Huh.https://craigmod.com/essays/looking_closely/
I’m a photographer. Taking pictures is how I remember things.
Sometimes when I take pictures I have the picture in my mind already and I’m trying to make it real.
Other times, I take pictures of something before me that is so beautiful or magical I try to capture it with the lens.
But most of the time, taking pictures is my way of paying attention to the world.
It doesn’t matter if the picture is “good” or “bad”. It doesn’t matter if I ever look at it again. Most of the time, I don’t.
Framing the photo, the scene, the subject, the moment is what holds it in the part of my mind that remembers when so often, the world can be fleeting.
The frame isn’t just for the camera.
The frame is for me.
tldr; Fried chicken sandwiches are so delicious, but are an occasional splurge. I reviewed sandwiches from three Berkeley restaurants. The verdict? They all provide yummy sandwiches worth eating, but El Pollo Picante was my fav.
Since shelter-in-place, we eat take-out Friday evenings. By Friday, we’re too exhausted to cook and have run out of food ideas. Eating out supports local restaurants and provides a family meal without having to cook.
I’ve been craving fried chicken sandwich for a while. Last week, we ordered Popeye’s and I was underwhelmed, but that’s another story.
V and I got the idea of doing a fried chicken sandwich taste test walking around downtown Berkeley.
I have been eating fried chicken sandwiches since I was in elementary school. Over the years, I graduated from the McChicken and the BK Chicken sandwich to more sophisticated fare such as Bette’s Bakesale.
In short, if there is fried chicken sandwich on the menu, I know what I’m ordering.
I’m writing this for a Berkeley or East Bay reader who is a fan of local restaurants and fried chicken sandwiches. This piece is not exhaustive of all Berkeley spots nor of fried chicken places, but, hopefully, these are some new restaurants that you otherwise wouldn’t think of trying.
There is a surprising number of restaurants that offer some form of fried chicken sandwich. We couldn’t try them all so here is how we picked.
This is necessarily subjective…
Now, come with me on a fried chicken sandwich journey.
Their menu description: “Thai fried chicken, Brioche bun with pickled papaya and creamy Sriracha sauce”
Weight: 430 grams
Opened during the pandemic, Southside Station is run by a super-friendly Thai mom and pop team. The husband is an alumnus of the Cheeseboard Collective which is why they also have pizza on their menu. Their Thai fried chicken wings are amazing so I had high hopes for their sandwich.
The Southside Station sandwich is a beautiful and hearty sandwich, sitting on a browned brioche-bun. They lovingly put two fried boneless chicken thighs over a Thai-inspired papaya cole slaw and sriracha mayo sauce.
Oh boy, was this delicious but there was too much going on here.
I have this suspicion that on their own, each part of the sandwich would be delicious. Combined, it ended up being a bit overwhelming and a tad on the greasy side.
Order it and split with someone else.
Verdict: 4 stars
Their menu description: “Turmeric Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich, served with housemade mix salad and our signature tikka sauce.”
Weight: 489 grams
Barbarian–tucked away next to Comal–was the spot that started the idea for a taste test. From the outside, it is more Indian grocery store than restaurant. But “you had me at ‘tumeric’,” was what we were thinking we first saw the menu.
How is the sandwich? The sandwich’s special ingredient, tumeric, gives it a standout Indian-food flavor, but the house slaw moistened the bottom bun too much for my liking. The white meat cutlet were also my least favorite as it was not as crisp or craggly as the others. The bun itself was more a deli roll than the brioche-style used by the other restaurants.
Barbarian gives you a tikka masala sauce that is worth the price of admission.
Verdict: 3 stars
PS: V was attracted to the “House Corn Salad” at the Barbarian and was slightly concerned that it didn’t contain any corn. (False rumor, it does have corn.)
Their menu description: “Two perfectly fried chicken breast pieces stacked on a freshly toasted brioche bun. Served with our homemade spicy mayo and sliced dill pickles. Served with a side of seasoned fries, homemade coleslaw and our famous spicy chili and garlic honey.”
Weight: 384 grams
El Pollo Picante is a relatively new entrant to the Berkeley restaurant scene.
Their sandwich features two crisp chicken breast-meat cutlets with strong but not overpowering heat. The sandwich lives up to its picante moniker. Toppings are minimal: two pickle slices and spicy mayo.
Of the three sandwiches, El Pollo Picante’s chicken was by far the best especially if you can stand the spice. The cutlet crust had crags and edges and was tap-tap-tap crisp. The brioche bun was the perfect vehicle for the sandwich.
I enjoyed this sandwich the most.
Verdict: 5 stars
Their sandwich came with a side of fries which we ended up dipping in the Barbarian’s tikka masala sauce–f’ing delicious.
We got many good suggestions from friends on a facebook post. Here are some others that were considered but not included.
This country loves fried chicken sandwiches and with good reason. Chicken fried sandwiches are the perfect fusion of our love for hot, crispy fried poultry that one can eat in a warm bun with cole slaw as a topping. A summer picnic in your hands, if you will.
Southside Station and Barbarian were both good, but fell short in slightly different ways.
