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Mayhaw Man

eG FoodBlog: Mayhaw Man - I eat more than Okra

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I am so glad that there is some official presence to preserve the soul of Abita Springs. Funny... My new house has a lot in common with the style. The style is driven by fitting in with the environment. We are calling my house "a contemporary interpretation of the West Indian cottage". That is really what that is. The British took their experience from India and transported it to the islands and it then traveled to South Louisiana and Galveston. It makes a lot of sense. The high ceilings help to dissipate the heat. Wide verandas also help manage the heat and provide a venue for communing with the neighbors. You raise the house a bit to catch the breeze and on the coast you raise it a floor to maybe get above some of the mosquitos and flooding. The metal roofs are the result of available materials and the fact that the hail from a tropical thunderstorm won't destroy them. VERY sensible.

This faux stucco, tile roof style that is prevalent here drives me nuts. Just to keep this on topic... How the hell do you make a decent gumbo in a house that was designed for Tuscany? :blink:

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How the hell do you make a decent gumbo in a house that was designed for Tuscany?

Easy. Invite Mayhaw Man for a visit and cook it in the yard.

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Yeah the interior of these houses is interesting. I have 14 foot ceilings throughout the house. THe entire thing is framed in cypress (won't ever rot and bugs don't eat it) and skinned in the same (or was, some has been replaced with cedar in the last few years, can't get cypress siding for love or money anymore). The interior is (or was) mostly plaster walls above a wainscoating and chair rail and the ceilings throughout are tongue in groove bead board (hell, you couldn't BUILD a house for the cost of replacing the woodwork that was put into this house-which is only remarkable now because it was totally unremarkable when it was built-they were all like this). Mine is particularly large for the style (mainly because of an addition and the fact that the huge attic (the peak of the roof on my house is 28 feet from the top of the floor-that's a peak!) was incorporated into a loft kind of thing about 50 years ago). This place has 7 outside doors and I have all the screens that were on them in storage. It stays very cool even in the summer as the heat heads up for those high ceilings. With ceiling fans and an attic fan I generally can get along without running the air (it was centrally aired about 25 years ago, although not heat-I have those big old floor furnaces which work great but suck up gas like Top Fuel Dragsters!) for a suprising amount of the year.

What new construction has occurred here has been carefully controlled (mostly) and fits the rest of the place. Generally it has been pretty well done and is nothing to complain about. Even the commercial construction has been done o.k. Look at that picture of the brewpub. That was a commercial building designed as an industrial plant (a working bottling brewery that we quickly outgrew) we still had to do complete board and batten and fit the style of the building to that of Rausch's Grocery across the street. The effect is that is not cute (which is a good thing-I am a firm hater of cute-ever been to Seaside on the other side of Destin-that's cute and it makes me ill) but that is just the way it is. The idea is that you can't tell what is new and what is old and it seems to have worked.

Gotta go make dinner. Don't be holding your breath. I have no kids tonight and am just making something for Robin and I (although I am making ice cream) so it might be crawfish omelettes and green beans (that's hericot vertes to you gourmets) that I got today at the veg stand.

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Yep, that was a good introduction to gumbo. I'm always amazed that my Japan-raised family eat it up without question - maybe they think that any soup the color of miso is going to be good eating.

Strawberry icecream after all night work - that sounds good. Now that I'm in my 40s, working all night is not only harder, it leaves me with no appetite for a couple of days thereafter. Home-made icecream...mmmm. When we went to buy our new fridge, husband was adamant that no fridge was coming home with us unless the freezer drawer was deep enough to take the icecream maker...but I quite like the granular type that you mush up with a fork from time to time as it freezes.

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I gotta a yard full of stuff blooming. I cut these about twenty minutes ago-they're not food but I guess you could eat them-so not too off topic. :laugh:

If you think my photo skills are bad, my flower arranging is worse. The combination of the two is pretty awful.

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These are old roses, yellow irises, Louisiana Purple Irises and some little triangular cream colored flower thing that my wife will need to identify. The plant looks like a tiny iris plant and we have tons of them.

The yellow irises are so invasive that the purple ones are hard to keep going. You have to plant them in a whole seperate area (or go get them out of the swamp down the street, they grow wild by the millions there).

Dinner later.

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Brooks, I hesitate to ask because I am sure that everyone knows and I might not seem "hep" as the kids say these days with their hula hoops and bell bottoms and hippity-hoppitty...

