Join me in my wanderings around the globe via these online ramblings in far off places....

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Global Food Review; Candy Cafe Bar, Cairns

 

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Spending so much of each year travelling I rarely get time to spend exploring what’s new and changed in my home town of Cairns. So during my regular “Rusty’s Ritual” that I manage to do whenever I am home over a weekend I decided to explore the Grafton Street Cafe precinct to grab a lazy breakfast.

The Grafton Street block opposite Rusty’s is the closest Cairns gets to a funky food strip, cafe’s have come and gone in many shapes and forms over the years, and the area itself has ebbed and flowed over time going through it’s hippie and feral stages to now being a sort of backpackerish cross local coffee hang out. So Saturday morning, the busiest time for the cafe strip, I stuck my head in a couple of places that weren’t there last time I looked to find they were full, then I struck Candy Cafe Bar that had an empty table just for me.

 

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You are immediately struck by the decor, it’s kind of funky and kind of hard to describe. A sort of false plastic hedge covers the front counter and strange paintings on the wall. The decor doesn’t do it for me but it really makes no difference. Upon being seated I immediately receive a glass of water and the two menus, one for drinks and one for food. Immediately upon reading the menu In knew I was on a winner. Each dish had it’s own quirky name and the ingredients and descriptions were really tasty sounding and vey innovative. Wagyu mince, various egg styles with groovy accompaniments, all kinds of funky combinations this sounded great!

 

Candy Cafe Bar on Urbanspoon

 

I chose an ensemble entitled “Duck Duck Goose” which is shredded duck leg confit, zucchini fritters, a poached egg and beetroot jam. I can’t say I have ever seen that combination on a breakfast menu before but it sounded good. Whilst waiting for the meal I sipped on a perfect ice coffee and browsed reviews by others on Urbanspoon and Trip Advisor on my smart phone. The other reviews were highly positive, a couple of negatives on the service I read, but I certainly couldn’t fault the service, especially since Cairns is notorious for terrible service and there was no sign of that here!

 

565057_10151176212386118_593995588_nDuck Duck Goose! Breakfast Delight….

 

The two thick zucchini fritters on the bottom were perfect, the ample quantity of shredded duck was not dry like duck can be and had a couple of pieces of crispy skin hidden in there to add effect, and the poached egg on top was poached perfectly with just the right amount of runny yolk a poached egg should have! The beetroot jam was just sweet enough to enhance the duck and bind it all together without taking over the flavour.

 


Brunch Menu Examples

 

 


Candy Cafe Bar on Urbanspoon

In these days of smart phone aps if you aren’t using URBANSPOON yet you should be! This neat little app will suggest where to eat and more. The “shake” function lets you select from some variable such as location, price and style of food then hit “shake” and get a random suggestion to try out. With reviews and other handy tips, for a traveller looking for good food options in an unknown place, you can’t go wrong with URBANSPOON.

 


Candy Cafe Bar, Cairns

 

 


 

 


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Japan: Krazy Kit Kats!

 

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This is a topic that has reached many blogs in recent years, the crazy funky flavours of Japanese Kit Kats. The greatest blog effort I have come across is “Jen Ken’s Kit Kat Blog”, not just a page but an entire blog dedicated to those “out there” Japanese Kit Kats (a blog which after several years of going strong seems to have waned??). But as I, like many visitors to Japan, have been intrigued by the odd assortment of flavours, it would be remiss of me not to cover it in my blog.

 

Nestle Kit Kat LogoKit-Kats were introduced by the Rowntree company and are now made by Nestle, everywhere except the USA, because they are always different in the USA…

 

Kit Kat’s have a great history.  The original four-finger bar was apparently developed after a worker at Rowntree's York Factory put a suggestion in a recommendation box for a snack that "a man could take to work in his pack". The bar launched on 29 August 1935, under the title of "Rowntree's Chocolate Crisp" (priced at 2d), and was sold in London and throughout Southern England. The name Kit Kat originated in the late 17th century in London. A literary & political club frequently met at a pie shop, owned by pastry chef Christopher Catling. The group called itself the Kit Kat club, using an abbreviated version of the owner's name.
In the 18th century the group met in different locations but were regulars on The Strand, a street in central London which is now occupied by the famous restaurant, Simpsons-in-the-Strand. For reasons that have been lost in time, the Rowntree company trademarked the name “Kit Kat” around 1911, but did not use the name until the 1930’s.