Barbarian probably had the weakest sandwich by execution. It didn’t live to my expectation as the breading was not as crisp and the bun getting a little soggy. Perhaps if we had ordered and ate right there, it would have been a different story.
Southside’s sandwich was too much and a bit on the greasy side. To be fair, eating three fried chicken sandwiches might have something to do with the maximum grease intake.
My pick was El Pollo Picante. The chicken was perfectly fried, the heat was on point yet not 911 emergency levels.
In the end, though, all three restaurants and their fried chicken sandwiches are worth trying and definitely worth supporting.
I stumbled across a 30-minute documentary last night that stirred something deep in my soul.
Hsiung is the director, the narrator and a central character in the movie. Sing Me a Lullaby has touches of a home movie and an award winning documentary film. It is deftly made, going from the present to the past and back to present.
I have visited Taiwan a few times so the sounds and sights of the country are familiar. I could feel the humidity and smell the sea air. My parents went to Taiwan for college and my aunt and cousins lived in Taiwan.
Hsiung’s story, while not mine, feels like a shared experience. Almost every child of immigrant parents has questions about how their parents lives unfolded.
I have been thinking a lot about family these days–learning new stories about relatives who have gone before I was ready to say goodbye.
A New Yorker article about Sing Me a Lullaby.
Roger Hon Chung Chan was born in Macau in 1951, the seventh of nine children. He was born into a full house and grew into a smart, mischievous, young man with a sharp sense of humor.
Like many young people at the time, he moved to Hong Kong in search of better educational and job opportunities. He attended Kowloon Evening High School and started his accounting studies at Chu Hai College of Higher Education, Hong Kong.
In 1985, Roger and his mother, Lai Yee Ho, immigrated to the United States to start a new life in California. Los Angeles became his home, and he quickly became a loyal purple and gold Laker fan. He chose the name “Roger” after watching Roger Moore star as James Bond in the movies. He liked the connection of being number 7 in the family and Agent 0-0-7.
In Los Angeles, he continued in the field of accounting, which appealed to his sense of order and structure. At the time of his passing, Roger worked at the Los Angeles Federal Credit Union, rising to senior accountant’s rank. Roger was well-loved by his colleagues, many of whom became close friends and regular meal companions.
Roger bought a house in West Covina where he grew a small grove of orange, kumquat, and grapefruit trees that he lovingly tended. His home became a frequent gathering spot for friends and family when they visited the Los Angeles area.
Roger loved and was loved deeply by family and friends. Roger, known lovingly by his family as “Uncle 7,” was incredibly close to all his nephews and nieces, acting as a confidant, translator, and cultural bridge between the generations. He made friends quickly and was the first to introduce himself to new people and crack a joke to put others at ease. He was not shy about sharing his opinion about every subject, especially Kobe Bryant, Garth Brooks, and the Monterey Park Hong Kong cafe scene.
Roger was always there to serve others. He cared for his mother in her later years and his best friend, Jerry Quigg, until his passing. He looked after his neighbors, including the stray cat that frequently visited his backyard. More recently, he would drive to Palm Springs on the weekends to visit and care for his friends.
Dancing is Roger’s passion. He was a dance machine who taught his niece to dance the cha-cha 30 years ago, and was the most sought after dance partner at the annual Credit Union holiday party. He was introduced to country music and line dancing by friends, and hardly a weekend went by when he was not two-stepping in a dance line or hip-shaking at a Zumba class.
Roger passed away from complications of COVID-19 after a brief stay in the hospital. He was 69. Roger was preceded in death by his father, Nai-On Chan, mothers – Lai Yee Ho and Shun-Wah Tam. It was Roger’s wish to be interred at Forest Lawns – Hollywood Hills, next to Jerry and near his mother. Roger is survived by eight siblings: Wai Chung Chan (Hong Kong), Chun Chung Chan (Henderson, NV), Shu Chung Chan (Hong Kong), Kin Chung Chan (Merced, CA), Susan Ma (Monterey, CA), Teresa Ng (Victoria, BC), Chi Chung Chan (Kirkland, QC) and Cat Chan (Macau). And by nephews and nieces: Peggy Chan, Kwok Ching Chan, Clement Chan, Jacqueline Chan, Eugene Chan, Wayne Chan, Eric Chan, Kevin Ma, Celia Ma, Raymond Ng, Amy Poon, Gary Ng, Jennifer Chan, Jeremy Chan, Jason Chan, and James Chan.
He was a kind, loyal, loving man with the biggest heart and smile, and he will be missed forever by his family and friends.
This obituary was written collaboratively by Uncle Roger’s nephews and nieces.
Today’s my birthday. My family asked me what I wanted and for the first time in a long-time–maybe the first time ever–I thought about it.
Asking for what I want is, at its surface, a simple thing. But it is an act that can paralyze me for days.
Maybe you are like me and never tell people what you want. Maybe you don’t know. Or maybe you’re not sure that’s really what you want. Maybe you’re scared that it will come to fruition.
I don’t know and I know that I don’t want to sit still any more.
So this is how YOU can help ME celebrate my birthday.
I’m so ready for this year to begin.
Seriously, where in the Bay Area can I get me one of these Mexican geletaria cakes?