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Monday, August 22, 2016

Vadai you want?

Very often, after lunch with friends, I would cruise through a certain street in my old neighborhood. A food truck would be parked there, dispensing freshly fried Indian snack food that, to me, was ridiculously cheap and oh, so delicious, especially with a cup of coffee. I would see fancy cars stopping by, often with chauffeurs popping down to pick up some snacks for themselves (or their bosses). A few different snacks were on offer, but my favourite was the vadai (or vade), a spicy, savory dhall fritter.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Er, what does my pomelo salad have to do with Simone Biles?

I was peeling the pomelo I bought this morning, a football-sized, grapefruit-like fruit that’s encased in thick pith and skin. I was looking forward to having its juicy sweetness add some punch to the Thai salad I was making. As I cut deeper and deeper into the pith, I realized that most of the weight of the fruit was in the pith and what I was left with was a very light, orange-sized fruit that was sour and worse, dried up. “Damn,” I thought to myself. “What was I going to serve up now?” Then I remembered the interview Golden Girl Simone Biles just gave.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Etiquette shaming - a sign of the times?

My friend, K, recounted how she once absent-mindedly entered an elevator without looking, only to be told off by the man exiting. Not only did he admonish her for not letting people out of the elevator first before entering, but he did so in an expletive-laden rant. She was so stunned that she didn’t even have time to apologize or explain. I’m on the side of K on this one. She really didn’t mean to be rude but wasn’t even given the opportunity to apologize. And to people out there who say that the man had every right to tell her off, what happened to “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything”?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mieng Kham - An explosion of flavors in one mouthful!

I love Thai food in all its variations - the spicy tom yums and curries, flavorful grilled meats and seafood, and noodles of course. What I like the most are Thai salads, a unique combination of different salad leaves and fruits, piquant herbs and often shredded meat as well.  The flavours all meld together in mouth-watering combinations that whet the appetite, leaving you craving for more. The appeal of Thai food can be summed up in a neat little package called Mieng Kham. You can just pop in your mouth for an explosion of favours - sweet, sour, spicy and bitter all at once!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Plants in all their glory - Singapore Garden Festival 2016

When I needed to be in Singapore this week, I made sure to check out the Singapore Garden Festival at the Gardens By The Bay. As with all things organized in the island republic, the festival was superbly laid out to showcase the best. My time was limited so I only had a few hours to spend there but I could have easily spent the entire day there to cover all that was on display. I only have three words for it - stunning, stunning, stunning!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Counting my pennies

The other day when I was helping my son, B, pack up his apartment in Singapore for his imminent career move to Hongkong, I noticed a huge pile of coins on his sideboard. “What are you going to do about all these coins?” I asked. On previous visits, I had already taken note of the coins and tried to spend them as much as I could, on newspapers, bus fare and the like. Now that he was moving, there were just too many coins to dispose of. Not for the first time, I wondered at how young people nowadays seemed to disdain things like small change, like they were not worthy of their attention.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The grass is always greener … ?

A flowering rosemary bush in Melbourne
I had a good laugh when friends from Melbourne stayed with me recently. They kept ooh-ing and aah-ing over my modest collection of mother-in-law's tongue succulents. In my tiny collection of plants on the apartment balcony, they’re the only ones that aren’t in danger of my killing them! In fact, I have to constantly prune them back and repot them because they grow pretty easily in the hot climate here. It wasn’t until I made a quick visit to Melbourne myself a couple of weeks back that I discovered that what I consider really common plants here are being sold for many times more in Australia!