It took me a while to decide if I want to continue to post stuff from my late 2010 Malaysia trip since it happened so long ago (I know, I’m so behind on my blog!). I figure since I will be using some of the gadget I acquired, I decided to post this so that people would know what toys I have.
So, two months after I returned from Asia, I received the care package that I help packed a few days before I leave Asia.
This time, I only mail one care package and it arrived in great shape. Why just one package? Because I ran out of cash to buy more stuff in Asia, and I need to be back on diet when I get back to US so I shouldn’t buy too much food that my diet wouldn’t allow me to have.
After my last care package experience in 2008, I learned to have more solid frame to protect the care package instead of just styrofoam box. The custom cut to fit cardboard box helps to hold everything together.
Inside the cardboard box is styrofoam that prevent my toys from banging and crush, as well as to protect them from heat, moisture and any other bad environment element.
The styrofoam box is well sealed, so apparently the custom didn’t open it. I’m sure they scanned it, just don’t have anyone physically open it.
I packed my care package pretty well and straight forward since everything is kind of self enclosed.
I double wrapped my stuff in plastic bags just in case the package get wet. The plastic also help them to bundle together so they can be retained on the side of the box.
Inside the plastic bag are a few poly-carbonate chocolate molds. These molds are super cheap in Asia, and the quality is just as good as those that’re sold in the US. How cheap? US$7 a piece compare to US$25 if you buy in the US. It’s no brainier for me to get as many design as I think they will be useful because I don’t know how far my chocolate/bon bon adventure will go.
Besides bon bon mold, I also packed some Chinese sausages. The Chinese sausages that’s sold in the US is not as nice as those in Asia. When I was leaving Asia, it was around Chinese New Year season so the sausages are fresh and have more variety.
The common pork Chinese sausage is sweet and have just the right amount of fat.
I can’t remember when was the last time I had liver sausage, so when I saw it at the supermarket, I just have to pack a few into my care package. I’m not sure what to expect to mail Chinese sausage over the sea, so I just double wrapped and put the wrapped package into a zip top bag to make sure no air get in to cause mold grow and destroy it.
Inside the styrofoam box is another big box that took up a lot of room, and there is a good reason for it.
The big box is my Thermal Magic Cooker! I became aware of Thermal Cooker slow cooking method from my Macau friends. Given that Thermal cooker is so expensive in the US, normally at least US$150 for a big one, I was on a quest to find one when I visit to Asia.
The 7 Liter thermal cooker cost me about US$70, and turns out to be a very good packing container as well. I kept all the original packaging. When you open the box, the thermal cooker doesn’t fill up the whole box. What does that mean? That means I have more pocket of space I could fill up!
Around the empty pocket of the thermal cooker, I packed some ladles, well, lots of ladles.
I’m a very practical person if you haven’t figure out by now. From time to time I like to have Chinese hot pot meal at my house and invite friends over. Having a few people share one or two ladles is just annoying, and trying to buy more ladles in the US is just become too expensive, I mean, do you want to spend US$40 just for ladles? All these ladles cost me about US$7, and since they’re all stainless steel, they will last for a while and can take the abuse in the dishwasher, as well as deep fry, especially the slotted one.
The egg tart mold in Asia is really cheap, and best of all, they’re made out of Aluminum that wouldn’t rust, and conduct heat really well. The egg tart mold can also be used for all kind of tartlets, US$7 for 20 mold, good luck finding that in Bed Bath & Beyond!
Once the thermal cooker is out of its plastic, I inspected it further to make sure there is no dent or any sort of damage cause by the long shipping journey on the sea.
The mechanism of thermal cooker is very straight forward, just a pot inside an insulated container.
Since the thermal cooker is so well insulated, it make sense to put more perishable item inside it for long duration of shipment.
One of the drink I missed a lot is Lo Hon Guo Winter Melon tea. It’s a common drink that Malaysians drink back home to cool off and to quench thirst.
There are many commercial version of this tea, but the red and white packaging some how bring back memory. It’s the only one that has chunks of winter melon, and visible brown sugar instead of cubes of brown stuff made by machine. After checking the manufacturer info on the package, I realize it’s a small scale business that most people would consider as local/domestic product, which probably explain my preference in taste.
My sister got me hook to the South East Asia version of Jello. It’s very fragrant, cheap and tasty. The fruit flavor doesn’t taste artificial like those from Taiwan, and of course they carry a lot of South East Asia specific flavor, and I got the Durian one!
There are some pastry supply that I don’t know why it cost so much in the US. For example, small cake board/circle that’s use to plate personal size cake no larger than a muffin. A pack of 200 only cost me US$5 if I buy it in Asia, same 3 1/8″ cake circle would cost me US$38 if I buy in the US! I mean, they’re made out of paper!
At the bottom of the thermal cooker are tubes of stuff wrapped with newspaper. They’re not tube of coins!
So what got wrapped in the newspaper? They’re bottles of flavoring paste and extract, oh, and they’re colorful as well! I got some Yam, Green Tea, Mango, Peppermint, Pandan, and Pandan Coconut flavor paste.
The flavor paste is very cheap and have quite a lot of variety. The paste is use to flavor butter cream, or cake batter. I suppose you can use real fruit puree but that will add the cost up, not to mention the consistency and formula of cake will be impacted. I bought quite a few of these paste just to do experiment and see how well they work. If they work well, I will get more the next time I visit Asia.
Some other ingredient that I also packed are kind of new to me. When I work with chocolate, I came across Titanium Dioxide that’s use to add white color to chocolate. It’s very hard to find Titanium Dioxide in the US, when I saw it at the bakery store in Malaysia, I just have to get a small bottle to try. The bottle just list Titanium instead of Titanium Dioxide, but I asked the store clerk and I was told it’s use to whiten fish balls. I figure, hey, as long as they are food grade, I should give it a try, oh, as you can see from the price tag, it’s cheap!
One thing I learn during this experience is, the US dollar doesn’t stretch as long as it used to! The US dollar value has dropped, and the stuff in Malaysia is getting expensive. However, the cost of shipment to US is still very cheap if you do it by sea. A box of 40lb only cost me about US$55 to ship, and there is no box size limit, well, they do, but it’s very reasonable!