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Cannot miss that! World’s favourite Biryani in Hyderabad at Paradise

Indian food is not on my favourite list, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Shanghainese, Italian, French, Spanish, and etc. Hardly think about Indian food, but now I am in India, of course would like to explore more local food as possible. This is my third time in India, I still do not like Indian food for my last two visits, but I start to like it this time. Maybe I will start to cook some Indian food after I get back home.

I’ve been hearing Briyani many times during this trip, that’s the food my local colleagues keep talking about, and they said it is so good and you will have food coma after that. They said we must go to have Biryani for lunch when we are in Hyderabad. So, we are here today, and of course I do not want to miss the opportunity to try it!

They bought us to this restaurant called Paradise, it is a restaurant since 1953. The look is so authentic Indian, with dark red table cloth, and the entire restaurant is full of Indian. They told me Hyderabad is a city full of IT people, just like Bangalore. I am thinking, how could they get back to work after this big lunch in food coma? I am sharing one chicken biryani with another colleague, and I am also having some butter naam with boneless chicken in curry. I love it, taste so good and the chicken is so moist and tender. I love the long-grain rice more and more, and as usual the naam taste so good as well. As they said, you would not be able to finish one bowl by yourself. I actually could even finish half, of course part of the fact is because I was also having naam and some curry. One of the local colleague, he ordered a vegetable biryani and he doesn’t want to share with anybody else, he can finish the entire bowl by himself. Amazing! One more thing, I just found out this fresheners are actually fennel seeds with sugar coating, as I don’t know that in past.

I felt very satisfied, and luckily I was still awake after lunch, no food coma! I will try to cook that when I am back home!

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Are you a food adventurer? I always love to explore local food when travelling…

India for sure is not the cleanest and safest country in the world, the impression of India could be dirty, especially when you are talking about drinking water. Everyone knows that you should always drink from a sealed bottle of water, you should brush your teeth with bottle of water, and not rinse your mouth with the tab water. Water supply seems to be an issue in India, and people here would suggested you to eat everything that is cooked. For example, do not eat salad or even the garnish, that usually is not cooked.

Yesterday, we were having lunch in this Indian Restaurant in Mumbai, at one point I was eating this raw onion, and I was thinking if that is safe to eat? The locals looking at me and said onion should be fine. Luckily, touchwood, so far so good. Usually when I travel, I do prefer to have local food, to taste the true and authentic side of that cuisine, of course is to have that in that country. Even last time during my travel in India, which was few years ago, I remembered I was having hard time with my stomach. Food was too spicy and at same point my stomach could not take it any more. So, I learned to ask for not spicy, or little spicy, as the standard of spicy is so different here in India. Anyway, Indian food is never on my list, but maybe slowly and slowly, I start to like it.

Today, we had lunch at the food court in this shopping mall. Not that food court would be my favourite, it’s just because that is suggested by the local team, and I believe they provide the best suggestion to us. To be honest, not bad at all! I start to love the long grain rice, less starchy and more healthy, and actually taste like rice noodle somehow. I also love Indian bread, so many different kind of bread, and I guess I should start to learn them, roti, paratha, bhatura, and etc… The funny thing is, I am actually liking the food on the plane when we fly with Air India.

Just arrived in Bangalore tonight, and prefer to have a good rest, we decided to stay in hotel and do room service. Would like to have a glass of wine for dinner, but they do not offer white wine by glass for the imported wine. So, I have to go for local wine, there are two options for white wine selection, Sula Sauvignon Blanc and Grover. The person taking my order suggest Sula to me, and he said I will love it. I still managed to finish the glass of white wine, but I think I should have order a bottle of beer instead. Well, at least I’ve tried!

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Fun girlie trip with fun thing to do – Cooking class at Blue Elephan7

It is hard to organise a trip with your girl friends BFF many years after school, as each of us is having our own agenda. Some married, some with kids, some busy with work, some  living in other countries, and etc. But the 4 of us somehow still managed to go for our second girlie trip last year, and to make it more fun, we tried to line up with fun thing to do. Four of us ended up with an agreement to go for a cooking class, our destination is Phuket in Thailand, and we found this nice place called Blue Elephant, it is a well known restaurant, and they also do cooking class.

 

 

Arrived to this beautiful building, and actually the entire building with old Chinese-colonial style is the Blue Elephant Restaurant, with a huge lawn and very old trees. I heard that it was a government building, and the owner bought the whole building and keep the look for the restaurant, it is nicely decorated and I love the style! The restaurant itself is quite well-known, with brunches all over the world in different countries, for example London, Paris, Brussels, Dubai, and etc.