 

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US Kit Kat Logo

 

 

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Japanese Kit Kats
Back in the early 2000’s a Japanese work colleague returned from a trip home with several individual Kit Kat packets as gifts. I was given the Orange flavoured Kit Kat.
 
image The first Japanese Kit Kat I was introduced to 10+ odd years ago

 

 


Lemon Kit Kat (Valentine’s Day Edition)

 

The next time I came across a funky Japanese Kit Kat was several years later in a Japanese grocery store in Sydney. IT was a Lemon Kit Kat released for Valentines day and on the back of the box of four fingers there was space to write your Valentines message to the intended recipient of the chocolate gift.

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Apple Kit Kat
 
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Golden Citrus Blend Kit Kat (Shikoku Regional Edition)

 

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Chilli Kit Kat

 

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Kit Kat Size variations - Public Domain image released by Wikipedia user Evan-Amos

 

 


Sakura Matcha Kit Kat

 

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Yawata Five Spice Kit Kat (Nagano Regional Edition)

 

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Strawberry Cheesecake (Yokohama Regional Edition)

 

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Soy Sauce Kit Kat

A regional variety, this is actually one of my favourites. Soy Sauce can of course be sweet – think Indonesian style Kecap Manis – a thick sweet soy sauce. To me, the Soy Sauce Kit Kat tasted very much like Kecap Manis. It was a pleasant surprise and much nicer then you would probably imagine.

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Royal Milk Tea Kit Kat

Good ol’ Royal Milk Tea, complete with a Scottish Tartan pattern on the box! The flavour of this one was also surprising, surprisingly pleasant. It was almost Earl Grey-ish but not quite. Definitely a milky tea flavour and o the list as another of my favourites.

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Ginger Ale Kit Kat

Once again the flavour surprised me. It almost felt like it was fizzing in your mouth and was unmistakably Ginger Ale. Another one for the favourite list.

 

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Hokkaido Melon Kit Kat (Hokkaido Regional Edition)

 

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Strawberry Kit Kat

 

 

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Blueberry Cheese Cake Kit Kat

 

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Wasabi Kit Kat

 

 

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Ultimate list of Far Out Funky Flavours
 
 
Far from complete, in fact I doubt there is even a complete list out there, this is probably closest there is to date of a list of all of the Japanese funky flavour Kit Kats there are
 
 
 

PUDDING/DESSERT

Tiramasu

Tiramasu and Green Tea

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Framboise (Milk & Raspberry Cheesecake)

Lemon Cheesecake

Blueberry Cheescake **

Caramel Pudding

Custard Pudding

Mango Pudding

Annin Dofu (Almond Tofu Dessert)

SWEETS

Salt and Caramel

Black Sugar
Brown Sugar
Bubblegum
Black Honey (Molasses?)

COFFEE

Caramel Macchiato

Cafe Latte

Espresso

Milk Coffee

Capuccino

COOKIES

Cookies and Cream

Cookies and Milk

Cookie Plus (Cookie Crumbs)

Cookies and Chocolate
Dark Chocolate with Cookies

STRAWBERRY

Strawberry **

Strawberry Hazelnut

Bitter Strawberry

Sparkling Strawberry

Strawberry Tart

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry & Cranberry
Triple Berry (Strawberry, Blueberry, Cranberry)
Strawberry and Nuts
Strawberry and Chocolate
Strawberry and Potato
Strawberry and Milk
Smooth Strawberry
Tsubeu Strawberry (freeze dried strawberry bits

POTATO

Baked Potato

Yellow Potato

Daigaku imo (Candied Sweet Potato)

