Tag Archives: Food

why are there so many thai restaurants in uk

11 Dec

london 10am 8.4C sunny tuesday 2018

i have noticed there are a lot of thai, korean, taiwanese eating places opening in london and i read in this article that it might be due to a deliberate policy by their govts to promote their cuisine and for trade of the ingredients .

the article ask why there are so many thai restaurants in usa. when thais only form a small % of the population. and come to think of it, there are a lot of thai restaurants here in london too. far more than the numbers of thais in london.

and recently i have myself noticed a lot of bulgogi and bibimpap mentioned with the opening of korean style restaurants. and also dumpling restaurants, taiwanese style, has opened in london … in covent garden, featuring their specialist dumpling, with soup inside it. perhaps that one is not sponsored by the taiwanese govt, but who knows. 

i know malaysia has tried to promote more malaysian restaurants , its good for tourism as well as trade. but i think that has been put on hold some time ago. malaysia now have to be more frugal now. 

but recently there has been a roti chanai place opened up in victoria , but that might be helped by  india govt.  in that article, they say the thai govt wants to be  big in halal trade as well, especially  eyeing the middle eastern countries. 

a japanese curry house,coco ichibana is opening in covent gdn, london tomorrow. its a really strange one that, just curry sauce and rice, top up with pork cutlet, or hamburger, or egg, or sausage etc. and they have built a whole chain just using that basic base. 

it follows Din Tai Fung, JollibeeTaco Bell, Halal Guys, and HaiDiLao as notable international openings and/or announcements in the capital in the last six months. its interesting that so many of these international brands are starting to open a branch in london. at this rate, you could tout london as the place to eat the world’s cuisine without bothering to travel there.

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tabasco sauce is doing a promotion in victoria today

7 Dec

london 7.55pm dry night friday 2018

i met steve and his wife at the victoria station free giveaway by tabasco sauce company to promote their sauce. they hired a street food company that makes sandwiches, this time it is muffins buns and pulled turkey with an egg. we were given half of it and lots of small tiny bottles of the tabasco sauce. the sandwich  was quite tasty actually ,there were bits of crunchy bacon in it too which i like. 

tabasco is trying to increase uses of the sauce, and getting people to buy it more by suggesting it is good for a after -clubbing drink or in food to overcome a hangover. its been quite a long time since i used tabasco.

i used one of their little bottles on a pork chop i cooked for dinner just now and i think it may find it hard to compete with the sweet chilli sauces that i am more used to. tabasco has more of a vinegarish taste than a sweet one. strangely, i dont find it very chilli hot. yet i had memories of it being chilli hot. i wonder if they had toned down the chilli. 

the chef came out of his van to do a photo shoot, using a sandwich, (more of a burger really) with lots of layers so that it was nothing like what they are giving us. haha. but i guess that is artistic license. they were only doing it for 3hrs or so. its a raining day too. one have to be keen to want to go out on a day like this.

after the free promotion, i took the train to clapham junction, thinking of doing some grocery shopping in lidl and asda there. it is a real quick train ride from victoria to clapham junction. i had at first thought of taking the bus, but it would have taken a long time. 

and i got caught in the rain when i came out of the clapham junction station. but it was quite close to the two supermarkets lidl and asda. 

i did not buy anything at lidl, just took a lidl leaflet showing their reductions next week, starting from 20dec. and saw they are reducing veg to 29p. 1kg carrots, 500mg parsnips, 1.5kg potatoes… they also got brussels sprouts , but  i wont be buying those haha. but the others ,its good to know that they will be reduced nearer christmas…i shall be buying them.  it would be just right for the big holiday period around christmas and would be perfect to accompany  the chicken or whatever meat people will be roasting for their christmas lunch. but if we all know that lidl will be selling them for 29p, i am sure no one will be buying at the other supermarkets if they dont reduce their prices too. 

