Tag: Food

Filipino Street Food: Balut (Fertilized Duck Eggs)

The bus rolled with a jerky unease, escalating my debilitating cravings for food. The smoky green fields ceased their race towards the volcanoes as they met the concrete jungle.

Manila has a nasty reputation as a city clouded by the darker aspects of humanity, but traveling’s taught me that colorful cultures tend to create the most exciting and savory dishes.

My host has the pudgy, effeminate features Filipinas are known for. She’s a master caterer and a confident guide on my zealous quest for local delicacies.

She knows the place, and the market seems to fit the bill: barbeque carts, stray dogs, and warm, billowing smoke carrying the rapturing smells of authentic grub. My stomach’s reaching the peak of a howling crescendo, but she assures me we’ve found the remedy.

We’ve come to the right place. The municipality of Pateros is famous for producing balut, a fertilized duck embryo that found its place on Filipino tables after Chinese traders brought it from the north.

After 15 days of gestation, the fertilized eggs are ready to sell. They’ve just popped up from the buckets of sand that conceal their warmth, and I’m shocked.

Through my lens, a fetal duck seems oddly out of place against a backdrop of hot sauce and vinegar, but she consoles my queasiness with the reminder that “it’s more fun in the Philippines!” The locals are ever-happy to see a foreigner try their food, and a small crowd forms to watch.

Now retreat’s as likely as it is for the frontline warrior, so the hatch opens up and finds a surprising medly. The texture’s from an atrociously different world, but the infusion of tastes collaborate to charm my former hunger problem. The congregation’s pleased with my reaction and return to their business.

I’ve tried everything from scorpions to chicken brains during my year in China, but I missed the chance to sample the original Chinese version of fertilized eggs. Now I’ll have at least one clear goal for my next trip to the Middle Kingdom.

To see the search for & battle with balut, click here & watch between 0:22 & 3:44.

Road Trip Through Bali, Indonesia (Video)

One of the best things to do in Bali is get a bike and get the hell outta Kuta / Ubud. The more remote, less crowded areas of the island are truly amazing. Check out my Balinese road trip:

Highlights featured in the video: Babi Guling in Muduk, Denpasar, mountains near Munduk, Bunut Bolong (a tunnel through a tree), fresh coffee at Ngiring Ngewedang, the Hindu Temple Tanah Lot and sunset at Pantai Berawa.

There are tons of busses and ferries to get around Bali and between the neighboring islands. Of course Merpati, Sky Aviation and Lion Air are good choices for flights within Indonesia. I hear Batavia Air has plane crashes on the reg so watch out for them!

If you want to stay in the south, look for places in Seminyak to be close to the clubs or do a homestay in Canggu for a quieter, local experience.

The cheapest place to stay near Ubud is in Bona, at Ketut and Geks House. Their homestay was some of the friendliest hospitality I ever had to pay for and their village life so close to Ubud is really interesting. For 150,000 Rp. you get your own house with a bathroom, kitchen, living room and porch. With three sleeping surfaces, your stay could be quite cheap if you split it.

Ketut and Gek are really friendly hosts, a real pleasure to stay with.

My other recommendation in Bali is close to Negara. Hotel CSB is the “mellow surfers retreat” in the town of Pekutatan. One room with two beds costs 75,000 Rp. The hosts are nice and you can rent a surfboard for 50,000 Rp. a day (better than Kuta’s 50,000 Rp. per hour).

The view from the room: about 100 meters away is an empty beach with nice breakers.

Eats & Drinks
There’s a huge variety of foods in Bali. Areas in and around Kuta have just about anything you can think of, but the prices tend to be pretty high, in the 50,000 Rp.+ range. But the warungs throughout the island offer all kinds of good Indonesia food for about 10,000 Rp.

Babi Guling, a Balinese traditional slow pig roast can’t be missed.

The undisputed king of Babi Guling is Selingsing Cepaka, found in Buduk, just north of Canggu on the way to Tabanan. It’s down some backroads and really hard to describe where it is so you might have to find someone who already knows to reach this place. They open at 4am and close at 6am so get there early before the pig’s devoured.

Indonesian Food: Nasi Babi Guling (Suckling Pig with Rice)

At the core this traditional Balinese plate (or sack) is just a hodgepodge of pig parts. Lawar as it’s called in Indonesian is a mixture of pig meat, skin and blood. Don’t write it off as disgusting till you try it. Somehow these elements wrap around each other to create a surprising fusion of flavor.

It all starts here the night before: a Babi Guling (suckling pig) roast.

If you don’t wake up early enough (or stay up late enough) for the actual pig roast, you can still find Nasi Babi Guling in the morning. Open her up and you’ll find a nice medley of different foods.

My sack revealed rice, lawar, krupuk (pig skin)—the yellow stuff, and spinach and beans.

