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eGfoodblog: markemorse


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Let me add my own kudos on your writing style.  Do you do write lyrics, or just music?

Warning:  I will probably pester you throughout, as I am about to do below, for translations.  Dutch and English may be similar, but they're not identical.

OK, what did I eat?

[...something with lentils and a cousin of the Scotch bonnet...yum!]

Moksi meti literally means "mixed meats", and can be served with up to 4 meats: most typically it's cha siu, fa chong (or fa tsong), fo lam, and sometimes Peking duck.  Sounds pretty Chinese. Except it's on a baguette, with pickles. And the sauce that's been slathered on the baguette here is another habanero/adjoema-based Java-style sambal. Not anywhere near as lethal as the bara relish, it's a very subtle, smoky heat that builds slowly but never burns you out. The fresh pickles, lightly dressed with vinegar and allspice, help keep things running cool.

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[....]

The meat in the photo looks to me for all the world like barbecued brisket -- there's that pink smoke ring around the edge. But the only term above that I recognize is "Peking duck," and this certainly isn't that. What are chia siu, fa chong/tsong, and fo lam? Are any of them slow-smoked? And which of these is pictured here?

I think I can answer this on his behalf - the meat in the photo is char siu, or roasted pork. The marinade includes sugar or honey. Red food colouring is sometimes used, hence the pinkish-reddish ring around the edge. Char siu (or cha shao in Chinese) is one of the popular roasted meats in southern China, Hong Kong and Singapore, together with roasted goose, roast pork belly, etc.

Mmmmm!

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Aw, crikey. I just had that awesome experience where you spend 15 minutes writing a post, carefully choosing your words just so, and then you somehow accidentally close your browser b/c you've turned off the message that helpfully reminds you: "are you sure you want to close all these browser windows?", etc. etc. etc.

Let me add my own kudos on your writing style.  Do you do write lyrics, or just music?

Thanks for the kudos, Sandy...I should clarify about the music: I was using the word "alternative" slightly ironically (but literally) above...what we're involved with is probably most easily filed under avant-garde or experimental music, for better or for worse. Amsterdam's challenging, historically important, and currently creative underground music scene is one of the primary reasons we moved here....our particular pocket is interested in post-jazz improvisation in general, with a healthy dose of minimalism and drone, hopefully without being anywhere near as up its own ass as this description makes it sound, but yeah...further elaboration will definitely require some excessive non-food geekery...I'll just post some links for further listening and reading when I get around to talking about "what we do for a living". But to answer your question, no I don't write any lyrics (that don't suck).

Warning:  I will probably pester you throughout, as I am about to do below, for translations.  Dutch and English may be similar, but they're not identical.

Warning: I have been consciously underexplaining and undertranslating food terms for the sake of keeping things moving and not including redundant info. Please continue to stop me or pester as soon as there's something that needs more light shed upon it.

The meat in the photo looks to me for all the world like barbecued brisket -- there's that pink smoke ring around the edge.  But the only term above that I recognize is "Peking duck," and this certainly isn't that.  What are chia siu, fa chong/tsong, and fo lam? Are any of them slow-smoked?  And which of these is pictured here?

Thanks Makan King! Yes, this is char siu, slow roasted pork with a serious 5-spice flavor, balanced by the richness of the meat and the honey or sugar in the marinade. I believe that the "smoke ring" is actually the result of a little food coloring in a long marinade. This meat is really really an ideal pairing with the lightly pickled cucumbers served on the sandwich.

As for the rest, you already know fa chong: it's the chicken sausage that I had for breakfast, glazed with maple syrup (there was not any on my moksi meti sandwich, however).

Fo lam is a bit tough to find information on...it seems to be a Cantonese spit-roasted piglet, maybe with an oyster sauce element? If anyone can shed any light on this, fire away.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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After some quick internet research, it looks like cocoyam is, or is at least closely related to, taro. I'm assuming the two would be interchangeable? If so, it should be easy to find in most Asian markets.

Thanks for the research, Mukki...I thought this for awhile as well. They are absolutely related, but I'm not convinced that they're exactly the same thing. If they're not the same thing, I do think taro would probably be an at least interesting and potentially appropriate substitute.

Here is another expat American in Amsterdam writing intelligently about pom from a more Jewish perspective. She may appear in this blog later this week.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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This is off to a fun start, Mark.  You seem to like lots of the same kinds of foods I do, only you can get them and I can't, so I'm totally jealous.  And I think you win the prize for "most unusual living arrangement by a blogger."

I'll be visiting Chufi later this year, and you can bet I'm coming to your neighborhood sometime to eat!

Thanks Abra, and just give a holler if there's something I can send you...I definitely now take my access to Indonesian ingredients completely for granted....and do give a(nother) holler when you get to town!

Edited by markemorse (log)
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What about chiles? 

Yes! And no. One of the most interesting things about the Indische kitchen is the use of Caribbean chiles (with their very distinctive flavor profile) in a very Asian cuisine. I think it works really really well, and it's definitely something I hadn't tasted much of before I got here. Maybe occasionally some Jamaican food would approach these kinds of flavors, but this cooking is clearly more deeply entrenched in Asian territory.

