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Category Archives: Internship

All good things must come to an end

Tuesday, August 2nd

Today marked the end of my amazing summer internship with MobileFoxx.

Although I initially thought that the 9 hour work day would be unbearably long, but truthfully, it went by really fast.

I liked that the work day started at 9 (I usually work the 6 AM shift at my part-time job in the US) and we have a reasonable lunch break (I have a 15 minute lunch break at my part-time job).

Although it was challenging, I also really liked (and appreciated) the opportunity to strengthen my written Chinese skills.

I enjoyed the projects that I worked on, and I couldn’t ask for better colleagues.

I was really touched (and surprised) that they got a cake for my last day.

I was excited when they let me slice the cake.

The cake was delicious; sponge cake with generous amounts of whipped cream and strawberries.

I’m surely going to miss all of my wonderful colleagues, but I’ll always have this amazing card to remember them by.

Can you believe that sheer amazing-ness of it?

MobileFoxx, thank you for an amazing summer internship!

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in Daily life, Internship

 

Wanchai Wanderings: Bubble Tea

Wednesday, June 29th

This post will be the first of a series called Wanchai Wanderings. In the series, will showcase the nearby eateries that me and my fellow intern from work discover during our lunch hour.

Today’s agenda was focused on bubble tea.

What is bubble tea?

It’s a Taiwanese creation of a milky drink (often containing strongly brewed black tea, condensed milk, and sweetener) that contains chewy balls of tapioca. I suppose you could call it “tea you can eat.”

Bubble tea is easily identifiable by a big fat straw, which is essential to suck up the tapioca balls. When you drink bubble tea, the tapioca pearls are sucked up with the drink and are eaten. 

I had been craving bubble tea ever since I had landed in Hong Kong, but had never had a chance to get one.

On our way to the MTR station yesterday, we discovered a bubble tea stand within close distance to our workplace. Thus, we decided to come on our lunch break today and get some refreshments to go with our lunch.

Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side, and it started sprinkling the second we got off the elevator.

Then, what started as a light rain quickly transformed into a full-fledged thunderstorm within three minutes.

Despite being quite wet at this point, we decided to bravely forage ahead to our destination.

However, it only continued to rain harder, so we were forced to seek shelter in a bakery.

We were tempted by the bakery’s many tempting desserts as well as their impressive array of dimsum…

But, we realized that they would only get soggy on our way back to the office.

Thus, we foolishly foraged on for another five minutes in the miserable rain until we reached our destination.

Of course, the rain slowed down to a light sprinkle minutes after we got to the drink shop.

There were a ton of flavors to choose from.

I ordered an original bubble tea (12 HK) and my coworker ordered a chocolate bubble tea (14 HK)

Verdict: I was only able to drink 2/3s of my tea. The first half was good, but the second half was overly sweet. Additionally, perhaps because of my nonexistent milk consumption in Hong Kong, I felt that it was also a bit too rich.

The lady who took our order mentioned that they also have a mango milk tea, so perhaps I’ll order it in the future sans the milk.

My coworker’s tea choice was quite good; the chocolate flavor was reminiscent of a dark chocolate bar.

The drinks were rather large, and had a fair amount of tapioca, so it looks like dinner will be on the light side tonight.

On our agenda tomorrow? Dessert.

On a separate note, Hong Kong students (recent high school graduates) get their university placement exam results tomorrow. This places a huge amount of stress upon them because the scores determine which universities they will go to. (They receive their university placements in the following week).

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2011 in Food, Internship, Wanchai Wanderings

 

Good things come to those who walk

Thursday, June 23rd23

Today was a productive day at the office.

The day was off to a great start with a new breakfast item: zong zi!

As you all know, I have a deep love for zong zi, which can be seen here and here.

So what exactly are zong zi? They are made of glutinous rice and are stuffed with delicious fillings such as shitake mushrooms, pork, peanuts, and chestnuts. They can be both sweet or savory, but my favorite are the savory ones.

