You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘delightful things’ tag.

 
In my last post I mentioned Eating Asia's Robyn Eckhardt. We were lucky enough to take her walking and eating tour of Georgetown, and she passed on a slew of tips for places to eat on our own time. Our plan for the late afternoon was to potter around town and then try some Penang laksa. Robyn dismissed most of the supposedly “best” laksas in town and gave us directions to a far superior but unheralded hawker. This place doesn't open till the mid-afternoon, though, so we had time for some proper touristing first. And yes, we totally planned our day around the time the laksa stall opened.
As we wandered the historic centre, though, we began to notice something. Cats. Cats painted on walls. As a huge fan of the late Chris Marker, cats on walls are of particular interest to me. I knew that Georgetown had a bunch of street art but the cats were an extremely pleasing surprise. Suddenly, they were appearing everywhere, in small scale and writ large. Read the rest of this entry »
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Georgetown is full of gorgeous old shophouse architecture – the kind of buildings that have been torn down in many other places and replaced with truly ugly modern high rises. Penang's shophouses aren't only valuable for their aesthetic merits, though, as they still support some of the cultures that are nourished by these types of space. A perfect example is Toon Leong coffee shop, which we discovered on the recommendation of Robyn from Eating Asia.* Here, the purpose of the deep interior space with pillars but no walls becomes perfectly clear: it is almost magically cool inside, despite a day in the high 90s and nothing but a couple of lazy ceiling fans. Humidity be damned, it is comfortable here. In the late morning, the cafe is dotted with old Chinese guys and a growing number of local workers coming in for lunch. You can take a lunch break here but it would also be so very easy to while away several hours. Kopi tiam, or coffee house culture here is alive and well, thanks to these kinds of spaces.
 
Singapore is famous for its hawker food centres: since the government cleared hawkers from plying their trade on the street, they have been moved to what are essentially food courts. However, they're not food courts in the way you might imagine them if what you are used to is European or North American mall food courts. These hawker centres are mostly open air, with a covering roof but no walls, doors or, crucially, air conditioning. The stalls have access to plumbing and there are hygiene certificates prominently displayed (this is Singapore, after all), but they are still decently grimy, hot and chaotic. Kenny and Alan ramped things up by taking us to Chomp Chomp, a hawker centre that's a bit further out and less touristed than the Chinatown ones. The neighbourhood is tony, with gentrified wine bars and posh bakeries nearby, but Chomp Chomp remains unabashedly traditional, and packs in crowds of mostly (but by no means all) young people. Read the rest of this entry »

One of the advantages of being a food blogger is that friends often give delicious food-related gifts, and  the most wonderful version of this is getting out-of-the-blue home-made giftage. The other day I came into my office to find a tiny, beautiful jar of homemade hot sauce made by my multi-talented colleague Ukelele Lady. She’s a huge chili head and has taken to making hot sauces as a bit of a cottage industry. This one is called Ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb and is of course made with cherry bomb chilies. They’re not the hottest but they’ve got a lovely sweet flavour. I couldn’t resist sticking a pinky into the jar and tasting it, and I immediately thought the sweetness would go well with the char of a steak.

So I made something very simple. I wok-seared some thin steaks, then used the beef fat in the work to stir-fry bok choy and red pepper with garlic, soy sauce and a touch of Shaoxing wine. I got both the meat and the bok choi nicely charred with wok hei, then added a good dollop of ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb. It was delicious and made us extremely happy to have such generous and warm-hearted friends. Sharing the chili love – hurrah!

While I’ve been away, I missed a veritable shower of appreciation! Excitingly, I have received not one but two Versatile Blogger nominations, which is really rather wonderful. I was too technically thwarted to respond at the time, but I am eager to do so now…

First of all major thanks go to the two lovely bloggers who nominated me:

Body of a Geek Goddess is the person who nagged, bothered and generally inspired me to start blogging in the first place. She was insistent that I had something interesting to say about food and even eats things I cook for her on occasion. She’s also the talent behind this splendid sci-fi and fantasy oriented blog which is the place to go for your feminist geek needs and/or Supernatural underwear.

Postcard of a Painting is a fab blog for those grammar geeks among us, with forays into theatre, film and television writing to boot. But it mostly mocks badly-written signs, which is a life-affirming process for some of us.

The rules of the award stipulate that I now nominate some of my own favourite blogs and then tell you seven things about myself. I would nominate my nominators but they are both already recipients of the award so I won’t give them more work! Read the rest of this entry »

My geeky little heart loves things that deploy science in unusual places, so I was pleased to come across Caren Alpert’s food photography. Alpert uses lab equipment including electron microscopes to take extreme close up photographs of food, revealing the strange and beautiful inner lives of vegetables, shrimp and even candy. In my non-food life I spend a lot of time thinking about images, considering what we look at and what goes unseen in visual cultures. We’re fairly used to these kinds of beyond-the-naked-eye images in the medical context or in CSI, but this cross-pollination of food porn with science was new to me and rather lovely.

The image above is pineapple leaf. This one, if you can believe it, is shrimp tail. With feathers, apparently. Gorgeous! Check out Alpert’s work at Caren Alpert Fine Art.

Via boing boing.

Just a quick post to say how delighted I am to have won the Chinese New Year recipe contest on Farina’s Asian Pantry blog. I entered my recipe for Sichuan braised beef cheek with orange, and Farina’s Singapore foodie judging panel loved the braise and found it to be both approachable and versatile. Yay! Farina has a fab looking new iPad and iPhone app on demystifying Asian cuisine and her blog is chock full of recipe ideas and lovely photography. I’m honoured that she enjoyed my food.

Sometimes, I don’t have to search out deliciousness – it just comes to me all on its own. My talented friend V made her own membrillo this year, and turned up in my office with a box of ruby and garnet coloured treats. In addition to the traditional Spanish quince version, she made a deep red plum version which was, if anything, even better than the original. Membrillo is a popular snack across Spain and Latin America, often served with cheese at tapas time or for afternoon tea. We ate it with a lovely Spanish manchego and bread from our new neighbourhood delicatessen. Although, to get this shot, I actively had to stop Mr Lemur from eating it all straight out of the box.

Haggis Dumplings (photo Lydia Nagai)

I came across this article about Burns night crossed with Chinese New Year in Vancouver and couldn’t resist. Apparently, Chinese-Canadian Todd Wong founded Gung Haggis Fat Choy to bring together  the two major ethnic groups who emigrated to British Columbia: the Scots and the Chinese:

Wong, or “Toddish McWong” as he is known in the Scottish community, invented a new holiday by combining the Chinese New Year with Robbie Burns Day, the holiday that celebrates the birthday of Scotland’s most famous poet. The two holidays fall close together in the calendar year, making it convenient to combine the celebrations, notes Wong, a fifth generation Chinese-Canadian. On Jan. 31, Vancouver’s Chinatown will host the 12th annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy festival where deep-fried haggis won ton will be served alongside single malt whiskey.

Scottish people and Chinese people…eating innards together. Could there be a more splendid version of multiculturalism in action?

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