Okay, I have been away for a few weeks, why? I was buried in snow! I just can’t believe how much snow we get since I came back from Malaysia. Trying to shovel foot of snow off my driveway every few days just throw my back off and made me just want to lay down and do nothing.
The weather is getting more normal now, and before you knew it, it will be Spring time soon! So, let’s finalize what else I brought back from South East Asia.
So, pullman pan, the one I got is quite light weight, so not a problem to bring back.
To prevent the pan from getting bend and crust, I just stuff it with lots of stuffs.
I bought a few packs of five-spice seasoning mix so I can whip up a dish quickly when I need to. I only buy the five-spice version because it’s the only one I remember I like.
I also brought back a pack of pudding mix that some how I got addicted to when I was in Asia. I guess I just miss the simple, refreshing and light dessert that we normally have. Besides, the flavor is very close to the real fruit, unique and the mix is cheap! I didn’t buy more because I’m afraid my luggage would be overweight.
I was going to buy tea bag version of my favorite tea, but after factoring out the fact that the loose leave version of the tea is actually 1/2 of the tea bag version, I went with the loose leave version, after all it doesn’t bother me to sieve the tea before drinking.
My favorite way of drinking the tea is mix it with condense milk, looks like I got of plenty supply to last for a while!
Just when you thought I have brought back enough mooncake molds, I manage to dig out some more plastic mooncake mold from my pile of goodies!
It has been a while since I have herbal chicken soup. Trying to find and mix Chinese herb to cook the chicken the way I grew up eating is difficult in the US mainly because I don’t have enough knowledge about the right herb to use, and how much to use. In my hometown, the pre-mixed herb pack is very convenient and quite cheap/fresh, so I bought a few to stock up my supply.
While I was walking at the Sunday open market in my hometown, I smell some aromatic coffee. After realize the price is pretty cheap, I decided to buy some as they’re unique compare to the western brand of coffee. These coffee smell more earthy and roasty
One of the shopping adventures I did was hunting down sweet yeast biscuit. After asked around, I settled with two different source of yeast biscuit, one is from Hong Kong and one is from local. I also got some red rice too. What are these for? They are use to make glutinous rice wine! I will post it when I make it next time!
I had to stuff the yeast stuff into a plastic container to put into my luggage because the yeast could be crumbled easily during transport.
I wish I have more room/weight allowance to bring back more of my favorite snack, the “Kudat peanut”. These peanuts are highly addictive as the peanut are fried with a crunchy garlic shell that I just can’t get enough!
While I was baking supply store hoping with my sister, I decided to buy some supply that’s either too cheap to pass, or something interesting to try. I got a bag of Agar-Agar powder and Gelatin for really cheap, probably 6 times cheaper then in the US. The white block of stuff is label as cocoa butter substitute. Being a bonbon maker, I know real cocoa butter is very expensive, since the cocoa butter substitute is quite cheap, I decided to buy a block and see how well it works and if it can truly replace the real thing.
One of the exciting kitchen tools that I didn’t expect to find in my home town is the dumpling filling spatula. When I was at the restaurant supply store at Johor Bahru, I couldn’t find them. When I saw them by accident at one of the cake supply stores at my home town, I immediately grab a few, after all they’re just US$0.50 a stick! I also grabed one plastic version and see if it work as well as the bamboo one. Oh, why do I need a special spatula for dumpling making? Well, the bamboo spatula is the traditional tool to use, and it has the advantage of being smooth and nonstick, so the filling just spread onto the dumpling wrapper with ease, and speed up the whole process.
It’s hard to buy souvenir for my friends in the US because it’s hard to personalize for everybody. Malaysia has some unique beverage products that are difficult to get in the US, such as white coffee, especially the Old Town brand. I decided to by a few of those and together with some other Malaysia dark coffee, also call “Kopi”. I think these are just right because people can mix and match what they like.
One of the headache I had was how to bring back the cookbooks I asked my brother to buy for me. You see, the cookbooks are cheap in Asia mainly because of the currency exchange. In the past few years I have been craving for some of the Asian snack and food, particularly those from Malaysia. Instead of hunting the internet to find reliable recipes from blog or article, I decided to try some of the cookbooks from popular publisher.
I didn’t count how many books I have, but I know they’re more than 40lbs! There is no way I would check them in as check in luggage because it would be just like trying to ship rock back to the US. My brother helped me check with the post office in Singapore and turns out there is no economy way of shipping books, like the “Media Mail” system in the US. So, I hand carried them!!!!
So, what books I brought back? I had to restrain myself from buying too many pastry chef kind of books. It turned out the Chinese are willing to publish high end pastry books at reasonable price, unlike the French or the American, who would charge US$100 for a pastry chef book. I just buy two this time because I want to make sure I can get use to the Chinese term and ingredient label before I invest more of this kind of books in the future.
Being a foodies who’s quite obsess about technical traditional Chinese cooking, I bought a book about meat roasting and dim sum making. I just can’t pass on these after flipping through the book to identify the authenticity of the technique, and they’re 20% off!
Malaysia has very creative idea when come to mooncake, from traditional to jelly to chocolate mooncake. I brought back a few of them, together with some other traditional Malaysia dessert books.
I got burn out by the western world way of cake decoration, which is mainly using super unhealthy, sweet and expensive fondant or gumpaste. Decorating cake with fondant became unappealing to me because they rely a lot on using mold, or time consuming sculpting like clay modeling.
For me, the true art of cake decoration is about precision in controlling piping bag, and art of moving your arm, wrist and finger pressure to create eatable decorative icing on the cake. So, I bought two cake icing decoration cook and hoping that it will inspire me to do more cake decoration again.
So, did I do anything fun in Asia besides shopping? You bet! What did I do? You will just have to wait and check out the blog, hopefully I can get it update as frequent as possible before I get busy for the Spring season.