and i got a nice reduced pork from asda. reduced from £9 to £5.50 , 2.2kg. it would be perfect for a roast, they even removed the rind from the fat, so that you can use it as pork chops. i divided it into 3 containers with a bit leftover for today’s dinner, and i freeze them for later, and it will last me at least a month. i wont be using it to roast over the christmas period; preferring to roast a chicken instead.

i wont bother to buy a turkey either. it is a large bird and is quite impossible for two people to eat it, without a lot of leftovers that will take days to finish. and it is pricey, because of its size really.  but also, there is a good chance of very cheap turkey after the holidays. and i can make a curry out of it if i can buy one reduced cheaply enough. 

people say they dont like grocery shopping, but i find it very enjoyable, because i can find bargains, and reductions and also anticipate the dishes i can make out of them and looking forward to eating the result. 

 

i renew my passport

5 Dec

london 12.46pm 13C cloudy wednesday 2018

i went today to the malaysian high commission to renew my passport. it is in belgrave square.

recently they have to move out temporarily, to get it renovated. but they are back now and i can see the place looks very nice, all new plaster and new paint, and the basement passport/visa area has been cleaned out and redesigned.

it is all very efficient now. you get a number from a small ticket machine in the outer waiting room, and when your number is called u go the booth and there everything is done without u needing to move.

in the past you have to go to a copying machine and get your own copy of the Identity card, (ID), and sometimes people forget to take the plastic cover off and have to re take the photostat copy wasting another 20p. not to mention if u dont have 20p coins you have to go round asking people to exchange .

now it is all done for you. there is no need even to fill in a form. i remember that form used to be in malay, and it was a bit of a panic trying to figure it all out, because my malay is non existent really.

even the photo is done by a camera at the side of the booth. you just swivel the chair u are sitting on to the right side and face the camera , take off your glasses and wait for the camera to blink a red light and it is done. however, if u want to look your best you might be out of luck. there are no mirrors or toilet for you to freshen up . i imagine it must be a bit off for the females, who might want to adjust their makeup and hair.

even the thumb print is done digitally, though they still require us to have a paper print of our right thumb, using black ink. so that messy bit  still have to be done.

and it all costs only £21.in the past we have to pay £5 for the photo, and all those 20p coins for the photostat of the ID, front and back sides. now we dont have to move elsewhere to get those done. i was asked if i have married or single. when i told her that i have got married to a man, she said it does not count, malaysia does not recognise it. well, i shrugged and said it does not matter, so she put me down as single. haha. i dont mind really. and it might have saved me having to come back with simon and all his documents and it will be a lot of bother. 

even the nasi lemak man who used to sit by a small room under the road have gone. when i asked about him, she said they are not allowing anyone to sell food now and told me of a roti place nearby.

the leaflet on the notice board tells me it is near victoria station. i have seen the entrance before, when i was at victoria…  but did not connect it to a eating centre inside that building. they dont advertise it at all, so that even me, who goes to victoria often did not know this place is opened. so when i got to victoria and the bus i was on stopped  there, i had mistaken the bus for the 36, when it is really the 38… i saw the entrance and went in to look.

the roti place is upstairs. it is all very pleasant like a food hall, with stalls lining the sides and eating and sitting places for all to share. 

added 7.12.18 friday. i found a article about it here

the food is pricey, the roti place’s cheapest food is about £7 for 2 roti chanai and curry . laksa is about £9. the other stalls cost about the same. there is a bao place, a kebab place, a udon place, taco place. i had hoped it would be about £5, but maybe nowadays £7 is the going rate for these street food. when u consider roti chanai is a cheap street food in malaysia, it takes a bit of getting used to it being like high end food here.

but wait why am i complaining of the cost. there is malaysia hall canteen where we malaysians can have all this for a fraction of the cost. all we have to show is our malaysian ID, to get in and eat allthose foods.

so really i was at first thinking that those who go to get their passport renewed will have to eat at this roti place, but hey for just one bus ride. in fact bus 36 will take them to porchester road, which is the nearest i think to malaysia hall, near queensway. there they can have allthe malaysian food they can eat for a fraction of the cost. it is a strange thing really but i dont go there often enough. even though it is the cheapest way for us to get malaysian foods. i must seriously question myself why i dont go more often..