But what is a "Mayhaw"?

Man.

/snaps fingers, does weird side to side thing with neck, gets cramp

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But what is a "Mayhaw"?

Nah, you're a real gone chick!

Mayhaw is the fruit of a tree that is native to the hot, humid South. It occurs naturally in swamps all over the state and alot of the South.

It is delicious. My mom makes the best Mayhaw Jelly in the world. YOu will never be satisfied once you try it by any other pale imitators like apple, or plum, or any other of the lesser fruits.

This is a pretty good, botanic type explanation.

If you hit the web there is lots more there to enthrall you. :wink:

And incidentally, I officially think that you are hysterical. :laugh::laugh:

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Egad.

I clicked the link and the Adobe Acrobat thing took over, swinging around like the blazes.

I almost perished.

Well. So.

A "Mayhaw Man" involves swamp fruit, then.

Was that one of those Village People fellows? That moustache fellow?

In any case, a great blog.

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I'll find something else that won't offend your delicate aura. :laugh:

HEY_I DID DO SOMETHING TODAY BESIDES SLEEP AND CUT FLOWERS!

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I roasted a twelve pound turkey that I got at Whole Foods last weekend. It was some kind of free range thing, on sale, and rediculously cheap. The turkey is a sadly ignored bird except around the holiday season and I like them because they are cheap and kind of like the bird that keeps on giving.

By the time we are done, to paraphrase my new hero Slaid Cleaves, there won't be anything left of this bird but "skin and wishbones" and precious little of that. The meat will be torn to bits and eaten by my hungry brood and the carcass will end up as stock for another gumbo or soup. Turkeys are no big deal and I don't know why people freak out so bad when they do them around the holidays.

Anyway, for those of you following along, I am from Monroe, LA and lived near there til I was 18 (left and never looked back, the door never came close to my ass), but it is the home of what I consider to be the finest general collection of southern cooking ever assembled-The Cotton Country Collection. Look for Hamaker-my Mom and my grandmother are all over it

This book is my go to when I want something familiar and this turkey (with a few changes) is one of them. Just look up Marie Snelling's Turkey recipe and you will see why it looks like it does. I do make a change though-she calls for a rub with dry mustard as an ingredient and I use dry wasabi instead of the mustard. WOOHOO its's makes for some zippy skin and a nice flavor deep down in the meat. I also use a fair amount of Tiger Sauce in the rub and especially on the outside of the bird. I put it into a 450F degree oven for about 20 min and then reduce heat to 325F for whatever the appropriate amount of time is per pound (there is a great turkey chart in this book-it is like none I have ever seen-temp and cooking time adjusted for the size of the bird-it never fails). .

The key to this is the bacon you are probably staring at (Richard's Bacon-once again-the best commercial pork products in the US). It is laid on top and helps to flavor the bird and to make some swell pan juices with which to make gravy. The whole thing is covered (after the 20 min at high temp) with a evoo soaked cheese cloth and baked. It looks like the one above every time if you do it right and there is not enough that you can say about having a little roasted turkey around to nibble on or make school lunches with. It's damn good.

Click on the link and buy the book. You know you want it and it will help keep this thing running.

Dinner was leftover risotto (onions, red bell pepper, roasted pecans) and Robin ate gumbo. I made custard for ice cream and a recipe of Martha's for pate brisee that is the single best pie dough I have ever made successfully (the unsucessful batches weren't very good :wink: ) No starving mouths tonight. One is on his way to Florida (school is out tommorrow for Good Friday-this place is about 75% Catholic-we're not but both of the boys are in Catholic School so I am learning all kinds of new holidays-I have developed a theory that if a priest worked in a bank he would never have to go to work as he would be off every day :laugh: ) and the other ute spent the night out.

Okra Manana (along with some redfish that a friend brought me as per my begging requests-he caught them this morning and it has been fileted but the skin is still on- it will be delicious).

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Breakfast this morning (no kids at home) consisted of a bowl of plain yogurt with some granola like cereal in it (some no name brand my wife buys at a local discount/salvage place and I have no idea what the name of it is) and some strawberries along with some press pot coffee made with Community Dark Roast (no chickory-blech!).

Going with the only other co worker (management wise) who didn't take a vacation day today (Good Friday) in my whole office to have lunch at Acme Oyster House. I can tell you now what I will eat as my habit is hard to break (and why would I want to?).

