Category Archives: Food

London

If you arrive in London in December and it’s sunny, don’t worry that you haven’t slept for nearly two days.  Get outside.  Because surely the weather won’t last.

Take a taxi, they are roomy, charming and come with wonderfully accented drivers.  In fact, if I would have had pounds of pounds (£) I could have happily ridden in the back and talked to the driver for hours.

Taxi

When you see your first phone booth, don’t be embarrassed, take as many pictures as possible.  In fact, try to take more than I did, I dare you.  After all, who knows how long these essential but unessential phone booths will be around.  I think they are essential looking even if they are no longer used.  In fact, couldn’t they just disconnect all the phones but keep the booths there?  Or perhaps put in cell phone charging stations?  I must write the Queen with this suggestion…

If you know anything about London I don’t have to tell you to go to Harrods.  It’s the number two tourist destination in London.  It was my third stop.  1) Hotel 2) Restaurant for classic British Fare 3) Harrods.

Harrods is this big

The clothes are high end.  I found a beautiful knit hat for 240£ (388USD).  Later I found one I liked just as much from the GAP for 6£ (10USD).  I’m guessing that might be the reason the clothes areas were free of people.  I left the expensive clothes and followed the trails of people like a worker ant and quickly found the packed, full to the gills, can barely lift your arms crowded food halls.

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So this is where everyone has been hiding.  And it’s no wonder because everything was beautiful!  They had every brand of chocolate, tea, pastry, confection, meat, sushi, fish, breads, veggies, condiments and gifts from all the lands formerly under the British Empire.  And the shop keepers wore cute hats!

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If you’re wondering why some of my previous photos were blurry it’s because I kept getting knocked and squeezed by the hoards of people.  They do not say excuse me or pardon me because that is what you say when you pass gas in London.  So they just knock you about and blur your pictures and head on their merry way.

I have been accused of saying too often “I almost bought this for you but…”  Apparently it’s quite maddening.  But, I almost bought this for my close friends and family but I never went back.  It was a cute flag tin full of Scottish (the best) shortbread.  Are you getting mad yet?

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I spent at least an hour exploring the marvelous food halls.  I highly recommend skipping my above mentioned stop 2 and interacting a bit more with the products there.  I was too full to eat anything.

Every year Harrods does elaborately themed Christmas windows.  They are spectacularly over the top!  This year was Disney Princess themed.  I wish I would have taken the time to get better and more photos of these but if you’d like to see someone else’s video click here.

Harrods Christmas Windows

Notice Cinderella’s missing slipper and the elaborate marble staircase.

Snow White was my favorite, the hill with flowers and the little dwarf beds were amazing.  And her dress and hood perfected the window scene.

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And last but not least.  Here is the building I picked (it changed daily) for my flat in London.  Adjacent to Harrods.  Whoever would need to cook when you can eat like a Queen next door?  And while I’m imagining things, I might as well take the corner tower as my place.  Would you come visit? I promise I’ll buy you a tin of Scottish shortbread…

Building Next Door

And we can eat our shortbread and look at this view of the sunset…if you’re fortunate enough to come to London, like I did, when it isn’t raining.

Sunset at Harrods

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Almost Too Pretty To Eat

Have you ever seen a dessert that was interesting enough to photograph from all 4 sides?

It looks like your own private ice sculpture.

It’s so pretty you almost don’t want to eat it.

Except you can’t help yourself.

By the way, that’s mango and strawberry puree drizzled down the sides with fresh mango and strawberries nestled on the plate.

If you’ve been to the North Shore on Oahu and had their delicious shave ice with ice cream on the bottom and loved it…this makes that taste like trash. I’m just sayin’ it’s that good.

Are you in Singapore? Go find this in Chinatown.  Right now.

Mei Heong Yuen Dessert (味香园) 67 Temple St Chinatown, Singapore 088389 6221 1156

While you are there, try the pomelo and mango sago too. You may be full but you will not be sorry.

I Scream You Scream

I scream, you scream we all scream for ice cream.

If you move to Singapore and you like Haagen-Dazs, Ben and Jerry’s, Dryers or Tillamook you will be tested…

…when you see the price. How much do you really want it?

However, if you are feeling homesick, I strongly recommend buying some ice cream. It’s still significantly cheaper than a plane ticket.

Just be sure to savor every bite. (Did you notice the Dryers container is about 1/2 the size of what you see in the States)?

Tillamook is totally worth the cost. It’s actually FROM Oregon (my home state) and I don’t buy it often but it is absolutely cost effective for my resulting happiness.

I still scream for ice cream. Would you?

However, be careful when you return to the U.S. after living in Singapore. When I was there last December every time I went down the frozen food section I was tempted to fill my entire cart full of ice cream because it seemed so cheap! $3 for Ben and Jerry’s and $4 for Tillamook? What a deal! I need to buy it all! And while I managed to avoid filling my cart, I could not resist buying ice cream every time I went into a grocery store, even if I just bought some the day before.

Singapore’s 46th Birthday Bash

Some events deserve a lot of photos.

A photo timeline of sorts. Maybe even 30 photos.

Here is my photo timeline of National Day 2011.

On national day in Singapore, first comes the waiting. I got to the Marina Bay early and saved seats for our group.

I wasn’t the only one waiting…

Look closely to see crowds all around the Marina Bay.

I also wasn’t the only one waiting in a red shirt…

To entertain me while I waited there were a few live bands on this stage…

Then the skydivers dropped falling at speeds over 200km/hour with some type of red smoke flying behind them. At first it looked like only one…

Then there were many…

And their red smoke showed their crazy turns and stunts…

Until they each landed one by one on the floating platform stage…

Next up? The sunset…

Then my friends arrived. YEAAAA!

