Sunday, January 10, 2010

becoming a southeast asian foodie

i used to live in singapore. but i was a teenager, so you can imagine that i ate a lot of fast food, most of which i make sure i avoid these days like most people avoid h1n1.

i will be spending a couple months in the south east region of asia - mainly singapore and indonesia - and i am hoping to be a bit more adventurous with food this time around. i've been here over a week now, but sadly i didn't have my camera on me for many of my meals. lugging that heavy contraption around is just more pain than its worth sometimes. i'm still coming up with a solution to that....

but here are a few of my favorites (from my teen years, and still now) that i managed to sneak photos of:

kopi - malay/indonesian for coffee

i think kou fu is a chain of coffee shops here. its not that i care specifically for THEIR coffee, i just like coffee in general. sadly they do have starbucks here, and sadly, i have ventured into not one, but two of them. at least. overpriced. and i can't even use my starbucks cards so i actually have to pay for the coffee i buy there. but i digress. kou fu, and other coffee shops here like kopitiam, yakun, and other nameless shops here make coffee the traditional malay/indonesian way, which is strong, sweet, and made from a sock. and often made with either sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk. if you ask for coffee, they will give you coffee with sugar and condensed milk. if you ask for coffee 'o' it is black with sugar. if you don't take sugar or milk you have to be very specific, and ask for 'kopi kosong' which means 'empty coffee.'*

guava - a type of fruit.

this stuff is pre-cut, peeled and conveniently bagged for me, so you can't see the green skin or the seeds inside. its a crunchy fruit, comparable to an apple but not really.
some people think its bland, but i love it.
its even better with salt.
oh yeah, i grew up on this fruit in the jungles of indonesia. i'm pretty sure it was one of the first words i spoke as a baby.

roti prata - oily goodness.

that's not what it means, but seriously, oil never tasted so good. it's an indian delight you can get for roughly 80 cents a piece. (curry included) literally roti prata means 'flat bread.' this is one of the cheapest, most satisfying dishes one can get in singapore.

here's what i gained from wikipedia:

"Roti prata is the Singaporean evolution of the Pakistani and Indian paratha, a pancake bread made of dough composed of fat, egg, flour and water."

please, avid readers (i know you exist! don't worry i am going to write more often than every few months), stay abreast for more exciting foodie adventures with joey.

*important note: i may not actually know what i'm talking about. just general observations. if i write any untruths please, please tell me. this way i can be irritated that you brought my faults to my attention and proceed to correct my naivety and assumptions.


dotdot said...

:-) yum

Matt said...

I'm glad to hear you are avoiding fast food like h1n1... It will probably kill you faster than the flu anyways. In my European exploits as as a burger-inhaling teen traveler, fast food is perhaps the biggest slap in the face of any host culture. I would also say that it is a tremendous cop-out to deny our Americanized tongues to anything that may be culturally enriching (so why even travel in the first place?)

Your guava story made you sound like a feral jungle child, and you lived with a tribe of fantastically beautiful and healthy indigenous vegetarians... and I like that image.

Kudos to you, jungle child. I look forward to your next post.