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eG Foodblog : yunnermeier - Hungry in Holland,Oberhausen & Budapes


yunnermeier
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Good morning! I guess no one guessed it was me ;) I just arrived from Paris and am now back home in Weesp (I have to work :( ) .

Let's get the introductions aside:

I'm Mei, 21 and am an au pair in the Netherlands. I am Malaysian (Baba& Nyonya from Melaka) but took a break from college to be an au pair here for one year. Of course being Malaysian automatically means I love food. So much so that I never lasted more than 7 hours on a diet in my entire life.

I never cooked simply because Mum did the cooking and the kitchen back home wasn't a erhm.. condusive enviroment but I really like the kitchen my host family has so I recently started baking and will be trying out some dishes this week (let's see if they turn out ok...).

Back home, my friends and I ate out a lot because we were probably better off than the average Malaysian teen (only because we worked and studied and they preferred to focus on academics!) but here , I eat home almost everyday. Not counting McDonalds and Chinese, I've probably only had dinner out 4-5 times! Oh , now I date a man who only ever eats things he's familiar with (like ham and cheese sandwich or babi panggang at a Chinese restaurant) which can be very very difficult ;)

So there you go! Here's where you can watch me fail or succeed with my cooking experiments! We'll also drive to Oberhausen (or maybe Dortmund or Keulen, my boyfriend and I haven't really decided) on Thursday or Friday and then it's off to Budapest at 7pm on Saturday!

After this: Pictures of Paris (I just came back this morning)!

Edited by yunnermeier (log)
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Thank you, mizducky, for helping me with the pictures:)

Paris

I couldn't help but cheat by posting yesterday's pictures because

Paris was gorgeous! Truth be told , we didn't eat at any good

restaurant because I'm an au pair on a tiny budget and when we DID go

to a nice-looking cafe for lunch, we always end up ordering the wrong

thing (ie we pointed at some fancy-sounding French dish , only to get

boiled sausages on a bed of shoestring fries).

This chocolaterie is within walking distance to the Eiffle Tower. I

forgot to write the name down but I think it was Jacques something (

fat help ,that!)

I thought the bottled flavoured waters and liquors were beautiful. I

ended up only buying chocolat chestnut jam (preserve).

gallery_28660_3809_27060.jpg

In the Netherlands, steak tartare is well..steak tartare, usually

grilled or fried but when I got this from the waitress, I asked her if

it was supposed to 'be like this' (I'm a country mouse). I must say

that it was very very good though! The herbs and the beef were very

fresh , even my friend who doesn't like raw meat, thought it was

delicious. Sorry about the bad picture, we were quite tipsy by then

:laugh:

gallery_28660_3809_124375.jpg

Random pictures:

gallery_28660_3809_95076.jpg

gallery_28660_3809_104247.jpg

Edited by yunnermeier (log)
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As you know, I am an au pair. I take care of a baby (he's 1 year old now) 4 days a week plus do light household chores. As you can imagine, life is a whole lot different from what I was used to back home but while it's something I wouldn't do again, I definitely do not regret going on this programme.

Sebastiaan (taken in the summer)

gallery_28660_3809_7426.jpg

The house I lived in used to be a butcher shop from the late 1600s until August last year (when my host family bought over).

This is the kitchen just before it was demolished:

gallery_28660_3809_150846.jpg

Kitchen (sorry about the mess, didn't have time to clean up)

gallery_28660_3809_10773.jpg

The Dutch (of which I only know 3;) ) generally don't consider breakfast important. My host mum usually has muesli or cereal with plain yoghurt and my host dad gets coffee (and maybe something at work?). My boyfriend doesn't have breakfast but he does grab a sandwich or something at 10.00 or 11.00. When I first arrived, I'd eat sandwiches as soon as I woke up as that's what my mum used to prepare for me before college but I stoppped after a while because I thought my host family was giving me weird looks (OMG she's such a greedy pig! :laugh: ) . Now, breakfast is usually instant noodles (my host family buys that for me), yoghurt, cookies or whatever is interesting. Today it was leftover mooncake.

