#1 Chips Review

If you read my last post you saw that I have been thinking about doing reviews of chips, so here’s the first one.

Lidl Barbecue

Crinkle Cut

These potato chips were bought from Lidl with their own brand name “Snack Day”. They are barbecue (BBQ) flavor with a deep crinkle cut.

Visuals

The chips look great, with an orange tint to highlight the barbecue flavor. The chips are ridge cut with deep grooves, perhaps to remind you of the grill marks on a nicely seared steak, as suggested by the bag.

Smell

When the bag is opened there is a strong gust of smokiness out of the bag. The chips themselves also have a noticeable and pleasant smoky fragrance.
• Intensity of smell – 5/5

Texture

The chips are brittle and easily breaks apart in the mouth. Chips are properly crunchy and enjoyable to chew.

Flavor

Flavor is that of a sweet barbecue and umami with a medium-high intensity. I have had a few chips that are stronger in flavor, but these are up there. There is also a smoky aftertaste which lingers for a little bit. I would have a hard time going through the whole bag without getting somewhat tired of the flavor, but 100-200g would probably be the most I could eat.
• Intensity of taste – 4/5
• Salt level – 4/5

Overall experience

The chips are all well-preserved and whole with a visually pleasing orange tint to signify the barbecue flavor. A smoky smell rushes out the bag when opened and smelling the chips the smokiness really comes through. Flavor wise it’s a sweet barbecue umami flavor with a smoky aftertaste. I thoroughly enjoyed these chips and they are one of my go-to bags if I’m in the mood for a barbecue chip.
Final rating – 5/5

Dip recommendation

A dip is not necessary to enjoy this chip due to the already strong flavor. However should you go for a dip, I would recommend a lighter dip such as dill, Sour Cream & Onion, ranch, or holiday. An onion or garlic dip would go particularly well with the smoky, barbecue flavor

Final thoughts

Considering these chips are discount chips, it is an excellent bag. Typically quantity over quality takes first place with these types of bags, but not only do you get a large quantity (300g), they are also of above average quality for the price range. The chips are neither too oily or fatty tasting, which can happen at this price-point. A bag of these will be a popular pick for parties, movie nights and other gatherings where a decent quantity of good chips are important.

Corona Post

Seeing as I have a lot of free time now, with the universities being closed and no real online substitutes being offered in my program, I figured I could write a post of some sort.

I’ve done some major life changes recently and also had some ideas for projects to do, I’ll detail them here.

I sold my computer

As a person who has traditionally spent his entire free time in front of a computer, selling my desktop was a big and difficult decision. Because of the corona virus, my semester to China was cancelled. Since I was expecting to leave for China, I rented out my apartment on a contract that allowed my tenant to stay until September 2020, starting February 2020.

This meant that I had to go to my dad’s place with almost all my belongings being kept at my uncle’s and aunt’s place. I only brought my laptop, my tablet, my Nintendo Switch and a few other things. I survived with these things for more than a month without my large desktop setup with multiple screens and a beefy computer. As has happened multiple times in the past, I realized how liberating it was not to spend all my time at my computer.

However this time I decided that I would not return to my desktop for the foreseeable future. Once I got back to my uncle’s and aunt’s house, I dug out the PC and the monitors from my stashed belongings, posted it on a second-hand site. They were sold within a few days. Now I only have my tiny 900g, 12.5″ laptop from 2017, which is a great laptop, don’t get me wrong.

For me, this is a major change. Instead of sitting all day at my computer and thinking “What should I do on my computer?”, I am now detached and instead think “What should I spend my time on?”. The field of options I have to spend my time on is no longer limited to what my computer to do, only what I can think of. It’s a liberating and freeing feeling.

I want to review chips

Yes, potato chips from a bag. If you know me, you know that I love chips, chips of all kinds. I love tasting new flavors of chips and enjoy them as a snack. I also have an embarrassingly good overview of what all the different kinds of chips here in Denmark are like. Denmark is a great place for potato-chip lovers such as myself, because most stores have their own brands with many varations, as well as imported chips, artisanal chips etc.

I realized that while my knowledge of chips in Denmark is great, I’ve never really taken it to the next level. I thought there must be a way to practice my love of chips in a somewhat constructive manner. It led me to the idea of reviewing chips and publishing reviews. This would allow me to take a more critical look at what chips are like, as well as standardize my opinions on various chips.

Sure this may all sounds silly, but the internet is vast and surely there must be other people who share my interest. Even if there are not, it would be an enjoyable project for me to taste, describe, rate, and publish opinions on various chips. I could expand it to importing chips from around the world, I already know that there is significant variation between American, Danish, and East Asian chips for instance, which would be interesting to explore further.

I was going to live in a basement

As part of my temporary accommodation in Copenhagen, I was going to live in a basement for three whole weeks without a kitchen. As I have just gotten into cooking and also generally appreciate living above ground, this sounded a bit worrying.

To cope with that, I was going to write a daily diary, possibly posting it here on my blog, documenting my experience and projects with living in a basement. Of course the basement was decently furnished and had decent air quality, but it was mostly used for storage. While not inhuman conditions, I figured writing a diary would keep me sane and help me focus on the positive and interesting aspects.

Which is how I got the idea for this post and for writing more in general. Not only would a diary about life in a basement help entertain me and keep me sane, perhaps a diary would help me regardless of my altitude of living. You may see more posts in the future, possibly involving chips.

Bingsu at SSAM – 쌈의 빙수

A while ago I wrote about my experience watching Parasite (기생충), and this time I thought I’d talk about the bingsu I had at SSAM, a popular Korean restaurant in Copenhagen

Bingsu by Lam-Vi Ngo

Bingsu was one of the first things I had when I first went to Korea in 2016. I met up in with a couple of old friends in 설빙 (Sulbing) who I had met in Denmark and Seattle a while earlier.

