No, I’m not seeing Neptune or the Mermaid, I was just waiting for my care package from South East Asia (S.E.A). You see, right after I left Malaysia and Hong Kong in early April, my sister mailed me the package we put together when I was in Malaysia and shopped for all the stuffs I need. She mailed it to me using surface mail (sea mail), which took 3 months to arrive!
In first week of July, the package arrived, and I was a bit relief that the package made it to the US, and in good shape! The robe of the package doesn’t have sign of cut or breakage.
On one side of the package, there is a dent, sort of like the box has been punched but I’m sure it’s just dent from hitting some other boxes or object. The wrapper torn, but doesn’t look like it’s deep.
Upon unwrapped, the dented area looks just fine, and the styrofoam box really hold up to impact!
The box is tightly sealed with tape, so no one has open it since it left Malaysia.
After the box is opened, everything looks fine, doesn’t have sign of shifting. The newspaper is there to kind of cushion the lid and the stuff under it a little bit.
What’s in the care package? Let’s go through them one by one. On top I have a pack of Sarawak White Peppercorn. Sarawak produce the world’s best white peppercorn. Since it’s just neighbor to my home state of Sabah, the peppercorn is easily available, authentic and cheap! I also have two packs of barley that my sister said is good and nutritious, so I just include them in the package to fill the package up.
One of the items I was looking forward to receive is the Hong Kong compact dried sweet yeast. The Hong Kong version is sweet and is said to be the secret to make good rice wine. Yes, I’m going to attempt to make rice wine! I think the summer weather here would be perfect. After spending 3 months in the box in a big ship at the sea, the yeast was attacked by tiny little bugs. Don’t worry, they are not super damaging bugs, they’re like those bugs that grow in flour, you can remove them by sifting them, and I only keep those big solid chunk of yeast biscuit. I then store them in the fridge so there won’t be any more bug.
To make red rice wine, of course you have to have red rice. Since I can’t find everything I need in the US, I have shipped three small bags of red rice for wine making. What make the rice red? I have no idea, but I think it’s just the species of rice and different growing condition.
The peppercorn is fresh and well pack with no sign of crush.
I also have a box of fruit salt, which is really really hard to come by in the US. Most people use fruit salt for stomach relief especially for heart burn or stomach bloating feeling, but there is another secret culinary use for fruit salt, that’s use similar to beer batter kind of deep frying. The fruit salt foam up once contact with water, just like beer foaming up batter to make it light and airly, and expand further once it hit the hot oil
My sister also recommended one of the local products, which is instance coffee drink mix. Tenom is famous for its unique blend of coffee, in the past, you can only buy their coffee through small vendors, as everything become more commercialize, the product has change to become more consumer friendly and easily available at supermarket shelfs.
The biggest item in the package is the instant noodle. I have two cases of instant noodle, one is the chicken flavor.
The second case of instant noodle is the curry flavor.
Why do I want to ship instant noodle all the way from South East Asia? Well, first of all, Maggi is the brand of instant noodle I grew up eating. Second, their Curry flavor is one of the kind that no other companies can duplicate. Their seasoning package has more depth in flavor compare to the US popular Top Ramen brand, which taste just like salt water with MSG with minimal flavoring. Third, Maggi brand instant noodle is hard to find in the US, and it’s expensive to buy online.
I used to eat two to three packages of the instant noodle in one setting when I was in high school, now that I know how much calories each pack of the noodle has, I would just eat a pack at a time, so a case should go a long way.
The last item in the care package is the one that I most anticipate and concern about. It arrive in the box split open, I guess the package shifted a bit during transport.
Upon unbox it, this is what is inside:
No, it’s not a grenade, it is about the same size though. So what it is? It’s actually a coconut grater. Before I explain, you have to see how people grate coconut in the wester world:
Well, that hand crank coconut grater is expansive and almost impossible to find in the US as I believe it’s marketed in Europe.
The more commonly available coconut grater that’s available in the US is the Thai version, also called “Rabbit” or “gkra-dtai“. How does it work? See it for yourself:
I don’t know about you, I consider myself patient when come to cooking, but I’m not THAT patient. In Malaysia, this is the way we get shredded coconut for fresh coconut milk and fresh shredded coconut for dessert:
See the difference? I have been looking for years and couldn’t find any electric coconut shredder in the US. Since I’m shipping supply from Malaysia I decided to get one of the grater head and avoiding carry such weapon looking thing in to an airplane:
I don’t have the whole machine, so how am I going to use the attachment? My first instinct is – Power Drill! I think the power drill is safer as I can control the speed. Will it work? I guess I will find out in the future. For now, I’m really excited that the grater has arrive and I have more kitchen toy to play with!