Tuesday, 30 March 2010

potentially explosive

I can say that I'm not an explosive girlfriend, I've done my time being one of that kind of monster. Well, to bad for my ex, they did have the best of my monstrous side when only with a little spark, I could cause a nuclear explosion sans mushroom cloud.

This evening, I found my other explosive potential.

First of all, It's amazing how I can still stubbornly try to cook with a tiny kitchen, that is if you still call a microwave and a sink as a kitchen.
However, I still want a nice breakfast with eggs and make some good, proper salad for dinner. After the umpteenth time of going back and forth to 7-11 to buy a cold boiled egg, I decide to cook my own and buy a tiny equipment for microwave boiled an egg. I bought "the thing" because microwaved boiled an egg can be risky as it can easily explode.

I swore that I followed the direction, 5min on 350watt microwave setting for a hard boiled egg, filled the water on the bottom and so on ... but perhaps, I missed out on something, after all, I didn't really believe that "the thing" would work. It did magically work for the first and second time .. but not this evening.

This evening, I explode the egg, it went off with a loud KABOOM!
and really, I wouldn't be happy if I was the neighbour.

Shocked as I was, I instantly tweeted about the explosion and to make it worse, in less than 2 minutes, Bouh called from his office just to check on me. He was worried that I got an injury from the explosion (or perhaps worried for the microwave and the room).

At that very moment, I can see the dark smoky cloud on the horizon,
my upcoming faith, to be labeled as a potentially-microwave-explosive girlfriend.

Monday, 29 March 2010

how to train your baby dragon

The last time we watched 3D movie was Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton. It was okeyish but not impressive, I felt that he failed to bring us into the realm of Wonderland. I think the point of paying more and tiring my brain with 3D movie is to experience another world, a world that used to only exist in a dream. As dream is the only time when fairies, mad hatter and dragon are real.

After a lot of persuasion, Bouh succeed in dragging me to watch another 3D movie. I was merely bored and need to watch a good movie because it's been a month that we live without a DVD player and hardly survive with the star movies program which has been playing the same "Paris Hilton movie" over and over.

We were skeptical with "how to train your dragon" by dreamworks but sure that it worth more than watching "Green Zone" in 3D.

Well .. how can I describe how it was ... humm ...
The dragon are extremely cute, the story flows really well, cute character design and the 3D experience was impressive!
I screamed, shrieked and laughed on my seat. I was so absorbed in the movie and forgot to behave and keep a straight face. I was still giggling when we Walked out from the studio, toothless is over-cute!

... and yeah, since then, I've been playing with my imaginary baby dragon.
I keep my toothless under the bed and we fly out when Bouh is out working.

My baby toothless, I drew this last night with tablet.

Here is the concept art of How to train your dragon :

Friday, 26 March 2010

pattern and colours

look at the beautiful pattern and colours, it's my new fabric collection!
I'm going to make some plushies, pouch and ... I don't know, I'm not sure what else, I"m too excited .. any idea?

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Pad thai on the street

Pad Thai is a dish of stir fried rice noodles with fish sauce, tamarind juice, combined with bean sprouts, chicken/eggs/shrimp and garnished with crushed peanuts, coriander and lime.

As one of Thailand's national dishes,
it's fairly easy to spot a Pad Thai vendor on Bangkok's street
and a portion of street Pad Thai is around 20-35 THB (less than a dollar).

I spotted this vendor on soi Ram Buttri and he cooked the Pad Thai in less than 5 minutes, amazingly fast but was also left me clicking madly on my camera.

almost as fast as the lighting speed!

et voila ...
a 5 minutes Pad Thai topped with crushed peanuts and spicy dried shrimp.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

which drawers?

have anyone ever ask you, in which drawer did you put this or that?

I can say that sometimes, I'm a bit too organized in storing stuff, every tit bits are stored in separate zip lock and labeled (do I start to sound psychotic?)

On the contrary, Bouh .. is a bit of a mess, he basically throw stuff into a drawer and dare to claim that he is decently organized.
Bouh : where did you put my sock?
Me : on the dresser next to the entrance d0or, second drawer ...
Bouh: huuuh ... ? which -what - where ?

I came across this brilliant yet artful dresser from Anthropologie

hmmm .. but then, I'm sure Bouh will ask .. which dresser?
They probably should invent another series with colour code

Sunday, 21 March 2010

2nd Sunday - Bangkok street food

Most of Asian street food are fried something,
it's not just Thailand but also back in Indonesia and Vietnam.

Fried banana, crab stick, pork cake, spring rolls, tofu, sausages ...
oh really, the list of all-things-fried can go on and on ..

