Use your noodle and burn up the fat

Why are the Food Gods so mean to us?

I put leftover street-food noodles in my guesthouse room’s little fridge overnight for ants-proofing, and what you now see is … congealed fat; the stuff that clings to your waistline and won’t budge.

Yes, this is the juice on the delicious street food that we scoff down with a passion; this is the cheap and simple but so satisfying cuisine that brings us to South-East Asia; this is why we painfully learn to use chop sticks;  this requires urgent action: a reduction in my nightly cold beer quota? Nope. It looks like an extra 2km on my daily walk, and an extra 10 minutes of daily sea swimming …

Rice to the Rescue (aka Fresh is Best)

Rice to the Rescue: Russian tourists in Asia tend to buy up in supermarket and prepare/eat in their room. OK, let’s see: This canned Danish pork luncheon (US$6.70) is a tube of salty sorrow but add freshly steamed rice (US40c-80c), chilli sauce,  leftover ginger sauce – and a squirt of Japanese mayo – and the result is alright. Verdict: No. It’s cheaper, tastier and healthier to buy fresh at a local eatery. But hey, if you don’t give it a go, you’ll never know …

 

SIHANOUKVILLE: PARADISE GAMBLED AWAY

Sihanoukville dispatches: How to put this tactfully… Don’t expect a tourism Phoenix to rise from these ashes and rubble; at best, maybe a gold/jade balut egg. This is Lord of the Rings alternate ending where Sauron wins. Star Wars, where the Empire has demolished the rebel freedom fighters’ last base, is rebuilding it as a Mega-Death Star, and Darth Vader now speaks Mandarin. A game of Monopoly, where you pass Sihanoukville, and go straight to Otres Beach and collect $100. Serendipity Beach I have renamed as Calamity Cove. An hour in Sihanoukville is an hour you could have spent somewhere nice…

 

DUCK OUT FOR A LIGHT BITE…

The words “light” and “duck” should not be in the same sentence when describing food; duck is fatty. But to borrow from incomparable TV cook Rick Stein, this duck congee (rice soup often unkindly named gruel or porridge) “is just so surprisingly refreshing”.  Not unlike myself it is way better than it looks. US$1.30 at locals’ eatery, Hoi An, Vietnam