OK I'm off !

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How nice to "meet" you, Mei. It will be lovely to spend a week with you, I'm sure. Your charge is adorable in the picture, but I'll bet he's not always smiling so sweetly. Be sure to tell us about your favorite and not-so-favorite food discoveries in your temporary hometown.

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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Ooohh this is so exciting, a Dutch foodblog! (yes I know Paris, Oberhousen, and Budapest are in this blog, but I'm sure you'll understand that the Dutch part is particularly interesting to me :smile: )

Weesp is such a lovely little town! And that's a very cool kitchen!

Oh and I'd love to hear what you think about Dutch food.

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Hi Mei,

Always nice to see another eGulleter in Holland!

Though it sounds like eating out is not really your thing, I'm interested to know if there are any Malaysian restaurants in Weesp that you're aware of (I'm assuming no, because here in Amsterdam there are only two that I know of)....I'd love to know what a Malaysian person thought of the Dutch-Indonesian-Malaysian-Surinamese-Indian-Chinese hybrid food that is such a staple of restaurant/takeout eating here.

mark

ETA: You could almost hear Klary and I simultaneously pouncing on this blog!

Edited by markemorse (log)
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ETA: You could almost hear Klary and I simultaneously pouncing on this blog!

:laugh: it's just very nice to have a blog, for once, that takes place in my 'real time' !

Edited by Chufi (log)
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Though it sounds like eating out is not really your thing, I'm interested to know if there are any Malaysian restaurants in Weesp that you're aware of (I'm assuming no, because here in Amsterdam there are only two that I know of)....I'd love to know what a Malaysian person thought of the Dutch-Indonesian-Malaysian-Surinamese-Indian-Chinese hybrid food that is such a staple of restaurant/takeout eating here.

There are no Malaysian restaurants in Weesp but I did remember seeing one in Amsterdam last week called "Wau". My best friend and I were thinking of trying it out but we couldn't bear to part with 14 euro for a bowl of laksa when back home it costs less than 1 euro . Mind you, we would be quite happy to pay 45 euro for steak but somehow paying 14e for laksa is just WRONG. :rolleyes:

I despise Indonesian-Chinese restaurants here and I especially hate babi panggang. I noticed that 'Chinese' food here is a lot more 'starchy' than back home. Nam Kee is probably the most genuine Chinese food I've tasted here and cheap as well. What I cannot fathom is how people order just one dish and eat it all themselves (just babi panggang and rice for instance!) when back home, my dad would order at least 7 dishes when the 4 of us went out (2 veg, 1 pork,1 chicken, 1 squid, 1 fish and 1 tofu) . I also noticed that Chinese food is usually served with nasi (fried rice) or bami (fried noodles). Again, which I think is WRONG WRONG WRONG! That's just me I suppose! I did however, really like the oysters from Nam Kee :smile:

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Though it sounds like eating out is not really your thing, I'm interested to know if there are any Malaysian restaurants in Weesp that you're aware of (I'm assuming no, because here in Amsterdam there are only two that I know of)....I'd love to know what a Malaysian person thought of the Dutch-Indonesian-Malaysian-Surinamese-Indian-Chinese hybrid food that is such a staple of restaurant/takeout eating here.

There are no Malaysian restaurants in Weesp but I did remember seeing one in Amsterdam last week called "Wau". My best friend and I were thinking of trying it out but we couldn't bear to part with 14 euro for a bowl of laksa when back home it costs less than 1 euro . Mind you, we would be quite happy to pay 45 euro for steak but somehow paying 14e for laksa is just WRONG. :rolleyes:

I despise Indonesian-Chinese restaurants here and I especially hate babi panggang. I noticed that 'Chinese' food here is a lot more 'starchy' than back home. Nam Kee is probably the most genuine Chinese food I've tasted here and cheap as well. What I cannot fathom is how people order just one dish and eat it all themselves (just babi panggang and rice for instance!) when back home, my dad would order at least 7 dishes when the 4 of us went out (2 veg, 1 pork,1 chicken, 1 squid, 1 fish and 1 tofu) . I also noticed that Chinese food is usually served with nasi (fried rice) or bami (fried noodles). Again, which I think is WRONG WRONG WRONG! That's just me I suppose! I did however, really like the oysters from Nam Kee :smile:

Happy blogging Mei.