Kawagoe Baked Sweet Potato

Yakiimo Grilled Sweet Potato

Purple Sweet Potato

Roasted Sweet Potato

 

FRUIT

Muscat of Alexandria Grapes

Watermelon

Watermelon and Salt
Hokkaido Ubari Melon ** (+ Canteloupe + Ubari Chocolate)

Cherry

Apple **
Creamy Apple
Apple and Carrot
Mango

Peach

Golden Peach
White Peach
Kiwifruit

Pineapple

Banana

Choco-Banana

Le Lectier (a pear variety)

Blueberry

Raspberry

Raspberry & Passionfruit

Pickled Plum

Hascapp (Japanese Berry)

Mixed Juice

Fruit Parfait
Exotic Tokyo (Mixed Fruit)
Exotic Kansai (lemon, passionfruit, sour orange, ginger)

CITRUS

Orange **

Bitter Orange

Sour Orange

Yozu Koshu (Citrus & Chilli)

Orange Creme
Brandy and Orange
Mikan (Mandarin)
Lemon **
Marugoto Lemon

VEGETABLE

Grilled Corn

Pumpkin

Cucumber
Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera Yoghurt
Beet
Itoen Juu-jitsu Yasai (Enriched Vegetable Flavour)

Vegetable Juice

VINEGAR

Apple Vinegar

Lemon Vinegar

FLOWER ETC

Maple

White Maple

Cherry Blossom

Winter Cherry Blossom

Rose

SPICE

Wasabi
Chilli

Five Spice **

English Mustard

CHEESE

Cheese

Petit Cheese

European Cheese

NUTS

Chestnut

Almond

Bitter Almond

Hazelnut Cream

TEA

Jasmine Tea

Roasted Tea

Green Tea

Green Tea with Milk

Green Tea with Milk & Red Bean

Green Tea & Kinako (Toasted Soy Flour)

“Air In” Green Tea (Aero Bar Style)

Creamy Green Tea

Earl Grey

Black Tea
Ice Tea

BEANS & SOY

Azuki Bean (Red Bean)

Red Bean Soup

Vanilla Bean

Miso

Endamame Zunda (Mashed Endamame Bean)

Kinako (Toasted Soy Flour)

Black Sugar and Kinako (Toasted Soy Flour)

Kinako & Ohagi (Toasted Soy Flour /Rice Puff)

 

 

CHOCOLATE

Relaxing Chocolate (Semi-Dark Chocolate)

Adult Chocolate (Dark Chocolate)

White Chocolate

Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Mild-Bitter Chocolate

Melt-in-your-Mouth Chocolate

Chocolate Fudge

“Air In” White (Aero Bar Style)
Bitter and White Chocolate (Alternate Bitter and White)
Midnight Eagle (White)
61% Cocoa
72% Cocoa
Soy Milk Chocolate
Creamier Chocolate
Exotic Hokkaido (Creamy Milk)

 

SODA & DRINKS

Soda (Lemonade/Ramune)

Umeshu Soda (Plum Liqueur & Soda)

Cola & Lemon Squash

Sports Drink

Calpis (a Lemon Soft Drink)

Ginger Ale **
Chocolatier Wine
 

Butter

Crimson

Whole Wheat

Hot Cakes
French Rock Salt
French Bretagne Milk flavor
Nasu Highland Milk
yoghurt

 

 


So you want to buy some Japanese Kit Kats?

Well of course the simplest way to buy these funky Kit Kats is to travel to Japan! At major airport and JR train stations there are stores selling the biggest variety of variants, however there is no central location selling every single available variety, especially as some of the minor regional variants are restricted to that specific variation.

Probably the most well known Japanese pop culture e-commerce site is J-Box (www.jbox.com). J-Box is part of the larger J-List site, J-List has adult content, where as J-Box is safe for all. .This is the site I have used to purchase some varieties when I was not able to travel to Japan

JBox "You have a friend in Japan"

A fairly comprehensive Asian grocery/food site, also mentioned on my recent Kaya post is VeryAsia.com. They seem to have a fairly good range of Japanese Kit Kats available on line.

