Skimming Deep

Searching, traveling, talking, reflecting, and exploring. Read along with me as I continue on my journey through life.

Tag: eating

Another City, Another Library

I'm back in one of my favorite places, a public library. Berkeley Public Library to be exact. It's a nice open library. And, of course, they have free wi-fi!

I love the democratic nature of libraries. Everyone is welcome. No one is turned away. And all kinds of people are here for all reasons:

  • looking for jobs online
  • using the free internet
  • waiting between appointments (like me)
  • hanging out
  • tutoring or getting tutored
  • looking for or at books

Anyone can “belong” and anyone can access the free resources. How amazing is that? And everyone comes here– young and old, rich and poor, English proficient and not. It doesn't matter who you are, what your background is, you can come in and not feel out of place.

Despite the fact that physical books are seemingly growing extinct, I hope that public libraries will continue to exist.

That's my ode to libraries.

My parasite cleanse is plodding along. And I must say it's been difficult to adhere to. There isn't a manual that goes with this cleanse, just very vague instructions such as “take capsule three times a day, before meals. Avoid sugars and starches. Eat raw vegetables and fruits.” And with me and my love of food and the fact that the only way I know how to socialize with people is through food, I have had to choose between stopping my social life and eating what I love OR be loosey-goosey with the cleanse. And with my low willpower when it comes to food, I've chosen the latter course of action.

Because of this approach, I have not really felt any difference in my mind, body, or spirit. Well, check that, I have noticed that my eating habits are much more present at the front of my mind. I didn't realize how much I like to have a sweet ending to my meals– a cookie, ice cream, a baked good. I've been somewhat successful at curbing that tendency.

Also, I didn't realize how much of my meals consist of starch of some sort– rice and noodles mainly. It's been virtually impossible to cut that out of my diet, so I just haven't. I've merely cut back.

My general attitude toward this cleanse is that I'm aiming to eat a little healthier, be more conscious about what I ingest, and also continue to enjoy eating and live my life. This is probably not helping the goals of the parasite cleanse, especially since I haven't noticed any changes in my body or bodily functions.

Well, life is too short, I say. And I'm not going to give up my social life.

And here's a sample of some of what I've been eating while still on my cleanse:

Fresh corn, kale salad with sundry veggies, sourdough bread, asparagus

Not too shabby.

 

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Scrumptious-ness Abounds in Melaka!

When I was in Indonesia, I met a German traveler who had been in Malaysia. I asked her some places to check out and I asked her about the food. She didn't seem all that impressed by the food, which surprised me because I thought the food was famous here… I must say with no reservations that she was totally wrong. Or I should rephrase that, we must have completely different palates. The food in Malaysia is AMAZING! I have to say that pretty much everywhere I've eaten, both places I did research on and places I just ended up at have been really tasty. I have not had one disappointing meal.

Melaka has been a highlight of my Malaysian food pilgrimage. So much to try, and I think I was able to try all that I wanted. Sorry if you're not as into food as I am, but I'm going to do a meal by meal documentation here. Get ready for the ride!

I got into Melaka in the early evening on Monday, and after checking into my guesthouse, I headed straight to Jonker Dessert 88, a popular joint for cendol (a Malaysian ice dessert) and other dishes. I'd been craving laksa, so I got their signature baba laksa, which is noodles in a coconut soup base with fish cakes and a few veggies. So tasty. A great first meal in Melaka and it cost me 6 MYR ($2). Woohoo!

The next morning, I was up early and went to Low Yong Moh for dim sum. I ordered a bunch of things, but I had no idea what I was eating. I really wish I could read and speak Chinese! The roast pork bao was delicious. The other dishes were good, but I think I've had better dim sum. I spent 13 MYR ($4.30) on this spread!

For lunch I went to Poh Piah Lwee for poh piah (a Malaysian crepe-spring roll with some mix of veggies. I thought it was onions, but I think it's turnips and/ or jicama (according to Wikipedia!). So delicious. Light, savory and a bit tangy. I've never had anything like it. This place specializes in it. The cendol I had for dessert was ok… Someone had reviewed that this place's cendol was great. I'm not sure if I agree. But the poh piah was definitely worth it. And all together, 6 MYR ($2).