added 5.20pm. i went back at about 3.30pm to collect the new passport and it was very quick to get it. no waiting for me. they only open 3-4pm for the passports issued today to be collected.

i got a receipt for Rm100, which was the £21 i paid. so the exchange rate was Rm4.76=£1. google says £1=Rm5.29 today. but of course the buying and selling rate are always either worse or better than that. so it seems if i were to go to malaysia , my £ would only get me Rm4.76.it is quite poor really. just as well i am not visiting malaysia. haha. 

added .6.41pm, i tried to go back my blog to see if i wrote anything when i renewed last time dec 2013, but strangely nothing came up. it is very strange, because i know i would have written something about it. i have to go back to 2008 , in a old website that i used before i used wordpress. and there i got reminded that i paid  £31 (Rm150) (Rm4.84=£1) and that was because it is a pensioner rate, if u are not over 60yrs old you will pay £62, and also it is for 32page passport. this one i got is 50pages. 

3 Nov

london 8.45pm 10.1C night dry saturday 2018

i am now seeing more of the others who go to freebies as a hobby.

the two chinese malaysian ladies, steve and his wife.

today steve and the chinese malaysians were at the free doughnut given out by a veggie vietnamese popup in shoreditch box park. this is a set of ships containers that have been adapted to hold food stalls. this new place do baos, but all vegetarian. they are called eat chay… steve was saying chay is vietnamese for vegetables. then i remembered the chinese for vegetables is chai so it sounds an appropriate name. then steve asked me how is it different from chai, which is tea.

that made me pause, got me thinking…yes, come to think of it, how is it different? i think it is the tone. chai for vegetables, is even in tone. but chai for tea is sharp … right? i must say i am tone deaf that is why i have difficulty speaking chinese.

but i am a bit disappointed at the freebie. it is a ring doughnut with a vietnamese coffee topping. or that was what steve said, otherwise i would not have guessed that topping was any special. it was sweet that is all it tasted of to me. i thought we get a box of it. they had said a box , but it turned out that one doughnut was placed inside a small box. haha. so technically they are telling the truth. if i had known it was just one, i would not have bothered going . haha. but also it is strange to get a doughnut, when the place do not have doughnut on its menu. 

steve told me his wife was not there but waiting for the amazon giveaway in covent garden. he said last time he went to one of theirs they got a box of organic vegetables. after getting our doughnut, for which we have to wait till 12pm instead of 11am as advertised…though steve ask for another one for his wife and they gave it to him.  we went to covent garden to meet the wife. but we found out that you have to have a smart phone app from amazon, and since i dont have a smartphone i have to leave the queue. luckily, his wife mentioned that i have to have the app… so  at least i did not have to wait and then find out. his wife had allready got hers, and it was some kind of eraser. its a lucky dip and u pick the number. does not seem worth the bother to queue. so i left and came home. i think i would have liked if we got a free bao or something like that at that eat chay. 

anyway, i came back and ate a char kuey teoh that i cooked yesterday . very delicious it was too. ah well, that is how some of us spend our days. haha. going to freebies and thinking of food. it is something to while away the time and it seems a chance to meet up and chat to friends which we make who are also doing the same thing. so that is something we all have in common.

talking of bao, or pao, as we chinese call it, the chinese ladies were talking of the paos we can buy in chinatown. tai pao, they said. usually frozen , there are fresh ones to be had, road side stalls selling freshly steamed paos, used to be £1.50, then going up to now £2.50 each. they are very salty unfortunately. that is what always disappoint me whenever i buy them.  food is one thing we all never get tired of , either thinking of it, or eating it. 

 

what is a good life. wine drinking?