Buy Japanese Kit Kats - VeryAsia.com US

 

Then of Course there is Nestle Japan’s own site. There is an “e-shop” but it’s all Japanese and for the non-Japanese speaker its difficult to navigate

Nestle Japan 


Maps

Japan

 

 

 


Tags

 

 

 

 

 


My Flickr – Japan Photos

 


Sunday, 6 May 2012

Got to Have Kaya Now!


MAlaysia Header Banner



I recently had a morning stopover in Kuala Lumpur International Airport, which was made more pleasant by the fact I could indulge in my favourite Malay breakfast of Kaya Toast and Teh Tarik!



Kaya or Kaya? Kaya Album Cover copyright Tuff Gong/Island Records

The late great Robert Nesta Marley I once wrote that he must have Kaya now! Like many of Robert Nesta’s compositions, his words were riddles and puzzles, with deeper meanings to be found by the enlightened. What exactly Marley was singing about is open to debate, and probably it comes as no surprise to those who know of Marley’s Rastafarian beliefs, many speculate he is talking about Ganja, Cannabis, the sacred sacrament of Rastafari followers. In today’s “modern” internet connected world put “Kaya + Marley” into any search  engine and the top answers will boldly announce that Kaya means Marijuana! One website states Kaya is Jamaican for Marijuana – really? I challenge anyone to come up with a pre-Marley reference where Kaya means Marijuana. Marley himself is on record stating that Kaya means a time to reflect and meditate. Mind you the simple lyrics of Marley’s Kaya certainly indicate a certain mind altered state (?).

Wo-wo-oh! Yea-ea-ea-eah!
I feel so high, I even touch the sky
Above the fallin' rain, we-e-ell!
I feel so good in my neighbourhood, so:
Here I come again!
I've got to have kaya now!

So what has all this got to do with Malaysia and my breakfast? Nothing!….except the name Kaya that is. I am recent convert to this form of Kaya, I discovered it probably around 2007 quite by accident whilst looking for breakfast in Kuala Lumpur and on this most recent occasion knowing I had a stop over in Kuala Lumpur was accompanied by comfort in the knowledge I would be able to indulge in some Kaya. Kaya, in this context is probably best described as coconut-egg jam. In Malay language, Bahasa Melayu, its called Seri Kaya, Srikaya or just Kaya. Srikaya in Bahasa Melayu loosely translates as “rich”, a reference to both the rich golden colour and rich flavour that Kaya imparts.

 Kaya Toast and Teh Tarik ( 2012 CC BY-NC-ND GlobalCitizen01 )The picture does not really do the Kaya Toast justice as you can not see the Kaya. The Teh Tarik shows off it’s frothy head nicely though


Basically Kaya is coconut milk, eggs (duck or chicken), sugar and pandan. Some versions have a lot more pandan which can dominate the flavour and give a much more green rather then golden appearance. It is generally eaten on toast, with a large amount of butter. You would usually find thick sliced toasted bread, with equal amounts of thickly spread kaya and butter. Breakfast is the preferred meal for Kaya Toast but in reality it can be consumed anytime.

 Golden Kaya on Toast ( CC BY-NC-ND GlobalCitizen01 )A golden version of Kaya with no or minimal pandan added


Pandanus amaryllifolius, the leaves of which give us Pandan flavouring.Pandan/Wikipedia user - dekoelie /Creative Commons attributionPandanus amaryllifolius, which gives us Pandan flavour

Kaya is a great addition to toast. There is a large variation in flavour out there, the versions with some Pandan are my favourite, although some definately overpower the coconut with too much pandan. If you are not in Malaysia, Singapore or Indonesia, you will probably find your local Asian grocery store sells Kaya. Philippines and Thailand have their own versions, the Thai version in particular is almost like a custard more so then a jam.



