Friday, 6 May 2016

An Afternoon at the Hairdresser's

..in Vietnam! Vung Tau.
Spent the afternoon pampering myself to
1. Hair cut (layered) = 50,000 dong
2. Express mani and pedi= 40,000 dong
(Both with trimming cuticles and painted ala French)
3. Eyebrow shaping = 10,000 dong
I hardly indulge myself in these sort of luxuries and am careful when it comes to spending money on these. Not necessities. I'm not sophisticated this way.
So when it costs RM17.95 only...I went for it!
And, to boot the ladies were very courteous and had a good time trying to communicate with this non-Vietnamese client. Google Translate and Currency exchange apps are lifesavers.
I'm happy.
Toying with the idea to get hair highlights / colours next. :)

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Here in Saigon

A major road at District 1 of HCMC
Otherwise known by Ho Chi Minh City. Sai Gon is colloquial and used inside the country amongst locals. HCMC is used during business-related matters and with tourists. (Hey, a little like how at times Malaysians still refer to our own currency as 'dollars' when it really is 'ringgit'. :) )

It's hard to believe just over 40 years ago, the people were warring with the Americans, the French, the Australians, South Koreans etc.

It's harder to believe that the people emerged victorious with what little they had - their spirits, the sweat off their brow, resilience and the desperation for independence and to own their own land. Heck, there was no water for days on stretch that they drank their own urine just so they keep hydrated.

It's hardest to believe that what rightfully belongs to you can be taken away by an outside  'higher / bigger power' if you aren't vigilant or you don't know how to defend for what's yours.

This is Vietnam, folks.

Be cautious in portraying joy for this day, there are those who will chide you. This day is also known as Black April too. It's unlike how the Westerners see 'independence day' July 4th with much parties and boozing. Plenty of the red flags with star / sickles, flower wreaths, pastel flags, billboards with that 1940s war-ish artwork dotted the roads, highways and home doorway entrances.


Flower wreaths marking the significance of 30th April.
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A hem (aka road) off a main road in a town lined with the yellow star red flags. These are put up by families who live on this street!

Red and yellow lined the cities, towns, streets and homes of the Vietnamese. They are proud of their country and the struggles they overcame that led to this independence.

The famous main touristy markeplace Ben Tanh

View from the balcony of the Independence Palace

The 1940s artwork. Always with patriotic subjects with a far off gaze. Trying to show Patriotism.

A signage on a post along the highway about the Reunification Day.

One thing stands out starkly. With all the display of national pride and flags... I see zero Vietnamese spotting the red tee with a yellow star on the front. Rarely I see the tshirt on someone and when it is...it's always a foreigner / tourist.

Some wiki readings below.
Vietnam's Reunification Day here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reunification_Day
Fall of Saigon wiki read - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_Saigon

Thursday, 28 April 2016

A Neurotic Boss

...is a bitch.
I'm not sure if the heavy furious pounding of a keyboard translates into quicker and/or better work produced, Boss....
(A post left in draft mode and should really be posted sometime back in 2014).

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Curry Chicken made from scratch, minus raising the chicken!

One evening after a meal out i felt puffy from the amount of MSG I've consumed in the past months that I thought it'll be a nice change to be msg free for a weekend.  So i  dished out the all time Malaysian favourite chicken curry over the weekend ala Indian-cum-malaysian. So easy. :)
So here's the recipe from memory and gut feel. Rearrange and reappropriate if proportion seems off. Have fun.
1. Marinate the chicken pieces (2 sliced breasts) with turmeric at the start. This allows the marinate to set in half an hour or so. Cheat: Rub the meats with lime juice to cut short of marinate process.
2. Blend these: Onion (4 big) , garlic (1 clove), fresh red chillies (4 pcs), ginger (about length of a thumb), old coconut pieces to shave
3. Heat Ghee 2 tbsp (or oil) in deep pan/wok until bubble starts to form. Then add on the blended ingredients.
Fry til the oil re-emerge from the ingredients.
4. Add these below, and fry for a minute or so til fragrance wafts up. 
Fresh red chillies (2 pcs cut to bite size) six birds eye chilli (more if inferno level is what you are trying to serve up! I chopped up these little babies cuz I love to surprise !! ), curry leaves, cinnamon sticks, cardammon, star anise, cumin, black pepper, cloves.
5. Add the veg that takes a while to cook eg potato, carrot for a few mins before adding on the chicken.
6. Lastly add the coconut milk (optional. I opted in for this as I like the saucy base it gives) and soft veg.
For this lovely meal,  I chose these veggies the cherry tomatoes, ocra, potato, carrot. Hint: cherry tomatoes when nipped whole gives a delightful burst of flavour against the fiery curry sauce.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Kaya aka coconut jam

Kaya on warm bengali roti - the ultimate childhood comfort food!
Granny used to make this fresh for us whenever we visit. It's the scent of a granny's love, and the kopitiam townhouse in a kampung.
Recipe taken from Sara.
1. Whisk egg yolks and set aside.
2. In a small pot, pour in coconut milk and palm sugar.
3. In low heat, melt palm sugar. Stir throughout.
4. Add pandan leaves and another 3 tbsp sugar into the pot. Cook in high heat. Stir until sugar is melted and coconut milk bubbles.
5. When flavored coconut milk is hot, turn down the heat. With one hand, slowly pour it into egg yolks and another, whisk the egg yolks.
6. Pour egg yolks back into the pot. Let it simmer and stir throughout. The solution will thicken. It should take about 10 minutes. If it’s not sweet enough, you can add more sugar.
7. Discard pandan leaves with a pair of chopstick and tongs. The kaya would be sticking on the leaves, remove them with chopsticks.
8. Transfer to a bottle. Let cool, cover and refrigerate. It should keep up to a week or longer.

A DIY Garlic Oil

Have a jar of garlic oil by the kitchen counter. Now I don't need to chop garlic in a frenzy for stir frying with the kailan next while the chicken simmers in the pan.
Best kitchen decision ever.

1. Chop garlic into a gazillion pieces. The stronger you like your garlic oil to be, the more cloves you chop up.
2. Heat up oil in pan. Throw in garlic pieces.
3. Stir while oil heats up.
4. Remove pan fr heat and let sit til cool once garlic pieces look fried.
5. Insert into a bottle with a funnel. Nozzle up the bottle for easy usage when cooking a meal.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Chicken leg with pig brain soup

Chicken leg with pig brain soup
This is yummy, the brain gives a different taste to it almost like a bland version of smooth solid block of Pâté. Look at the beautiful folds of piggy brain! Really not sure what the commotion is for some non-foodist. Old wives tales from the Chinese traditionalist will have you know that this adds to a kid's IQ. Very good for when the exams is just around the corner.

Have had this only in Serdang, along Jalan Besar a few meters away from the Post Office if you are coming up the road (Post Office to your left).