Writing about food – Me?

When I sit down on quiet nights to reminisce about my childhood, all I can think about is food. The little time that I got to spend with my father when I was a kid was always after dinner. My father would snuck me out, quietly away from my mother who’s rather strict about our diet then, and we would drive 20 minutes into town just to get satay.

It wasn’t particularly amazing satay. We would stop by to get a stick or two, happily munching away in front of the stall while getting smoked smelly. On the way back home, I would fall asleep in the car and my father would willingly carry me back home and tucked me in for the night.

Nowadays, when I obsessively jot down my day in my journal, the first thing I need to write down is my meals. What did I have? At where? Was it good? I even started a little notebook filled with recipes and notes about my little experimentations with baking. (More flour to add chewiness to my chocolate chip cookies.)


When I began my journey as a photojournalist, one of the projects that caught my eye was this photographer who went around documenting people who ate alone in our society that can’t seem to stomach ‘being alone’. And I started documenting bits and pieces about everything related to food – markets, stalls, recipes, people dedicated to food.

Throughout the years, my observations and experiences in documenting people showed me how easily food brings people together – just like the satay excursions. Almost every major festival has a symbolic dish of its own. Think eggs on Easter day, pineapple tarts on Chinese New Year, turkey for Thanksgiving, the list goes on and on. Families spend ages in the kitchen cooking up a huge homey meal during these festivals. Some families have their own secret recipes for certain dishes, and they have to have those dishes every year!

When dating a guy whose background was completely different from mine, I found the easiest way to introduce him to my culture was through food – my mother’s fried rice, fried mee hoon that I love, a warm bowl of porridge that will cure anyone’s homesickness.

Never would I have thought there will be a day I have to write about food for a living. Some truly happy moments that I have experienced involved me rolling my eyes back in satisfaction as I savoured food that tasted out of this world. But how do I translate all these feelings into words? How can I make people who are sitting behind a screen, taste?

I feel severely incompetent in expressing those moments. The people that I see talking about food are experienced brash chefs who spent years and years toiling away in the kitchen (think Anthony Bourdain, Gordan Ramsay). To be honest, on some days when I write about food, I feel useless. How can I make someone eat something with just words?


How can I convey the happiness that I feel when I eat something so tasty that it washes away all my stress from work that day? Or when I need a pick-me-up, I huddle in a corner with a tub of ice-cream or a simple chocolate bar and that would cheer me up instantly?

Seven years in the news industry, and I have chosen this path. I have made quite a few turns, far away from what I envisioned myself to be five years ago.

I have chosen this path. I know that I love documenting everything about food, especially the people who work so hard creating them. I love food – and here’s to hoping I am able to be my truest self when writing about it.


Pale in comparison

img_20140926_001352Amaretto Sour – TCRC, Tainan

There are things that I can’t forget and when compared to other similar things, they all pale in comparison.

My experiences in the last few weeks of 2014 and the first few weeks of 2015 has probably taught me more, and probably are things that I don’t want to remember. But the lessons that I have learned, stood out more (probably also the reason why I crave for a drink at 2pm).

Speaking of things that I cannot forget, the two cups of Amaretto Sour that I had in Tainan – the best that I have had so far. I probably spent half of my time in Tainan either thinking about drinks, or drinking.

I don’t even remember the conversations that I had in that bar, but I do remember the Amaretto Sour. Even after two months, I crave for it and long to return. At this point, I’m not sure if I miss the drink more or Tainan more. :p

The right amount of tanginess, sweetness and slight amount of sourness, the aromatic smell of almonds, the right amount of fuzz/foam on top, yum yums. The moment I drank it, I fell in love with Amaretto Sour again and again. All the other drinks that I have up until that point, pales in comparison. The Apple pie shots, Jameson, El Dorado, Long island Iced Teas, Patron, Hendrick’s, all went to the back of my mind. All that mattered was that Amaretto Sour.

That Amaretto Sour is still on my mind. I really need to find its equivalent in KL. I know in the back of my mind even if I do find an equivalent of it, it’ll probably still be pale in comparison because what I’m truly looking for will only exist that one time, that first time I tasted it in TCRC.

Night markets


Night market started in Taiwan due to scarce commodities and poor roads in the agricultural societies. People tend to travel around and sell their goods rather than staying in the same place.
Night markets really grew in the during the late 70s they were well received due to the oil crisis. People scavenged night markets for cheap goods.

I often wander around mindlessly in these places whenever I can. The excitement of finding something good while not expecting it definitely grew on me.

Baked Chicken Drumsticks

Baked Chicken Drumsticks

I like drumsticks. I like them fried.
However, I don’t like frying in my apartment and I don’t own a deep fryer.
So a better and healthier alternative would be baking them!

Ingredients as follow:
1 &1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
5-6 drumsticks
2 tablespoons of butter at room temperature (soft)
1 tablespoon of paprika
1/2 tablespoon of curry powder
1/2 tablespoon of chilli powder
1/4 tablespoon of sweet basil
1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder
salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450F
2. Mix flour and seasonings together
3. Brush butter all over drumsticks
4. Roll drumsticks in flour mix
5. Put into oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Chef’s block

There’s the writer’s block, I have the chef’s block.

