Thursday, 25 February 2010

cooking for one

Its been 2 days since I last touched my skillets, I'm not in the mood for cooking and my bad mood is clearly written on my forehead and the amount of crisp, ice cream and chocolates I ate.
I just need to turn on "the desperate housewives series" and my housemate will surely began to panic.

He is worried.

Last night, he dragged me all the way to an art performance event on the other side of the city and he already make a let's-hav-fun plan to entertain me this evening.

When we just moved in, I asked Bouh whether I can adopt my housemate to join our daily dinner, yesh, I felt exactly like adopting a puppy and I love it, for me the more is the merrier.
Today, my karma pays off, he instantly adopt me knowing that I'll be a lost puppy for the whole week.

gee, I'm so lucky when it comes to housemate ... always have the best of them.

single for a week

Bouh is in Thailand for a week of kick-off meetings

I hate being apart

it sucks

I miss him

WHooFeR !!!

I've been craving for Burger King Double WHOPPER
This remind me when the Burger King went bankrupt in Indonesia
and disappeared for a while. For years, I'd hassled my friend whom
were flying in from Singapore to doggy bag a Whopper, I'd drove all the way
to the airport to pick them up just so I could eat the soggy Whopper.

Now this is ... a country without Burger King ..
You know that craving, when you just want "it" and start to daydream about "it"
well, this has to come to an end, before I foolishly blackmail my friend to fly in with Whopper.

so here's for dinner,
a recipe for whoever desperately need a quick fix in a burger-less country


1/2 pound ground beef
1 tbs beer
1 tbs whiskey
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbs black pepper powder
2 cloves minced garlic

-mix all ingredients in a bowl, leave it in the fridge for 1 hour
and shape the mixture into 2 patties
-lightly oil the skillet, cook the patties on the preheated skillet
for 5-8 minutes per side (well-done)
*I used skillet but griller is best


Tuesday, 23 February 2010

another hop?

last nite, after feeding Bouh with huge hamburger (which disappeared in less than 7 minutes, it's magic!?) I succeed in fishing out the ugly fact of our nomad year...
We might soon have to move to another country...
We've been in Hanoi for only a month, I just re-new my visa, pronounce bao nhiêu? (how much?) to an understandable level, we also live close to the hoan kiem lake, it's very picturesque ... damn beautiful ... and suddenly there's this news that we have to move again.

We thought that we are prepared for this nomad year but we also know that there's a motorbike we left in Indonesia in the hand of our good friend-hoping they will find time to dust it or sell it, our 20kg bag left in our ex-housemate's house in Saigon,our 50kg mail-package from Indonesia hasn't arrived in Hanoi yet and to top it all we paid our Hanoi house for 3 moths rent. so .. WOW!
This morning I've been wracking my brain trying to find solution on how to do this move but
on the other hand, I'm excited with this move, the rumour says that we're going to move to Thailand, only for a month or so .. but Thailand .. ever hear about the Thailand food? Tom Yum, Pad Thai, fried moth/eels/scorpion (okay maybe not that ... ), spring rolls, curry ... oh, i can go on and on with the list!so maybe .. in a week or so, I'll write this blog from Thailand, sipping coconut juice and munching fried scorpion ...
let's see ...
but in the meanwhile ... let us enjoy hanoi :

Monday, 22 February 2010

Oh My Beer!

Hanoi is famous with its microbrewery, fresh beers are sold in Bia Hoi, night stalls are scattered on every corner of the old quarter street. 10usd in your pocket will pay for a night out squatting on a small chair, sipping glass after glass of beer while watching the crazy motorbike drivers dodge pedestrian on the street.
In almost every Bia hoi, a glass of fresh beer cost 3000VND (16 cent!!!), your 10USD can buy you 62 glasses, so please try not to use the whole 10USD unless you are planning to have a beer bath in your bathtub.

(Oh, wow, why i haven't done that ..?!).

My housemate swore that he found a Bia hoi with 2500VND/glass, the cheapest in the town. I told him that if it gets any cheaper than that, we should probably check whether we are still alive or are we actually already in beer-heaven.