The first thing we need to do is a tour to the wet market nearby, not really doing shopping, but in order to understand the ingredients of Thai food or how do they look like, the best place to go is the market. It’s actually quite interesting to go around the market, and having someone can speak with the locals with you is great. I’ve learned different kind of vegetables and herbs that are originated in Thailand. It was definitely a nice experience.

So, let’s start cooking! Basically, they prepared all ingredients for you, you just need to cook. Our class is to learn 4 dishes, the first one is Keang Ka-Ree Koong Subparod (Yellow Curry with Prawns and Pineapple). The most important thing to learn is how to make the curry paste, everything is about grinding with the mortar. So, you need to work out your muscle in order to grind the curry paste. Basically, the red curry paste is the base, and to make the yellow curry paste is using the red curry paste to add yellow curry powder and turmeric powder. The ingredients are garlic, coriander root, yellow curry powder, turmeric powder, red curry paste, vegetable oil, coconut milk, prawns, pineapple in thinly sliced, cherry tomato cut in half, sweet pepper and onion. This dish is not difficult, most of the work is about making the red curry paste.

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Yellow Curry with Prawns and Pineapple, mine one is number 2 😉

The second dish is Hor Mok Poo Tod (Fried Crab Soufflé), for this one you need to whisk a lot, another way to build muscle. For this dish, we have to mix the ingredients in a big bowl, first to mix the paste, egg yolk and coconut milk, then have to mix the minced chicken, minced prawn, steamed crab meat, kaffir lime leaf, sweet basil leaves, then add fish sauce and sugar. Place the mixture into crab shells or containers, and steam that for 15 minutes. Dip with beaten egg, then coat with breadcrumbs, and deep fry.

 

The teacher said that this Phad Ka-praow Nua (Stir-fried beef with holy basil) is one of the most popular, cheap and cheerful dish in Thailand. Basically is to fry the sliced beef with holy basil, with the garlic and chili paste, kaffir lime leaf, green peppercorn, sliced of red and yellow chilies, chicken stock, young baby corns and long bean. Season it with light soya sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and sweet dark soya sauce.

Phad Ka-praow Nua (Stir-fried beef with holy basil)

 

The last dish is the Yam Som O (Pomelo Salad), always love to eat this one, let’s see how to make it. The salad ingredients are pomelo, cooked prawns, chicken, ground dried shrimps, roasted peanuts and desiccated coconut. Mixed the ingredients together and add the dressing, chilli paste, tamarind juice, palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice mixed well together. Garnish it with deep fried shallot, deep fried dried red chili and boiled quail’s eggs.

 

 

Some Thai ingredients that I learned and it’s quite new to me, holy basic leaves, kaffir lime leaf, galangal, tamarind, coriander root (don’t know you can cook with the root). Each of us got a certificate and some gifts home, few ingredients to bring with us, such as fish sauce, curry paste and kaffir lime leaves. We also got to sit down and have lunch together and enjoyed what we cooked.

 

 

 

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Din Tai Fung is always nice, they won’t let you down!

  
Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese Dim Sum Restaurant, and it’s originally from Taiwan. The first restaurant is located in Xinyi Road in Taipei City, since the 80s. It’s amazing that how many branches they have opened during the last 30 years, everywhere in the world, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, USA, Australia and etc. So far, I’ve been to the Original one in Taiwan and two other branches in Taiwan, Shanghai, Singapore and all of the branches in Hong Kong. I would say, they never disappoint me! The quality of food is good and pretty consistent, and the service is also good.

But one thing I want to highlight is the original restaurant in Xinyi Road, Taipei. If you love Din Tai Fung, please try to dine there at least one time, the experience is really something! First of all, you have to line up, no reservation as usual, and they don’t care who you are, even the president of Taiwan also need to line up! The building is with 3-storey, and the famous Xiao Long Bao production view is on the ground floor near the entrance. You will see so many people all in white uniform, line up in the kitchen making dumplings, interesting to watch! The food of course is very good, but what actually impressed me was the standard of the service. They do have a lot of servers, waiter/waitress stand by all the time. Someone is there constantly refilling your cup of tea, very observant and attentive. They know exactly what you need and they just came to you at the right moment. Somehow I found that they try to do that at their branches, but the service level could never be as good as the original one, but still not bad.

Talking about food, of course the must have well-known Xiao Long Bao, and I just like the basic one, not really those with truffle oil or crab. The simple one is the best! I actually can easily order 10-20 dishes that I like, and they all taste good! This so-called Taiwanese Dim Sum is actually just like the Shanghainese food. But the way they do is better than a lot of Shanghainese restaurants. All appetisers are simple but nice, for example, cucumber with garlic and chilli, jellyfish with turnip, you can easily finish a few if you are going with few friends. For main course, can choose between rice, noddles or different kind of dumplings. Dessert is also nice, and I love the almond tofu, silky smooth! As I said, they will never disappoint you.