I have always wanted to cook an Asian dish, or something close to home. So I tried the other day, but it turned out to be quite horrible. I don’t think being Asian makes me good at cooking Asian dishes or the fact that I was exposed to Asian food for 19 years.

And that is why I have stopped cooking for awhile while I am trying to figure out the right sauce for stir-fry and cooking.

Homemade Chili

Homemade Chili

I was lazy. Well, actually, Logan was lazy. So, we settled for simple.

He went on BudgetBytes and looked for something that might just suit my mood. After going through four or five recipes, he finally found one that I liked and I made one or two slight changes. Food that can be prepared in less than 20 minutes! YATTA!

1/2 lb ground lean beef
1/2 bag of corn
12 oz of V8 juice
1 medium yellow onion
1 can of diced tomatoes (with green chilis)
1 can of black beans (drained)
1 can of dark red kidney beans (drained)
1 packet of chili seasoning

1. Brown meat in pan until meat is no longer pink.
2. Add in can of tomatoes.
3. Add in diced yellow onions.
4. Followed by packet of chili seasoning, V8, black beans, kidney beans, and corn.
5. Stir for 10-15 minutes or until warm (or blazing hot).
6. Serve on a bowl and add some shredded cheese! (Mine was left over mozzarella cheese from the quiche. oh and speaking of quiche, I might make some soon)

Yummy food indeed!

(Also, we were out of town for a couple of days last week. We went to IKEA and I bought more plates/bowls. I plead to go to a thrift store and I bought more plates/bowls. Definitely happy to have choices now!)

Baked fries

Baked fries

There’s been a lot of potatoes in my diet lately. That’s because I bought a 5 lb. bag of potatoes during Superbowl weekend when it was really cheap.

Also, a recent post about soaking potatoes in water will make them crispier prompted today’s attempt.

Salt & Pepper

There’s no amount for the ingredients because I really like coating them with a lot of those herbs, and I think I used about 3-5 tablespoons.

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Cut potatoes, soak in water for about 15 minutes.
2. Dry potatoes with a towel.
3. In a mixing bowl, put in ingredients. Mixed potatoes in in batches.
4. Spread potatoes on baking sheet. Put in oven for about 30 minutes.

Mushroom, Spinach and (lots of) Cheese Quiche

I worked in the food serving industry for about a year while in college. And during that time, I’ve tried many different kinds of food. Quiche is probably one of my favorites.

I have the tendency to make my food in layers. I once made a potato pie with 2 layers of ground beef, cheese, mashed potatoes, parsley, thyme, more cheese, and topped it with bacon and cheese. Yes, unhealthy, but delicious nonetheless.

I adapted the recipe from BudgetBytes. She’s one of my favorite websites to go to. Of course, her recipes are cheap, and delicious.

*Note that this is the vegetarian option, for meat, add some ground beef/pork/bacon or substitute the layer of spinach with meat.

I’m writing the recipe by memory now:

1 bag of frozen spinach

9oz of monterey mushrooms

1/2 cup of feta cheese

5 cloves of garlic (I tend to go a little heavy on the garlic)

1/2 cup of milk

3 large eggs

1/4 cup of grated parmesan

Handful of shredded mozzarella

3 tspn of olive oil

Salt and pepper

1. Thaw frozen spinach. Warm oven to 350F-375F (My oven is old, so 375F it is for me!)

I bought whole monterey mushrooms since they are cheaper than sliced ones. I sliced them up while warming up a skillet with olive oil. Put the mushrooms in and mince up the garlic. Put in the garlic, pepper and salt with the onions. Saute them all together for about 5-7 minutes until there’s no water left in the skillet. (So it won’t be soggy when you put it all together).

2. While waiting for the mushrooms to saute, squeeze the spinach dry. I covered the inside of my Pyrex bowl with a thin layer of olive oil.

Proceed with:

1 layer of spinach

1 layer of mushrooms & garlic

1 layer of feta cheese

1 layer of parmesan cheese (optional)

and repeat.

3. As for the custard, mix the 3 eggs, milk and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese in a bowl and pour it on top of your delicious layers of spinach, mushrooms and cheese.

4. Lastly, add a handful of mozzarella cheese. Yes, I love my cheese. Put into oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. There’ll be a beautiful puff and it’ll slowly deflate as you take the bowl of deliciousness out of the oven.


P.S: I also have the habit of sticking to one recipe for weeks before switching. I’ve been alternating between spicy hotpot and baked drumsticks for the last couple of weeks (throw in a potato salad and rice krispie bars in there as well).


Rice Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie Treats are probably the easiest snack to make. I do find munching on the mini marshmallows a little bit distracting though.

3 tbsps of butter
4 cups of mini marshmallows
5-6 cups of Rice Krispies

1. Melt butter in a pot on medium-low heat and put in marshmallows.
2. Stir till melted (3 minutes).
3. Remove pot from stove. Pour in rice krispie.
4. Put in glass pan in a thin layer.
5. After it is cooled down, cut in into small pieces and roll them up if you like.