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Asian Food Time: Bakkwa

Bakkwa is basically a kind of jerky, usually made with thin-ish strips of pork, (but some stores, like Bee Cheng Hiang, have moved into beef and chicken products) about 4mm thick, marinated in spices, sugar, salt, and soy sauce, then barbequed until deliciously shiny. (If you’re not salivating yet, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.) Normally sold as sqaures (see top photo), there are now also bacon-like strips and also rectangular pieces too. The chicken version of bakkwa is shaped like coins. If you ever stop over in Singapore or Malaysia and other places, there are Bee Cheng Hiang stores around the place. If you’re in transit in Singapore but don’t want to venture out into the heat, head over to Terminal 2 (airside - after immigration) to the area near the koi ponds/Guardian pharmacy/Starbucks and you’ll be able to pick up these delicious pieces of mouth-watering meat for the same price as you would outside.

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Eatyourkimchi Q&A Session at KWave Festival Part 1

WARNING: LOWER YOUR VOLUME DOWN. I’m not taking responsibility for damaged eardrums or loss of hearing.

This is part 1 of the Q&A Eatyourkimchi Session from KWave 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.

For part 2, click here.

Don’t forget to like/favourite this video, and to subscribe for more.

Asian Food Time: Laksa

What I would give to eat some authentic Singaporean Laksa… Oh wait, I will be~~ ^^. Laksa is a spicy soup made from chili, onion, galangal, belacan, lemongrass, candlenuts, garlic, and tumeric all ground up and formed into a paste, and fried off then combined with coconut milk to create the laksa soup. The noodles, veggies, fishball, and prawn are then cooked through and served nice and hot.

Kuya's Asian Music Playlist: Suited Up (MBLAQ, Shinhwa, & Henry)

This weeks Asian Music Playlist will pit Vogueism against EPIC NEON PAINT DANCE PARTY and a flaming piano, and also I’ll tell you my thoughts on which song could be on EYK’s Kpop Music Monday.

MBLAQ - ‘Smoky Girl’

MBLAQ (Music Boys Live in Absolute Quality) is a 5-member group (Seungho, G.O., Lee Joon, Cheondung, and Mir), which debuted in 2009 under J.Tune Camp.

MBLAQ IS BAQ. I love the song and the music video, moreso the song. It’s very electronica-ey mixed with pop/dance and having heard most of the 100% Ver. album, Smoky Girl signals a change back to pop/dance, but hopefully they pump out more ballads.

Now to talk about some of the inconsistencies with the song, mainly the English. Cheondung’s English is fine, so there’s no issue there. Mir’s rapping was mainly in Korean, but his English is fine too. The chorus was sung well so no problem there. My gripe is with Joon, G.O. and with Seungho. Hey guise. HEY. HEY. HAY. HAY. 'Gurr’? 'Shwi shwi’? 'Jursh jursh’? It looks like the 'waffur’ age has returned to MBLAQ. I had to go look up the lyrics to confirm what I’d heard. Turns out 'shwi shwi’ was 'she she’, and 'jursh jursh’ was 'juice juice’. OTL Oh, and  'She was smoky girl’… shouldn’t there be indefinite article in there, as well as in this sentence? And what do you mean by 'smoky’, exactly? I’m guessing it means mysterious and alluring…

The monochrome effect at the beginning of the MV and sprinkled throughout the other parts of the song was done well, but I didn’t like it when they only highlighted Cheondung’s hair… didn’t the other members dye theirs too? I’m fairly sure Seungho dyed his blue, but I’m guessing the MV was shot before that, so no blue hair to show off in the MV. The EPIC NEON PAINT DANCE PARTY on the other hand was definitely something I wasn’t expecting.

By the way, what happened to your suits, MBLAQ? Did someone come along with a Stanley knife and slash through your sleeves, and in Joon’s case, the back, and stitch it together like a corset? Or is this some new summer '13 fashion trend that somehow the rest of the clubbing scene missed? Hmm…

Dance wise, the footwork  and overall coordination is awesome, and all you fangirls out there must’ve loved all that Face Arousal Raunchy Thrusting.

And now we get to the club and the 'smoky’ girl, who is a foreigner (Yay! Then again, are they saying all foreign girls are smoky, and have small lips? I don’t know…). Once again, we see that MBLAQ has the dance floor all to themselves, but at least the background dancers are *actually* dancing to the beat of the song. Didn’t G.O. sing about the girl drinking lemon juice? Well that must be some strange Korean variety of lemon I’ve never seen, but she definitely wasn’t drinking lemon juice. Maybe she was drinking lemon juice, but someone appeares to have added methyl orange indicator. Is this some secret titration/scientist club? Why haven’t I been told about this?!

Hopefully 'Sexy Beat’ comes out soon (unlike some other albums… SNSD IMMA LOOKIN’ AT YOU) and I can listen to more of MBLAQ!

Want to view more of MBLAQ? Mir and Seungho are currently on MBC’s All the K-pop, and Cheondung is on the MBC rom-com 'Nail Shop Paris’.

Shinhwa - 'This Love’

Shinhwa is a 6-member group consisting of Eric, Minwoo, Dongwan, Hyesung, Jun Jin, and Andy, making their debut in 1998 under SM Entertainment, now under Shinhwa Company, and are the longest-lasting group currently in the world of Kpop, and are the last 90s group still together.