When fried, some taste really good but others are just plain horrible.

This one, is horribly fried with lots of oil
and it took me a while to recognize that it's a crab stick.

Fried crab stick with sweet and spicy sauce

Saturday, 20 March 2010

What's that noise out there?

Last week we've been avoiding places where the red demonstrator gathered, also having our passport with us whenever we went out - as recommended by our embassy and in my case, got scolded by a worried Bouh who knew my being happy-go-lucky attitude.

Living in the middle of Bangkok, how long and how far can we avoid the red?

This morning, there was an awful noise outside and here's what we found, right in front of our apartment.

lots of heart ...

Loud music and shouting ...

and look ..
Bouh got caught by one of them and politely wore the red scarf ...

Friday, 19 March 2010

New header

Finally finished my new header, it's a more colourful Woofy day.

I spent the whole morning drawing it with a Wacom tablet
but hasn't yet figure out how to edit some part,
I don't speak "HTML" ... pffft, another language barrier.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Polka dot snacks

I saw this bite sized crispy snacks on the street stalls and suddenly thought about patterns and polka dots. I just have .. have to channel "my cute-syndrome" out and draw this polka-polka pattern.

Oh aside the cuteness, it also tasted good, crispy with a hint of pepper and cuteeeeeee ... (Eww, my cute-syndrome is not yet healed)

Monday, 15 March 2010

Bangkok, Sukhumvit - Gallery 11

On a lazy Sunday evening, we found a nice restaurant in Sukhumvit soi 11 street.

The place was really nice for a quick getaway in sukhumvit area, it felt like a hidden tiny green space tucked on the corner and away from the touts and noise. There, we ordered a green curry and a tamarind paste soup-the red one. We're curious on how tamed it will taste, considering that sukhumvit is "the expat area" and because the last curry we had was on Khao San street (the backpackers ghetto), which wasn't a curry at all ... faux curry, sweet and tamed from it's original spicy curry taste .yuck!

here are what we ate,

Toong Thong,

minced shrimp in crispy wonton wrap served with sweet plum sauce
*crispy and a bit oily

Kaeng Kiew Waan Gai,

chicken green curry with devil's fig (solanum torvum) and sweet basil
*the tiny green balls which looks like peas are the solanum torvum, it doesn't taste like peas at all, it's a bit bitter and crunchy. People usually love it or hate it.

Kaeng Som Pak Ruam Goong,
tamarind paste soup with shrimps
*SPICY and a bit sour, next time we'll cut down the chillies.

and the plain rice .. (I can't help posting this, it's sooo cute ..)

Well, being a good Asian, the green curry wasn't that spicy for me but the red one surprised me, it burned my mouth, it burned Bouh alive ...

It was a real spicy soup and gee, maybe they should "tamed" it a bit ...
(did I wrote "yuck!" for the tamed curry? Oups ... )

here's my plate, look at those red chillies!

Eleven Gallery - thai cuisine
1/34 soi 11 Sukhumvit road
Bangkok - Thailand

Sunday, 14 March 2010

1st Sunday - Bangkok street food

"What did you have for lunch?"

I've been asking that question to Bouh because I'm curious with all the Bangkok's street food. Everywhere I walk I see food cart selling different type of snacks and meal in styrofoam boxes, fresh spring rolls, fried spring rolls, tiny pancakes, fried fish, grilled beef satay, fried chicken and of course the famous crispy insects. If you don't like spicy, you just need to avoid the sauce and you'll be all right otherwise be ready for their sweet and spicy sticky sauce.

Here's what I got this week:

Fresh spring rolls, fish, lettuce n shredded carrot wrapped in thick rice paper
(spicy alert : stay away from the sauce)

Grilled beef/chicken flat-satay

barbecued grilled beef/chicken meat and intestine

Fried super-oily "something" and cucumbers
fried snacks with spices and herbs
(spicy alert : stay away from the sauce)

closer look :

now wish me luck as I'm bracing myself for the fried insects ...
crispy scorpion and grasshoppers ladies?

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Collagen drink and Bangkok's ladyboys

"Thailand is sooo gay it makes San Francisco looks like rural Texas"

That's what I've been told.

There won't be a day passed by without spotting Ladyboys or gay couples walk hand in hand
strolling on on the street of Bangkok. I could spot a remarkably beautiful woman, quietly praise her beauty and the next minute when she talks, my envies disappeared into thin air as I also notice her deep voice, not a man deep voice but definitely not a soft woman voice. Some of Bangkok's ladyboys (katoeys) are exceptionally beautiful that it's almost impossible to differentiate between a real she or a she "was a he". Here is a link from TeaStains, she bumped onto some katoeys dressing up as Marilyn Monroe in MBK mall. Thailand also has a beauty pageant for katoeys, the Miss Tiffany's Universe. I'm posting the 2010 winner picture taken from Miss Tiffany's Universe website to give you an idea of their beauty ...