The ones we had this morning were so good that I wanted to have a third one. Although zong zi might not look very big, they were very satiating, so it’s usually advisable not to eat more than one regular sized ones. (These were the size of a deck of playing cards)

(The two I devoured were more than enough with a bowl of rice porridge and an unpictured apple)

(The glutinous rice was hiding pieces of mushroom, mung beans, and pork. Holy yum)

At work, I was the victim of Hong Kong marketing.

Apparently, a company that places secretaries and executive assistants was using cupcakes as advertisements. We got a whole box of them delivered in a fancy box with ribbons.

I have to say that Hong Kong people really know how to eat. Not only is their dim sum amazing, their cupcakes are evidently just as outstanding.

The combination of mocha frosting and dense, moist cake was out of this world good.

It was so good in fact that we tried to find out the bakery responsible for the delectables. However, we were only able to find (through the company’s Facebook page) that they not only give out cupcakes, but evidently also use jelly beans and even whiskey for marketing purposes.

Evidently, delicious tactics work.

After an early lunch, I went to Causeway Bay with a coworker to shadow him in a sales meeting conducted in English.

It was still lunch time when we went, so we got to hang out for a bit in the meeting room.

We were also brought steaming cups of tea, which I thought was nice.

After the meeting (which was with a Macedonian wine company), we set off to find potential merchants.

At this point in time, I would like to say that I successfully walked all over Hong Kong in these shoes.

Evidently, hiking can prepare you for anything in life.

We gathered a lot of business cards, with the majority being from restaurants, bars, and small shops.

I’m glad I was given the opportunity to see what the company’s sales team does. We were extremely lucky that it didn’t rain, although it was rather humid (we’ve had rain for the past 2 days)

Back at the dorms, tofu and cabbage were consumed:

I was successful in convincing a couple of interns to go swimming with me after dinner. Unfortunately, we finished eating around 8, and the pool (which we just found out) closes at 8:30. However, swimming is on the agenda for this weekend!

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2011 in Food, Internship

 

Live, Learn, Intern

June 22nd, Wednesday

As you can imagine, hiking almost 15 miles requires a lot of replenishment.

Some has been in the form of this:

And others in the form of actual meals:

(Fried eggs, toast, steamed buns, apple, and tea)

(Stir fried vegetables, stewed beef and tomatoes, and hot chili sauce)

(shrimp and peanut dumplings, eggs, rice porridge, wheat bun, peanut butter, and banana)

And today, the cafeteria has zongzi! (As you recall, I bought one from Mongkok during our first week). 

(Heads up, Vitasoy can only be described as a gritty sugar and water mixture that is a poor substitute for soymilk)

The zongzi on the other hand was delicious. It had beans, duck yolk, and meat inside, which gave it excellent flavor.

Additionally, I am happy to report that my internship has been going splendidly.

  • This week, I learned how to use social media such as Twitter and Weibo (which is the Chinese version of Twitter) for marketing purposes. Who knew building contacts and establishing followers could be so difficult? By the way, for those of you that Twitter, you can check out MobileFoxx here
  • I also did media research and found newspaper articles that spoke about the company.
  • I’m currently involved in an exciting back end project. The back end is where everything has to happen before the coupon can be seen by the public. I’m glad that I’m able to learn so much through a hands on approach.
  • I now have a very reliable and fast internet connection at my work station. The wireless has been disconnecting me every 10 minutes. Today, the tech guy was nice enough to fix it for me (in less than 10 minutes). Seriously, I’m still in awe of how fast he was able to diagnose the problem and fix it.
  • I have office stationary. Ask anyone you know, I have an odd obsession with school supplies.

Well, I’m off to bed so I can be at the canteen for the 7:45 breakfast. Night!


 
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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Daily life, Internship

 

Having lunch in good company

June 17th, Friday

Breakfast:

We have oatmeal with granola, wheat rolls, an apple, 饺子 (potstickers), eggs, and tea

Before lunch, I finished my research project and then worked on some media work.

For lunch, the company went out for dimsum at a restaurant called Megared that’s relatively close to the office.

Aren’t we a good looking group?



(I would like to point out that formatting our group picture so that it would it on the blog somehow took half an hour)

We started off with peanuts and shrimp as an appetizer while lunch was being ordered.

And of course, tea

Never had dim sum before? Read this post for more info.

And now, onto the food!