I also found this very strange. I was used to ordering several dishes and every body shares them. They do the same thing in Germany and Switzerland.

Reistafel is good in Holland, but I am not crazy about the Chinese restaurants in most of Europe. They tend to be very expensive and very Europeanized. I did go to a decent Thai restaurant in Maastricht.

I don't understand the concept of the monster egg rolls. They tend to be very greasy. I prefer smaller egg rolls.

I love Dutch pastries. Is it hard for you to stay away from them?

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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Sharing is just not a very Dutch thing. People are not used to it and I think they find it confusing. Dinner is the food on your plate, period. Not somebody elses food..

This is ofcourse, like everything else, slowly changing with the rising popularity of tapas/mezze restaurants. There, it's much more common to order a bunch of dishes and share. But Chinese/Indonesian food has been around forever, and the people who eat there, are usually not the most adventurous eaters anyway, so they tend to stick to their old habits.

Edited by Chufi (log)
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There are no Malaysian restaurants in Weesp but I did remember seeing one in Amsterdam last week called "Wau". My best friend and I were thinking of trying it out but we couldn't bear to part with 14 euro for a bowl of laksa when back home it costs less than 1 euro . Mind you, we would be quite happy to pay 45 euro for steak but somehow paying 14e for laksa is just WRONG.    :rolleyes:

I think you were right in avoiding Wau...I ate there twice when I first moved to Amsterdam a few years ago, and while the first time was pretty good, the next time was more expensive and much less interesting. BUT: the dining experience there is definitely one of my top 10 most memorable, because the ambience is so, um...exotic?

The lights are extremely dim, it's actually quite beautiful inside, what you can see of it, but instead of music they play nighttime insect sounds (um...vs. "daytime insect sounds"? right.), very loud. I should mention that I actually have many CDs full of music that resembles insect sounds, so this in itself is not a problem. :wink: But the darkness combined with the unexpected volume and speaker placement led my dining companions and I to just kind of sit there in speechless amazement while the beetles, crickets, cicadas, and who knows what else crescendoed around us. We could barely hear each other talk (all of this is not really a complaint, either, it was just...odd. I can't imagine people without insect music in their CD collections enjoying themselves there...and how often do you get to say that about a restaurant?).

My point is: much better (and a bit cheaper) than Wau is Nyonya Malaysia Express on Kloveniersburgwal just south of Nieuwmarkt. You'll have to bring your own deafening cicadas though.

mem

Edited by markemorse (log)
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People often laugh at Dutch cuisine (huhuhu what cuisine?!) but I must say that I do like the potatoes + meat combination. Stampot (mashed potatos, bacon bits, a giant sausage and farmer's cabbage is the usual ingredients but there's quite a variety) is one of my favourite foods but I find what the Dutch term 'lunch' a very disappointing affair.

Lunch is almost always bread. Bread (usually sliced dark bread) , cheese and some kind of cured meat. Or bread and one of those spreads (chicken and pesto or omelette etc) you get from the supermarket. Sometimes if I'm really lucky I get french toast or cream-filled buns but I must say that that doesn't happen often. Today we had toasties and for a special treat, I asked Maartje to get us something sweet because bread bores me senseless (my best friend who's living here only eats this boring bread + thinly sliced ham + cheese with plenty of ketchup) . She got us kersenflap ( cherry pastries?) from the bakery across the street (I love the pink cherry flavoured granulated sugar on top).

gallery_28660_3809_140719.jpg

Fellow Dutch bloggers, please don't be mad if I poke fun at Dutch food or Dutch eating habits! I really do like Holland very much! :wub:

Edited by yunnermeier (log)
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Hey, great -- a new voice! Welcome, and I'm all ready for the trip.

