Tuesday 30 April 2013

Movie: Iron Man 3 Refrained Movie Review & More

Image from IMDb

There is little that interests me these days as I actually cannot afford the time to do anything other than writing my PhD proposal. The one thing that did raise my eyebrow was the Iron Man 3 movie.

Movie-goers in Hong Kong are very lucky to have the chance to start watching this movie from 25th April, even earlier than the US, let alone the opportunity to come close with the Iron Man armours at the Iron Man 3 Hot Toys exhibition. I actually went back with my Canon 7D and took some nice photos the other day. I just had to, it was an event I just could not miss.

Image from Locky's English Playground
I was also lucky to have bought the tickets early and had already watched this third episode last Sunday. At first, I wanted to talk about the details of the movie, but because many others have not watched it yet, I have to resort to talking about what we all can see from the official trailer.

I must say I am most impressed by the character Mandarin, for that he has really acted out the evilness of this character. Ben Kingsley did an excellent job and without him, the entire movie would have completely lost directions.
Are these the good guys or the bad guys?
Image from the official trailer
Another question that had been in my mind before I watched the movie was where all the other Iron Man armours come from, and whether they are once again evil replicas like those in Iron Man 1 and 2, turns out all armours are Tony's production this time, as seen in the shot below.

Can you see the other iron man armours below the ground?
Image from the official trailer

I am also impressed by the fact that in every Iron Man movie, there is always an antagonist who can easily destroy or damage his armour. It is saddening, to see what is supposed to be beautifully engineered, super tough gold-titanium alloy suit to be severely damaged by the bad guys every single time, but if the armour never breaks, how can anyone do any harm to the mighty Iron Man. In this movie, not only will we see the damage of one suit, but a few dozens of suits. Viewers like me who treasure the Iron Man suits as beauties will definitely feel tonnes of pity.

One more sad news is this movie is expected to be the last of the Iron Man movie series. Although we are expecting to see Tony in his suit once again in The Avengers 2 or maybe as cameo in other Marvel heroes' movie, like there is one other familiar hero appearing in Iron Man 3 at the end of the movie, everyone who likes Robert Downey Jr. in this role will definitely miss him. Unlike other super heroes, their characters are not as charmingly intelligent and narcissistic. The contradicting imperfection and greatness of Tony Stark create the grip that hold onto the audience so tightly that they want to keep coming for more. I dare say as long as Robert Downey Jr. is in this role, even Iron Man 4, 5, 6 will continue to be mega-blockbusters.

Image from IMDb

Maybe both Thor and Captain America's second movie are coming, and some might also be anticipating, but we all know too well that they will never be comparable with Iron Man. Let's hope that the franchise and the production company will rethink about putting an end at the Iron Man trilogy and make a few more movie of brilliance for the viewers to enjoy.

Last but not least, here are some tips for you,

Image from IMDb
  1. watch out for a glimpse of Sherlock Holmes' like Tony Stark in Iron Man 3, 
  2. notice where JARVIS exists in the Iron Man movie,
  3. remember not to leave until the lights are back on.

refrain -- (vb) [I] formal to avoid doing or stop yourself from doing something:
raise (a few) eyebrow -- to cause surprise or shock:
resort to sth -- phrasal verb to do something that you do not want to do because you cannot find any other way of achieving something:
antagonist -- (n)][C] formal a person who is strongly opposed to something or someone:
sadden -- (vb)[T] to make someone sad:
cameo -- (n)[C] (plural cameosa small but noticeable part in a film or play, performed by a famous actor:
narcissistic -- (adj)  having too much admiration for themselves
blockbuster -- (n) [C] informal a book or film that is very successful:
trilogy -- (n)[C] a series of three books, plays, etc. written about the same situation or characters, forming a continuous story

Event: Iron Man 3 Hot Toys "Suit Up At Hysan Place" @ Locky's English Playground

Iron Man 3 Official Trailer #2 (2013) - Robert Downey Jr. Movie HD @ YouTube

The Avengers 2 @ IMDb

Thor: The Dark World  @ IMDb

Captain America: The Winter Soldier  @ IMDb


Saturday 27 April 2013

Food & Dining: Chopsticks Kee

Lunch-getters await their seats
Image from Locky's English Playground
The Central lunch adventure with my wife took us to Chopsticks Kee, yet another restaurant with a lot of history like Wah Fung but in a Macau sense. This shop is located right opposite Wah Fung, attracts its customers with its famously cheap cart noodles and maybe the numerous magazines' recommendations as well, as you can see from the "wallpaper" outside the shop.