Shinhwa are back, and I’m sure a lot of Shinhwa Changjos will be cheering their men on as they celebrate 15 years of Shinhwa! 15 years is a long time to be around in the Kpop world, and seeing as the Sechs Kies, h.o.t, g.o.d, S.E.S, Fin.K.L disbanded (Fin.K.L technically is still in existance, they are currently 'inactive’), they’ve survived a lot of new groups which could rival them in terms of popularity.

In all honesty, this is the first Shinhwa track I’ve really listened to and it sounds fantastic. Electronica/pop seems to be the going theme for those  bands in comeback mode, and this one is up there with the best of them (like MBLAQ’s 'Smoky Girl’). The lyrics are very symbolic, comparing their fangirls to the Sun, a flower, and black holes; they tell of Shinhwa’s longing to hold their hearts, and that they 'live off their love’. The only thing that really sticks out is the 'satellite/satellites’ and the 'automatic, systematic, in this universe’, much like SHINee’s 'fantastic, fantastic, fantastic, elastic, elastic, elastic’ in 'Ring Ding Dong’.

The video clearly demonstrates their ability to send the Shinhwa Changjo’s into a frenzy. I mean, look at all the Face Arousal Raunchy Trusting, Neck Wiping, and in Eric’s case, Thigh Grabbing. Just what exactly are you holding onto Eric? Everyone else is grabbing onto their belt buckles and you seem to be grabbing onto a whole different area of the anatomy… and those dancers. Fangirls? I’m fairly sure you’d kill to be one of them. The costumes remind me of TVXQ’s 'Keep Your Head Down’, and the camouflage suits methinks were made from their actual ROKA uniforms. Lastly, the dance moves are mostly those from the Vogue-ism era, but are well coordinated to the beat of the song. Another example is during the bridge and the end, where there’s the 3-chord downward progression (upward at the end), one of the members either 'plays’ the chords, or pulls imaginary puppet strings to move the dancers.

Congratulations on 15 years of making music, and inspiring many boys to become famous K-pop starts themselves, Shinhwa! May you make a new generation of K-pop fans squeal in delight for many years to come.

Need more Shinhwa? They were on KBS’ 'Happy Together 3’ recently, and revealed how they got along these 15 years, and how humour helped them stay together.

Henry - 'Trap’ (feat. Kyuhyun and Taemin)

Henry Lau is the maknae of Super Junior’s Mandopop subunit, Super Junior-M. Henry’s title track features the maknaes of SHINee and Super Junior, Taemin and Kyuhyun, respectively.

Finally! A new solo act from the ranks of SM Entertainment. Seeing as this song is titled 'Trap’, I found it rather amusing that it does indeed exemplify SM’s MV concepts, trapped in oddly lit rooms.

Musically, I love the song. For his title track, I think 'Trap’  was a good choice. The piano solo in the beginning puts my skills to shame, but it won’t stop me attempting a piano cover of this song xD. Vocal wise, Henry is able to showcase most of his vocal range and his abilities as a solo singer. Taeman and Kyuhyun are similar to what Kevin is in uBEAT: supporting artists; Taeman’s matured voice and Kyuhyun’s high notes add to the very emotional lyrics (which translates well into the video), which describe a man slowly losing his mind as his girlfriend takes control of him, thus leaving him mentally 'trapped’. I would’ve preferred the title name to be 'Trapped’ instead of 'Trap’, because the latter implies that Henry is the one laying the trap, whereas the former would suggest being trapped.

SM, CAN I ASK FOR THE DRAMA VERSION, PLEASE?! The plot looks very, very interesting and I want it. NOW. Seeing as this was a song called 'Trap’, it begs the question: why SM didn’t just use the one room for the entire song? And why is there no ceiling in the rather expensive-looking room? I’m fairly sure Henry can jump and grab onto the wall edge and climb his way out of there. Maybe it’s a false ceiling, and he’s stuck in an 'inception’ kind of dream state?

The extra sound effects can just go into a hole and be buried. Seriously, there’s no need for me to listen to the sound of Taeman’s clothing, or the 'revving’ car for that matter. Those can be salvaged for the drama version. All I want to listen to is the music. Whilst the flaming piano and Henry driving away are not mentioned, it conveys a 'Stuff this, I’m not your slave’ message which matches the lyrics in the bridge, where Kyuhyun sings of Henry’s intentions to fly away.

The outfits are another sticking point for me. Why use hip hop outfits when the hip hop really isn’t in the song? There’s no real rapping anywhere to be found, and even if it is an R&B track, Henry, Taeman, and Kyuhyun would’ve look better in suits or dress shirts. Dance wise however, the hip hop style moves do match the beat, and whilst I don’t know the meaning behind the handkerchief waving (Surrender?), I think it fitted with the song too.

Having listened to the other tracks on his debut album, I see Henry doing more solo stuff, and I hope SM gives some of the other relatively unknown artists outside Korea/Japan like J-Min, TRAX, Zhang Liyin, The Grace, a chance to be exposed to the greater K-pop community. In the mean time, please support Henry!

In terms of getting an EYK Kpop Music Monday, any of these songs, as well as VIXX’s 'Hyde’ (see my K.A.M.P on them here) have great potential in becoming reviewed, so get behind them and vote!