Sounds like you need to educate your hubby. This will require a lot of time and even more patience.

I have a couple of questions:

--Are your travels on your own time, or are these trips part of your duties as an au pair? Or both?

--What is that thing with the circular door in the kitchen next to the oven?

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, great -- a new voice!  Welcome, and I'm all ready for the trip.

Sounds like you need to educate your hubby.  This will require a lot of time and even more patience.

I have a couple of questions:

--Are your travels on your own time, or are these trips part of your duties as an au pair?  Or both?

--What is that thing with the circular door in the kitchen next to the oven?

Heya! I enjoyed your blog:)

i) I don't usually travel (I'd only gone to Italy this year before this.. this week is action-packed)but I'd planned my weekend in Budapest in advance (before I knew I was doing this blog) and then 3 weeks ago, my best friend said she could come and visit me so we decided to go to Paris! Anyway, my host family were really nice about it and said I only have to work today and tomorrow and they'll ship Sebastiaan off to his grandparents on Tuesday night so that I can enjoy my week with my best friend (she goes home Thursday morning I think) .

The average au pair receives 2 weeks paid vacation a year but I get something like 5 (partly because my host family is generous and also because I work more hours than most au pairs).

ii) The circular door next to the oven is the steamer! I think it's very cool but not as useful as a microwave . We use it to steam vegetables, make baby food ,warm leftovers and to sterialised baby bottles.

Edited by yunnermeier (log)
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Hey, Yunney...aunty TP here! Was surprised to see a msian name blogging. Syabas!

Where did you get your stash of mooncakes? Just a couple of days ago, I made fresh batches of mini shanghai ones as I still have ingredients left. Want some?

While you're still in mooncake mode, we're making open house rounds for Raya. Did you get your rendang, nasi himpit, lontong, nasi tomato, lemang etc...?

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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I love Dutch pastries. Is it hard for you to stay away from them?

I love Dutch pastries too but I am slowly getting used to them. When I first arrived, I was in a state of gleeful shock. The pastries looked great, tasted great and was so cheap! I remember buying gevulde boterkoek once a week (at one stage, it was one entire boterkoek a day) and 100 grams of chocolate (it was something like 3 euros/100gram and in Malaysia, chocolate was 6-10 euro per 100 grams) . I ate A LOT (and subsequently put on 5 kg) , not just pastries but also patat ( fries),frikandellen (sausage) and vla (custard-ish dessert)

Hi Aunty Tepee! Nola , my friend is staying with me now mah so she brought a box over. No rendang, ketupat or ayam masak merah for me this year! I'd give anything for nasi lemak with sambal ikan bilis or better yet, nasi kandar (or asam laksa, ipoh sar hor fun, chicken rice, everything really)! Kesian :sad:

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Thanks for the blog yunnermeier.

gallery_28660_3809_10773.jpg

Nice kitchen.

I have a question about the unit to the right of the wall oven. It looks like an autoclave. What is it?

I also like the beer tap next to the espresso machine. Nice.

Look forward to more of your blog.

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It's going to be so nice to glimpse an adopted (if temporarily) country and cuisine through a visitor's eyes. And two other countries you'll be visiting and describing as well!! You WILL have a busy week.

The picture in the tease led me to believe that the living quarters were in a big lighted window space, with all the comings and goings open to passersby, but I see from a pic above that that was the BEFORE pic, pre-window-glazing and kitchen-adding. I can see the flowers and scale, now that I see them from another perspective. It's also good to know the family has some privacy, though only shoulder-high. What a lovely light must fill that kitchen!

