Thursday, August 26, 2010

When the Queen of Cheese meets the King of Fruits

Queen of Cheese... that's me.  I think I have great taste in music but seems like most everyone around me don't think so. I mean I love the (early) Beatles, ABBA, Elvis, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Isley Brothers... hmm, should I go on?

King of Fruits... that's the durian. Mention durian and it always is amusing (to me) to see the plethora of reactions it elicits. From a vehement yukk to a feverish yumm to the milder it's ok la. To hear the adjectives attached to the fruit. I can collect enough material to do a chapter on antonyms and synonyms. Stinky, creamy, sewage smell, disgusting texture, heavenly. You name it, I've heard it. :)

Personally, I like the fruit. It is sweet, yet not so, more like a milky creamy kind of sweet. 

It has a distinct scent too. I wouldn't go as far as saying smelly. Smelly is something offensive and no matter how many people tell me it is smelly, I can't possibly agree. It is perhaps an unfamiliar category of sweet, maybe cloyingly sweet to some. 

I saw a man, just recently, all on his average-sized-own, go through at least 8 jumbo sized fruit. That must be some kind of record. And I bet he was sick that night. But then again. Surprise me right? Myself? I can only eat 2 pieces (usually); egg me on, and maybe I'll eat 3. Pieces mind you, not the entire fruit!

... worth a voyage to the East?

A friend from Argentina (the cute Luis B) sent me the following quote by British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace about what he said about the durian in 1856;

"The five cells are silky-white within, and are filled with a mass of firm, cream-coloured pulp, containing about three seeds each. This pulp is the edible part, and its consistence and flavour are indescribable. A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes. Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy. It is neither acid nor sweet nor juicy; yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. In fact, to eat Durians is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience. ... as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour it is unsurpassed."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Good for the Goose?

I had soup some time ago. It tasted good until I got almost to the bottom and the main ingredient showed.

Actually I'm not really squeamish about food. I am Asian after all. (haha, don't I love this excuse..)


Throw in a friend who feels strongly about such exotica... and voila. The whole dining experience takes a fun turn.

Monday, August 16, 2010

26 Teaspoons of Sugar - A Malaysian Obsession

Fun Fact 1 :
That's how much sugar Malaysians reputedly down on a daily basis.

Fun Fact 2 :
And that Malaysia is the 8th highest sugar consumer in the world.

Source :
A fellow Malaysian some months ago whom I suppose knows what he's saying since his work involves affairs pertaining to domestic trade and consumerism. 

My own preference :
I love my local frothy milk tea (refer picture) but every time I patronize a local coffee shop aka kopitiam, I must always remember to add the phrase 'less sweet' (kurang manis) for my coffee or tea order as the default setting is at least 2 teaspoons of sugar topped with a generous dollop of sweetened condensed milk. Mmmm. Yumm. Haha.

Ouch :
Malaysia (allegedly) has the fourth highest number of diabetic sufferers in Asia (1.3 million in 2010) and most overweight and obese people in Asia with more than half of adults either overweight or obese. Double ouch.

What I thought was kind of amusing :
was that a local (and quite influential) consumer association is pushing for colour coding on product labels to refer to sugar content. Red for high, orange for medium and green for low.  It makes me wonder what that suggests about the average Malaysian buyer.Wait. Does that include me as well?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gaga Over Coffee


I had my first coffee only in my late teens. 

Coffee drinking was (and still is) strictly an adults only activity in my family. But this was an exception. It was one of those cold sensation numbing fall days which only a hot drink could remedy. I'd run to the vending machine in the class hallway but there was no more hot chocolate. Only coffee! Aargh. So what's a non-coffee drinking person to do but right?

I can't remember the specific day or time; I only distinctly remember thinking 'wow, this is bitter'.  (Come to think of it, no wonder that's all that was left). And no, it didn't turn out to be a 'and as they say, the rest is history' kind of thing.  I continued drinking coffee after that fateful day, although again more out of necessity than passion and quit after college, sticking to Milos and teas for years after.

In the last few years though, I've rediscovered coffee (re: the kind in the pic above, exotic sounding names, nice (ceramic or china, no styrofoams please) cups and all). And love it. Especially so in the last one and a half years :)

Plus I derive comfort from these little nuggets of information gleaned from the internet, which I happily cut and paste and (hopefully accurately) paraphrase  from  Positively Coffee.

1. Coffee does not have any substantial effect on the risk of cancer of either the pancreas or of the kidney. (yay!)

2. Drinking coffee is not a causal factor in the development of cancer at any body site. (double yay!)

3. Drinking coffee may be protective in relation to liver, lower bowel and ovarian cancer as well as against the development of Type II diabetes. (yaay!)

4. A cup of coffee may help increase performance as well as exercise for longer before exhaustion. (woohoo!)

5. Moderate coffee drinking contributes to one's daily fluid intake, essential to both well trained and recreational sports men and women. (yayyy!)

6. Drinkers of more than 3 cups of coffee a day show lower levels of some liver enzymes in the blood than drinkers of less than 3 cups per day and in those non coffee drinking individuals. (woohoo!)

7. Research shows an inverse relationship between coffee drinking and the development of Parkinson's, with the exception of women undergoing hormone therapy. (woohoo!)

8. Moderate coffee consumption (2 regular cups of coffee according to UK Foods Standard Agency) among women trying to conceive, during pregnancy or whilst breast feeding is perfectly safe. (yay!)

9.  Moderate amounts of caffeine significantly improve alertness in sleepy subjects. (It is well documented that stopping for a caffeine containing drink, such as a cup or two of coffee, and a short nap are the most effective counter measures for alleviating driver fatigue) (triple YAY!)

And they say this too on the same site; 
"It is clear that for the majority of healthy adults coffee can be enjoyed in moderation (4 to 5 regular size cups a day) helping maintain important body fluid levels as well as increasing alertness; and keeping us going throughout the day."

So. I'm healthy. I'm an adult. And if it's on the net, it must apply to me too... musn't it????

Still, much as it is heartening to know how wonderful coffee is for my health, I still much prefer tea. It's just a family, tradition, habit kind of thing....