Sipping beers on street corners seems fun and adventurous but there's always a day when you just want to snuggle on the couch, watching movies and drinking beers. It never occurred to me that I could doggy-bag the beers!

yesssh, a fresh bottle of beer, bia tuoi, for 15000VND!

hello .. is this beer heaven? am I .. still .. alive?

Sunday, 21 February 2010

homesick dinner

mine was : Indomie goreng (instant fried noodles) and Double whopper burger king
Bouh's was : mom's veggies soup

we both grew up in a completely different background, while he munched on veggies and fruits surrounded by trees and animal, I had greasy burgers and KFC in mall surrounded by the most dangerous creature in the world, "the mall dwellers human teens".

Last nite, we got a bit homesick and miss our food ...
Bouh tried to recreate his mom's veggies soup by raiding the fridge and throwing every bit of veggies into the pot, aubergine, zuchinni, potatoes, paprika etc
and I tried to replicate Indomie goreng (instant fried noodles) without having the key ingredients, sweet soy sauce, which means "it's not going to taste rite!" but i was desperate.

so here is

"homesick Indomie Goreng"
- instant egg noodles (the yellowish noodle)
- 1 tbs sesame oil
- 2 tbs light soy sauce
- 1 tbs shallot oil (this is the key! - fry shallots in oil- take out the shallots)
- photos of mom/hometown

boil the noodles, mix all the ingredients in a bowl, toss the noodles into the bowl.
serve hot with mom/hometown photos on side.

OR .. buy the indomie online! I stumble on a very good international food website, it sells stuff from all over the world, the prices are acceptable (remember, I'm desperate ...) and it also sends up to almost everywhere.


this is the culprit i've been missing ...

Friday, 19 February 2010

SHIT it's a SHIRT!

Shopping rules: never buy a shirt or fabric material which needs ironing!

which means I never iron a shirt ... never need to ...
as a kid when I wore uniform, I was too young to iron it by myself
I spent my adolescent with Kurt Cobain's grunge style tshirt (didn't even need to wash it, hooray!) and my years as a white collar employee spent as an art director, yesh those kind of people who looks homeless with their torn shirt and converse shoes which doesn't fit with their age anymore, if you ever see them, say hi from me, those are probably my ex-colleagues or boss.

basically, i'm not a big fan of shirt or whatever complicated dress material which needs extra care but the time to shed my ignorance has arrives, in the form of Bouh's working shirts.

For 2 weeks, I was heartless enough to watch him doing a double bent while ironing his shirts until his back ache starts to annoy me (he's 2 meters tall - bumping his head or double bending everywhere he goes in Asia)

Left with 2 options, his back ache or starts helping him ironing the working shirts
and I have no bloody idea .. how? how? how?

here's for the ignorance in need of enlightenment, well, theoretically:


now, he is left with 2 options,
1.letting me help ironing but also starts buying new shirts - NO i didn't burnt it! or did I? with the back ache of double bending until one lucky day we'll have a house maid

Thursday, 18 February 2010

gỏi cuốn-vietnamese spring rolls

who doesn't love fresh spring rolls?
nop, the question would be, anyone dare to make a spring roll?
with its super thin rice paper wrapper, how to bloody fold the thing!

yesh, i always felt intimidated by the rice paper wrappers and never gave it a try
although Vietnam is the land of spring rolls (and Pho - rice noodles soup)
and fresh ingredients can be found in every farmers market, dirt cheap as well.

I've been ordering spring rolls in almost every restaurant we went to, it's SUPER delicious.
Well, today I decide to give my clumsy hand a chance or a challenge, depends on how you see it. Without taking any vietnamese springrolls cooking class which offered for 35USD, I went to the farmers market, picked the herbs i need, bought a bag of frozen prawns and the widest possible rice wrappers.

