Modern life is full of conveniences but few things are as convenient as sliced bread.
Just think about it. To make a sandwich all you need to do is open a bag and remove the required number of pre-cut slices. No need to take out the whole loaf, find a knife and saw into it resulting in uneven slices and broken edges. It’s almost funny that it took humans more than two thousand years to figure that out. Now imagine someone trying to take away this great invention.
The United States Government attempted to do that in 1943. The Second World War was in full swing, and America, like most Allied countries, was trying to conserve resources for the war effort. Food was one of them. … Read the rest
There’s no doubt that the food industry has a complicated relationship with race. Staples in kids of immigrants’ diets growing up in the West – like kimchi, turmeric and medjool dates – were once derided for being strange in school canteens. Yet now, they’ve been repackaged as trendy superfoods for the masses.
While foods that PoC once hid or swapped in favour of ‘acceptable’ Western dishes have now become wellness buzzwords, PoC still remain sidelined from the mainstream food industry. In one round-up of the most significant food books published in 2017, not one featured a non-white author. Meanwhile, back in 2015, people of colour were found to be paid 56 per cent less than their white counterparts in the U.S. restaurant industry.
The … Read the rest
Gin Pahits in Kuala Lumpur
It’s noon. I’ve just exited the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, and am already sweating. It isn’t far to the Majestic Hotel, but the sun is brutal, and there’s a busy six-lane road to cross. While this might seem like a lot of effort for a drink, it isn’t just any drink I’m after.
The gin pahit was one of colonial British Malaya’s favorite cocktails, but seems to have fallen out of favor. It disappeared from the Raffles menu in Singapore years ago, and when I asked for one at the Eastern and Oriental in Penang, the bartender looked at me like I was speaking Aramaic.
From the corner of Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin and Jalan Sultan Sulaiman, Kuala Lumpur looks much … Read the rest
Jianbing in Beijing
While studying abroad in Beijing this past summer, I gained 18 pounds in a little more than two months. Jianbing, Beijing’s street food of choice, was almost single-handedly responsible for this.
My favorite place in this breakfast-obsessed city was an unassuming cart in a narrow Dongcheng alleyway, Da Hua Jianbing. I visited so frequently that the elderly vendor, Mr. Niu, nicknamed me Fàntǒng—Chinese slang for “fatty.”
Jianbing, a dish that comes from northeastern China, has a history stretching back nearly 2,000 years, though no one is sure of its exact origins. Mr. Niu liked to tell me his own personal spin on the story of Beijing’s beloved snack. He said it was rooted in the Three Kingdoms Period, when one of … Read the rest
Iceberg Beer in Newfoundland
They call the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador Iceberg Alley, the place where ocean currents deposit icebergs that have broken off in Greenland and floated for two or three years before arriving on the North American continent. Something about the ocean currents and other forces of nature bring them closer to shore in early summer than at any other time of the year.
We thought it would be interesting to see a bunch of icebergs up close—you know, before they all melt. And since we would be on shore for the most part, there would be no risk of a Titanic-like disaster.
The Iceberg Finder app tracks the daily movement of icebergs so that people can follow them and spot them from … Read the rest
Cupcakes in Yuksom
After six days of trekking in Kanchenjunga National Park, we returned to Yuksom with leaden feet and plenty of food cravings. A sleepy little village in India’s West Sikkim district, Yuksom is the base for the Dzongri Goecha La mountain pass. Come April and October, there are more trekkers milling about than locals. The road leading to the park is lined with tiny stalls selling jackets, socks, shoes, poles, and other climbing gear.
There are only a handful of places to eat, Guptaji’s among them. Over the next two days, we went there to eat plate after plate of fried chicken, sample Tibetan bread, and drink copious amounts of black tea. From Guptaji’s, we watched children go to school in Jeeps and trekkers … Read the rest
Cojoyo in Nicaragua
Ometepe is an island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, shaped like a figure eight, with a volcano on each “O.” It is rural and slow-moving: more people on horseback than in cars, noisy only with birdsong, gales, and howler monkeys. In its sole museum reside some 1000-year-old petroglyphs, and a 1,500 year-old dildo.
At least, that is the best guess of archaeologists. It sits unassumingly behind glass alongside other local prehistoric works, maroon-colored, and shaped like a water-bong on its side. We had all ventured, to the grinning silence of our boyish tour guide, Jol, that it was a pipe. But greater minds had determined that the artifact could not be smoked, nor played as an instrument.
Jol invited us for shots … Read the rest
Secreted away in the heart of Manhattan’s Chinatown is a small, peculiar street. Whilst most of the city is laid out in a uniform grid system, this tiny, one block long street is unusual in that it has a sharp, angled bend in the middle of it. On a map, it is marked down as Doyers Street, but in old New York parlance, it had a much more chilling name – Bloody Angle.… Read the rest
Egg Custard and Milk Toast in Hong Kong
The line outside Australia Dairy Company this morning is dozens deep. I’ve typically got zero patience for restaurant lines, but a trustworthy Hong Kong native has directed me here, to the Kowloon Peninsula’s Jordan neighborhood, in my pursuit of steamed egg-custard—bowls of which are stacked in the lightly fogged-up front window.
It’s named for the founder’s long-ago stint on an Australian farm, but Australia Dairy Company is a fully Hong Kong institution: a cha chaan teng, which is a sort of quick-serve diner that evolved in the post-war, newly urbanizing and industrializing city, whose swelling working class sought a place to sit and eat cheap but nourishing meals outside the home. Cha chaan teng food skews to … Read the rest