Recalling my one-month journey in Southeast Asia, wandering through Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, I note, with a degree of whimsical irony, that I began and ended my travel with a bowl of noodles. I kick started my eating foray with asam laksa, a spicy and sour tamarind based noodle soup with explosive flavors in Penang. Then, coming full circle, I concluded with a steaming hot bowl of pho in Ho Chi Minh City. In a Proustian-like occurrence where taste begets memory, the city will forever be intertwined with lime juice, hot peppers and aromatic herbs.
Vietnam’s cuisine reflects not only its geographical position, but also incorporates Chinese (stir-frying, widespread consumption of noodles) and French (freshly baked baguettes, pâté) influences. Furthermore, regional differences also divide Vietnamese cuisine. South and central Vietnam have better access to an abundant variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as fresh herbs; thus, food tend to be more flavorful and robust than that of the north.
In the food world, all right-minded eaters are supposed to eat locally, seasonally, and sustainably. The term locavore, which was added to the Oxford American Dictionary in 2007, has become part of mainstream vernacular for food discourse.
What does this mean for the movement? While eating local may not be a sensible option for everyone, you can start building your personal 100-mile food system right here, at your local farmers markets.
Combine flour, egg, sugar and you get donuts (or doughnuts). Brought over by the Dutch in the 19th century, donuts were fried balls of cake in pork fat.
Despite donuts’ humble origin, mere “olykoeks” or “oil cakes,” there’s much to be loved. I have nothing against anything fried or sweet. Americans love their donuts. Annually, roughly 10 billion donuts are made in the US alone, raising the per capita consumption for donuts to 63 donuts per person. That is, a lot of donuts.
From plain just-glazed-donuts to crazy you-say-what-donuts, donuts have never been so full (wonderful) guilty pleasure. Check out these great Bay Area picks!
It’s a love-hate relationship when it comes to Korean food. On the one hand, dining gets boring when options revolve around rice, kimchi, jjigae, and grilled meats. On the other hand, because Korean food has a certain “flavor” to it — fermented gochujang (chili paste), doenjang (soybean paste), you start craving for it when you’ve been away.
I swear, when I returned from my one-month South East Asia trip, the first thing I did was visit our neighborhood Korean chain restaurant and ordered jjigae.
I lived and worked in Seoul, Korea, from 2010 to 2011. Just to clarify, I am not, nor do I speak, Korean. Furthermore, I had no particular interest in Korean dramas or pop stars. Hence, you might ask, “Why did you go to Korea?”
Frankly, I do not not know myself. But I can most certainly retort with a “Why not?”. In Alastair Reid’s poem,“Curiosity,” there are two types of people — dogs and cats. A dog person opts for stability (e.g. family, work) while a cat person seeks the unknown. Contrary to popular proverb that “curiosity kills the cat,” the poem contends that it is the lack of curiosity that kills us. For only the curious, “have, if they live, a tale worth telling at all.”
I survived Korea splendidly. But that was luck and, I would say 87%, attributed to meeting a lot of great people. For those who don’t like to leave having a good time to chance, there are a thing or two you should know about the city.
There is something very sexy about the way French say the word “macaron” (pronounced mack-ah-ROHN). The heavily accented syllables roll off the tongue lazily, a little slurred yet unmistakably delicious. The experience of biting into a macaron – two shells made with egg white and almond flour laced with ganache (a mixture of cream and chocolate), is simply delightful. It is crunchy yet smooth, airy yet lingering, and most definitely heavenly when paired with a good cup of tea. Indulge yourself with this delicious treat at Chantal Guillon in Palo Alto.
The best way to catch up with a girlfriend or girlfriends is over a cup of tea and cakes. Supposedly the practice of entertaining with “tea and a walk with in the fields,” aka afternoon tea, started in early nineteenth century Britian by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford.
Prior to the introduction of tea, the English had two main meals — breakfast and dinner (dinner was served around eight o’clock). The Duchess was said to have complained of “having that sinking feeling” at about four o’clock in the afternoon. Her solution was a pot of tea and a light snack. Later, she invited her friends to join her. The practice proved to be so popular that the other social hostesses quickly picked up the idea.
Join the fashionable society for your sip of tea. Below, a list of recommendations.
Before the trip even started, I have already compiled my list of Top-Five Lobster Shack. I was most determined to go to Five Island Lobster Co. because I read that the place — perched on the edge of Sheepscot Bay, with no indoor seating, is the quintessential lobster shack. As I read through reviews, I started imagining myself, in a cozy sweater, eating a 3lb lobster while overlooking the bay and watching the sun sets. Ah, perfect… that was, until I discovered that Five Island Lobster opens May 11.
I was CRUSHED. While some may argue that “a lobster is a lobster, they all taste good,” I believe that there are “good lobster” and “just lobster.” In my quest for an authentic Maine-lobster-experience (and a place that is open), I landed in Barnacle Billy’s in Ogunquit. Continue reading →