6 Oct

london 9.6C raining 2.59pm saturday 2018

i read this about a banksy stencil shredding itself after it had been sold in sothebys this morning. it made my attention when i  first came across a blogger mentioned it in my wordpress reader.  it must have just happened just this morning. it is a rainy day today, and i would have thought not many people will be out and about. so those who are at the auction on this saturday wet morning would have seen something to perk up their day. haha. actually today is the first time it rained after a dry spell and warm weather. after today it seems the weather will get colder.added. 11.39pm, seems the forecast has changed and it will be warmer next week. but still, it wont get much higher than 20C. it is autumn after all. we are not going to see 25C or higher.

from a daily mail report, an art critic says that stunt might have doubled the value of that shredded object. i thought when i first read of it, that it would have destroyed its value, but nowadays the world is so topsy turvy, even this act of destruction can make something more valuable.

earlier i was not sure if i want to go see an italian exhibition, near me. it is a product exhibition of italian producers to advertise their goods. held annually. i used to go every year. i was about to not go today, or go tomorrow, but decided i better get it over with. so i went, but only after i got something to eat. it is not always that u can get some thing filling to eat there. they have cooking demonstrations, and after wards you queue up to eat the food, but there is not a lot of it to share out. 

even with the rain, there were lots of people there. i got there about 1.30pm. it might be empty earlier in the morning, when it first opened. who knows.

today, maybe not as busy as it will be tomorrow when good weather is forecast. today is more bearable, in that there is some room to move about. there were lots of cheese, and dried preserved meats to sample, and bread to soak up their sample of olive oils; and wine of course, though i did not bother to take a glass as i am not really that interested in drinking wine. i find the cheese and preserved meats all taste the same, all slightly salty. and the olive oil taste the same to me.so i am afraid it all went over my head. i dont know which ones are special, or how they are different from each other.

i guess you could say i am missing out of the joy of tasting wine, and tasting the cheeses and preserved meats and olive oil.

wine tasting/drinking is one of the biggest joys it seems that a person can indulge in. not only in tasting the different wines, but the joy of getting inebriated and the joyful feeling of it. or so i am told. haha.

well, i shall have to just enjoy that in another life. right now, in this life, i am glad i dont like wine or any alcoholic drinks. it simplifies my life a lot. one less thing to get addicted to. and be held as a prisoner to. that is how i look at addictions. they are like jailers, they put you in a prison.

i met a friend who lives near me in that exhibition. you would think it must be quite common to meet friends who live nearby in an exhibition that is also in the same area, but in all the time i have been going to this exhibition i have never met anyone i know in there. she was there with 4 friends. they are all from s.e.asia. they are from the phillipines, i think, though she introduced me to one lady who is from kluang, johor, malaysia. they are all members of a church group near me. i remember that church for its nice laksa, and nasi lemak food which they sell for £3 every sunday. they give it free if it is the first time you are there. 

first impressions

5 Oct

london 12.21pm sunny 17.8C friday 2018

i had thought of going again to that kimchee free lunch offer today, but i forgot the time, and when i next looked it was 11.40am, and i felt too lazy to move. haha. its a brilliant sunny day too. blue sky and all that. ah well, nevermind.

instead i made porridge in the microwave and had that instead. it is very pleasing to have a plain meal of porridge. it feels very cleansing. (because i have visions of it gushing down my guts and making everything flush out easy in the days that follow.)

now that i had eaten the korean food i have this impression that it is very sweet. all those people saying first impressions are important are quite right, i cannot shake off this feeling that korean food is sweet. and not liking it because of that. it is like someone eating malaysian food and the first thing they tried is cooked very sweet, and forever and a day they go away thinking that is all there is to malaysian foods, that it is very sweet. or if they first tried a very chilly hot dish, they might think all malaysian foods are just chilli hot.  so i know it is wrong to get that feeling about korean foods, but until i try a non sweet korean dish, that impression just will not go away. that is the strength of first impressions. they are very powerful in their influence.