Note: These were only the dishes that I managed to capture when I wasn’t busy stuffing my face. These are only a good representation of the dishes that we had.

Cheong fan: Fresh steamed rice noodles stuffed with a filling of beef. The velvety exterior and savory interior make a heavenly match with the sweet soy sauce that is drizzled on top.

Cheong fan: These were stuffed with shrimp instead of beef

Lo bak go (turnip cake): These crispy cakes have a crispy exterior and a creamy exterior that is delicately flavored with bits of ham, sausage, shrimp, or other vegetables. They’re called turnip cakes, but they’re actually made of shredded daikon and rice flour.

Ma tai gou 馬蹄糕: The soft and slightly sweet texture of the gelatinous cake went well with the crisp bites of sweet water chestnuts.

Har gau 蝦餃: These are typically a good indication of the dim sum chef’s skills. These translucent shrimp dumplings have a thin skin that must be stretchy and transluscent. They are hard to make because a good har gau will not have a very thick skin or be overly chewy. The ones we had were absolutely delicious; the skin was soft yet sturdy, and it housed perfectly cooked shrimp on the inside. 

炒面: These stir fried noodles were crisp but were not oily. I also appreciated that they were not overly salty. (We ordered 2 platters)

Egg pancakes: The perfectly cooked eggs housed a number of delicious fillings such as green onions and mushrooms.

Siu mai: These open-top steamed dumplings were the best siu mai I have ever eaten. The delicate shrimp, savory pork filling and thin wheat wrapper made for an explosion of flavor. These were so big that I had to eat them in three bites.

Ngao yuk kau: These steamed beef meatballs were nestled on a bed of thin tofu skin. Thy were tender and light tasting with hints of cilantro. 

Ma lai go: This Malaysian sponge cake was the softest sponge cake I have ever eaten. Despite being steamed, it maintained a soft, light texture without being the least bit soggy.

Lai wong bau: These sweet steamed buns are filled with a sweet yellow milk custard and can be eaten for dessert. 

Stir fried bok choy

Fish ball soup with lettuce: This dish was delicious. The fish balls were tender and were cooked to perfection. The lettuce made for the perfect crunchy accompaniment to the meaty fish balls.

Cha siu bao: These soft steamed buns are filled with a sweet and savory barbecue pork filling. The ratio of bread to filling was perfect and the filling was filled with big chunks of tender pork. These were definitely one of the best pork buns I have eaten.

Pei guen: These little bundles of joy are wrapped in tofu skin, which is the made during tofu production. They can be either fried or steamed. (The ones that we ordered were steamed). The ones were tried were stuffed with a number of delicious fillings such as shiitake mushrooms, ham, and chicken. 

Fried calamari: The squid was crisp and managed not to be the least bit greasy. I was surprised to find this to be pleasantly spicy

Eggrolls and Fung zao: The flaky eggrolls were filled with a savory shrimp filling.

The fung zao (chicken feet) were the most flavorful that I have ever tried. In Chinese, fung zao literally translates into “phoenix claws.” I know they sound odd, but the the cooking process transforms them into something delectable. Typically, they are fried and then stewed for a long time in a savory sauce that is flavored with fermented soy beans. These were so tender that the meat slid right off the bones. If you’re adventurous enough to try them, you won’t be sorry!

With full bellies, we went back to the office to get back to work. I worked on social media research until the work day was over.

And I leave you with the dinner I had at the Homey Kitchen:

Bok choy and winter melon & pork stir fry with rice. (We actually have a big menu to choose from, but I usually pick a vegetable-heavy meal due to personal preferance).

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2011 in Food, Internship

 

Can we keep it, can we?

June 16th, Thursday

Brekkie:

Tea, whole wheat rolls, rice porridge, fried egg, and ham. The white bun is a steamed bun; apparently in Hong Kong, they eat them with sweetened condensed milk, which makes for a very delicious combination.

Today’s weather was rather miserable. It rained really hard the entire ride to work. Not only was it pouring, the wind was also coming from all directions. It got to the point where I was convinced my umbrella had to be leaking because I was getting hit with rain from all sides despite the fact I had an umbrella the entire time.