Next thing i did is browsing the youtube (a geek will always be a geek ...) to watch how-to-fold-springrolls tutorial. The making was not as complicated as i thought, basically on the soggy rice paper just put together whatever herbs I got (cilantro, basil,mint), prawns, rice noodles, shredded carrot and salad, fold it, try not to torn the paper or getting a meltdown after failing over and over again, et voila ... 15 fresh "messy" spring rolls.

here's my 3 messy spring rolls master piece!

and here's the link of the how-to-fold-springrolls tutorial,


there's a lot in youtube but somehow i like this one better

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Chuc mung nam moi & Happy Vday

"Chuc mung nam moi" in english : Happy new year!
and Happy V day !! (this year it fell on 14 february, the same day as the valentine day)

Its a full week holiday, the city has been dead since the 13th, pesto is running low,
Bouh has been spending his holiday home - keep stealing and geeking with my laptop.
His laptop is broken n yeah that's why i couldn't post anything.

So anyway, I was running out of bread today and decide to walk out from the warm house and face the cold winter (13 degrees-it's frickin' cold for me!if you are from a colder country, imagine a 15 degrees drop from your coldest temperatures, get the idea?). It took me an hour scouring down the empty street and closed shop, looking for an open bakery or supermarket.

None was open, it's tet! We just have to live with crackers ... but then, I suddenly remembered that we actually still had the leftover from the Vdays cake .... we are saved!

well, I didn't remember it because Bouh bought it when we had an evening stroll. I grew up in asian culture, I tend to not express intimacy in public (that includes buying Valentine cake as a couple - sounds weird eh?). It's been a year and we're still curious and excited in discovering our differences, from language differences to language of love.

well, just want to say .. happy chinese new year and happy V day ...

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Pesto party

Here in vietnam, 3 days before the tet (chinese new year)
is not the best day to stock up on food to survive the next
"dead city week" - but - that's what i've been warned.
stubborn as i am, i went to a nearby supermarket
and witnessed the shopping war and ran out for my dear life.

On my survival mode, i walked down to the local market
(which I usually avoid - code red area with the language barrier),
strolling around with a smile and 10.000VND on my hand,
spotted some fresh basil leaves, grabbed 2 huge bunch
and within an hour a big jar of fresh pesto will assure our survival.

Green pesto

3 cups fresh basil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cups roasted peanuts
2/3 cups parmesan cheese
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

Place garlic, peanuts, parmesan cheese in a food processor.
Gradually add the basil and olive oil.
continue to blend until smooth, add salt & pepper to taste.

the good thing about pesto is you can store it in the fridge for 2 weeks
it goes well with shrimps/fried bacon/sausages/cherry tomatoes
or mixed a bit in mashed potatoes. yummy ...

Monday, 8 February 2010

Geeky mugs

we are addicted to morning coffee (who doesn't?) but also need a proper normal-sized mug to happily enjoy the morning - especially on Monday when weekend seems so far away.

so we decided to hunt down shops for a normal sized-mug, promised ourselves not to be picky with the design as it won't stay with us for that long. Luckily we found it, flowery greenish mug which weirdly comes with a cap, hell, just get it.

The next day, a package arrived from french and inside, surprisingly, are 2 couple mug!
Apparently, Bouh bought it online and thought that it lost its way on the way to Asia.

I was happy as a bunny (or woof) because the mugs are nicely designed, fit with our geek personality and we can store the ugly greenish mugs in the deepest corner of our cupboard.

here's the link where he bought the cute mugs:

HINT : Under the couch

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Stocking up my fridge

Hanoi - Vietnam

I've been spending days walking around the neighborhood and taking notes of "what shops sell what in what street". In this city, they only have 1 BIG well-stocked supermarket and it's miles from home.

Of course, i'd prefer supermarket, as I'll only need to pick up the stuff and pay it in the cashier. So much simpler than going to a shop and look like a handicapped doing hand signal language just to get a piece of bread. My vietnamese is very - very limited.

I took my notebook and camera, taking pictures of the shop and upload it in my personal googlemap. I might be an ignorance foreigner but i wrack my brain to be so.

so here it is, my way of having a well-stocked fridge :

Googlemaps for hanoi