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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Taipei MRT Signage

The MRT in Taipei is one of the great things about the city. The subway is clean, fast and efficient. All the stations have public restrooms, which is unimaginable for subway stations in New York. However, the signage system for the restrooms in Taipei's subway station is ridiculous and hideous.

Below is a picture of a restroom in a MRT station. For now, let's leave aside the design of the translucent screen and the potted plants, and just focus on the signs. For this little men's restroom, there is a total of 5 signs on the walls, plus one hanging off the ceiling not too far from where I took the picture. While Taiwan probably has the highest percentage of people with myopia, there is absolutely no need to plaster every surface with signs. Furthermore, why bother designing the walls when the signage contractor will "decorate" them anyway?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

122°F Salmon

Reading about sous vide on the internet, it seems the easiest thing to cook is salmon. Therefore, that's what I decided to do. I used a cooking temperature of 122°F (50°C), based on a recipe I found. Some people such as Heston Blumenthal, Joan Roca, and Nathan Myhrvold use lower temperatures. I didn't because I was afraid my wife and kids will find the fish to be too rare.

I always like to get my two kids to be involved with the cooking. Often times, when the kids help make the food, they tend to want to eat it. With sous vide, since the temperature is low and there is no fire, the kids can actually be more involved: press the button to seal the bag, put the fish in the bag, press to seal and vacuum the bag, and drop the bag into the tub with warm water.


The salmon took around 12 minutes to cook in the water bath.


For the salmon I simply used some salt and pepper. Since I don't have a chamber vacuum sealer, I didn't want to add any liquid, such as olive oil, which would require the additional step of freezing the oil first.

The result of the salmon cooked sous vide was very good. I used to pan fry, steam, bake, and poach salmon fillet. With sous vide, the result is definitely different. First of all, the color of the cooked fillet looked raw. However, the fish was definitely cooked evenly throughout, which produced a soft and succulent texture. The texture is actually closer to smoked salmon. The flavor was very good and certainly more intense.

My two-year old happily ate the fish. I am not sure if it is because she helped with the cooking or because she actually likes salmon. Nevertheless, I cannot help but wonder if she gets accustomed to eating salmon cooked precisely by sous vide, will the texture and taste produced become her standard.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Quote | Future

With my eyes turned to the past, I walk backwards into the future.

- Yohji Yamamoto on his approach to design.