The roast happens at 4am. The best roast is at Selingsing Cepaka in Buduk, north of Canggu on the way to Tabanan. Check out the video from my Balinese road trip to see more.

Malaysian Food: Indian Banana Leaf

When I first came to Malaysia I didn’t like eating with my hands, but didn’t understand why. My Malaysian friend demanded an explanation, but the best I could come up with was mom and dad telling me not to play with my food while I was growing up. She just shrugged that answer off as ridiculous. Well ok, let’s have a go then:

The restaurant featured here is the most famous banana leaf restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. It’s called Saravanaa Bhavan and centrally located near the Indian market in Masjid Jamet.

Malaysian Food: Roti Cheese

Anyone vaguely familiar with Indian food knows about their delicious breads: Naan, Chapati, Pashti, Tandoori, Roti…The list goes on. It turns out that the Malaysians have adopted Roti as a classic breakfast, and I quickly found myself addicted to this little custom.

And the absolute king of the roti options is roti cheese. The beauty is that you can add anything to the inside that you please, like mushrooms and onions.

Yes it’s such a simple delight, practically a grilled cheese sandwich, but when you get it done by someone who knows what they’re doing, you’re in for a real treat. Make sure to watch the guy toss the dough around: it takes some serious skill to get it just right!

Since this is the classic breakfast, you’ll want all the fixins. A plate of fruit, “Nescafe Ice” and some type of curry, my preference is for Daal Curry.

Roti can be found on every corner of every block, but one place that’s got it down is the restaurant just outside the Wangsa Maju LRT station in Kuala Lumpur. It’s a bit of a haul to get out there, but I think it might even be worth a special trip.

Malaysian Food: Chinese Style (Fried Noodles)

The plethora of Malaysian delicacies tend to take a stylistic twist on the versions you can find in their native lands. Malaysians seem to have a way of making the originals fattier and juicier, or in short, much more delicious. I wanted to try the Malaysian stylings on a dish I’d grown quite accustomed to in China: fried noodles.

Right away, everything looked in proper order: ramen noodles, green beans, cauliflower, lettuce, carrots, and baby corn.

I was intrigued by this little variation though: oyster sauce. Processed oyster sauce is one of a very short list of foods I simply can’t do, so I was a little nervous. After the handsome reward of that first bite I learned there was no need to worry in the first place. I washed this mee hailom with yet another teh ice, that delicious Malaysian milky tea.

You can find fried noodles nearly everywhere, but this particular dish was enjoyed at the restaurant just outside the Wangsa Maju LRT station in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian Food: Middle-Eastern Style

Today I felt like I’d already sampled enough of Malaysia’s big three (Malay, Indian and Chinese) foods, so we decided to take a look at another side of Malaysian eatery: Arabic cuisine.

We figured we might as well go all out for a full Middle-Eastern lunch experience.

A plate of chicken shwarma with a generous portion of Arabic bread to shovel it in, Malaysian Ice Tea (with milk), and a kiwi/mint shisha for full-effect. You can be sure this meal dealt maximum pleasure doses: taking it slow, savoring every flavor, reflecting on the day and enjoying good conversation. This is what eating and the Good Life are all about!

I’ve been on a rigorous mission to get fat in Malaysia. There can’t be too many other places where it’s so damn easy to do so! A good two hours of Arabian bliss pass by, we reach the end of the glorious meal and I check my belly for expansion: maximum capacity, but still a long way to reaching that fatty goal (damn)!

Good Life Rating = 5
Cause they wouldn’t call gluttony a sin if it didn’t feel so good.

Malaysian Food: ABC Special

Malaysians have all kinds of simple culinary wonders, and even the drinks and deserts will rock your world. The ABC drinks can be found all over the place. ABC=air batu campur, translating into mixed ice. Vendors do it anyway they please, and unfortunately this round featured my drink without avocado.

Pictured here we obviously have the shaved ice, with that oh-so-sweet syrup we’re practically addicted to, red beans, peanuts, jelly fruits and vanilla bean ice cream.

Good Life Rating = 4
Since I’ve got a special place in my heart for anything food or drink-related that makes me happy.

Malaysian Food: Pattaya

The name of the dish suggests that it comes out of one of Thailand’s dirtiest hellholes, but there’s some debate about whether or not they even eat this meal in Thailand. The idea of a fried rice omelet is pretty simple, but effectively delicious.

As seen here, it’s just fried rice with corn and peas inside the omelet, topped with a sweet chili sauce and a little crumbled bacon as a garnish.

Whether or not the dish is actually eaten in Pattaya, you can still find it as a staple all over Malaysia. Like most nationally-enjoyed dishes, it’s cheap and widely available.

Meet Dave

Meet DaveUnfulfilled by consumer lifestyles, I left on a really slow trip around the world. As a 3rd eye traveler on the New American Dream, my aim is to inspire and cultivate conscious living along the way....Read More...

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