It’s all about the salad. And the pork. And the rice …

You don’t like eating vegies? Then come to South-East Asia: the salads are so good, sometimes I could treat the meat as the garnish. Not this time – I last recall eating pork this tender in Argentina. Oh, and at the Sofitel Wanda Hotel, Beijing. This lunch is charsui Hoi An pork with firewood cooked rice. (I don’t know what firewood does to steamed rice, but the menu says it’s “traditional”. It’s tasty.) USD$1.95, Câm An (a little, street corner eatery known for chicken), Vung Tau, Vietnam

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 …

China, lobsters and soaring prices

A roast chicken USD10, average live lobster USD50, airport taxi USD30: The huge Chinese “spend” in South-East Asia is causing a rapid inflation of prices.

Expect enormous inflationary pressure to soon weigh on the smaller economies as locals struggle to cope with rocketing property/food/transport costs.

It’ll be much worst if tourism turns away from “once cheap” Asia…

Clarification: roast chooks in SE Asia haven’t yet undergone the Ingham/Steggles “miniaturisation” program and are a decent size, and come with claws and head cooked and intact – woo hoo, a bonus locals love!

 

Trotters treat

Pig Feet Rice: today’s culinary adventure, in Phnom Penh (apologies to my vegan friends). Braised Chinese style, the pork is mostly succulent skin, soft sinew and bones – expect a lot of “sticky finger work” – in a reduced jus with things resembling soft pine nuts. A splash of soy seasons the steamed rice. The broccoli’s beaut. $US5 at French influenced Angkor International Hotel.

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