Do go to the Dutch Cooking thread, with Chufi's glorious demonstrations and recipes and her amazing photography. It will teach you more about the cuisine of your adopted land than any three sets of lessons. You'll be amazed and delighted, and perhaps persuaded to give some of the dishes a try, whether at home or out and about. At least, it will help you know what you'd like to order, without any surprises. (Somebody PLEASE make a blue link)

Looking forward to the week. . .

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Thanks for the blog yunnermeier. 

Nice kitchen.

I have a question about the unit to the right of the wall oven.  It looks like an autoclave.  What is it? 

I also like the beer tap next to the espresso machine.  Nice.

Look forward to more of your blog.

That is a steamer. We do use it everyday, mostly to sterilise baby bottles and for vegetables /potatos (3 minutes at 120degrees is enough to make mashed potatos, much faster than boiling!)

Foo , am I tired or what. I decided to make Chufi's Dutch apple pie because we had some apples sitting around. It was Sebas' birthday a few weeks ago and they went to pick apples from his apple tree.

This didn't go as planned because I couldn't find the pie tin and I couldn't go out to buy one because Sebas was in bed , host dad went to the DIY shop (he's home this week to paint and do up the attic) and Jules had gone to Amsterdam (I was literally ready to cry). Finally I saw some disposable lasagna containers in the drawer and used that instead. I figured since it's already spoilt , I'm not going to bother following the recipe anymore so I 'seasoned' the apples to taste using mostof the ingredients from Chufi's recipe and added a bit more,namely vanilla sugar and I sprinkled granulated sugar on top of the pastry.

Surprisingly, it actually came out really good! My host dad ate HALF THE PIE . At least it was good for something (I served it with vanilla ice cream)! :D

gallery_28660_3809_49991.jpg

Edited by yunnermeier (log)
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The picture in the tease led me to believe that the living quarters were in a big lighted window space, with all the comings and goings open to passersby, but I see from a pic above that that was the BEFORE pic, pre-window-glazing and kitchen-adding.  I can see the flowers and scale, now that I see them from another perspective.  It's also good to know the family has some privacy, though only shoulder-high.  What a lovely light must fill that kitchen!

Do go to the Dutch Cooking thread, with Chufi's glorious demonstrations and recipes and her amazing photography.  It will teach you more about the cuisine of your adopted land than any three sets of lessons.  You'll be amazed and delighted, and perhaps persuaded to give some of the dishes a try, whether at home or out and about.  At least, it will help you know what you'd like to order, without any surprises.  (Somebody PLEASE make a blue link)

Looking forward to the week. . .

Hi Racheld! Yes, Chufi's Dutch cooking thread is one of my favourite threads (Chufi is practically my eGullet idol :raz: )though I've never tried anything until today (above apple pie)! One of these days I'm going to make Chufi's Frisian suikerbrood.

The huge window is a constant problem because passerbys WILL peep and look at us . It's funny because everyone tries to look in our kitchen and quickly turn away everytime I catch them (Looking into people's houses is a favourite Dutch passtime) . My host family and I don't really mind that, though as we are not really private people (we're also not allowed to change the design outside as the house is a monument).

ETA: obligatory picture of fridge and sauce cupboard. I didn't take a picture of the freezer and the larder because they're in 'drawer-style' (ie you can only see the top)

gallery_21328_3810_53920.jpg

gallery_21328_3810_61694.jpg

Edited by yunnermeier (log)
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Mei, that applepie looks great! It's a really good idea to sprinkle sugar on top.. I never do that because my husband doesn't like crunchy sugar :shock:

and the disposable piedish is very smart, less washing up that way..

Hi Racheld! Yes, Chufi's Dutch cooking thread is one of my favourite threads (Chufi is practically my eGullet idol :raz: )though I've never tried anything until today (above apple pie)! One of these days I'm going to make Chufi's Frisian suikerbrood.

now where is that blush smilie when you need it... :blush: ah there it is!