In general Asians take more pictures than I expect and they like all types of poses and props. In honor of National Day we did the same.

Next recite the pledge (or pretend to recite it if you don’t know it even though you have lived in Singapore 3 years) while a GIANT Singapore flag circles the bay via helicopter. This is at 8:22 every year.

Then watch the parade of military fighter jets, helicopters, tanks, and people.

Followed by a musical show including some of the history of Singapore. Unless you happen to see the musical show the previous evening while checking out the lay of the land. In which case you may decide to fiddle with your camera in hopes to get the most fabulous firework photos that you have ever taken.

AND finally the FIREWORKS! We had a fabulous seat thanks to 1) my friend Jennifer getting me tickets to the Marina Bay Sands event plaza and 2) my early arrival and fabulous seat saving. However, despite my camera fiddling during the show my photos of the fireworks aren’t great because we were just TOO CLOSE for my wide angle lens. Our spot was that good!

Birthdays are a big deal to me but I’ve certainly never celebrated like this before, maybe when I’m 46! So, Happy Birthday to you Singapore it was quite a party! I hope we get to celebrate together again someday!

How do you end an evening like this? With my fabulous friend and fellow foodie Sarah Furner and a Frenchie Burger at DB Bistro. Just in case you did not know, Morbier cheese is amazing. If you get an opportunity to try it do NOT say no.

Followed by a molten chocolate cake with chocolate gelato and vanilla ice cream. Yum.

An excellent ending to an excellent evening.

Friday Night In With a Big Salad

Here is one of my many yummy recipes for Asian Chicken Salad. What makes this salad shine is the delicious dressing. It’s so easy to make because you just dump all the ingredients in a tupperware or jar and shake it until it emulsifies.

After you make the dressing, mix it with shredded or chopped chicken that you baked, poached, pan fried or peeled off a store bought rotisserie. Stir in celery, green onions and cilantro (I would have added cucumber too if I had one). Don’t worry if you make too much because it will taste great the next day. Especially if you put it in a tortilla wrap with baby romaine lettuce. In fact, I intentionally made enough so I could do exactly that. The only reason I didn’t make a wrap tonight is because I had one piece of homemade parmesan focaccia bread left that was begging to be toasted and eaten. Would you say no to homemade focaccia if it so kindly asked you to eat it?

Hoisin Dressing
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (I peel mine and grate it–watch your fingers!)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

For Salad
2 medium ribs celery , cut into small dice
2 medium scallions , white and green parts, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves or parsley leaves

You can also use this recipe to make a cold noodle salad. Equally delicious.

The Start of Egg Tarts

Eggs in Asia in general are popular. You find them on burgers, in sandwiches, on noodle and rice dishes. At almost all the hawker centers (think outdoor or indoor cheap Asian food court) you can add an egg to most dishes for a dollar. You can find salted eggs, fried eggs, fermented eggs and eggs from all types of birds.

However, in researching my recent birthday weekend plans, I kept coming across different places who claimed to have the very best egg tarts.

How did I choose? This place in Macau claimed to have the egg tart that started it all, in fact the “original” egg tart. The logo below is difficult to read but it says, “Creator of the egg tart now famous throughout Asia”. Now, I realize just because they claim to be the original egg tart maker they may not be telling the truth.

Gasp.

This could be like Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand all claiming to invent satay. (Greg and I mutually decided we don’t care who invented satay, it’s delicious and we’re perfectly happy to eat it in any country and even nod our heads in agreement that they are the original satay makers as long as it tastes good).

Nevertheless, this may be the original egg tart maker, but it is not the original “Lord Stow’s” location because that was a drive that seemed unnecessary when they had a branch at the Venetian.

Now, I am certainly not an egg tart expert. But is it not common sense to ask for seconds if they bring out a warm tray of just baked tarts? And when they try to give you an old tart what should you do? Even if you don’t speak Chinese and you aren’t certain they speak English? Obviously ask, gesture or dance, whatever it takes, to obtain the hot one they just placed under the counter. Because the fuss you make for the warm just baked egg tart is totally worth it. Please enjoy the flaky and buttery crust with a warm custard filling because it is delicious.

If this is a good egg tart, what does a bad one taste like? Scrambled eggs with a gooey shell?

Not Your Average Buttermilk Biscuit

Before living in Singapore, biscuits were of the buttermilk  or drop biscuit variety.  Flakey or crumbly, baked and delicious they were either savory with pulled pork and baked beans or chicken.  Or sweet with cinnamon and sugar, or honey and butter.

The pre-Singapore Debbie *thought* she knew all about biscuits.  I even had a collection of biscuit recipes including a delicious cheddar herb biscuit.

Now I know world-wide biscuits mean so much more.  And pre-Singapore Debbie was seriously limited and missing out!

Two of my favorite biscuits found in Singapore are from the same Aussie brand, Arnott’s.

This biscuit is savory…oh so savory, cheesy and delicious…

This would be considered a cracker to Americans, and those crumbs on the top are cheese. It’s way better than the powder from cheesy Doritos so don’t even try to compare…

This biscuit is sweet.  Like a girl scout thin mint cookie with an oreo filling dipped in chocolate.  If you buy these biscuits beware.  It is possible to eat the whole container.  And if you put them in the refrigerator or freezer to try to forget about them…it doesn’t work because they taste great cold.

If you want to you can call this a cookie 😉

Someday when I live in the US again, I hope I can find a store that imports Arnott’s.  Or else I will be like my former ex-pat friends who ask anyone flying to Singapore to bring some home for them.  Do you think I jest?  I do not.  They are that good.