The weather here in KL has reached 36°C and all I can think about is ice cream. Feeling inspired after having a scoop of salted caramel ice cream in Hokkaido Ice Cream in The Garden Mall, I went in search of recipes. I was very pleased that this splendid flavour was now available in KL. I’ve only ever had salted caramel in Paris (the best is from Berthillon). I found a recipe I am keen to try. Upon finding this recipe, I was keen to explore other flavours and thought that a pandan coconut flavour would be very nice indeed. I looked it up and found this.
The perfect song for making ice cream is perhaps Battles’ new track featuring Matias Aguayo on vocals called Ice Cream. If the video reminds you of El Guincho’s Bombay, it is because the video is directed by the same folks.
Find salted caramel ice cream (sold as shio caramel) in:
Lot T-201, 3rd Floor,
The Garden Mall,
Mid Valley City,
Lingkaran Syed Putra,
Quite simply, no trip back to KL is quite complete without a stop in Chinatown or Petaling Street as it is known. I spent many years’ worth of weekdays in this area. My mum used to send us to Mandarin lessons which we took in the back of a Chinese temple every day, after our daily school lessons. The classes were held in the back of the temple, up a flight of stairs. There were 3 rooms, where the lessons were taught. Walking through the temple you will have to go through huge incense hanging from the ceiling and there were always some homeless people begging for money right at the entrance. I hated learning Mandarin, so for me the lessons were an opportunity to make the temple our playground.
On Tuesday night, Augusta and I went to Petaling Street. Our friend Bassi had requested some mirrored wayfarers, so we went to hunt some down. After walking around and finding some bargains, we stopped for a little snack at Kim Lian Kee. This little corner shop has been around since the late 20s. It has not been modernised much and remains pretty much a modest outfit. This is Malaysian street food after all! We shared a plate of Hokkien mee/meehoon. I’ve eaten here several times before, and was happy to find that the noodles were still good in this KL institution.
We were thirsty and ordered one of the best thirst quenchers ever- kalamansi lime juice with asamboi. Kalamansi limes are a special variety of limes. They are tiny, but packed with flavour, a little explosion of sweet and sour. The juice of kalamansi limes with a couple of asamboi (preserved salted plums or saladitos) = flavoursome thirst quenching drink. It’s a drink that packs a flavourful punch, satisfying almost all the different tastebuds. Palate Palette, which is one of my favourite places in KL does an alcoholic version of this drink with your choice of Vodka or Rum. It’s pretty, pretty, pretty good.
The best thing about traveling in a country where you don’t speak the language is the element of surprise when buying from street vendors. We’d walked past this lady carrying bags filled with discs and square-shaped wafer/crisp things. On a whim and feeling like we should take a gamble upon spotting a coconut over a tupperware, we signed for an order of this mysterious dish.
The lady spoke no English at all and of the four Vietnamese words I learnt while in Saigon (all words for food), coconut was one of them. We asked for “dua” thinking that perhaps some of these wafer-like discs could be coconut-flavoured, but we weren’t getting anywhere. We decided to just choose a disc- one with black sesame seeds and what proceeded to happen was a guarantee that this was going be a very delicious treat.
It was so beautiful and simple. First the wafer was covered with molasses. Next, she sprinkled freshly grated coconut, and quite a lot of it. Finally she snapped the wafer in half and covered the coconut. She handed us over this wafer sandwich and that first bite was off the hook!
Nothing like the joy of striking delicious with a food gamble in a foreign country.
I had the pleasure of visiting Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City) recently and one of my most memorable meals there was the traditional Vietnamese dish Steamed Prawns in Coconut. This had been on my list of things to try simply because it had all the key words that smelled like this is probably quite a flavoursome dish. What I didn’t realise was that when I ordered this dish, I was also going to be treated to a pre-dinner theater!
The dish came with the steamed prawns hooked onto the coconut prettily like some kind of ornament. The dish was lit up and the prawns were charred by the dancing flames. After awhile, the waiter started peeling each prawn and dropped them into the coconut. My sister and I were in awe. We had not expected to be treated to this spectacle when we ordered.
We fished out the prawns which were sweetened by the coconut juice, pleased that this dish was such a feast for the senses. It reminded me of other delicious dishes that moonlight as entertainers on the dining table. Immediately sizzling hot plates came to mind and so did Bomb Alaska. The anticipation of watching your food perform creates a mouth-watering experience which is mostly down to the ability to imagine taste.
This Easter, instead of eating chocolate eggs, I bought Air in Choco in Arigato on Brewer Street. This fish-shaped chocolate wafer confectionery got me really excited! There is something very thrilling about food in the shape of other food or animals. It is the playfulness and the obvious trick that make me love food in disguise.
When I opened this later, I was so happy to find that not only is Air in Choco food in disguise, the fish is of a take-me- seriously size. I bought this thinking there might be some tiny fish in the packet. What I found was one solo fish sitting on a paper tray, looking like it was tired of waiting around for something to happen.
And immediately I understood why such a fish would look impatient waiting around in a packet. Ladies and gentlemen, remember, this is no ordinary fish, no ordinary chocolate wafer. It is Air in Choco for a reason…have a look inside.
There it is. As promised, all that air in choco.
One of my favourite stories as a child was Around The World in 80 Days. See, travel and faraway lands have always excited me. Lately, this has been on my mind as I have just booked flights to go back to see family and am counting down days until my holiday.
Sometimes time and budgets do not allow for traveling and you need to be creative. Travel can come in the form of books, film, music and food. Today I read The Times Online’s 50 Best Food Blogs and felt very inspired to do a spot of cooking and baking.
I was also reminded of this restaurant/architectural wonder that I read about in New Zealand. The Yellow Treehouse is part of New Zealand’s Yellow Pages marketing campaign to prove that any project can be finished using the Yellow Pages.
I love the architecture and design of this restaurant. I love that it resembles a lantern.
For now, I’m happy just listening to some Cumbia for a taste of the exotic.
I love living in a big city where it seems like the world is always within reach. After having lived in London for nearly one and half years, I have only just discovered the tiny strip of Korean eateries on St Giles High Street. Here, in this little pocket just off Tottenham Court Road I feel like I’ve been transported into a Korean film.
And here away from the maddening crowds of Oxford Street, I tried Kimchi Jjige for the first time. This is a dish that uses a combination of ingredients that epitomises the best flavours for my palate- spiciness and sourness.
Traditionally this is a hot pot of leftovers- made using old kimchi and cooked with beancurd or tofu and either pork or beef. It reminded me of my favourite Chinese New Year dish, a spicy and sour soup, again made with leftovers from the Reunion Dinner feast.
Now that the days are darker and the air crispier, nothing is as warming as having a bowl of kimchi jjige with some rice.