Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Indonesian Delights!

Those of you who know me well know that one of my passions is travel, and one of the best things about travelling is food! There's always so much to discover that it's hard to know where to start. Markets, cooking classes, and random street stalls are some of my favourite stops when I'm travelling.

I recently took a quick jaunt to Indonesia (North Sumatra, to be specific), so here's a quick collection of images of my food exploration there.

This is what you get when you order a fruit salad in Bukit Lawang!

Gado-gado (vegetables with a peanutty sauce - delicious!)
In the market in Pangururan:


Real Sumatran Coffee - about $3/kilo!

Mmmm dried fish.

All pure and natural spices...yum!
Some kind of drink or dessert...I think!

Pancakes with coconut and brown sugar.

BBQ'd fish with some kind of sauce - I can't remember the name but it was delicious!
My picnic lunch! To be eaten with my fingers!
Sooooo much fruit!
That's it for now! Stay tuned to hear all about the cooking class I took on Samosir!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hanoi Cooking Centre Part Two - Class

If you've read Part One of this series, you got to see the plethora of wonderful produce available to me in the market. Now, you can see the second part of the class - actual cooking! In between dishes we got to try some of the weird and wonderful things we bought in the market...just to keep it interesting!

Although it was a cooking class, because of time constraints we didn't exactly do everything ourselves. As you can see, some of the more basic chopping (particularly of meats) was done for us, but the final assembly was all our own!

Ingredients for seafood spring rolls

Huyen is showing us how to wrap and batter our spring rolls. I didn't particularly like these, they were breadcrumbed and not the traditional ones I was expecting!

Caroline and Russell carefully
 folding their spring rolls
Ready to be fried!

Me and my partner Steve, rolling happily!

I mentioned earlier that we'd been offered a lot of things to try from the market....one of them was an egg with a partly formed chick inside....

and yes, I ate it. (It's not as bad as it sounds...you eat eggs, and you eat chicken, right? So why not?)

Christine and Deborah cooking up
their caramel pork.
Silkworm larvae, toasted, with lime leaves.

Yes, I ate it. (Had them many times before in Korea, so it wasn't a big deal)

There are baby bananas inside the flower!
After the spring rolls and caramel pork we moved on to Banana Flower Salad, which is one of my most favourite Vietnamese dishes EVER! It's good to know how to make it now!

Chopping up the good parts of the flower.

Our final dish of the day was Chè, a Vietnamese dessert with coconut milk. It comes in different varieties, hot and cold, but this was a hot one with peanuts and black sesame seeds.

Steve chopping up our banana flower.
Cooking centre guy making Chè. We didn't do
any of the work for this one!

The finished products! Time to eat!

Banana Flower Salad

Steve sampling our Caramel Pork

Seafood Spring Rolls

Hot Chè with peanut and black sesame.

Partners in Cooking!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hanoi Cooking Centre Part 1 - Market Tour

One of the great things about living in Vietnam is the food. Right outside my door there's a market every morning from roughly 6am to 11am, which is where I buy pretty much all of my fruit, veggies, eggs, and various other odds and ends that I need in my kitchen. Of course, there are regularly things I see there that I can't identify and would have no idea how to use, but that the locals seem to buy all the time! Many times I have wished for someone to walk through the market with me, answering all of my questions.

Since we got here, my friend Christine and I have talked of doing a cooking class. FINALLY, nearly a year and a half later, we got around to actually doing it! (Yeah, we're on top of things....) The class included a tour of the nearby market, which seemed to have even more of the weird and wonderful than my local market does. So I present to you now a collection of photos taken at the Chau Long market, Hanoi.

Warning: if you are sensitive about seeing random animal parts, you might want to skip the first several pictures!

Some of the meat sellers.

Brains. Pig, I think.

They do use every part of the animal.

It's very important to get your intestines positioned JUST right!

Seafood mania!

and after.

A lovely selection of chicken innards, including hearts, livers, kidneys, intestines, and partly formed eggs! (the orange one on the right) In the back left are some silkworm larvae.  
We discovered that when Huyen asked "Do you want to try it?", if we said yes, she'd buy some of whatever we were looking at. That was pretty cool, because I tried things I wouldn't normally have eaten! More on that in part 2...

Lovely herbs, some for washing your hair!

LOTS of super fresh veggies!

Huyen explaining all the green things and very patiently answering all of our questions!

A very smiley lady selling noodles.

Betel nut

Potatoes and bamboo shoots!
Huyen explaining the "lady's breast" fruit to Deborah and Christine

That was our market tour. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Hanoi Cooking Class!