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Ever Heard of Alcohol-Free Beer?

These beers seem to keep eluding me. The first time I saw it at the supermarket, I though, "Hmm, interesting, maybe I'll try it sometime". The second time I saw it, I had too much groceries on my hand so I literally couldn't carry anything more to bring back on my long journey home via train and foot. I did a mental note therefore, to keep this on my rain check list of the thousands of food items I wish to try one day. The next time I saw it though, I was a bit short on cash that month so I had to postpone the purchase yet again.

As for the fourth time around, now this one was a bit bizarre. I literally had it in my hand along with a couple of other items, and was proceeding to the check-out counter when I remembered the ONE thing that I went into the supermarket to buy in the first place (yes, even I am susceptible to binge buying when it comes to food). It was some Gula Melaka I needed for a project I was working on, and it was inconveniently positioned on a shelf …

Father and son, a good meal and a grateful heart

It’s true, I think, what they say about old people, that “those who have a will to live, as well as those who have a reason to keep living, have a higher probability of living a longer life”.

While I was unfortunate to lose my previously ever-active and lively grandmother to cancer, here is a story of how the love of a son enables a man to go on far into his old life, despite the difficulties of a decreasing mobility that confines us human beings to what is called, “mortality”.
Here I was, sitting at a big and spacious food court with several large fans blasting furiously and producing such a loud noise that you can barely hear the voices of those around you. Overhead, a blaring speaker sends out a somewhat out-of-place instrumental rendition of the kind of music you hear at posh hotels or high-class Chinese restaurants. Can’t blame them for trying, though.
It was a quiet lunchtime, there were not many people. I was nonchalantly sipping my second glass of iced tea, which was unfortunatel…

Quirks in Food and People: The Lure of the "Today's Special" Signboard

I went into the cafe, aiming to get either a cup of tea or a slice of cake. What I really wanted, thought, was a place for me to study Japanese for the upcoming exam, but hey, you've got to order something if you're in a cafe, right? That's why I love libraries. Quiet, relaxing, "conducive" for study, as they call it. Then again, libraries can sometimes be a bit too quiet, causing one to eventually fall asleep without intending to.

I eventually settled on their pavlova (a crispy, slow baked cloud of egg white and sugar topped with fresh berries and fresh whipped cream), which was scrumptious by the way, but not the point of today's "Quirks in Food and People" story. This happened a couple months ago, but it’s still fresh in my mind.
The waiter introduced their special dish for the day, “Shepherd’s pie with mashed potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli”, as he handed me the menu and pointed at the creatively written item on the chalkboard behind the bar.

Durian Chocolate: A popular Malaysian Souvenir

If you have been to Malaysia before, you may have been told that durian chocolate is the must-buy souvenir of the country. But what is this product? And why is it sold at basically every souvenir shop as well as several major supermarkets in Kuala Lumpur.

First of all, what is durian?
Durian is a fruit. Some may even call it the "King of Fruits", although I personally still don't understand why we need a "king" for fruits anyway. Native to the Southeast Asian region, this is a fruit that you will either absolutely love or downright loathe. It comes in many varieties, the D24, musang king, and even one called "red prawn"(most durians have a yellow flesh, but this one has a particularly red tinge to it); but they are all from the genus Durio. Spiky and green (some being more brown than green) on the outside and with a flesh as soft as custard, this fruit also has a strong and pungent smell which may drive some people away but leave others drooling for mo…

Quirks in Food and People: Random free nougat

I just finished work one day on an oddly busy Sunday night, and while heading towards the door to the outside world (finally!), I was stopped by a staff that I technically never spoke to. I gave her an acknowledging smile and thought that I was just going to be on my way when she stopped me again. Holding some cloths bound for washing on one hand, and something that looked like little packets of sweets on the other, she said, "take it."
At first, I wasn't sure how to react, because it was so random and unexpected, especially because it came from someone I've seen around my workplace but never really talked to.

"Take it", she said again, and so, out of courtesy towards her kindness, I took one of the four plastic wrapped pieces. Looking at it briefly, I realized that it was nougat. Nougat! One of my favourite sweet treats. I have no idea why I love these things, but I just do.

"Take it all," she said yet again, "we don't eat these things&q…

The "Whatever's in Your Fridge Cooking Game"!

No ideas for dinner, and you are staring blankly at the insides of your fridge, wasting precious time looking for what you can eat (not to mention wasting expensive electricity that is running with the fridge door open while you play a staring game with the fridge)? Well, you're not alone. There is a solution to that, though, one that involves a little bit of creativity, a resourceful attitude and a desperately hungry tummy.

You can call it what you like, but I call it the "Whatever's in Your Fridge Cooking Game"!

It's a very simple game that allows you to stop worrying about what dishes you can cook and just go with the flow with what you can find in your fridge. Not only does it use up all your leftovers as well as bits and pieces of food that won't make a meal on their own, it helps you create unimaginable dishes that you probably wouldn't have thought of if you simply followed recipes for specific dishes.

Got a piece of cheese leftover? Or the last of…

Quirks in Food and People: Three two or thirty-two

I went to the market to get some meat, because I felt like I wasn't getting enough meat to eat these days. It was a hot and sunny day when I went to the big, wet market near where I live, and as usual, it was bustling with activity on an early Sunday morning.

I approached the beef stall, which was complete with well-dented wooden chopping blocks, rows of hanging meat parts and busy butchers behind the counter just chopping away like there's no tomorrow while chatting happily with their patrons and co-workers alike.

"I'd like some meat for...", I said, pausing slightly to remember what it was that I wanted to cook the meat with, "making curry".

I thought it would be pretty close to the type of meat I needed since they probably wouldn't understand it if I said I needed the meat for nikujaga (a type of Japanese stew made of beef or pork meat, potatoes and onions). Of course the recipe calls for sliced meat, but oh well, you get what you can at a wet ma…