1 Dozen Raw

Oyster PoBoy

Small Fry (they have great home cut fries-skin on, kinda thin, but not too thin-much like McDonalds original fries in the 60's)

Large Ice Tea

Tonight will involve something with redfish and okra (not together-I don't think anyway-although fish stew is always nice and a hit with the kids). I'll see what time I get home from work and how much time I have to work. THat is pretty much how all of our meals get figured out. The more time I have the more elaborate it gets. I like to cook and enjoy the process so I usually get carried away with the whole deal.

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1 Dozen Raw

Oyster PoBoy

Small Fry (they have great home cut fries-skin on, kinda thin, but not too thin-much like McDonalds original fries in the 60's)

Large Ice Tea

I think that's exactly what I ordered at Acme when I went there! Yum. :smile:

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Lunch was great and the place was packed. On Good Friday nobody cheats and everybody eats fish. Lots of people taking off early and looking like they might have started off the weekend at noon.

There are very few foods that satisfy like a well made oyster po boy on some great bread with oysters that are pretty much flash fried (leaving them juicy and plump, with the crust on the bivalve having a nice toothsome crunch). Oysters are one of the hardest thing to fry well and they do a great job.

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Brooks,

Snack on something.

I want to read more of your blog! :laugh:

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The pressure of being the weeks blogger is weighing heavy on my shoulders as of this moment, but I will do my best ot recover.

Right now as I type the Cuisinart Machine is grinding out some really good (judging by the mixed custard and fruit) Fresh Louisiana Strawberry Ice Cream. I got the recipe off of epicurious (if you are looking for the recipe it is called literally Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream). It is made with 100% local stuff-the strawberries, the milk(Smith's), the sugar (Domino), the salt (Mortons-from Avery Island-proably where your salt comes from too, and the lemons (maybe, anyway-the claim comes a litttle late in the year for me to believe it) all came from La. It should be delicious. The custard turned out beautifully (I made it last night) and cooled overnight. Strawberries were pureed along with a little lemon juice and some sugar (suprisingly little) and then strained through a fine seive. The whole thing is happily churning away and should be ready for hardening shortly (I wish I had one of those Ronco Nuclear Freezers that we have been discussing on the frozen Tuna thread.

I made the custard with unhomogenized and totally delicious heavy cream from Smith's Creamery in Mt. Hermon, LA. If you look at a map of Louisiana you will see that the Southeastern portion (the top of the bottom of the boot :wacko: ) butts up against Mississippi. This is one of the most sparsely populated regions in the entire Gulf South. No oil, not good farmland, no manufacturing-just one thing- a ton of dairies and milk production facilities. The area is gently rolling hills and looks much more like it would be in Wisconsin or some other very green and open pastured part of the US. This is also the area that Chicory Farms makes it's line of artisinal cheeses (Emeril fans will have seen him waving around a hunk of the Catahoula Blue and screaming at the top of his lungs when he smells it. It is awesomely strong.

There are two-Mauthe's (pronounced maw-tays) and Smith's (pronounced Smith's :wink: ) that have seen the light and are now producing really high quality dairy products for consumer and restaurant use. Smiths makes this awesome butter with a stunning fat content that I will put up against Pflugra or any of it's cousins any day. It comes in two pound rolls (which I love-but you need a kitchen scale or you are in trouble when you are baking) and tastes fabulous. Mauthe's makes great creole cream cheese and has a very tasty line of cream line milk. Smith's puts some of their products in plastic bottles that look like old milk jugs-a very nice touch and a great eye catcher on the shelf.

Hope that satisfies you. You people should go out, it's Friday night for God's sake. :raz:

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Brooks, I've been in Florida the past week with nary a decent internet connection, so I've just had a chance to read this amazing blog. Needless to say, you are a treasure, and I don't think I'm going out on a limb to let you know how much we appreciate your appreciation of food and the South. I believe that many of our members are getting an inkling of how important food is to us as a result of your blog. Thanks so much!!!

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Aww Varmint, I love you man. :wub::raz::laugh:

Alright as many of you probably can't sleep wanting to know how the fish turned out...well....you have to wait a minute and look at this picture of a meal from a month or so back (maybe longer I am not sure when I took this) of some Sushi that we made on Friday night. We try to do this on Fridays a couple of times a month and it really is fun. My fourteen year old is getting pretty good at making some handsome looking stuff. I just let him practice on that fake crabmeat stuff until he got pretty good then I turned him loose.