Sauces, magazines and menus
Image from Locky's English Playground
We got in in about 5 mins of waiting, which was quite quick if you only have 2 people. Those who have 4 or 6 had to wait a long long time. Why?
Kitchen took up 50% of the space, the rest is the aisle and tables
Image from Locky's English Playground

Because the shop is narrow and small, so much that the customers have sit along both sides of the the aisle.

Image from Locky's English Playground 
And because of the smallness of this place, if a waitress sees you with nothing on the table, they will ask you if you have finished your food, which was the case right after we sat down. And if they realised you haven't ordered, they will push you to do so. The moment you have finished your food, they will immediately collect the bowls and ask you to pay, leaving you sorry to stay at the table any longer.

Photos of Macau covering menus in Chinese
Image from Locky's English Playground
Well, you can't complain about that, with all those hungry Centralians waiting for their bites. Don't forget, this is Central, the word "cheap" is almost extinct.

Even more magazines recommendations (and Cantonese jokes) under the table glass
Image from Locky's English Playground
Maybe this is the reason why the restaurant get so many recommendations from the media too. Hm... can you sense why I suddenly say that?

Curry fishball, chicken wings, fish tofu, flat noodles in satay soup with iced lemon Ribena. $35
Image from Locky's English Playground
Here's why. First, my wife ordered curry fish balls, chicken wings, fish tofu with flat noodles in satay soup with iced lemon Ribena, and one of the fish balls was ancient!!!! You can actually see which one from the photo above. That's scary!!! It looks rotten. Okay, fine, you can choose not to eat it, but... okay, okay. Fine! My wife kind of like it.

Beef slices, iceberg lettuce, crunchy tofu skin roll, flat noodles in curry soup with iced lemon Ribena. $35
Image from Locky's English Playground
But not me. I ordered beef slices, iceberg lettuce, crunchy tofu skin roll in flat noodles with curry soup, ended up the curry soup was in fact curry vomit-looking sauce. The fact that it was still tasteless after mixing with the soup made the whole thing even more disappointing. Everything else tasted isolated, nothing seems to match. Nothing in the bowl resonates with one another. It is like a group of 5 fresh musical instrument learners each playing their own practice song simultaneously on the same stage.

Was it because I have made some wrong food choices or was it just me? After my wife couldn't finish her "tasty" noodles, I tried hers and it was still tasteless.

Pork chop bun (soft bread). $14
Image from Locky's English Playground
In order to for me to not feel so disappointment, and also for the fact that I will not be coming back again, we ordered a pork chop bun as the last hope. And guess what?

Image from Locky's English Playground
It's a very small piece of soda water-soaked pork, meaning pink and tasteless, with lots of mustard in it. Instantly, that $30 pork chop bun from Macau's Tai Lei Loi Kee becomes "cheap". You don't remember? Show you here again.

$30 Pork Chop bun
Image from Locky's English Playground
Can you see the size of that pork chop and the deliciousness of it?

You may say, "$35 a bowl of noodles with drink, $14 a pork chop bun, what do you expect?"
True, the food was edible, but after eating, I felt that those expensive food I've had in Central actually worth their price! And that's just sad! Very sad!

My wife actually kept apologising to me after taking me to this place. Of course, I wasn't actually angry and it was not her fault either.

As for the score, it is lowest on the English Playground ever. Sorry about that. "that" refers to the "food I had" though.


Look:            ★★☆☆☆ 2/5
Taste:            ☆☆☆☆☆ 0/5
Smell:            ★☆☆☆☆ 1/5
Textures:       ★☆☆☆☆ 1/5
Temperature: ★★★★☆ 4/5
Overall:         ★☆☆☆☆ 8/25

aisle -- (n)[C] a long, narrow space between the rows of shelves in a large shop:
isolated -- (adj)  happening or existing only once, separate:
resonate -- (vb) [I] to produce, increase, or fill with sound, by vibrating (= shaking) objects that are near:
fault -- (n) [U] a mistake, especially something for which you are to blame:

Food & Dining: Wah Fung Since 1941 @ Locky's English Playground

Cart Noodles @ Wikipedia


Wednesday 24 April 2013

Event: Iron Man 3 Hot Toys "Suit Up At Hysan Place"

Mk 8 at the entrance
Image from Locky's English Playground
Some say I am a fan of Iron Man, I'm not. I'm just a fan of Robert Downey Jr.. Then again, Iron Man is probably the only super hero movie I like. Superman, Spiderman, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Batman, all failed to attract me, but the constantly changing and upgrading of suits, suits me! At the end of the day, I am a person who likes to upgrade myself as well as the software and hardware I own.

Those who likes Iron Man can now go to Hysan Place at Causeway Bay to see both toy-size and 1:1 Iron Man suits till May 12.

Talking about Iron Man suits, when I first saw the costume done by Adam Savage of Mythbusters, I thought it was an incredible job done.