Kaya Recipe

It’s fairly easy to make your own, here is a version adapted from Malaysia’s famous Madam Kwan’s Kitchen;
Madam Kwan's Kitchen - awesome restaurants in Malaysia
Ingredients
  • 5 large eggs
  • 7 ounces/ 200 grams white sugar
  • 10½ ounces/ 300 grams freshly squeezed coconut milk (if using canned milk, stir it well and pour it through a fine-mesh sieve before using to break up any lumps)
  • 2 pandan leaves, washed
Directions
  1. Into a large heat-proof bowl, whisk the eggs gently, whilst adding the sugar and coconut milk together, stirring until all the egg whites have broken down and you have a smooth, consistently yellow liquid
  2. Knot each pandan leaf and tear the ends of each leaf into strips to release the aromas. Place the leaves in the bowl.
  3. Set the bowl on top of a pot of water over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes. You will start to see little lumps form around the 25-minute mark, keep stirring, scraping the bottom of the bowl so that the custard doesn’t turn into scrambled eggs. The mixture is ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon in a thick layer.
  4. Remove the bowl from the heat and remove and discard the pandan leaves. Press the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into another bowl and leave to cool before storing in sterilized jars. .

Purchase Kaya Online? Try…….
 Buy Kaya - the Asian Cookshop UK

Buy Kaya - VeryAsia.com US 

Ya Kun Kaya Toast


If you are lucky enough to live in Asia you might find yourself near the great Kaya Franchise branded outler “Ya Kun Kaya Toast”. Great quality Kaya Toast with Teh Tarik and they also have jars oif Kaya available for purchase.
Ya Kun Kaya Toast

Teh Tarik


The perfect accompaniment to kaya toast is Teh Tarik. Tarik in Bahasa Melayu literally means “pulled”, and refers to the way the tea (teh) is poured from one container to another with the pourer “pulling” the top container away from the bottom container, aerating the tea and giving it a light and frothy consistency. Sweetened Condensed Milk helps to give Teh Tarik it’s distinctive flavour.
Teh Tarik, whilst recognised as Malay/Indonesian drink has it’s roots in Indian Milk Tea. Like many aspects of Malay culture the Indian presence reinforced during the time of the Great British Empire has made a significant impact.


Frothy Foamy Teh Tarik mmmmmm ( CC BY-NC-ND GlobalCitizen01 ) Malays have taken Indian Milk Tea and turned it into this frothy delight


Roti! ( CC BY-NC-ND GlobalCitizen01 ) It’s not just tea the Malays took from the Indians and improved, Malay Roti is to die for! And of course you can put Kaya on Rotu for a double win!


Youtube user rasamalaysia posted this simple video to Youtube clearly showing the “pulling” movement in making Teh Tarik


 


Singapore food blogger “ I eat I shoot I post”, has this great video showing how to make Teh Tarik




Apam Balik


Not so much for breakfast, but if you find yourself out on the street and come across these, you have to get stuck into them!
Apam Balik, a kind of sweet Martabak, commonly known as Malaysian Sweet Peanut Pancakes. Do yourself a favour and buy some if you are on the streets of Malaysia!

malaysia8534_147546326117_522021117_2617296_3684684_n Apam Balik, sweet peanut pancakes – good stuff!


Maps


Map picture
 


 

COPYRIGHT NOTICE
The image of the Kaya album and the lyrics of the Kaya song are used for identification in the context of critical commentary of the work. They make a significant contribution to the user's understanding of the article, which could not practically be conveyed without either the original cover art or original lyrics. The cover art image is placed in the article discussing the work, to show the primary visual image associated with the work, and to help the user quickly identify the work and know they have found what they are looking for. Use for this purpose does not compete with the purposes of the original artwork, namely the artist's providing graphic design services to music concerns and in turn marketing music to the public. The use of an excerpt of lyrics is used in the same manner as that of the cover art. Copyright remains with Tuff Gong Records, Island Records, Bob Marley and associated entities. Use of the cover art and sample of lyrics in this article complies with fair use under United States copyright law.

  





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