(rachel, the link to the Dutch Cooking thread is in my signature)

Edited by Chufi (log)
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Hola! Almost time for dinner; we're just waiting for Walter to get back but in the meantime, I'll post some pictures :smile:

This is Maartje (my host mum) cooking. She's a lovely lady and one cannot ask for a nicer host mum.

gallery_28660_3809_15117.jpg

Oh yes, I forgot to say that my host family made stofvlees (braised beef, you can get the recipe from Chufi's Dutch Cooking thread) yesterday. There's quite a bit leftover so we're eating hutspot tonight. Hutspot is the only stampot I don't care for ; thanks to the mashed carrots, it tastes a little too much like baby food (in my opinion).

It is said that stampot came to be when Leiden was attacked by the Spaniards a few hundred years ago (Dutchies, please correct me if I'm wrong). The mayor closed the gates and the locals ran out of food after a while. Finally, the Spanish army left . A little boy was so hungry that he climbed over a wall (or went through a hole in the wall or something like that) and found, still hot in a pot, what is today known as hutspot!

gallery_28660_3809_200774.jpg

Hutspot with stofvlees

gallery_28660_3809_179959.jpg

For dessert, we will have stofpeers (also leftovers from yesterday) with biterkoekje pudding. You'll notice that the top part of the pear is not red. This is because my host dad cheated by using the steamer.

gallery_28660_3809_96262.jpg

Ok I'm going to go downstairs and wait with Maartje for Walter to be back! Toodles!

Next : A spacecake and a joint or two at one of Amsterdam's famous coffeeshops

Edited by yunnermeier (log)
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How much do you cook in that lovely kitchen? Do you typically help with the meals? The apple pie looks very nice... I also have to comment on the adorable photo of your little charge!

Also looking forward to your travels later in the week. I hope you get to try some nice pastries and cakes in Budapest. We recently were discussing Hungarian Chestnut Cream torte on this thread and it has whetted my appetite for Hungarian/Austrian desserts.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Hey Mei, cool! Amazingly, I still have a few of the Malaysian foods you sent me way back when we did our food exchange, so maybe I'll have to make something for you, just so you can see the picture and eat it vicariously.

This will be a really interesting blog, since you're in a "foreign" country to you, but we have members there to comment on your experiences with a native eye. I'm looking forward to this week!

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      -Grace
    • By Duvel
      In these challenging times, a full summer vacation is not an easy task. For the last 1.5 years we have been mostly at home with the clear plan to visit Catalonia (or more precise my wife’s family) latest this summer. And it looked good for a while. Unfortunately, the recent rise in case numbers in Spain have resulted in …
       
      OK, let’s skip this part. Long story short - my wife and me are fully vaccinated, as are >90% of the people we care about in Catalonia. After some discussion (after all, Germans tend to prefer to be on the safe side of things) we simply fueled up the car, got each a test (for the transit through France) and started to drive …
       
      After a leisurely 11h drive we arrived at a small fishing town somewhat north of Barcelona around 3.00am. We unloaded the car and my wife an the little one went straight to bed. 
       

       


      I found an expired beer in the elsewise pretty empty fridge and enjoyed the cool breeze on the terrace. Holidays, here we come …
       

    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
       
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women, including her, wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

       
      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
    • By shain
      It's been more than a year in which international travel was challenging to impossible, but gladly this is changing, as more countries are able to vaccinate their population.
      Greece had managed to return to a state of near normality, and opted to allow vaccinated individuals to enter. And so I decided to go on a slightly spontaneous vacation (only slightly, we still had almost a month for planning). To the trip I was joined by my father, to whom I owed some good one-on-one time and was able to travel on a short-ish notice.
       
       
      Many people are yet unable to travel, and many countries are suffering quite badly from the virus, and therefore I considered if I should wait some time with this post. However, I hope that it will instead be seen with an optimistic view, showing that back-to-normal is growing ever closer.
       
       
      We returned just a few days ago, and it will take me some time to organize my photos, so this is a teaser until then.
       
       
       
       
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