Category Archives: Food and Dining

After You*

'colewalks' | BKK-VTE 2014

‘colewalks’ | BKK-VTE 2014

My friends are either getting married and/or having babies, not necessarily in that order.

I guess it’s that time in our lives–or maybe the year(?)–when everyone is hell-bent on moving towards their 30s with a partner or child in tow. That’s not really a bad thing; a lot of people would kill to have a life theirs. Not that I’m one of them.

Anyway I spent the last week with babies and happy couples in Bangkok and Vientiane, no less. It was my nephew’s christening in Bangkok. Our bouncy and chubby bundle of joy screamed bloody murder during the ceremony because he thought we were going to the mall but ended up at the Church. I wanted to cry for him and with him. Just kidding.

The Godparents and Jian's 'tears of joy' LOL

The Godparents and Jian’s ‘tears of joy’ LOL

I think my nephew and I are the perfect godson-godmother tandem. We both like malls, freaking out upon the sight of presents and WE ARE BOTH AWESOME (my brother, Jian’s Dad is currently rolling his eyes).

Matchmade in heaven

A match made in heaven

The very same day, we flew in to Vientiane, my second home. Or so I think.

And here I saw my very pregnant BFF. The last time I’ve seen her was during her wedding and now she’s four months pregnant; the happy couple isn’t wasting any moment.

BFFs | (L-R) The 2014 Pose, the Prego BFF, and afternoon foodtrips

BFFs | (L-R) The 2014 Pose, the Prego BFF, and afternoon foodtrips

I spent the whole week pretty much just eating and tagging along with Mina. I also ate like a pregnant woman during that week which explains the weight-gain. And I. Don’t Care.

(L-R) At Tummour, Lao Kitchen, Centre Point

(L-R) At Tummour, Lao Kitchen, Centre Point

I had a food-list for this week and it was accomplished successfully; hoarding makeup wasn’t on the list though.

(L-R) Khao piek at Dongpalan, Khop Chai Der Musts, Pho Zap

(L-R) Khao piek at Dongpalan, Khop Chai Deu Musts, Pho Zap

(L-R) Regrouping at VTE's and my personal Point Zero; Revisiting memories at Joma; Recover at After You in Bangkok

(L-R) Regrouping at VTE’s and my personal Point Zero; Revisiting memories at Joma; Recover at After You in Bangkok–one of the highlights of my trip

The week went by so fast it felt like a dream–crazy, vivid and emotional. But just like a dream, you can’t remember a thing about it. Or maybe, I just choose to forget.

 

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Filed under Food and Dining, Musings, When In Laos

14 Moments in Jakarta 14 Years After My First Visit

I Was 10. Please understand. We OUTGROW that phase!

I Was 10. Please understand. We OUTGROW that phase!

Fourteen years ago, I traveled to Jakarta with my parents and brother. I have some memories of the place (which also involves “Kiss Me” looping on MTV Asia) such as going around Pondok Indah Mall, tasting my very first (and last, apparently) satay kambing and ayam goreng, and visiting Taman Safari in Bogor where I got to hold a snake and a white baby tiger. Even at a young age, I already enjoyed traveling.

But now that I am older and wiser (I hope), I became more interested in reflecting about life in different settings and context instead of just popping in and out of territories. There was never a time during my three-day visit that I was not on the look-out for something different to write about. So in celebration of my exploration, I have listed my Top 14 Moments in Jakarta and I hope y’all will enjoy this entry as much as I did writing it.

14 Transit in Singapore

Long hours of transit and early morning flights became my thing. Not that I enjoy them, I actually wonder why the universe is turning me against my own terms of travel comfort but I learned how to deal with them–I have to. I devised some coping techniques during these excruciating hours. Like get through Immigration and visit Singapore. After all, this is also my home.

(Top - L) Korres at Raffles City Shopping Centre (B2-16), Banana Split Sundae at Hog's Breath - Raffles, my sibs with Garrett popcorn (City Link), Gelato mania (City Link).

(Top – L) Korres at Raffles City Shopping Centre (B2-16), Banana Split Sundae at Hog’s Breath, my sibs with Garrett (City Link), Il Bruno Gelato (City Link).

13 The pungent odor of kretek–the smell of my childhood

Whenever my parents come home from Indonesia, the whole house smells like kretek. Like burnt wood but with a hint of incense or something. When you arrive in Jakarta, the smell of the airport? That’s it.

12 Losing luggage key

Seriously, on our first night. We had to navigate the whole Grand Indonesia Mall the following morning to find a new lock.

The Saw

The Saw

11 Hitting the hotel gym

It has been a while since I last went all out on the treadmill.

1o Parents speaking Bahasa

My parents lived in Indonesia during the first years of their marriage. My Dad was a UN Volunteer, my Mom was a fresh graduate exploring the world. I knew that they spoke Bahasa Indonesia well but listening to them having conversations with cab drivers, sales and hotel personnel, and everyone else at that, really made me proud! And regret the fact that having lived almost four years in Vientiane and I can’t even speak a decent sentence in Lao without stuttering.

9 Visiting Grand Indonesia

The mall that never ends. The mall that makes me feel woozy when I look down from the 5th floor. I am not even afraid of heights!

(L) Dancing fountain on the left, one of the mall’s attractions; (R) What you see isn’t the top floor!

