Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Darwin's Parap Village Market

I recently had a great opportunity to go to Darwin for work. The town was hot, humid, touristy and refreshing. It was a taste of the break that I need away from the cold and the Canberra scene.

I usually love the atmosphere of festivals and markets - the smell, different languages, ability to stroll and look. At the same time I also hate being close to many sweaty people, snail-speed walkers and the whole 'buy me buy me' atmosphere. Paradox much?!

Many people told me before my Darwin trip that I should see the Mindil Beach Markets - these are on the beach and timed at sunset. Apparently its very multicultural, lively, fun and relaxed. However, much to my disappointment, I couldn't go... but I went to the Parap Village Markets as a substitute.

The Parap Village Markets is a short shuttle bus ride from Darwin's town centre. It'd probably take 1.5 hours to get there on foot (!!).

There were tropical fruits (frozen mango?!?!) and heaps of South-East Asian desserts. I didn't have the balls to try any of the latter because many of the desserts had lots of coconut milk and were left outside in the 30 degree heat for a few hours... It was tough - the threat of food poisoning or enjoying food that looked sooo good. I was a bit freaked out because a few of my work people got food poisoning :(. However, being at the markets made me desperately want to fly to South-East Asia... why work in a grey building when you could be on a holiday?! 

Had a fruit juice though - i was parched. I also bought a hippie-like skirt which had a South-East Asian print on it... There were portable change rooms and bright colours.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

sharing food, memories and the company

Ages ago, I shared some pizzas from Zeffirellis with friends in Canberra. This post is not so much about the food itself, but the memories attached to the food/event. Basically, I don't think people are much without their memory - how would you know what tastes good, where to eat, who you like sharing food with if you didn't have any memory (or memory of trustworthy people to ask for advice)?

The anniversary of my best friend's death is in a few months. I usually don't use the titles 'best friend' or 'boyfriend' or whatever. So when I say this, I mean she was my closest friend for many many years - she'd be the first person who I'd tell things and ask for advice (a big indicator for females). Before she died, we made plans to travel to Melbourne and aspired to do student exchange in the UK/America. We talked quite often, even though we went to different schools.

I am thinking about what I want to do on her anniversary, as I am usually totally unproductive over the few days. I could stay in Canberra, play it simple, mope around all day and have lunch/dinner with friends. Or I could go to Sydney, visit her sites, her family and spend time with my family... comfort myself through food that is familiar to me. Or I could go to Melbourne - something that could be totally overwhelming and exciting.

I know there are people who quickly heal from deaths of loved ones - within weeks and months. However, she was my best friend for many reasons. We shared very similar and prominent struggles being Australian-Chinese, with school, friends and family. We shared many aspirations, dreams and interests - having creativity in our lives, travelling, nature/naturalness etc. After she died, I spiritually and practically couldn't do any of these things in the same way again. Only through speaking to lots and lots and lots of people have I been able to find new ways of doing these things... but this becomes tiring. So this has forced me to change a bit.

Similar to a skinny girl eating pizza with no one watching, my friend's anniversary is a day for me to just 'be'. The food will be crucial, as I associate good food with good company. This is something I'll need on her anniversary.

Monday, September 3, 2012

sharing this food blog

When I'm getting to know people, they are often surprised that I have a food blog. I often get asked questions like 'How can you eat and photograph so much food while staying petite? Do you purge?' (out of sarcasm). Haha, no thank you, I don't have an eating disorder :). I just steer towards healthier options and walk a lot. Plus, I have chub on my body so I'm not skinny skinny.

I also get asked 'What kind of food do you blog about?' I blog about stuff I eat, see and cook. I often blog about things that reveal a bit about what's going on in my life at that time. I try to blog about things I find special and a bit different.

And 'Who looks at your blog?' While my blog is mainly for my family/friends, I realise lots of people who I don't know are finding my blog through - these people are led to my blog through key words including as the places/types of food on this blog. These people are located in Australia and internationally. I also write with some awareness that the restaurant/cafe may look at my blog, but this isn't my priority.

The thing that I love about having this blog and sharing my love of food is the support I've recieved from friends/family, sharing recipes, experiences and ideas. People often text me images of food or tag me in a facebook picture of some sort of food. It's something so simple but I really enjoy getting these pics from people :). And just to share a few:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

visiting Sydney

Haven't been on here in ages, like OMGWTFBBQ?!?! Lol, I guess I’ve been occupied by work and recovering from work (exciting cycle of life), recovering from getting sick and neglecting myself enough to get sick.

A few weeks ago, I had an urge to have a break from ‘everything Canberra’ – actually just work. I took a much-needed flex day and drove myself to Sydney for the weekend. I needed to chill (in warmer weather) away from my house in Canberra.

I awkwardly chose to go to Sydney on a weekend where there were heaps of parties on – unfortunately, I didn’t any quality time with my girl friends. Nevertheless, the food I had that weekend was a breath of fresh air…

One of my friends hosted an ‘ugly sweater’ party – loved the theme as we just made fun of ourselves, as opposed to other dress up parties where people aim to look as gorgeous as possible. My friends and her housemates baked a sweater-shaped cake, and encouraged the guests to decorate it with supplied icing, lollies, sprinkles etc. It was a frivolous and fun thing to do. I loved the collaborative nature of the cake where everyone could contribute to it. The conglomeration of everyone’s creativity made it a super ugly cake.

My mum and I went to Castle Towers and saw a vending machine that made fresh orange juice. At first I was amazed at how a vending machine claimed to create ‘fresh’ products in front of your eyes. It reminded me of those machines in Japan that make hot noodles (with meat and veges I assume), at the press of a button. But then I stepped out of that and saw that other people were intrigued as well – is the machine  try hard, adding to Castle Hill’s self-proclaimed yuppy culture or just another commercial enterprise?

Also got an Italian sweet at Castle Towers’ Dolci Dolci – it was like a pastry, like a donut filled with dense ricotta… It wasn’t great, a bit dry and stale (and way too many calories for how plain it was). Can you even get Italian desserts/pastries in Canberra? Maybe I just wanted to eat it for the novelty of being in Sydney. It’s like when you are travelling and you do something really stupid just ‘for the experience’. Lol, anyway…

Japanese food – my favourite. I caught up with a friend in Eastwood and for dinner, I ordered Chirashi Sushi which was a bowl of sushi rice covered with pieces of eel, Japanese-style omelette, beans, pickled ginger, sesame seeds, wasabi etc. It was simple, but delicious… will try to recreate this at home.

The funny thing about the north-west of Sydney is how Asians open cafes with pseudo-fancy/sophisticated/ethical/alternative décor… it reminds me of many cafes/restaurant in Hong Kong that had Western-inspired décor and had Western food cooked in an Asian kinda way. This was like the new café that opened in Carlingford Court. The breakfasts were overpriced and the food was strangely 'sterile' – maybe I’m sceptical of the perfect circular shape of the poached eggs and half-stale bread.
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