Did you mention why you ended up in Amsterdam? 

I didn't....I will.

And I've asked this before to other expat bloggers, as an expat, what foods do you miss the most from the US? 

This changes all the time, but most recently I've started to realize that I really miss Georgia food. Buttermilk biscuits. Chicken-fried things. Mrs. Winners. BBQ. Waffle House. Cornmeal in general. Pecans. Peaches.

hot Krispy Kremes. BBQ some more.

I make catfish about once a week here, and every week it seems to get more and more Southern...maybe I'll do that for lunch today.

I also miss Mexican and Southwestern food dearly dearly dearly, I'll probably talk about that a bit more later...but my mom lives in Phoenix and sends me lots of chiles and assorted other supplies (tomatillos), so I cook in this style rather often.

(I guessed it was you partly because of your location, but also because I remembered you really liked different ethnic foods, though I wasn't certain.  But when I saw you were reading the topic when I posted my guess, but didn't deny that you were the blogger, I knew for certain it was you!  :biggrin: )

Yeah, you got me...I was there when you guessed it, and I was like "oh shit"! :raz: I was trapped. Great guess, though! :smile:

Edited by markemorse (log)
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So your legal squat has a performance space-cum-restaurant on the street floor?  Is that the space labeled "keuken" on the doorbells?

"Keuken" actually rings a bell in the kitchen. On nights when there's only music (and no restaurant), this bell would not be hearable, so the "Zaal 100" bell rings in the music spaces. Zaal 100 is the name of the music venue on the ground floor (website here). If you follow this link, it takes you to a sign that says they're closed for the summer (and maybe to put the flowers out? Chufi...colloquiallism?), but will reopen in September.

There's a weekly Tuesday night "Jazzcafe" (again, ever-so-slightly ironic...free jazz is the base from which these sessions are built) that is webcast, you'll need a torrent player, but months from now should anyone stumble across this post on a Tuesday afternoon (USA time), here's the link for the webcast.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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Insomnia Boy is hopefully going back to sleep for a little bit right now, but he's trying to decide between chicken Achar (kind of a sour Indian chicken preparation) and cornmeal-dusted catfish with pecans for lunch....any preferences?

Edited by markemorse (log)
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Insomnia Boy is hopefully going back to sleep for a little bit right now, but he's trying to decide between chicken Achar (kind of a sour Indian chicken preparation) and cornmeal-dusted catfish with pecans for lunch....any preferences?

I vote for catfish with pecans.

If you go back to sleep, I can get back to work, without checking your blog for updates every 10 minutes :laugh:

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This is fascinating; so close to my adopted country, yet so drastically different (except the cheeses!).

One question again about the term "keuken" - is it possible it's like the French word "cuisine" which means both "kitchen" and "cooking"? (I.e. "J'installe une nouvelle cuisine" and "J'aime la cuisine chinoise"?)

Edited by sharonb (log)
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This is fascinating; so close to my adopted country, yet so drastically different (except the cheeses!).

One question again about the term "keuken" - is it possible it's like the French word "cuisine" which means both "kitchen" and "cooking"? (I.e. "J'installe une nouvelle cuisine" and "J'aime la cuisine chinoise"?)

Hey Sharon, I think that's pretty correct, or at least that's my understanding of it. Maybe Chufi can confirm or deny.

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This is fascinating; so close to my adopted country, yet so drastically different (except the cheeses!).

One question again about the term "keuken" - is it possible it's like the French word "cuisine" which means both "kitchen" and "cooking"? (I.e. "J'installe une nouvelle cuisine" and "J'aime la cuisine chinoise"?)

Hey Sharon, I think that's pretty correct, or at least that's my understanding of it. Maybe Chufi can confirm or deny.

I can confirm this.

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OK, sleep achieved!

Time to start thinking about food.

+++

In the meantime, here are the requisite pet photos. We have two calico sisters, Macka (pronounced Motch-ka, it's Croatian for "cat"), and Jo3n. Here are their baby pictures:

Macka:

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Jo3n:

gallery_28661_4926_13167.jpg

Such pensive fuzz bombs. We'll check out their grownup pictures after lunch.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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I guess that means basically tomatoes and fresh bread.

gallery_28661_4926_2196.jpg

But she makes a really exceptional tomato sandwich, and from her I've learned that there are three things that can make it great even if your tomatoes are not worldbeating:

And those things are:

A healthy dose of good mayo....

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salt on your tomatoes...

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and a significant amount of freshly cracked pepper.

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+++

gallery_28661_4926_18257.jpg

Edited by markemorse (log)
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A change of plans may be afoot: some friends who are out of town for the summer had a vacation renter who bailed on them and now they need someone to feed their cats. Since it's on the other side of town and not incredibly convenient to pop in a couple times a day, one of us may go live over there for a couple days, they've got an amazing LP collection and it's a nice apartment...I'll decide by tonight or so.

Nonetheless, catfish for dinner after I run some errands.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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Since you've been doing a bang-up job with the educational part of your blog, and with answering questions, I'm going to guess you simply didn't see this one in my last post:

Isn't ketjap the sauce that mutated into what we Anglo-Americans call ketchup? My recollection is that the original sauce is thinner than the thick seasoned tomato sauce we eat. Is this sauce also made from tomatoes?