Full of the idea of how gay is Thailand,
When I first spot a small pinkish bottle of "beauty shot-collagen drink" in a 7-eleven on the Sukhumvit area, this is my honest first reaction upon seeing it :

I was amazed and started bouncing on the spot, pointing at the bottle :
me: Bouh, Bouh .. it's a transvestite drink!
Bouh: humm, what? where?
me: That bottle! it says, "collagen - beauty shot" !
Bouh: huh? maybe ... je n'sais pas ... no idea
me: (still bouncing like a 7 years old kid) I'm getting one ! it's hilarious!
Bouh: (looking at me with a thunderstruck face) ... .... ... whaaat?!

I bought both of Blink product and tried it, each cost me 25 THB (75 cents) and both are white grape juice flavoured. The darker pink is a Collagen drink and the lighter pink is a Glutathione drink it tasted slightly better than the collagen.
well, yeah, naively ... I really thought it was a transvestite drink ...
which apparently NOT AT ALL, Collagen drink is an anti-aging supplement.

Okay, here I am, trying to defend my silliness, I honestly don't know much about collagen, or anything related to beauty, cosmetics, make up. That's why my conclusion is quite simple :
collagen = beauty surgery + ladyboy in thailand = ladyboys drink!
Hooray, I'm a miss-understood genius!

so here is what enlightened me, the fact I found after browsing around on the net :

fact about Collagen:
Collagen is produced by your body in sufficient quatities to keep your skin toned, supple and guard against premature wrinkling.

fact about Glutathione:
Glutathione also known as GSH, is the most powerful, prevalent antioxidant in your body.
Increasing your Glutathione level will naturally increase your energy, detoxify your body
and significantly strengthen your immune system.

oh and psstt .. don't tell anyone bout my silliness, mkay?

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Mighty ant vs Woofy

On our first day in Bangkok, we went to the city park and took a small nap on the grass.
Like in every park, there are ants ... just some tiny little ants, crawling on the grass,
sniffing for leftover foods ....
I actually didn't really bother the ants, I fell asleep almost instantaneously
and woke up with 2 small swollen ant bites ... it's how natures work ...
and come on, we human are stronger than ants!
We can squish them to death with our tiny little finger!
Give the ants a break, it's just a tiny bite ... spare their life

well, that's what I thought, until 10 minutes later, I felt a burning sensation
on my face and hand palms then tiny swells appeared all over my body.
The worse part? my face swelled like a balloon! I'm allergic to ant bite?!?!
I'm a weaker link than a tiny ant?! Their tiny bite poisoned my blood?! WHAT?!

well. nop, I won't post my ballooned face, I'll keep that picture in the darkest corner
of my messy photo folders but here is my dotted arms.
Bare in mind, this were not ant bites, this were the allergic reaction ...Fortunately the park is close with pharmacy, we went there and I point my finger
to my ballooned face while asking for a magical allergic solution (like a 10sec wipe-off-all-allergic-reaction potion, was that too much to ask?)

I got a pity look from the pharmacist and some allergic pills.
All tiny bits spots are gone within an hour and it eased the outrageous itch.

phew ... so much for a first day in Bangkok ...

definitely Thai Burger

Bouh : First day in Bangkok! we should try the Thai food!
Me : yesh, like green curry, red curry, definitely Thai food!
Bouh : let's pick one of the restaurant here

Me : Bouh ... is that a Burger King sign?
Bouh : where? what? huh ..?
Me : there on the shop mirror! It's a Burger King sign's reflections!
Bouh : (looking around across the mirror) ... yep, that's the Burger King

We've been craving for Burger King, it's been months we haven't got a proper junk food burger,I made one in Hanoi, which is not junk foody enough ...

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Moving Out

How to reduce 2 person lives to 40kg of bags?
1. send unused stuff and souvenir to your parent's house
2. throw away some of your stuff
3. leave almost everything behind
4. close your eyes, take a deep breath and count to 3 and say "it's okay, it's just stuff .."
5. if all of that is not working, grab your wallet and be ready to pay
the excess weight fee,oh, do check it out, because every airlines
has different fee (our's 6USD/kg)

yesh, we are busy packing ... or in other word, stuffing our life into bags ...

and .... off to Bangkok - Thailand!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Souvenir shops

We live in the middle of the tourist area, the old quarter. Stepping out from our house are all kind of souvenir shops. From wooden bowls, paintings, clothing shop, lanterns ... all the typical tourist souvenirs. One of the nice thing to live in a tourist area is no one will point their finger at you and giggle just because you are a foreigner.