I had a snack later of a Nyonya dumpling from Poh Piah Lwee. The cute lady of the shop told me to come back that afternoon for their dumplings. She was too cute, so I came back to give her my business, and I was not disappointed. It was sooo good. And I ordered two more for takeaway. There were people driving by and buying up bags of these dumplings! Glad I got the two extra. I had them in my hotel in KL! Each dumpling was 4 MYR (a little over $1).

The dumpling was just a snack, so I went to Calanthe Art Cafe for dinner. I had passed it several times and it had a really cute exterior, so I went in for some coffee and more baba laksa! The waitstaff were really friendly, and I had a nice chat with one while getting bitten up by mosquitoes, as I found out when I got back to my guesthouse. These Malaysian mosquitoes are vicious! The interesting thing about this cafe is they have gone to all 13 Malaysian states and come back to sell all those types of coffees under one roof. They also have other kinds of coffee drinks and various Malaysian and Western dishes. They were setting up their Christmas decorations and playing Christmas music while I was eating; it was a really nice holiday environment, and the coffee and laksa were yummy. All together for 16 MYR (about $5.30).

Thursday was my last day in Melaka, with an early evening bus ride back to Kuala Lumpur. I had some Nyonya kuih and a nasi lemak at a small little eatery, Dans Dapur Ekspres. The owner, Danny, was a nice guy and chatted with me and two other visitors, two guys from Singapore. The kuih were good. They reminded me of Vietnamese rice flour desserts or Japanese mochi or Korean 떡 (rice cake). The lemak was ok. That's a very traditional Malaysian rice dish that usually has some dried fish.

An assortment of Nyonya kuih on top. Nasi lemak below.

Nyonya food is the traditional fusion food of the Malay women who married Chinese babas. My understanding is that Nyonya food has developed in its own vein, and it's a unique blend of various cultures. In any case, all the dishes I has were delicious!

My last meal in Melaka was at Nancy's Kitchen, known for their good Nyonya food. And it did not disappoint. I got Kueh Pie Tee, which is basically the poh piah filling in these little pastry shells shaped like top hats. Great hors d'oeuvres type snack. Then I had the chicken candlenut with rice for my main dish. Candlenut looks like a macadamia nut and it's used in sauces. This dish reminded me of a curry of sorts, very flavorful, lemongrass, ginger, and other Southeast Asian flavors. Really rich and tasty.

Kueh Pie Tee

Chicken candlenut

Thus ended my eating travels in Melaka. Very enjoyable and scrumptious! There are lots more places and foods to try, so if you end up going, just do some research and approach it all with an open mind and empty stomach!!

Road Trip, Day Three

Today was probably the hardest day, even though it was the shortest.  The traveling and driving is really getting to me.  I just want to sleep for a long time and not have to drive!  But I’m only about halfway through.

Itinerary: Chicago, IL to St. Louis, MO.
Miles driven: ~300 miles.  That’s nothing!  I used to drive that distance and more to college, by myself, with a car full of stuff!
Highlights: Nice time hanging out with friend E, meeting her son T and having a delicious brunch at M. Henry.  Eating Andy Cap Hot Fries!  Getting to the halfway point of this journey!
Food eaten: fried egg sandwich at M. Henry in Chicago; Hot Fries and peanut M and Ms; amazing ribs, slaw, and ginger ale at Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis.

As stated before, this journey has been really food-focused and we’ve been having an amazing time filling our stomachs with good eats.  Thanks to all my friends near and far for their food recommendations.  Yelp can only be so reliable.  The ribs were a suggestion from an old co-worker.  The brunch was with my friend E and it was delicious.  Definitely no complaints from my stomach.  Hopefully we won’t be gaining 10 pounds!

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I’m feeling blessed to have such good friends:

  • like S who’s driving with me halfway!  What a trooper.
  • like E whom we stayed with in Chicago
  • like L who recommended the amazing Reuben at Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor
  • like J who took us to eat buffalo wings in Buffalo
  • like R who recommended Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis
  • and all my amazing friends and family who’ve been reading my blog, commenting, and also sending along well wishes on email, Facebook, and text.  I don’t have enough time to write everyone back, but if you’re reading this, know that I hold ALL of you in my heart and am sending mental hugs and thanks back to you.
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