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Love travel, and my Starbucks City Mug collec7ion

I love to travel for leisure, and I need to travel for work too. In the old days, I love to get some little things as souvenir for memory, especially something that you cannot get it back home. For example, I love Paperchase in London, nowadays you can shop everything online, but there was no such thing back then. When I was studying fashion design in university, I love to buy nice paper for presentation. Paperchase is a stationery store that offers a huge variety of paper selection. So, when I traveled to London the first time, I bought a lot of paper back from Paperchase. I’ve got so many that I still have some of them now after so many years. I also like to shop at Tokyu Hands, when I go to Tokyo the first time, I was amazed by how big Tokyu Hands is, and the range of products they offered. I wanted to buy a lot of things, but could not. Why don’t they just open a store in Hong Kong?

Nowadays, you can almost buy everything everywhere because of online shopping, and a lot of them do ship internationally. When I travel, I also try not to buy so much, unless it is very special. I just feel I did collect a lot of “things” along all these years, and it is so painful when you have to move, you just feel that you have way too many things to pack, or something that you packed but never unpacked. So, I try to minimise the amount of potential rubbish.

I found one of my collection kind of funny, because I was thinking to start collecting them, but then I stopped after I purchased the first one. After that, I am still so obsessed with it, and I am really trying very hard to hold myself not buying them, the Starbucks City Mugs. I first saw it in Kuala Lumpur, and I was thinking it’s a good idea to start collecting that, to have a collection of mugs that look different from one to the other and remind me of which city I’ve been. But then, I realised that might take up so much space in my kitchen cabinet, so I just dumped the idea. Few years ago, I saw this city mug at San Francisco Airport with the new design, so nice and I thought just to get it and for the memory of getting stuck at SFO for one night. Last year, I also get one in Beijing, just can’t help it… I will try to keep reminding myself when I travel, try not to buy that, and I am happy with only four of them right now. Of course with one representing my hometown, Hong Kong.

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Love this place in Bali, DEUX Ex Machina!

 

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The lovely spacious private villa at Canggu, Bali

I was in Bali three time, the second time was in 2011 December. We were staying around the Canggu area, near Echo Beach. We rented this lovely private villa with a super good deal, with a big swimming pool, 3 big bedrooms, huge living space, and only something like USD100 per night! Can’t ask for more! The best thing is, this is also near the Echo Beach, only 5 minutes away, so we can head to the beach easily.

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The Echo Beach is just 5 minutes away from our villa

So, we rented a bike, and driving around and look for something to eat, we saw this interesting house standing in the middle of the green. This house looks stylish, with DEUS and something written on the wall, can see from faraway. So, we made a detour and headed to that direction, let’s check it out what is that.

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The DEUS in the middle of the green

Well, actually that is a very interesting place, very stylish and nicely done! Love the concept, and actually would love to open something like this one day! Shop that selling motorbike, surf boards, t-shirts, caps, and etc. How they decorate the entire space is just super cool! Looks like a gallery, they also do music, so there are records, mixing with art pieces. You can just spend hours looking into every single thing! On the other side, there is the cafe / restaurant, food is amazing! Great place to hang out, and easily you can spend half of your day there without getting bored!

This is the coolest place around that area, and we just keep going back!

One day, we went to the shopping area, to do some shopping, we also found one DEUS store selling fashion and a bit of something else. Such a cool concept! So, I started to do some research on it, and found out that they actually have stores in different cities / countries, such as Tokyo, Milan, Sydney and L.A. And they are actually selling their products through other channels as well.

I am not sure how the rest of the DEUS looks like, but if you are travelling to Bali, why not checking it out? You might also find a kitten to keep you company for dinner 😉

Deus Ex Machina

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Let’s get fat, midnight snack!!! Onion and apple 7art

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Feeling hungry in the middle of the night, just want to indulge yourself and don’t care much about gaining weight… yay!!! Let’s make something quick and have a mid-night snack.

This onion and apple tart is super easy to make, you just need 4 ingredients, onion, apple, creme fraiche and puff pastry sheets.

Pan fried onion and apple with olive oil, until they are both soft and brown, and season with salt and pepper.

Place puff pastry sheets on the baking paper, put creme fraiche on the puff pastry, then put the cooked onion and apple on top. Bake under 180C in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. That’s it!!! So quick and easy.

If you prefer something sweet, maybe you can season it with sugar instead of salt, and treat this as a desert.

yum………