Today marked the last day of the Expo. I never knew how much work went into taking down a single exhibit. Our exhibit was considered small compared to the other merchants, and it still took us a good 40 minutes to get everything together.

First, we had to un-velcro all of the lovely pictures and signs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To view more pictures of the exhibit, visit our Facebook group

Then the three guys got to work dismantling the PVC framework that held up the backdrop pictured above. I have to say that I am thankful they were with me; they made disconnecting the framework of plastic PVC pipes look easy, but I couldn’t get any of the pipes to budge!

Despite the thunderstorm warning that was issued, our internship went to Avenue of the Stars to watch the nightly sound and light show that happens every night at 8 PM. Unfortunately, the weather warning turned out to be right; halfway through our walk to our destination, it started to rain. During the show, it started pouring.

At the start of the show, me and another intern had the bright idea to stand under the awning of a guest shop that was right next to the water (where the show takes place). Although it sounded like a good idea at the time, it soon turned out to be a poor location choice. Once it started raining, we realized that the 3 inch overhang above us was rather inadequate. Although we tried desperately to press our bodies into the glass wall behind us to create more coverage space, we could only stand helplessly as water dripped down our noses (if only the awning had been 2 inches longer!). After 5 minutes, we decided that a change of location was desperately needed. (By this time, our faces and the fronts of our shirts were starting to get drenched).

Although the show was only partly through (it lasts 10 minutes), me and three others decided to go back to the dorms. The coordination of lights and lasers between the different towers was impressive, but honestly, the nightly fireworks show at Disneyland is more impressive in my opinion.

While walking to the MTR station, our group of 4 got separated; me and another girl got separated from the other 2 people. After waiting at the exit for 5 minutes, we finally decided to take the subway back to Festival Walk and meet them at the Homey Kitchen to eat dinner.

While on the subway, a lady lugged this bucket in and set it right next to us.

Yes, that is exactly what it looks like; a pail filled with live oysters and mussels.

On the way bak from the MTR stop in Festival Walk, we stumbled upon this event:

Aren’t they cute? I wanted to take one back to my dorm with me.

On our way back to the dorms, we were reunited with the 2 interns that were in our original group.

The animal fun continued all the way to the Homey Kitchen (our eatery)

We saw a frog, toad?

A snail

And a slug

Who knew that Hong Kong had so much animal diversity?

After such miserable weather, it was nice to have dinner in the company of friends.

Dessert:

It’s called doufu hua. It was essentially silken tofu in a simple syrup sauce. The flavor was a bit odd; I wouldn’t recommend getting it.

Sweet dreams everyone!


 
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Posted by on June 16, 2011 in Internship, Travel

 

Milestones

Wednesday, June 15th

Most important meal of the day: Toast, eggs, sausage, cereal, and siu mai

At my internship, I worked on an Excel file, and did research for an assignment.

Then after lunch, it was back to the Expo.

Milestone #1: I got my first business card. Granted, he’s not a likely potential customer and his company is a Canadian based recycling plant that deals with materials like old tires, but it is nonetheless an official business card!

After work, I had dinner with friends back at City U.

Here we have crispy fish, vegetables, and potato & tomato soup.

Milestone #2: Today marked the day that I finally have regular internet! Our internet at HK City University is all through ethernet cords that are plugged into phone jacks in our rooms. I was having a lot of issues with mine (the internet would only let me on for 10 minutes a day). But our counselor was incredibly helpful and got a mechanic to fix my phone while I was at work. When I came home, my internet was in perfect working condition!

This should hopefully mark the start of more regular posts, since I will no longer have to blog from the ancient guest computer downstairs.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2011 in Internship

 

Eat, Work, Eat (Temple St)

June 14th, Tuesday

Today, after a buffet breakfast at The Homey Kitchen (our canteen), I was off to the subway station.

Here we have congee, which is a rice porridge, fried egg, and 4 xiao long baozi (filled with meat), and an apple. Healthy, delicious, and gobbled down in 10 minutes flat before dashing off to the subway station.

Once I got to work, I familiarized myself with the company a bit more by doing some reading on the company profile.

For lunch, me and a coworker went to the popular Fairwood chain, which is located right next to our workplace.