 

 

more free food

4 Oct

london 2.15pm 16.5C thursday 2018

i was chatting to a lady next to me in the queue for kimchee cafe’s free lunch, today. it is a takeaway place just opened that is why they are doing a opening promotion, free lunch from 12pm-2pm everyday from 3rd -5thoct. i went about 12pm, and there was a long queue. but i got to the end of the queue before a waiter came and  gave out tickets for the lunch. there is a 200 meal limit. the ticket was for any meal less than £8. (but there really was no danger of getting to the limit. after me, the queue continued to stretch way off into the distance and he was able to give them all a ticket.

the lady was hindu, so cannot eat beef. i happened to mention that today flat iron is giving a free dinner , but when i mentioned it was steak, she said she dont eat beef. and that was when i realised she is hindu. anyway she was taking her lunch break to queue, but when we were half way there, she said she is going to be late for an appointment, so she gave me her ticket and left.

so i got two tickets and showed it to the cashier, and asked if i can order two meals. luckily the cashier allowed me to do it. they give you a buzzer for each order. it is supposed to buzz to let you know the food is ready to collect. i got my first order quick, it was fried chicken, but the other order, the beef bulgogi took more time. and during the wait, i was asked why i got two, and told that i am not allowed to. but i said my friend could not wait and asked me to collect the food, and fortunately he allowed me. that is why i got two meals.

i brought them both back to my flat, as i live so near, and asked simon if he would like to eat them. he said he allready had eaten… but will taste it. he took one bite of the beef and reacted with distaste. it surprised me… he said it was horribly sweet. i did not notice it was that sweet when i took some of the beef on the bus on the way back. in fact i liked it when i ate a few pieces of beef in the bus ; because it had that barbequed taste. however after i ate more of it, i realised simon is right. it was very sweet.

when i opened the chicken dish, and tasted the chicken ,it too was very sweet.

simon said he went to a korean restaurant in new malden, once, and he said everything seemed to have a fried egg on top. haha. he said it looked like the bibimpap dish in the menu the waiter gave us while we were waiting. and simon said everything in that restaurant was sweet too. simon said in a chinese restaurant you can get sweet and sour dishes, and it is delicious, because the two different tastes complement each other. but here it was just sweet. he said the chicken might be nicer if it is spicy. i was given a choice to have that, but chosed the garlic and soya one instead. 

there were more beef than shown. i had allready eaten most of it by the time i thought of taking a photo. those white bits in the small plastic cup are pickled white radish.

hmm, is it normal to have such sweet dishes on every dish in a korean cuisine? i wonder? certainly the two dishes i got were very sweet. i have never eaten korean before, but if they are all as sweet as this , then i might not have missed anything. there was no kimchee in these meals. so i have yet to taste kimchee. simon said that when they were sending the korean astronauts into space in the russian satellite, they made sure they had a supply of kimchee for them, because it seems the koreans  just cannot do without it. there was a pickled white radish with the fried chicken. but that cannot be kimchee can it?

i am off to the macdonalds to get a free flat white coffee. it was a voucher given away free in yesterday’s metro free newspaper. i treated my friend yesterday to a coffee using those vouchers after we had our circuit training. it is very strong coffee. it is valid for today as well, so i shall go to victoria place and get another one. 

added. 8.16pm, got back from waiting in line at the flat iron cafe for the steaks. in the end, after a long wait i decided to give it a miss, since the queue was still so long. i went at 5.30pm, it opens at 6pm, unfortunately steve and wife were allready seated on the outside seats, so i could not just slot myself with them. usually, i would arrive and they would allready be at the front of the queue, and i would just slot myself in with them… if they had been waiting in the queue, i could have done so. but they were seated on the outside seats and there was no seat available. 

even so early, the queue stretched a long way back and a long way round the corner. i noticed quite a lot of chinese people joining the queue. the long queue should have given me an inkling that it will be very slow.

i left at 7.45pm. there were still a lot of people ahead of me even at that time. that is why i decided to give it a miss.

it is a short journey time to get back from kingscross; which is nice, one of the perks of living so centrally. i am still very full from the lunch today.