Also, is this sauce Indian or Indonesian in origin? (I think it originated in one of those two places.)

Since you prepared a tomato sandwich immediately upthread, I'd like to turn you on to a little twist I recently discovered that I think you might like.

One evening on the way home from work (via 69th Street Terminal), I stopped in the H-Mart in Upper Darby to pick up some veggies and ended up buying a container of store-made Korean chili sauce on impulse. The easiest way to describe the Korean variety is as what Vietnamese sriracha might taste like if a touch of corn syrup (as found in American "chili sauce") were added to it. I found the combination of sweetness and heat appealing.

In the course of trying to figure out things to do with it, I mixed in a little of this (about a teaspoon) with about a half cup of Hellmann's canola mayonnaise.

The whole of this condiment is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. You can easily vary the spiciness by adjusting the chili sauce-to-mayo ratio. It's great on fresh, ripe Jersey or Lancaster County tomatoes, and I can't imagine it would be any less delicious on the varieties available in the Netherlands. Given Amsterdam's modern-day polyglot population, I can't imagine your not being able to find Korean chili sauce somewhere in your vicinity.

Next time, I plan on making my own mayo with this mixed in.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Hey Sandy, I did see your ketjap question, AND answer it, but it was lost in The Great Post Loss when I inadvertently closed my browser this morning. I'll definitely re-answer it at some point (because it's important), hopefully tonight!

The short answer is yes, ketchup came from ketjap....but it's a pretty long answer, done right...

Edited by markemorse (log)
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gallery_28661_4926_12224.jpg

I mentioned EuroShopper mayonnaise during my fridge excavation...it's really my favorite store-bought mayo of all time. I used to be a Hellman's man, but I really can't eat it anymore, the kind of airy texture freaks me out and I don't love the taste of their soybean oil. EuroShopper has a tad more vinegar and a bit of sugar and also lists mustard as an ingredient. Don't know why it works so well for us, but it does.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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our apartment, bed upstairs where I am typing this from:

gallery_28661_4926_141879.jpg

the rest of our apartment:

gallery_28661_4926_125598.jpg

I'm in love with your living space. Minimalism like that is incredibly appealing. It forces you to be selective in accumulation of stuff that inevitably ends up as junk. Doubly so in the kitchen.

some (ahem) KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce my mom sent me (forgive her);

I'm trying to get off my BBQ soapbox from last week, but let me know if you want me to send you something better from Kansas City.

"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

My eGfoodblog: My corner of the Midwest

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Well, dang, it's a bee-youtiful day outside and I would love to traipse around taking gratuitous food porn photos for you guys but I've got to go track down this inconsiderate boob so I can pick up some apartment keys. Hopefully I'll get to make dinner at some point.

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Markemorse,

Your incredible blog is right up there with Chufi's! I learned quite a lot from her about Amsterdam before visiting in the spring; unfortunately, I wasn't there long enough to be adventurous food wise.

I am learning about a whole different world of food reading through your week here. So fascinating to see the blend of cuisine from the colonies. We hope to be within reach of Amsterdam again next spring. I will be more prepared to venture into the foods you and Chufi have introduced.

As for the "fo lam" - you said spit roasted pigglet. I'm wondering if it's the same as siu yook where the skin is blistered and crisp? Typically, the seasoning is nam yeu (fermented tofu), brown bean paste, 5-spice, etc. I can see where that would be perfect in a crispy roll with its layers of fat and lean.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Markemorse,

Your incredible blog is right up there with Chufi's!

Now you're talking crazy. :raz:

Thanks for saying so, though....

+++

I'll return to action here in an hour or so...tonight's dinner was the slowest, most exhausting and inefficient "quick dinner" of all time. I'm not used to taking pictures while cooking, and I just don't know how y'all do it (and cook at the same time). I was a mess...I may have to switch back to takeout for the rest of the week.

+++

Edited by markemorse (log)
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Yep, "fo lam" is the same as "siu yook". "Fo" as in fire, or roasted; "lam" as in belly. As far as I know though, "fo lam"/"siu yook" is not piglet - that would be "yue jue" (suckling pig), which is usually only eaten during special occasions.

markemorse, we have quite a few jars of Lee Kum Kee sauces in our house too. The cha siu sauce is pretty good, and we like those one-time-use packets of tomato garlic prawns too. And of course we have the oyster sauce (2 different grades - normal & premium, but I can't tell the difference).

Continuing the topic of Chinese condiments, I've never seen mention of thick soy sauce here on eGullet. From Wikipedia:

Thick soy sauce ("Jiàngyóugāo", 醬油膏 or 蔭油膏): Dark soy sauce that has been thickened with starch and sugar. It is also occasionally flavored with MSG. This sauce is not usually used directly in cooking but more often as a dipping sauce or poured on food as a flavorful addition.
We use a brand that's made in Taiwan, but I don't remember the name right now. We do use it to cook certain things, and also as a dipping sauce for hot pot items.
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