Ahh…… after weeks long of vacation and stay in South East Asia (SEA), I finally made it home to Kansas City after a little bit over 30 hours of flights and transit, from Singapore to Moscow (Russia), then to Houston then Kansas City. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I now can claim that I have been to Russia! Well, just for a few hours anyway.
So, many people travel for sightseeing, eat the local food, and shop for fashion stuff. For me? Well, I basically move a whole kitchen back!!!! Okay, first of all, how long was I in Asia? I was actually there for 6 weeks, the main reason of the trip was to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday, scuba dive and visit my friends and family.
My second sister just picked up baking recently so we decided to go on a baking shopping spree in Singapore since there are many things that are not commonly available in Sabah, my home state.
Anyway, minus my clothes, scuba toys and camera gear aside, here is basically what packed into my two check in luggage and a 45lbs hand carry on……. yes, 45lbs of carry on!
My first stop in Asia was Singapore, which I went through about 30 hours of flight journey a few days before Thanksgiving then landed in Singapore just after dawn. My brother picked me up from the airport, got rested and my sister then joined us that evening after flew in from Sabah, East Malaysia.
The next few days we went shopping and a bit of sight seeing which I will post about the sight seeing part later. For the shopping part, we went to a place call called Daiso, which is like Japanese version of US Dollar stores. Daiso however does not sell stuff in $1, but SGD$2 (SGD = Singapore Dollar). Funny that “Daiso” sounds in Kantonese means “Big Idiot”……
Anyway, given that almost everything is SGD$2, which is almost US$1.30, it’s very easy to ring up a big bill, in what way? Well, let’s see what I got back.
A pack of metal kabob skewer cost US$1.30, I would be idiot to not get 3 packs! No more using bamboo skewer for kabob, or spent US$11 for 5 sticks of metal skewer in the US!
Ahh…… Japanese are so inventive in kitchen wear and paper stuff. You think Origami is coo, you haven’t seen Scum Skimmer Sheet yet! Emm…… I’m not talking those jerk and moron scum, I’m talking about scum that float to the surface of stock and soup whenever you cook your soup with bones.
I also got a pack of Tea pouch for me to make my own tea bag, and a pack of herb pouch to make bag to put spices and herb in soup or sauce. These sure come in handy so that I don’t have to fish tiny bits of cloves or pepper corns in my soup. If they work well, I will get more the next time I visit SEA!
Oh, in Daiso, I also got the ginger/root grater, it’s made out of plastic. Now, I suppose you can spend US$22 to get a Kyocera Ceramic ginger grater, but hey, I don’t print money, so may be a US$1.30 plastic one will do just fine, if not, I would just throw it away!
Aside from Daiso, my sister and I went to three different places to shop for baking tools and ingredient. I have the list of stores some where, and I’m sure my sister does. Out of that three stores, I ended bought more than my sister because they just have so much cool stuff that a pastry person would stock up.
I bought some metal/aluminum pastry mold that cost me about US$5 each, sure beat those stainless steel US$50 version that’s sold in the US! I also got one Polycarbonate chocolate mold in Singapore, and a few more from Sabah. I only brought back 3 this time but I have 6 more being ship from Asia! They are about US$7 each compare to US$26 when you buy in the US, jackpot!!!!
Anyway, got a plastic donuts cutter, personal microwave pasta cooker from Daiso, and a hot plate lifter.
The weather was hot in Singapore when my sister and I went out, that kind of affected me to buy some cooling dessert mix like pudding when we were ingredient shopping at the store. Since they have a few different unique flavor, I decided to give them a try, after all, where do you find green tea/moccha pudding in the US?
In one of the bakery stores, I was almost out of control and bought a lot of mooncake mold because they were having clearance sales like 15% off. It make sense, it was November and mooncake festival was over, they need to make room for Xmas stuff.
I got a few plunger type mooncake mold as I heard they’re easy to use and work very well. The plastic paddle type were given by my eldest sister whom do not make mooncake much anymore. The purple ice cube tray looking thing is use to make “egg yolk” for jelly mooncake, yup, you read it right, Jelly Mooncake, it’s a new thing I’m going to try soon.
The compact press type mooncake mold is easier to store, and given that it’s plastic, it should be easier to clean and not too much burden to bring back.
From other baking stores, I got some Chocolate Emulco and Coffee paste, probably will use them in some sort of mousse or icing when I get back to baking again. I also got more mooncake mold, individual cake liner, short but fat pullman loaf pan and cooling rack.
Pullman loaf pan cost at least US$35 in the US, and they’re normally long and skinny. The Asia version is shorter and wide, which should work out well for me because I don’t eat a long loaf of home made bread often and they go stale very quick. The cooling rack? Oh, I need something that’s smaller than a sheet pan that could go into my table top oven/toaster, and something that’s easy to clean so it has to be non grid type, which the circular works just well!
I would like to give Jelly mooncake a try this year, so for less then US$1 a piece of the jelly mooncake more, I can’t help but to snatch up a few from the store, after all, they’re not heavy to carry!
The imprint on the plastic jelly mold is very well made, so I felt more comfortable with the quality of the mold and didn’t hesitate to get a few different designs.
You shouldn’t make mooncake and not think about gifting presentation. In the past I just put mooncake on plates and give them away, this time I decided to get individual mooncake packaging in case I want to get into the business of mooncake selling if there is a market for me to test.
Perhaps one of the most exciting purchase is a simple funnel, yup a funnel that cost me only US$40, if you think that’s expensive, you should have see those website that sell the similar thing for US$160!!! I mean, who think up the price in the US? If you haven’t aware, a lot of pastry chef supply is very expensive in the US, and that’s why you don’t see a whole lot of high end pastry shops in the US.
The funnel has a thumb control valve that help deposit liquid faster and more accurate. If you don’t have this kind of funner, you can use piping bag and small piping tips, but trust me, piping bag sucks when come to clean and speedy way of deposit liquid into tiny are like hollow chocolate balls, or bon bon shell.
You know, just because it’s made in Italy, doesn’t mean you can charge US$50 for a piece of rigid plastic template with circles or squares in it, or what the industry call them Chablon Stencil Mats. Come on! Who dream up that kind of price? Me? I got the similar thing in Singapore for US$1.50 a piece, sucker!!!!
In case you don’t know what the template is for, it’s use to spread chocolate over, and when you peel the template away, you’re left with rounds or squares chocolate that later you can put on top of cake, or lay around the side of cake/entremet like this.
My sister didn’t stay long in Singapore. After she left, my brother and his girlfriend brought me to Johor Bahru (JB), West Malaysia for a weekend to have some tasty Malaysian food and more kitchen supply shopping! My brother’s girlfriend has a house in JB and knows the area well, they told me they found a baking supply store as well as commercial kitchen supply store, so in one weekend, I got more kitchen shopping to do and it will be in my next post!