But when I saw this one below, I could immediately tell the difference.
Mk I
Image from Locky's English Playground
But the one Adam made was a costume and he could actually wear it, but this one is for display, so they are not exactly the same.

Mk 2
Image from Locky's English Playground
Mk 2, hm... did it even show up in the movie? Oh yes, it did, but just a small part, when he was flying around in his own house.

Mk 3
Image from Locky's English Playground
And the trailer reminds me that Mk 2 is essentially the same as Mk 3 without the paint.

Mk 4
Image from Locky's English Playground
Mk 5
Image from Locky's English Playground
Mk 6
Image from Locky's English Playground
Mk 4, 5 and 6 appeared in the Iron Man 2. That I never realised.

Mk 7
Image from Locky's English Playground
And of course, Mk 7 was in The Avengers.

All exhibits are hand-made collectible figurines done by local Hong Kong figure-loving company Hot Toys. Despite the company name, these are really more than toys. 

Mk 2
Image from Locky's English Playground
That's because, all these exhibits have movable parts and the suits are made from hundreds of separate pieces assembled together, so while we are taking photos, we can also pay special attentions to the details.

Tony in Mk 4 in Iron Man 2 movie
Image from Locky's English Playground

Image from Locky's English Playground
The joints are flexible.

Tony testing Mk 2 in Iron Man movie
Image from Locky's English Playground
And Tony Stark definitely looks very Robert Downey Jr.-like.
Tony in damaged Mk XLII
Image from Locky's English Playground
Ironman, Captain America and Thor concept
Image from Locky's English Playground
There are also some concept figures on higher floor, so don't miss them because we are too distracted by the large ones on the ground floor.
Some kind of concept figure
Image from Locky's English Playground
There isn't much to learn about English here, but it is definitely a great event to warm your cameras up. I will return with my Canon 7D next time, after I have recovered from my flu.

Image from Locky's English Playground

Check out the Photosphere picture I took also!

Hot Toys Official Page

Inside Adam Savage's Cave: Iron Man Mark I @ YouTube

New Iron Man Trailer #2 FEB 28th 2008! @ YouTube

Iron Man 2 Trailer 2 (OFFICIAL)  @ YouTube

The Avengers Mark 7 VII Suit Up HD @ YouTube


Friday 19 April 2013

Food & Dining: Wah Fung Since 1941

Stony yet historical Pottinger Street, what's that on the floor?
Image from Locky's English Playground
Some of you might be thinking that Locky's English Playground is turning into a food blog. Well, of course not, it's just that these days I get a couple of half-day off and so I went to have lunch with my wife. Since she works in Central and I know very little about the food there, it is a great chance for me to share my view.

I must say, Centralians are very lucky to have so many eateries around them, unlike other neighbour districts like Admiralty or Wan Chai. 

Lots of choices, look at the geese!
Image from Locky's English Playground
This time, I come to Wah Fung, a Chinese roast expert since 1941. Yes, it is like Tai Hing, they both sell roasted food, but there are a lot more choices of food here and Wah Fung is not a chain restaurant, just one shop.
Image from Locky's English Playground
Just by looking at the roasted geese, Cha Siu, spare ribs, chicken and squabs and I can tell that you are  already suffering from excessive mouth-watering syndrome.

Menu on the walls with English, no problem for English speakers
Image from Locky's English Playground
An interesting way of promoting their yummy signature dishes is to turn the photos from the menu into wallpaper and stick them outside the shop. Hey, who wouldn't want to try after seeing these fabulous-looking food? But wait, how many times have you tried food that looks good on photos but disgusting on plates? Will this restaurant be yet another addition to the all-show-and-no-go list? Let's see!

Image from Locky's English Playground
There is always a long queue of people during lunch hours, so you must try to avoid the crowd, but if you are going there with a handful of friends, you shouldn't have to wait for too long before getting your table. My wife and I waited for about 5 minutes and we were in.

Office lady seated at the table right at the door
Image from Locky's English Playground
When the number was called, we were shown our table and was asked to sit next to each other instead of opposite to each other to maximum the efficiency of customer flow, and almost immediately a waiter came to ask us what we wanted to eat. We haven't decided yet, quite obviously as I was still taking photos, and so we asked him to come back later.

Historic photos as menu front cover
Image from Locky's English Playground

The menu was pretty, with all those old photos of the restaurant tiled on the front cover, reminding you that the restaurant has a very good history and their food quality is not to be doubted if they managed to survive in the central business district of Hong Kong.

