Monday, March 27, 2017

Subways and above ground - London

We were touring the street art scene at Shoreditch and Brick Lane. While waiting for our guide we struck a conversation with a local British couple touring with us. They were much older and wiser. As fellow travelers in this life that we have, it was sobering when they told us their reason. 

They are taking time to discover their country after retiring as they missed so much of the above ground scenery as they spent a lot of time commuting and working in their offices. 

They told us that they had mastered the Underground by scurrying around them while having a career and family in London. Now retired and children away from the nest, they are re-discovering the aboveground beauty of London! 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Doi Chang Coffee - Holiday Villa, Johor Baru

A blast from the past for me to be sitting enjoying a cuppa in Johor Baru. Can't help reminiscing the good of days where Thailand was my constant companion.

"Doi" means mountains and "chang", elephant in Thai. Out of this mountain, Arabica beans have made a name for itself in the coffee world. Used to be a place I will go 2-3 times a year in the early-90's. Beautiful tribal folks, a lot of times I'm their customs living in their mountainous land.

This glass of their signature Doi Chaang Coffee is highly recommended. Smooth, fragrant and very agreeable to my palate. No clashes and loud 'dings' in my head. Took a liking immediately.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Nutritious, Healthy Japanese Sweet Potatoes - A Comparison of Eight Varieties

Sweet potatoes were the 'in' food for awhile. The Japanese Purple Skin and Yellow Flesh Satsuma was very popular and its "children" are planted throughout Southeast Asia as a cash crop. It's low-carb and has lots of health benefits. Do a Google search and be surprised.

This tuber is my favourite and I enjoyed eating them whenever I can get my hands on them. Read about this famous sweet potato from Cilembu from my previous post. If you need inspiration on its efficacy, eating, baking or cooking it just do another Google. It has a large following even among the rich and famous.

I was inspired to put these sweet potatoes grown locally and overseas to the test recently after a trip to Pati, Central Java where the soil is particularly suitable for tubers. I will be comparing its prices, taste, smell and texture. During my childhood days each potato is a treat. The choices available to us are testimony of KL urbanites rising affluence. In Village Grocer alone I could find 8 different varieties for sale from RM5 to RM43.

New Zealand Organic Yellow Flesh at RM43/kg. Superior taste sweet, fragrance vanilla-like and smooth texture. The best but extremely expensive.
Red Skin Japanese Satsuma imported and at RM27/kg. Flesh was yellow, sweet and fragrant though quality lower than the NZ one. Need to steamed for up to 50 minutes to soften. Indonesian Cilembu Yellow Skin and Yellow flesh was sweet and texture was smooth. Good quality.  Sold at RM12/kg
Another Satsuma Japanese imported Red Skin and Yellow Flesh at RM20/kg. Good quality. Steaming it till soft took at least 45 minutes.
 Japanese imported. Steamed for food!
Australian Orange Skin and Orange Flesh. Imported at RM19/kg.  Very quick to soften when steamed. Taste and texture inferior to that of Japanese imported.
 Steamed organic NZ and Australian.
Local Organic at RM16/kg. Open baking. Not recommended as it was powdery. In future will wrap in aluminum foil to retain moisture.

 Imported Indonesian Cilembu at RM12/kg. Sweet. Syrup oozed out.
Local purple at RM7/kg. A bit dry in the flesh even with steaming.
Japanese variety grown in Vietnam. Imported to Malaysia. Sold at RM6/kg
Local Yellow Skin with White Flesh. Not to my liking.
Indonesian grown Japanese variety. Purple Skin and Yellow Flesh. Obviously a notch or two below NZ. Almost matched Japanese imported ones in taste, fragrance and texture. It's only RM1/kg in Pati, Java Tengah where the best tubers are.

Travel Bites @ Duomo Di Milano (Duomo Cathedral) and environs

The iconic cathedral has no 'rival'. The spacious square and the subway connectivity brought train loads of locals and foreigners. To say that this is the focus of tourists in Milan will be an understatement.

The only place that is equally attractive may be the church that has the Last Supper wall painting. However, they don't have strong supportive tourists' services and shopping.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sura Korean Restaurant - Taman Sunway Batu Caves

The proprietor is very brave to open their Korean restaurant in Batu Caves. It is in the midst of a less sophisticated area. Who will give them a chance to thrive? I hope more will look at the cheaper rental and lesser competition to come over and set up store. Like it a not, they have been here for more than 2 years.

The space is welcoming and has a large hall. It's warm ambiance got us settled down quickly. The workers were fast and the grill beef was prepared quickly. We enjoyed the food. The Banchans were free and we topped up as we like. We ordered three rounds of beef. The tender beef with full-bodied beefy taste filled up our hungry stomach with some solid protein!

The soup was a staple for my friend and it's tasty and may have been double boiled for a long time as the chicken meat was falling off the bones. The meat was almost tasteless as the essence would have gone into the broth. The vermicelli and the pancake answered the call for Carbo and there we were after an hour + of good food we were ready to roll again.

Lot no.3- 69100, 1, Jalan SM 1/4, Taman Sunway Batu Caves, 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bakso Komplit Nyamleng - Semarang Domestic Airport Departure

If you are at Semarang domestic airport departure lounge do try out this Indonesian cafe. Appetizing presentation and good food. The bakso came in the forms of balls, with tofu and wanton skin. The taste was much better than a lot of shops that I have eaten in. 

In beef balls and paste, I would watch out for texture. It should be rough and somewhat lumpy. This gave body to the paste and somehow I would feel satisfied. 

The noodles came twirled in balls like a embroidery thread balls. So it came bite size and easy to handle for those not so accomplished in the use of chopsticks. The soup was good and completed the meal. 

To complete the meal have a book in hand and a cup of local Tubruk coffee. It will take foreigners to get use to it as the cuppa includes coffee debris.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Grilled Mackerel Fillet - Homecooking Adventures

Simple meal with mackerel fillet. Pinches of french sea salt, generous crushed black pepper, sage, a lemon and 12mins at 210°C. Realized that some good quality salt could enhanced the taste of fish fillet dramatically. Fillet reached flaky state. That's how I like it for tuna and mackerel fishes. Quite happy with it as the taste is good.