The main ingredient of bingsu, the ice shavings themselves, do not have a lot of flavor, so other things are needed to make a bingsu delicious. In this case, plenty of vanilla ice cream, brownie bits, marshmallows, and flavored dust. The size was easily shareable between two people.

On the side, we had a nice cup of honey plum tea (꿀매실차), a very tasty kind of tea that I’ve only had in Korean settings. Unlike many other teas, 꿀매실차 is very flavorful and sweet, with little bits of fruit, presumably plum. Perfect for the freezing Danish winter.

Parasite – 기생충

I’m not a movie guy, and I’ve only ever watched one Korean movie before, but on the recommendation of one of my students, I watched the newly released Korean movie, Parasite, or 기생충 as its Korean name is.

Summary
The movie has won many awards, rightfully so. It explores the differences between the life of the Korean upper class and the under-privileged, a topic that is on many Koreans’ minds these days.

The family we follow manages to “infiltrate” a rich family’s life by getting their various servants fired and them taking over their job. The rich family has no idea their maid, driver, and two tutors for their children are all in the same family, but instead believe they all share a professional relationship and just happen to know each other.

spoilers: When the rich family goes away for a camping trip, the poor family is tasked with taking care of the house. While they’re away, the previous maid returns and we find out that she’s been hiding her husband in a secret basement in the house.

When the poor family discovers this, they pressure the old maid by threatening to expose her. That is until the old maid finds out that the poor family managed to get her fired and manipulated the rich family to hire them all, now she threatens to expose them. Suddenly, the rich family decides to come back early as the campsite got flooded. After this, chaos ensues as they fight to keep their secret.

It ends in a bloody battle and several deaths, it is well worth the watch and my description will never do it justice.

My take aways
The movie was gripping, exciting, and intriguing the entire watch. Starting out you think you understand the premise of the movie, thinking it might be a sort of comedy. All that takes a huge turn after the old maid’s husband is found in the basement. Fairly quickly, the premise and mood of the movie turns much darker and bloodier.

As the poor family works for the rich family, their resentment builds up over time, culminating with the dad who works as a driver, stabbing the man of the rich family. The rich family goes about their life throughout the movie, completely unaware that they are acting privileged and are belittling the family who works for them. For me this was very effective in conveying some of how the very underprivileged must feel among the very over-privileged. Most of us is somewhere in between and rarely get to see this contrast, the same goes for Koreans, but putting the two extremes together was very effective for conveying the feelings felt on the underprivileged side.

It was just as interesting seeing a poor family portrayed as it was to see a rich family portrayed in Korea. Both were intriguing for different reasons. The rich are similar to many other nation’s rich upper class, perhaps with the difference being the intense focus from the parents on the education of their kids. The poor family too lived like in many other countries, but clearly prioritized having access to things like internet and Kakaotalk as an all important connection to the outside world. Perhaps this is now the same in most countries.

Having watched this movie, I definitely have a thirst for watching more Korean movies. Although this is the only one I’ve watched in recent times, you can tell that the Koreans have skills and experience in creating captivating movie experiences.

自力更生 – The first week

As I wrote last week, I’ve been trying to get a hold of the basics. That meant that I focused on having a healthy diet, establishing a regular sleep schedule, and getting enough physical movement. Here’s how it went in each of those areas

Proper Sleep

This has been the hardest part of the basics. While I have been getting between 7-10 hours each night, bed time and wake up time has been fairly inconsistent. My biggest problem has been getting up at 6am in the morning, even if I had gone to bed at 10pm the night before.

Healthy Eating

Proper diet has been going surprisingly well. Before starting this, I ate really poorly with a lot of unhealthy snacks and poor meals. Since embarking on this I’ve been eating a lot of bananas. The first half of this experiment I had prepped meals, but the past 5 days or so I’ve been coming up with my own meals. They tend to consist of rice, and some meat or fish.

Compared to what I was eating before, I’ve been eating really well. I’ve stayed well within my daily allowance of calories.

Regular physical activity

In all three of the areas, this has gone the best. Since last Thursday when I wrote my past post, I’ve been to the gym five times and loved it every time. At this point, I feel somewhat addicted to going to the gym. On non-gym days I’ve been taking walks.

Conclusion

All in all, I’ve been very happy with this 自力更生 experiment. I feel like I have more energy and a lot happier than when I started. I’ve also been getting a lot of things done, while still having time to relax.

To improve going forward, I’m definitely going to have to work more on my sleep schedule. I’ll do another week of 自力更生 with the same focus and see where this takes me.

自力更生 – The Kosei Project

This project is about self improvement through one’s own effort. Self improvement has to be done in steps, nothing can be achieved all at once. That’s why, this first part of the project is going to concern the three basics:

  1. Proper sleep
  2. Healthy eating
  3. Regular physical activity

As far as I am concerned, these are the three pillars to happiness and well-being. Starting today, Thursday October 17th, I am going to have a week long focus on these aspects, ending on Thursday October 24th. Defined below are a set of rules that I have to stay within for the next week.

Proper sleep

I will sleep around eight hours every night, starting at 10pm and ending at 6am. Early mornings are the best for me and at night I tend to be to tired to do anything of use anyways.

Healthy Eating

I will eat lunch, consisting of a piece o fruit and some eggs, along with a meal-prepped dinner consisting of rice, meat, and broccoli, with a banana for dessert. I may have a banana and a few eggs in the morning, should I feel hungry.

Regular physical activity

This entails going to the gym three times a week, at least two times if I am busy. I might opt to go for the occasional walk as well, on non-gym days.

My experience and how well I’ve done will be detailed in a post next week.