Pricey food, but only consider as average price in Central
Image from Locky's English Playground

Looking at the price of the food, my Wah Fung survival theory was confirmed -- this is how they manage to survive. Second thought, the food is not really too pricey, as lunches in Central crosses the $100 mark easily, so this place is actually just average price by the Central's standard, plus, they don't charge 10% service charge before 6pm, which is reasonable enough.

soya sauce chicken with spare ribs and rice he fen in soup
Image from Locky's English Playground
After awhile, the food came. My wife ordered the set with lemon tea, soya sauce chicken with spare ribs and rice he fen in soup.

hot milk tea, Cha Siu and roasted pork rice
Image from Locky's English Playground
As for me, I ordered hot milk tea, Cha Siu and roasted pork rice, both I think are $52 exact, which is about the price Tai Hing used to charge a year ago.

Another shot showing the roasted pork and Cha Siu, yellow mustard on a small dish
Image from Locky's English Playground
The taste? Soya sauce chicken was good, the breast was a big tough like most of the restaurants in Hong Kong, can't say it is special in any way. Cha Siu was partly tough, partly tender and partly fat, I dare say that this is the most common part of Cha Siu a thoughtful restaurant will offer if you don't give special request for the lean-ness of meat. The spare ribs and the roasted pork were amazing!!! Tender lean meat, crispy skin, rich but thin layer of lard in between! You'll say "Oh my god!" even if you are an atheist.

Chefs chatting with each other
Image from Locky's English Playground
Interestingly, the chef at the Siu Mei counter are not too busy, and most of the other diners are not enjoying Siu Mei. I wonder if they think the siu mei is actually below their standard, or that they have had siu mei too many times and they all decided to switch to other more homely dishes all on the same day. What I can say is, it was a great dining experience and I hope I can be back for more!


Look:            ★★★★★ 5/5
Taste:            ★★★★☆ 4/5
Smell:            ★★★★★ 5/5
Textures:       ★★★★★ 5/5
Temperature: ★★★★★ 5/5
Overall:         ★★★★☆ 22/25

squab -- (n)[C] a young pigeon or dove
all-show-and-no-go -- (adj) from all show and no go -- (US slang) equipped with good looks but lacking action or energy
lean-ness -- (n)[U] from lean -- (adj)
lard -- (n)[U] a white substance made from pig fat and used in cooking
atheist -- (n)[C] someone who believes that God does not exist
diner -- (n)[C] someone who is eating a meal, especially in a restaurant
homely -- (adj) plain or ordinary, but pleasant:


Pottinger Street @ Wikipedia

Food and Restaurant: Tai Hing @ Locky's English Playground

Cha Siu @ Wikipedia

Shahe fen @ Wikipedia

Siu Mei @ Wikipedia


Wednesday 17 April 2013

Food: The Search For Great Curry -- Part 3 @ CoCo Ichibanya

Japanese curry pork chop rice with omelette @ CoCo Ichibanya
Image from Locky's English Playground
Japanese curry is a completely different story. It's sweet and only slightly spicy, so spice-lovers like me, Japanese curry shouldn't be my cup of tea, only that it is, surprisingly! I guess that's because sweetness gives people a sense of security and safety by nature, and so when it is mixed with supposedly "aggressive" curry, it feels like mum's cooking.

From another angle, lots of curry
Image from Locky's English Playground
I do cook Japanese curry sometimes, but when I feel tired or lazy, I will pay a visit to Curry House CoCo Ichibanya @ Tai Koo. There are a number of dishes available, but my favourite is still this Japanese curry pork chop with omelette.

Red pickled turnip added
Image from Locky's English Playground
The super smooth and thin omelette might disappoint some diners for its lack of buttery taste, I suppose it's because they didn't use butter, but I like to tell myself that it's not oily so it's healthy to eat. The portion is also enough for a average Asian man, and that's crucial when it comes to a meal that is meant to recharge your energy after a full day's work.

White pork meat with air spaces
Image from Locky's English Playground
I must admit, it is not the best pork chop I've tried, actually, it is not even close to the best (have I mentioned which is the best pork chop I've tried?), but it is already much better than those soda powder-marinated pork chop served in most Hong Kong cha chaan teng. At least, it tastes like pork and it is not tough or overly tender. Also, it's just HK$70 + 10%, shouldn't expect too much.

This is no pepper, it is really spice powder
Image from Locky's English Playground
Overall, it is a great choice for curry! If only they can be more generous with the beef in the curry beef dish then I can have an alternative when I go there next time.

Here's my final scores for this curry dish.

Look:            ★★★★★ 5/5
Taste:            ★★★★★ 5/5
Smell:            ★★★☆☆ 3/5
Textures:       ★★★★★ 5/5
Temperature: ★★★★★ 5/5
Overall:         ★★★★★ 23/25

marinate -- (vb)[T]  to pour a marinade over meat or fish:

Cha chaan Teng @ Wikipedia