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OK, I'm back, by popular demand! hehe.... After being back for 2 days, I'm still struggling with crazy jetlag and exhaustion - so please bear with me!
This year, for our Asian adventure, we went to Bali, which for those who don't know, is one of the islands in Indonesia. Bali is a very unique place - from its topology, to the people, language, customs, religion and food. Whereas the majority of people in Indonesia are Muslim, most people in Bali are Balinese Hindu, which from what I understand is a little like Indian Hinduism, but has more ancestor worship. Religion is very important to many people in Bali - there are temples everywhere, and at least in one area, there are religious processions through the street practically every day - but we'll get to that later.
Bali has some food unique to it among its Indonesian neighbors, but like everywhere, has seen quite a bit of immigration from other Indonesian islands (many from Java, just to the west) who have brought their classic dishes with them.
Basically all Indonesians speak Indonesian, or what they call Bahasa Indonesia, or just Bahasa, which, anyone who has read my prior foodblogs wouldn't be surprised to hear that I learned a little bit just before the trip. Unfortunately, I didn't get to use any of it, except a couple times which were totally unnecessary. When speaking with each other, most people in Bali speak Balinese (totally different from bahasa) - many times when I tried using my bahasa, they smiled and replied, and then tried to teach me the same phrase in Balinese! As time went on, and I used some of the Balinese, I got lots of surprised smiles and laughs - who is this white guy speaking Balinese?!? Seriously though, tourism has been in Bali for a very long time, so just about everyone we encountered spoke English to some degree. Some people spoke German as well, as they supposedly get lots of tourists from Germany. As one of our drivers was telling us, Bali is heavily dependent on tourism as they have no real industry other than agriculture, which doesn't pay nearly as well as tourism does.
While there are beaches all around the island, most of the popular beach areas are in the south of the island, and those areas are the most highly touristed. We spent very little time in the south as we are not really beach people (we get really bored) and during planning, decided to stay in less touristed areas so we'd have more opportunities for local food... this didn't work out, as you'll see later.
So, it wouldn't be a KennethT foodblog without photos in the Taipei airport and I-Mei Dim Sum, which we called home for about 4 hours before our connection to Bali...
Beef noodle soup:
This was the same as always - huge pieces of beef were meltingly tender. Good bite to the thick chewy noodles.
Xie long bao (soup dumplings) and char siu bao (fluffy barbeque pork buns):
Recently, there was a thread about stir frying over charcoal, which immediately brought to mind memories of eating in Bangkok in July 2013. At that time, I hadn't gotten into the habit of writing food blogs, and considering that I had some spare time this weekend (a rarity) I figured I would put some of those memories down on paper, so to speak. Back then, neither my wife nor I were in the habit of taking tons of photos like we do nowadays, but I think I can cobble something together that would be interesting to folks reading it.
In the spirit of memories, I'll first go back to 2006 when my wife and I took our honeymoon to Thailand (Krabi, Bangkok and Chiang Mai), Singapore and Hanoi. That was our first time to Asia, and to be honest, I was a little nervous about it. I was worried the language barrier would be too difficult to transcend, or that we'd have no idea where we were going. So, to help mitigate my slight anxiety, I decided to book some guides for a few of the locations. Our guides were great, but we realized that they really aren't necessary, and nowadays with internet access so much more prevalent, even less necessary.
Prior to the trip, when emailing with our guide in Bangkok to finalize plans, I mentioned that we wanted to be continuously eating (local food, I thought was implied!) When we got there, I realized the misunderstanding when she opened her trunk to show us many bags of chips and other snack foods.. whoops... Anyway, once the misconception was cleared up, she took us to a noodle soup vendor:
On the right is our guide, Tong, who is now a very famous and highly sought after guide in BKK.... at the time, we were among here first customers. I had a chicken broth based noodle soup with fish ball, fish cake and pork meatball, and my wife had yen ta fo, which is odd because it is bright pink with seafood. I have a lime juice, and my wife had a longan juice.
This is what a lot of local food places look like:
Greetings eGulleteers, I'm Smokeydoke and I'll be your tourguide for the next seven days on a culinary journey through Las Vegas.
First a little about me, I'm a foodie first and foremost, but my real name is Kathy and to pay the bills, I work as an Engineer. My husband works at UNLV. In the past I've worked as a manager for a pizzeria and worked at a bakery. We live in the Southwest community of Las Vegas, more commonly referred to as Mountains Edge.
Here is the obligatory shot of our kitchen. Sorry for the bad photos, I made a video but just realized I can't upload videos in eGullet, so I quickly converted them to jpegs.
Here's my pantry#1, with my (in)famous shelf of twelve different types of flours. Below that are my oils, vinegars and sauces. And of course, pounds of TJ Belgium chocolates.
Prawn Balchao is a very famous Goan pickle that has a sweet, spicy and tangy flavor to it.
For the balchao paste you will need:
> 8-10 kashmiri red chillies
> 4-5 Byadagi red chillies
> 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
> 1/2 tsk turmeric powder
> 1 tsp peppercorn
> 6 garlic cloves
> 1/2 tsp cloves
> 1 inch cinnamon stick
First you will need to marinate about 250 grams of prawns in some turmeric powder and salt. After 15 minutes deep fry them in oil till them become golden n crisp. Set them aside and add tsp vinegar to them and let it sit for 1 hour. Now, make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under the balchao paste and make sure not to add any water. In the same pan used for fryin the prawns, add in some chopped garlic and ginger. Lightly fry them and immediately add one whole chopped onion. Next, add the balchao paste amd let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the prawns and cook until the gravy thickens. Finally add 1 tsp sugar and salt according to your taste. Allow it to cool. This can be stored in a glass jar. Let this mature for 1-3 weeks before its use. Make sure never to use water at any stage. This can be enjoyed with a simple lentil curry and rice.
Goa being one of the popular cities of India is known for its local delicacies. These delicacies have been passed on from generation to generation, while some of them have continued to remain popular, some of them have lost their charm with the introduction of newer cuisines. Since the Portuguese entered Goa, they have had a strong influence on the local cuisine. A major turning point came when they introduced a variety of spices that changed their style of cooking completely. The Portuguese introduced plants like corn, pineapple, papaya, sweet potato and cashews. One such example of a popular dish would be Pork Vindaloo. Goan food is a mix of hot and sour ingredients that make their seafood delectable. Kokum is one such ingredient which is known to be a tangy-sweet fruit. It is added in curries to render a sour taste and is often accompanied with seafood. Dried red chillies are one the most vital ingredients common among all the local delicacies that is either used in its whole form or ground into a fine paste. Since seafood is the soul of Goan food, it is preserved and relished in other forms too. Goan pickles are known to be quite famous. Prawn Balchao, a very famous prawn pickle prepared with dried red chillies is relished with a simple lentil curry and rice. Another delicacy is the Goan Para Fish made with mackerels, red chillies and goan vinegar. These are regular accompaniments with their routine meals. When talking about Goa, you cannot not mention their sausages. These mouth-watering and spicy sausages are made with pork and a variety of spices. Last but not the least, is the widely famous Goan bread, locally known as Poi. Leavened bread which is part of almost every meal and eaten with plain butter too. These ingredients make the cuisine extremely palatable and continue to make this cuisine stand out from the rest.
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