Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Comfort Food - Corned Beef Memories

Comfort food is great for the moments it brings back.

I had corned beef some time back and do so from time to time, when I feel a bit homesick. The best thing is the memories that come are not necessarily related to the same food.

The last time I had corned beef, I thought about my first long-haul flight.

I've lived away from home close to 30 years now. I can still remember the first time I left home for real. I mean REAL real. I flew 10,000 miles away. I'm small but the airplane seat I was in felt claustrophobic.

And I was chowing down into an omelette. Cheesy, gooey dribble down your chin omelette.  Or at least that's what my mind tells me.

That omelette might well have been my next seat neighbour's. Maybe it was his omelette and I was looking hungrily at it, wishing that's what I'd ordered instead some dry sandwich. That neighbour now lives in LA and yes, we still keep in touch. And that brings a smile to my face.

Can't wait to chow down on the next comfort food!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It Ain't (Korean) Soup Baby (it's Sungnyung)

I thought it was soup. The waitress served it in a bowl. I swear. Not the tea cup bowl thingy but a real soup bowl. When I asked her, she said something in gibberish. Further inquiry only elicited the kind of hysterical giggling that said don't ask, just drink!


I got rice though. I thought I heard her say rice. So I gathered she served me some kind of rice soup dessert. I asked if it were. More hysterical giggling.

(ok, ok)

Anyway, I drank it like one would Miso soup - no spoon, just lips to the rim of the bowl and slurp. Okay, I didn't slurp.My grandmother (gbhs) would turn in her grave if I ever slurped my soup. She needn't worry though - I think slurping is just nasty.

It turns out the soup is lightly sweet and a little smoky. Delicious. I finished the rest immediately. Then I remembered.

Oh no.

I should have drunk slowly to make it last. (four letter word)

You know how the saying goes, time waits for no one. Fortunately food is not so rigid. Even the smallest amount can be made to last forever. (exaggerating again, as usual)

But anyway, doesn't matter anymore. I forgot to stall and savour. (another four letter word) So with the sweet taste still lingering in memory, I said to myself, I must go back and find out what this soup is called.

(Gone in a matter of seconds)

I google Korean Rice Dessert. The closest match is rice tea. Well, well, well. So that's what it is. Sungnyung. Lovely.

I click on a website that says Korean Table Manners and I discover I had commitment many many crimes against the art of eating and drinking Korean.

No wonder the waitress was giggling hysterically. I was actually joke of the day. Ekkk.

So anyway, here is the list of do's that I didn't;

1. It's rice tea, not soup (scorched rice tea to be exact)
2. Pour the tea into the rice bowl and THEN drink
3. Use spoon for rice, chopstick for other food (I used chopstick for rice as well)
4. After a meal, put spoon and chopsticks on the spot where they were first placed
5. Do not hold spoon and chopsticks at the same time
6. When using chopsticks, place spoon on table
7. The spoon and chopsticks should not rest on any bowl or dish during the meal

So now we know.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Shake it Baby

When I make shakes, it's usually because the fruit has gone too soft and yucky to eat au naturel. Not always though. Sometimes, it's a phase I go through. Sometimes I want to put on weight, yes load on those kgs. It can be a painful exercise. No pain, no gain as the saying goes, right.

Anyway, recently, in the latest (it seems so far) unsuccessful bid to fatten up, I have been making avocado shakes, sometimes mango shakes. I tried to subscribe the equation of calories intake versus calorie used up, but in my case, it seems my metabolic rate is my ultimate determinor (that's not a word, I know, but I can't think of the right word right now) of my weight. It seems that when I consume more calories, the metabolic engine kicks in and takes it up a matching notch!! At one point, I was adding ice-cream to my shakes and that was just breakfast. Alas, to no avail!

Sometimes, it's what catches your fancy when you're out.  The chocolate and avocado shake in the pic is one such occasion. That was when I was in Bungus Beach waaaaay back in 2009 with a girlfriend.

Yesterday was such an occasion as well. I was out in town with a friend and he wanted fruit juice from a stand he had seen earlier. I tried a shake I'd never had before;a mango/starfruit combo and he; a mango/dragonfruit combo.   The verdict - I like the contrasting tastes and textures of the two fruits of my choice but appearance-wise, dragonfruit and mango is much easier to make pretty.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thai Mango Salad - a shrimp is all it takes


How do you like your mango?

I love mine yellow and sweet but it's also good a little greenish white, pale yellow, sour and a little hint of sweet here and there.

When I was littler, my sister introduced me to the delicious art of eating young mangos . 

And it is simple to make as well. After peeling and cutting the fruit into very thin strips, she mixed the fruit with sugar and black salty soy sauce in a bowl and let cool in the fridge. After an hour, voila, taste bud heaven awaits you in that fridge.

Since that first experience, I have tried several variations. With shrimp paste, chilli and lime; without the shrimp paste; just with sugar; plain (although hardly ever - too sour!!) and during my college years with Old El Paso salsa dip (the mild and hot range) and the extra hot Indonesian sambal oelek from Chinatown. Ooof, now that never failed to leave me with red swollen lips afterwards but well worth the taste trip!

I don't do sambal oelek these days - my poor matured digestive system couldn't handle it I think!  

But I still love the occasional spicy trip and I get it from Thai restaurants. I either get a squid salad, an extra hot tom yam soup (I could eat plates and plates of white rice to accompany it!!) or my all time Thai favourite ----- mango salad!!! And yes, they do leave me a swollen red burning lips!! And yes, it's well worth it!

At one of the restaurants, I discovered a new ingredient that goes very well with young mango - dried shrimp. They don't lend any flavour to the salad until you bite into one of those babies. And then it's yumm. A little flavour explosion occurs in your mouth. 

And you go back for more. 

And more. And more.

Oh, there is one ingredient that, in my books, does not go with mango - peanut chips, esp if they're burnt! Tell the guy to hold the peanuts.