Posts

Welcome Food

Image
Upon arriving in a hotel in Medan, Indonesia in the 80s, I remember being presented with a glass of markisa or passion fruit juice as a welcome drink. We often hear of welcome drink but welcome food?  Well, in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam; at the underground food court of Asiana Food City, we had had  Banh xeo for lunch, a crispy crepe made from rice flour. That's a welcome food of sort. Traditionally, friends and relatives visiting a Vietnamese home are welcome with the food. It is stuffed with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts, eaten with fish sauce and garnished with fresh herbs, the latter reminding me of the ulam in Malaysia; that refers tofresh leaves, vegetables or fruits eaten raw or after being soaked in hot water.Now, where is the welcome food?










Deep Fried Fish Thai-Style

Image
Imagine a whole fish; head, body and tail,  all being deep fried to a crispy brown. Cover that with a sweet, sour and spicy  sauce of sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and chilies. In the restaurant near our hotel in the ancient city of Ayutthaya, the fish was furthered garnished with a generous helping of onions, shallots and other vegetables. Eat it with plain rice and it was heaven! Thai-style deep fried fish is indeed superb! Lunch for my friends and I could never be better!

A Piece of Cake

Image
Spaghetti, the Italian food, has never been my favourite. Maybe, the spaghetti I had had are often sourish; not that I don't like sour food but I do think the spaghetti type of sourness lacks that certain zing found in the sourness of  local food. When Mau Wei came to Taiping the last time, she had had sphagetti for breakfast. Initially, she had wanted to go for some hawker food in the market but then we had decided to watch Alpha, the American movie about a young hunter played by Australian Kodi Smit-McPhee, who befriends an injured wolf during the last ice age and were short for time; so, we settled into a comfortable eating place nearby and she had spaghetti , coffee and a piece of cake. I had the sour lime juice and as I had had curry noodles at home earlier, I opted for  just a piece of cake.




Tik Tok Hawker

Image
You don't find this type of hawkers anymore, I think, a travelling one selling noodles. He operates from a pushcart and is always on the move so much so that you won't be able to find him when you yearn for a bowl of his ware. My niece; the other one, I mean, who's not so much into cooking but art, loves the glass noodles sold by the hawker very much. One day, while at home, the hawker happened to pass by. We knew because he would tap his chopsticks on a bowl, producing a tik tok sound. My other niece sang praises for his  glass noodles and  asked if I'd like to have a bowl, her treat. So, off we went outside, each with our own bowls to meet the Tik Tok hawker, probably the one and only one around. It was a beautiful day indeed!

For Lunch and Dinner

Image
I remember one Saturday when I was preparing to go out;  I was putting on my sport shoes when my niece called out from the kitchen, Are you coming home for lunch? She reminded me to be back for she had specially prepared Tom Yam mee and curry mee. That was really special because most of the time, Asian families eat rice, that being the staple food, with various meat and vegetables dishes of course. Tom Yam mee is noodle dipped in Tom Yam soup; it's Thai influenced; Tom Yam being a hot and sour soup from Thailand which I truly love. Curry mee on the other hand, refers to curry laksa; that's what the people in South Malaysia call it and if you have read, has been billed  the second most delicious dish in the world by Lonely Planet this year. That day, I had curry mee for lunch and Tom Yam mee for dinner. I'm one lucky guy, don't you think?Now, which is for lunch and which is for dinner?

Chicken Soup for Weary Travellers

Image
Traveling is often a tiring affair. In a guided tour especially; if you take a night plane and reach your destination early the next morning, sometimes even before you can checked into your hotel, you will be rushed off to some places of interest by your tour guide. In Busan, my friends and I were rushed off to Gamcheon Culture Village upon arrival. Apologizing for the rush, our beautiful guide promised a rejuvenating Korean ginseng chicken soup to recharge our batteries later. The Korean chicken soup was different from mom's; the former had its chicken stuffed with rice and herbs and  served with kimchee and ginseng wine. My friends found the soup not to their liking, being not aromatic enough due to not having enough Korean ginseng but I loved it just the same. Geonbae! 乾杯!Can you spot the ginseng wine?

Saturday Night Date

Image
It was not a Saturday night fever for sure; that was more for John Travolta. For normal people like us, it was more a Saturday night date. Ah Heng had called me in the afternoon to ask if I had wanted some adeniums which his ex-colleague was giving away. So, together we went to his colleague's house to pick them up. On our way home, we made a date to watch Donnie Yen's latest flick that night, Big Brother, a movie in the vein of  Sidney Pointier's To Sir With Love, only with some kung full thrown in.  After the movie, we had gone across the road to eat. Both Ah Heng and I had yet to take our dinner. While I was more keen on going home for some home cooked meal, Ah Heng had wanted to eat out. So,  I thought I'd just go for a drink and have something light. Ah Heng ordered what looked like fusion food, grilled chicken in black pepper sauce served with fried eggs and French fries and of all things, steamed rice. He asked if I'd like to try the Assam fish there. I reme…