Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Counting down 14 days

A week ago today, Anthony Bourdain's new show, The Layover premiered on the Travel Channel, and for the second time, he launched a new series/season with an episode on... you guessed it, Singapore (read about our excitement over his No Reservations episode on Singapore here). You've got to give it to the guy, I've not met another non-Singaporean who is as passionate about Singaporean food as he is. And I'm not talking about the chi-chi, often pretentious, marked-up-by-a-1000%, white-table cloth, reservations-only experience; he loves-- just as much as we do-- the food that put Singapore on the foodie map of the world. We're talking sup tulang, bak chor mee, pig innards soup, chicken rice, fish head curry, etc.- street food, hawker fare, that lies at the heart of our culinary heritage.

And so, inspired by the episode (and by our recent success with char kway teow), Jude and I spent the Thanksgiving long weekend cooking up a trifecta of Singaporean hawker favorites: chai tow kway (fried carrot cake-- which bears absolutely no resemblance in any way, shape, or form, to the carrot cake here in the U.S.), laksa, and mee siam. Admittedly, the latter two came from premixes from the good people at Prima Taste, but they tasted as authentic enough as we could get them with whatever ingredients we could find here in our little town in the Midwest (laksa leaves in Ann Arbor?- c'mon, who are we kidding?...)

Maybe it was because we really needed a break from all the turkey and stuffing we were regaled with over the weekend (although bowlsful of coconut milk, spice, and fried carbs aren't really detoxifying by any means...) or maybe it was our bodies' way of getting ready for our impending homecoming, but those three meals awoke in our tastebuds sensations that have laid dormant for too long (two years to be exact, if anyone's counting). We're not just talking about spiciness here (many cuisines in the world relie heavily on spice as well), but that complex and rich amalgamation of sweet, savory, spiciness, and of Chinese, Malay, and Indian flavors I associate only with Southeast-Asian cooking. It's food you can get no where else in the world. It's the food of my soul.

We leave in exactly two weeks. I. Can't. Wait.

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