Here, dealing (and bargaining) with foreigner is their everyday meal, it minimize my use of hand signal but not without a price. We mostly end up paying a bit more, thanks to my poor ability in speaking numbers in vietnamese. I found it necessary to master the very-very basic of shopping vocabulary :

how much? - bao nhiêu?
numbers! 1-10 and 10.000 - 100.000

The rest? Hand signal ... no fuss

Hanoi is a place where you can shop for the house. Nicely painted wooden bowls starts from 1USD and the big one is about 3USD. Hmm, still hard to estimate the price? here's an easy way to get a grip of the price, 1 pack of Marlboro cigarette cost 15000VND, that's less than 1USD.

Sending stuff from Vietnam (not just Hanoi) is pretty easy. The cheapest is to send it with the 3 months shipping, it might take a bit long but imagine being back home with lots of package arriving, it's gonna be your own personal christmas day. My friend send back his 20kg stuff with the 3 moths shipping to UK for 60USD, the trick is to pack it in 1 huge box and send it to yourself to avoid higher charges and tax.

catfish springrolls

I don't see many types of fresh fish in hanoi's local market
Mostly just catfish "basa", some tiny red fishes and lots of huge fish head

There are lots of super fresh seafood, shrimps, mussels, squid and crabs ...
the crabs, whenever i look at those crabs, I can almost hear them calling me

"buy me, buy me, I'm super-delicious"

but naah, i know better than that, I could picture myself trying
to slaughter a giant crab only to have another fight with its thick shell.
craby, pick someone with a stronger willpower, not a lazy arse like me.

so it is decided, catfish it is ...
I'll just have to figure out how is best to cook them ...

After several catfish dinners, I could post my spicy pan-fry catfish
or the lemony honey-glazed catfish but then ... I went to this restaurant
called Highway 4 which is famous with its catfish spring rolls.
There I totally fell deeply in love with it, a perfect blend of mayonaise,
dill and fried catfish rolled in a thin rice paper. Just when I though I was already
in Spring rolls heaven, I dipped the rolls onto their special dip,
thick brownish sauce mixed with wasabi! Oh .. Hell! devil in Sunday hat!

I'm far from copycating their recipe and honestly my recipe will do no justice
to the original Highway 4 - catfish spring rolls, but I'm trying my best ...
um, despite the fact that I'm going back there tomorrow
for another round of catfish rolls.

Catfish spring rolls

1/2 cup all purpose wheat flour
1/2 cup corn flour
1tbs salt
1/2 tbs black pepper
1/2 tbs garlic powder
1/2 tbs cayenne powder
200g catfish filletcooking oil

for the rolls :
rice paper
a bunch of dills

- lay catfish fillet horizontally on cutting board, cut to 2.5 x 1.5 inch strips
- mix all the first 6 ingredients, add catfish strips, shake to coat.
- heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add coated catfish strips,
fry for 2minutes on each side

- dab rice paper to a damp paper towel until it softens (it should be a bit crisp)
- put the rice paper on a plate, on the center of the rice paper put 1 catfish strips,
top it with mayonnaise and small bunch of dill- roll the rice paper around the filling
in a cigar shape

For a soft spring rolls I used a bowl of water and briefly dip the paper rice.
This catfish spring rolls wrapped with a crispy rice paper, that's why I only
dab it on a damp paper towel. Just soften the paper to be able to fold it.

I tried to make the wasabi sauce and it end up as a disaster. After the 6th tries,
i just gave it up, no idea what they mixed into the sauce, soy sauce, wasabi
and something else .... any hint?


Monday, 1 March 2010

The bridge of sound

As I wrote on the previous post, I was dragged to an art performance but left my camera home.I succeed in finding some picture and detail report of the event from Hanoi grapevine blog

They build an impressive construction, bridges, bamboo jungle and most were light up with spot lights. There was some spot light shot up to the night sky, something rarely seen in Hanoi.
But nothing is perfect, they ruined it by playing earsplitting live music with some shouting, screaming singers. oh. not all singers shouted, some are good and really did try to sing artistically.

Before the night end, I was already too tired expecting for a good solid performance and ended up with beers and a slight disappointment

but after all ...

"arts, in all of its many forms, can sometimes be .. confusing"

Special thanks for Dao Anh Khanh for inviting us to the closing party, I couldn't be more than grateful drinking those fresh beer and rice wine at the end of the night.

photo courtesy of Hanoi grapevine blog