8 Walking in the Rain to Rotiboy

It rained pretty hard during the day but my Mom wanted me to try Rotiboy so bad. We just got out of the gym anyway–it is not like the rain is going to ruin our hair or something. But when we were finally devouring the fluffy chunk of carbs, I thought ‘Okay, the treadmill was a waste of time.’ Rotiboy is some good bread.

Walking in the rain to Rotiboy

Walking in the rain to Rotiboy

7 Momma vs Food at Nonya Suharti Restaurant

My parents believe this is just the place to be. Everywhere else is below it.

Mom vs Food - Ayam Goreng at Nonya Suharti Restaurant

Eat! Eat! Eat!

6 The Nice People

I could not get over the nice demeanor of Indonesians. My Dad said that they are known for their refined manners and politeness amid adverse situations. That, in itself, is inspiring.

Mie Goreng Vegetarian at Chopstix - Grand Indonesia (Very nice service)

Mie Goreng Vegetarian at Chopstix – Grand Indonesia (Very nice service)

5 Traffic Jam

City traffic is always insane. On the bright side, I get to ponder when I am in the middle of one.

4 Batik Finds

Fabrics, I am all about the fabrics–I want to customize these babies. My parents also approved of my choices so I am quite confident that the patterns are pretty.

Chameleon Mode - fabrics from Thamrin City

Chameleon Mode – fabrics from Thamrin City

3 Luna Negra* (Plaza Bapindo, Citibank Tower)

Did I tell you how much I love this place? Nice ambiance and good food and EFFICIENT SERVICE, what more could you ask for?

Fiesta feeling at Luna Negra

Fiesta feeling at Luna Negra

2 The Digital Natives Reunion with Dear Maesy*

The best thing of being part of ‘Project Digital Natives With A Cause?’ is being able to meet amazing people from all parts of the world. You are either intimidated or inspired with with they do, with their ideas and perspective on multitudes of topics that a whole week of conversations and discussions can never compensate. Maesy is my big sis in the group; and while she may appear to be ruthless in public speaking and intelligent undertakings, she’s a real hipster at heart HAHA (I’m kidding, Maesy). I am HONORED to have walked the streets of Jakarta with her and talked to a soulmate yet again.

Italian - Japanese food. The combination is DIVINE.

Italian – Japanese food at Ocha and Bella. The combination is DIVINE.

1 Taking Matters Into My Own Hands

Lazy hour at the mall is all that took me to promote my website in the only way I know how. I probably would wear this every time I travel and make use of the long hours walking aimlessly in airport terminals. You’ll never know.

My Cup of Tee at Grand Indonesia (only an hour to wait for the shirt)

My Cup of Tee at Grand Indonesia (only an hour to wait for the shirt)

*Many thanks to Tito Mike Tesoro and company, and Maesy for being awesome hosts 🙂

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Filed under Country Hop, Food and Dining

Bloody Metablogging

Alright, Lurkers, my apologies for going off the grid for quite a while. Moving from one country to another is one hell of a crazy phase–which for some reason I still keep on doing despite the consequences–plus the fact that my nth wind in writing has not completely breezed its way [back] to me yet. But here I am, all psyched to get my special problem (school) over and done with, and by all means, get back to blogging–travel or no travel.

Some two months ago (seriously, it has been two months already??), I joined a colleague, and UNICEF consultant-cum-fellow travel blogger, Andy Brown, in his quest to try laab ped or minced duck salad–a Lao specialty. I have been devouring laab from Day one in Vientiane back in 2009 and loving it since. It is prepared, basically, with minced meat (pork, chicken, beef, duck, fish, etc) tossed with some toasted black rice, heaps of red chili (optional) and mint leaves to top it off. Laab is perfect with tammakhoung (papaya salad), sticky rice and Beer Lao (you’re welcome!).

Laab Ped is pretty awesome

Laab Ped is pretty awesome

Andy wanted to try laab, rather desperately (Okay, not really!). But while I understood the enthusiasm, I could not help but wonder, “What’s with the excitement? It’s just salad. Also, they have it in Thailand!”

When they said try laab ped AND blood, I immediately thought the coagulated street-food type that I avoid at all costs (betamax in Pinoy). So you can just imagine my cringe-worthy moment when I saw this:

THIS.

That’s laab ped for you–drenched in duck’s blood.

Okay, now I shouldn’t be a hypocrite because Pinoys also serve a dish called dinuguan. But at least that one is cooked. Not fresh, and bloody red (so redundant but it can only be described as such), and…salty!

See that? It's like crime scene!

See that? It’s like a crime scene!

But I was there for a reason, and that reason is Cole Walks. And to blog about Andy blogging. So I dug in.

You see, it actually tastes pretty much the same as the regular laab. If you were to be blindfolded before trying this dish, I do not think the taste is that strong. Unless you are on Master Chef or something. Anyway, there was also Beer Lao involved, which is a life-saver in every food trip I have to say, I guess it was all good.

We also got to interview Andy about everything “British”; he even explained the correct usage of the expression ‘bloody’, which by the way, is NOT the context of this post’s title.

(L) All smiles UNTIL (M) Oh noooo! (R) He's taking notes. NOTES.

(L) All smiles UNTIL (M) Oh noooo! (R) He’s taking notes. NOTES.

When in Laos, excluding vegetarians and animal rights activists, try laab ped with blood. It’s an experience. Although, personally, it is way too extreme for me. But who am I to judge, Andy hates balut!

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Filed under Food and Dining, When In Laos