It’s decently priced and it’s considered to be fast food because the waiting time is very limited. Although the line was quite long, we received our meals within 10 minutes.

(We both ordered fish ball soup, except I opted for the “spicy” Thai option. Unfortunately, most spicy food in Hong Kong is pretty mild. However, it was still tasty)
After lunch, we took a taxi with the chief executive to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, which is where the RetailAsia Expo 2011 is taking place.

The convention was lots of fun. I loved interacting with the different people and convincing people to take our colorful fliers.We also gave demonstrations of how the app works to interested potential customers using various technologies such as an Android and iPad.

There were so many interesting vendors at the Expo. Such as this one:

It was like a giant ipad that you could play games on. It was really cool to be able to kick a soccer ball with another person on the mat. Perhaps it will overtake the Wii one day?

After work, I met my fellow interns at Temple Street for a Seafood Extravaganza dinner.

Directions to Temple Street Night Market: 
Get off at Jordan MTR station. Take exit A. From the exit, make a right and walk down 3 blocks. Make a right at Temple Street. Walk down a block until you see lots of restaurants clustered together.

We sat at tables. I was quite surprised that they were able to sit all of us in the same area, given the large size of our group. Temple St is famous for the seafood, some of it is still alive!

(Those grey looking things were still moving when the picture was taken!)

The group I sat with was rather adventurous.

(For those of you that plan on going to Temple St, most of the menus come with pictures and English as well as Chinese, so ordering is super easy!)

We ordered the following:

Spicy crab (100 HK)

Clams in black bean sauce; these were mine! (45 HK)

Crispy fried pork (65 HK)

Spicy eggplant (This dish was really well done, the whole group loved it)

Peppered tofu (This dish was also delicious; the outside of the tofu was really crispy and the soft interior was soft and velvety)

We also ordered a shrimp noodle dish that went unpictured because we were too busy eating by the time it was brought to our table.

We were all completely stuffed and there was still food on the table (mostly the crab and pork dishes). The meal was priced at around 110 HK per person, including drinks.

I would recommend ordering everything except for the shrimp noodle dish, the pork and the crab. Other than the fact that the crab had been dead for some time (which made the interior rather mushy), no utensils were provided, so it was rather hard to get at the meat.

So to recap, order the peppered tofu, the spicy eggplant, and clams in black bean sauce; you won’t be sorry!

Afterwards, me and my friend went fruit shopping.

(Note: Temple Street offers things that can be found at Mongkok like fake merchandise, clothing, jewelry, etc. However, it seems like many of the prices on Temple St are nonnegotiable as where in Mongkok, you can haggle).

Any guesses as to what fruit we bought?

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2011 in Internship, Travel

 

Business is war without bullets

June 13th, Monday

The company that I’m interning this summer is AsiaMarketing Stategic Consulting Services. One of the companies that they own is the one that I’ll be helping out with most this summer: MobileFoxx. It is one of the only companies in Hong Kong that offers “mobile coupons.” Customers can download the app for free, and then redeem coupons through their mobile devices whether it be their iPad, iPhone, Android, etc. Customers can use the coupons without printing them out, so it’s great for the environment.

I know what you’re going to say: That sounds like Groupon!

Incorrect, MobileFoxx is nothing like Groupon (as I was politely informed by our CEO within the first 10 minutes of our first encounter)

Groupon, to put it nicely, is a site that rips off merchants. The site is highly popular because of it’s frequent offerings of high discounts on products and services (i.e. fine dining and clothing website certificates). Thus, the merchant sacrifices a lot of money by offering these fantastic discounts. In addition to that huge loss, Groupon further rips the merchants off by taking half of the earnings that they earn on the site as commission.

As the chief executive explained to me, the merchants can end up forfeiting 75% of the value of their goods and services to Groupon. That’s a lot of money!

Although Groupon is admittedly good for creating foot traffic, it doesn’t always work in the best favor of the customers. For example, you might get 4,000 customers in one week to come to your establishment, but how many of them are going to become regular customers? The truth is, many of them are just looking for a cheap deal; chances are they won’t be 回头客, or returning customers.

