Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hong Kong from our window

The lease period for our apartment on Seymour Road, Hong Kong, is fast running out, so it will soon be time to move. The one thing that I will miss the most is the view from our living room and bedroom windows. Sweeping vistas ( as they say in the property rental advts) over the Midlevels and Central skyline, the harbour from West Kowloon all the way to Lamma island, Tsing Ma bridge, and, on a clear day, the hills of the New Territories. The views are what got us to take this apartment in the first place and they have kept us entranced for two years through rain and shine, fog and haze, at dusk and dawn, on sunny days and glittering nights.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lioho Night Food Market, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Travelling across Asia you realise that street food is where it's at. This is where the culture and ethos of a place is on display in all its colours, this is where the sights and sounds and smells dance together to evoke the unique flavours of a city, town or country and where the local people come out to be their authentic best. Street food is a no- pretensions , hygienically incorrect, raucous celebration that digs deep into the history of a place and has its roots firmly embedded in its bowels.

Kaohsiung's Lioho Night Market for example, sizzles with the raw energy of Southern Taiwan and offers a mindboggling array of tastes. Barbecued chicken sizzling away on open charcoal grills, mountains of squid and lobster, a seafood smorgasbord, dumplings in soup, old men selling fried yam to even older ladies. And in the midst of all this, a pretty young girl perched on a plastic chair, strumming a guitar-like instrument and sending the strains of a folk song soaring into the evening air.

Around the world

Hells kitchen in heaven

Chengdu, Sichuan province, China. April 2007. Confirming my views that Sichuan cuisine is the deadliest and tastiest form of food known to man. The fiery chilis - either dried, pickled or in a fermented bean paste - and the lip-tingling, tongue-numbing, strangely addictive Sichuan pepper, lace the dishes with a taste that punches you in the face and leaves you deliriously happy. Your palate sizzles, your forehead moistens with sweat, tears roll down your cheeks, and you find yourself reaching out for more.

The scalding Sichuan hotpot broth, bubbling with chili oil and peppers, waits for raw ingredients like sliced beef and fish to be dipped into it.

Chengdu is also famous for its nibbles, tasty and cheap titibits that are often layed out like a banquet. We went to Long Chao Shou, one of the most famous purveyors of these traditional snacks where the two of us made our way through an array of 30 dishes.
Long Chao Shou, Chunxi Lu, Chengdu. Ph: +28 8666 6947

Whitewash in Hangzhou

Hangzhou, China, February 2008. There for the opening of a new Toys R Us store, when suddenly we got hit by the biggest snowfall in decades. The city was quickly covered under a thick white blanket. All tranport stopped, offices closed and thousands of excited Hangzhouers came out by the West Lake, squealing, stomping, battling each other in snowfights and building snowmen of all shapes. The store opening went for a toss, but the scene was beautiful, magical.

Eine Nacht Munchen

One night in Munich, that fabulous city where I've had two of the best parties of my life - Oktoberfest 2004 and soccer world cup 2006. These are shots from a balmy July evening during the world cup. Marienplatz, Peterskirche, Stadion Munchen. I can still smell the weissen.

Shots in the sky

I fly far too often and find myself staring at a lot of sky and great blank space. Sometimes I aim my Sony Cybershot out of the window and get some nice shots

7 course degustation menu, Taxi restaurant, Melbourne. Chef Michael Lambie

Kingfish Sashimi with caviar and ponzu jelly

Tempura of Zucchini flowers with coconut remoulade and herb butter

Hot & Sour broth with rabbit wonton

Pan-roasted John Dory with vanilla-grapefruit caramel

Eye-fillet with foie gras, potato roesti, basil pesto and madeira jus

Chocoloate tian. raspberry foam, coconut grenache

Espresso and Petit-fours - passionfruit tartare, hazelnut biscotti, chocolate truffle, strawberry

Wines: Riesling; Franz Haas Gewurztraminer

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