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There is some gorgeous tuna that came from a oriental fish market in New Orleans (Kenner actually), dynamite rolls with tuna and REAL crabmeat. Fake crabmeat spring rolls (I like that pressed pollock stuff and I ain't apologizing to anybody-it's not the real thing but as long as you don't pretend like it is the stuff is o.k. on it's on. Some california rolls. There are a couple of other things there, but I can't remember what the hell they were. (this photo got the mark of approval o Torakris-I was so proud I almost burst)

The point here is to show you that we don't just fry and boil down here in the swamp, we get around some too.

O.K. -now for dinner. I will tell you right off the bat that my camera died in the middle of dinner prep so I will have to come back and add the pictures of most of this meal the next time I make this stuff. Robin brought home new batteries but it was too late. Sorry (and yes I use rechargables, I just don't recharge them :shock: ) I will put the recipes in recipe gullet in the morning when I am supposed to be working (last Saturday for a while, this has been a tough week, workwise).

A friend brought me some beautiful redfish (2 of them roughly 18 inches). I fileted them and left the skin on. Redfish have very large scales and they are very tough. The indians along the Gulf Coast used to make all kinds of stuff out of them. Anyway the cooking method is simple. Concoct a semi viscous liquid for brushing onto the fish and put the fish over pecan wood (medium to low heat-you should be able to go about 5 seconds with your hand most of the time). Wait. Poke at the fish with your finger. Feel Firm? Good. Take pictures of it for your nerdy internet pals. Eat. Check it out-

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That is the brick pit that was in the yard when we moved in. It must be going on 50 years old. I did some work to the interior to make it very versatile in terms of fire movement, fire levels, and heat and smoke direction and contro, but basically the outside looks just the same. That is all fire brick made at St. Joe Brick in Slidell (about 15 miles from here) one of the biggest and oldest manufacturers of brick in the country. The thing is cool and will make a serious job out of brisket and ribs and any big hunk o meat that you might want to make more valuable. You can have your green egg, I have my brick pit. I also have a Weber as this thing can be a project for little things (like this) but I used it tonight just to show it to you.

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This is the finished product in a bad picture. My batteries were dying so I threw the pan down on the deck and took the last one before they conked. The sauce tonight consisted of equal parts of oyster sauce, tiger sauce, and some thick soy. It was very good-kind of a sweet and sour effect. I brushed it on and kept adding it as I went. The fish was perfect. It came right up off of the skin and tasted great (you eat it with the skin still on and it just peels right off. It is the easiset way to eat fish IMHO).

Anyway to accompany this we had green salad with avacado and some very unsweet and delicious balsamic poppyseed dressing my wife concocted, okra and tomatoes, okra cornbread (trust me, if you like okra you will like this), and my strawberry ice cream for dessert. There is some of that left (that's an awesome recipe-when fresh berries start showing up in your neck of the woods or the skyscrapers try it out) and I will make some kind of swell thing and take a photo of it. The color was gorgeous.

While I have been typing this some friends came by. They come by and remind me that I am abusing my cats and that I forgot to feed them. They are kind of like the SPCA, only different. This group of animal rights activists is a little more self centered. But they have cool masks. :wink:

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They (there are 4 or 5) come by every night and eat whatever the cats haven't. If the cats ate it all or we forgot to feed them, they climb up on the chairs on the porch and look in the window and tap. After you get used to it they are very fun to watch so I guess that I don't mind feeding them. This has been going on for years and I suppose I am feeding the babies all grown up now.

Have a good night. I'm tired. Once again, sorry about the pictures, but I will at least get the recipes in the rg tommorrow.

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i'm opening a book to see how long it will be before someone posts all offended at the thought of your feeding wild creatures. anyone want to put any money down?

your brick-pit looks cool though. here in colorado i don't think we're allowed such things--technically where we are we aren't even supposed to have charcoal grills (though judging by the aromas that blow by not everyone follows the letter of the law). as such our first grill is probably going to be a low-end gas-grill. but in any event can you say a little more about what it takes to build one of these or to modify one as you did--i'm guessing you have the knowhow to build one from scratch even if this one hadn't been there.

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i'm opening a book to see how long it will be before someone posts all offended at the thought of your feeding wild creatures. anyone want to put any money down?

your brick-pit looks cool though.  but in any event can you say a little more about what it takes to build one of these or to modify one as you did--i'm guessing you have the knowhow to build one from scratch even if this one hadn't been there.