What’s unique about MobileFoxx is that it believes strongly in “performance-based marketing” so the companies only pay MobileFoxx if their coupon is redeemed. And when they do pay MobileFoxx, it’s less than 10% of the redeemed value of the coupon, a far cry from the 50% Groupon charges!

My favorite feature of the app that is that it has a map function, so you can see if and where there’s a nearby place that has a coupon available for you to use. So for example, if you’re hungry and want to see if there’s a coupon-friendly eatery nearby, you can press the map function, which will use GPS to show your location and the locations nearest you that have coupons. Cool, huh?

I’m really excited because tomorrow, they’re going to be demonstrating the app (which all of you should really think about downloading) for the next few days, at the RetailAsia Expo 2011.

The first day of work went well. I got there on time by only taking the subway (it was drizzling outside and I didn’t feel like taking the bus.) I learned that the subway is the fastest way for me to get to work. Most of it is underground, so I don’t have to wait in the humid heat, and it’s also extremely fast.

My biggest triumph today: I survived my first Hong Kong rush hour unscathed. It is so crowded during rush hours that they have workers wearing gloves to push people (nicely of course) onto the subway if there’s enough room to help move traffic along. They also tell people to get off the platform if the subway is so crowded that the doors will not close.

My officemates are nice and the other intern was really helpful in educating me about MobileFoxx. (Most of the information above was from the summary she gave me this morning).

I’m really lucky because there’s a microwave in the office for us to use.

I’m looking forward to the rest of my summer internship with this company, see you all later!

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2011 in Internship

 

I made my momma proud today

June 12th, Sunday

Today, after our orientation and group photo, we took a group trip down to Festival Walk, an upscale mall that is about a mile from the student dormitories. It also happens to house the local bus station as well as the MTR (subway station) station of Kowloon Tong.

The purpose of today was to let us get familiar with our work routes before the first day of work, which is tomorrow. I’m working in Wanchai, which is in Hong Kong Island. From Kowloon, which is pretty much in the heart of Hong Kong to Wanchai, I have to take the subway, then ride a bus, and then walk to work. Although I could have just taken the subway station directly to Wanchai, I figured I should learn the bus route just in case it turned out to be the faster route.

To say that the trip went smoothly would have been a big fat lie.

Here are some valuable lessons that I learned:

  1. When memorizing landmarks to refer back to, don’t choose McDonalds. They’re everywhere and you’ll only get really confused.
  2. You really have to look both ways before crossing the streets. People in Hong Kong drive on the left side of the road (like in England). Thus, you have to be really sure that they’re not going to be turning, because they turn the opposite way of what you’re used to.
  3. Giving up your seat to elderly people in the subway feels even better than sitting in it.
  4. Broaden the group of people that you usually think to ask for directions. I found on my practice run that receptionists, security guards, and jewelry store workers are all relatively knowledgeable about the city.

And most importantly, how I made my momma proud today

  • I found my workplace today using only my Mandarin Chinese. It was a bit slow-going but apparently, gestures and really slow enunciation will get you far in life.
  • I got off at the correct bus stop even though the bus driver couldn’t read English or speak Mandarin. (This was really miraculous because all I had was the name of the stop)
  • I bought fruit on my way back to the MTR to get in those daily servings of vitamins. (all this for 20 HK!)

  • I tried new foods at Mongkok.

Street food is really big in Hong Kong. What you see are fish balls (6 HK). I was kind of disappointed because the taste was pretty bland but the food stall smelled amazing. I can sum them up in one word: chewy

  • I kept myself hydrated in the sweltering heat

This drink was a definite win. It had a small amount of sweetened red beans (红豆) with grass jello squares in some kind of milk drink. It had the perfect balance of sweetness with the non-sweetened jello.

  • I ate a lot of protein

 

What you see is a ginormous zongzi that is in comparison to a standard toilet paper roll. This baby was huge. Typically, there are goodies inside like duck egg, meat, peanuts, chestnuts, etc. Apparently, this one was vegan, because there were only beans inside. Regardless, it was delicious; I managed to polish off the whole thing.

First day of the internship tomorrow, gotta get some sleep!

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2011 in Internship

 
 
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