It's like this with the coons-either they eat the catfood that is outside for my full time outside cats (they are very cool twin tabbies out of the same litter) that are bigger than the coons, or they turn over my garbage, which they never do. I live in the woods, dude. Waaaay in the woods. In a very rural town in a rural part of a parish in a rural coastal part of the country. Animals happen. Get along with them or not, they are still going to be here. If someone wants to engage in a debate about feeding animals I will be happy to accomodate them. :raz:

Now about the brick pit. I have modified it about 5 times in the last ten years and have it just where I want it. That thing sings like Hank Williams when it is fired up and adjusted right. You would not believe the quality of the Q that comes off of it's fiery grates. It's slow, cumbersome, and takes lots of fiddling during the cooking process, but man is it worth it.

I got most of my modification ideas after looking at some of the pits in the Hill COuntry in Texas. Those guys are the masters of the pit style and all I really did was copy them. If you are interested I am sure that I could CAD up a drawing for you. It would make a nice weekend project for somebody with some masonry skills.

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It's like this with the coons-either they eat the catfood that is outside for my full time outside cats (they are very cool twin tabbies out of the same litter) that are bigger than the coons, or they turn over my garbage, which they never do. I live in the woods, dude. Waaaay in the woods. In a very rural town in a rural part of a parish in a rural coastal part of the country. Animals happen. Get along with them or not, they are still going to be here. If someone wants to engage in a debate about feeding animals I will be happy to accomodate them. :raz:

Now about the brick pit. I have modified it about 5 times in the last ten years and have it just where I want it. That thing sings like Hank Williams when it is fired up and adjusted right. You would not believe the quality of the Q that comes off of it's fiery grates. It's slow, cumbersome, and takes lots of fiddling during the cooking process, but man is it worth it.

I got most of my modification ideas after looking at some of the pits in the Hill COuntry in Texas. Those guys are the masters of the pit style and all I really did was copy them. If you are interested I am sure that I could CAD up a drawing for you. It would make a nice weekend project for somebody with some masonry skills.

no, don't go that far for me, since i'm not legally allowed to build one. but others might take you up on it.

as for wild animals--we have about 5 deer in our backyard at all times. i'm wondering what it'll take, once we have our grill, to get one of them to dress and marinate itself and hop on.

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Dude, you have SO got to post the recipe for okra cornbread, because just reading about it has cost me a keyboard to drool!

Also, thanks for passing along the great southern tradition of sushi to the next generation. :laugh:

EXCELLENT blog! I can't even begin to list the things I'm jealous of.


Edited by Squeat Mungry (log)

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Breakfast this morning was Chez Waffle. I treated myself as I had to be work at 5 and got up a little early. I love Waffle House for exactly what it is. I like watching the short order cooks and I like the mix of customers. On Saturday morning at 4:30 the spots at the bar were filled with two very distinct types of people-drunks sobering up from the night's revelry and guys heading for the docks with boats on trailers ready for a day's fishing.

I enjoyed a ham and cheese omelette with wheat toast w/apple jelly, grits, and hash browns/smothered, covered, scattered. It was exactly like it always is. Dependable. It might not be the best thing I have ever eaten but it is certainly not the worst (that award goes to a place next to my hotel in Tacoma, WA, although I did appreciate the short term weight loss :angry::huh::laugh: ).

I'll be working until about lunch and then am going to go to the farmers market to see if there are any shrimp around. I am hungry for some BBQ'd shrimp (Manale's Style).

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Brooks; This is such a great blog that I can't think of a single thing to say that hasn't already been said. But thanks...thanks a bunch for such first class info and entertainment :raz:.

THW

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Mayhaw is the fruit of a tree that is native to the hot, humid South. It occurs naturally in swamps all over the state and alot of the South.

It is delicious.

I'll be damned, I hadn't a clue. And I'm from the South.

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Score!

My wife just called and said that she got 16-20's (large to medium large) shrimp for three dollars a pound. Ya wanna talk fresh? These were hauled out of the water last night by the shrimp man's brother and he is selling them today out of the back of his seafood truck at the Covington, LA farmers market. WooHoo! I love BBQ'd shrimp. All of that garlicky-buttery deliciousness and you don't even have to peel them. A lazy gourmet's delight.

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      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:

       
      The interior:

       
      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):

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