radar love

One of my small pleasures for the last while has been looking at the radar maps of the weather. It’s a weather report but you can make up your own mind about what will happen.

And this summer has been way more stormy than last so there’s been plenty more exciting colours like this.


&&&  &&&


I meant to mention a week or so back we went to an Ethiopian restaurant in Flemington. The food itself was kind of interesting. We had a sampler of several dishes – some lentil based things as well as a bit of goat, chicken, fish and lamb (which I steered clear of on the account of my suspected allergy to it). The real surprise was that there was no cutlery involved. I’ve never eaten that kind of stuff with my fingers before — or at least not since I was 2 or 3yo. It was served on a spongy kind of bread which you can kind of grab and wrap the stuff in but it’s only useful to a point, then you have to just dig in a get dirty. The tactile experience was kind of interesting but I can’t help but think that using fork, knife, spoon is more logical than fingers.


Speaking of logic. RIP Leonard Nimoy. As an emotionally turbulent teenager I idolised Spock’s cool, detached way of dealing with the mysteries and troubles of the universe. Sure, it doesn’t work in reality and even in the TV show he did occasionally flip out and try to kill his captain but everyone needs something to aim for, especially as a youngster.


16000758213_7be98ed3a0After cruising through some of the farmish parts of rural victoria and then down through parts of the otways I have to say I lament the fact that the Great Ocean Road and Otway hinterland have become weekend playground for melbourne yuppies and international tourists who accept being fleeced. Everything is priced ridiculously (I paid $7 for a pie!) and there’s too much useless new-agey stuff. The Otway Black Snail, pictured right, is neither overpriced or useless. In fact I wish I could bring home a team of them to live in my back yard and eat the regular, plant-eating snails. If this was america there would already have been a movie made about giant flesh-eating snails.


Korean food in Melbourne

Went to a few Korean restaurants in Melbourne recently. It’s fairly hard to come by authentic dishes. Partly because of the embarrassment of riches we have here in Australia when it comes to ingredients. For example, beef is used sparingly in Korea (if it’s on the menu at all) but here it’s cheap so the temptation for restauratuers is to use more but that completely changes the food.

Presentation is also different.

<iframe src=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/16241545511/player/” width=”320″ height=”320″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>

This place in Richmond is a good example of a kind of korean food but definitely one for a mild australian taste. Also the stools you sit on here were ridiculously uncomfortable. It really is an indicator that these leeches we call real estate agents rule the land when you’ve got a city as sprawled as Melbourne is, yet here I sat is a busy (and therefore presumably successful) restaurant that was tiny and elbow-to-elbow.

In contrast, we went to another place in Clayton called Kang na roo which I am guessing is play on words. This was just like what I’d get in Korea at an everyday restaurant, right down to the plastic bowls and tupperware-style bottle of water. The only difference was the price, in that it’s a good deal more expensive here but then that’s to be expected. Two thumbs up!

<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/15647232904″ title=”Untitled by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7561/15647232904_dcffcf6d79.jpg” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”Untitled”></a>

Dish Cafe in Geelong

I just wanted to give a quick but big thumbs up to <a href=”http://www.dishcatering.net.au/#tab-home”>Dish</a> in the middle of old Geelong town. Personally, I find _very few_ places that I really like to go back to. Most places I go to are over-priced with average food or have reasonable prices but nasty food. The whole Waterfront area of Geelong is a tourist-trap full of terrible eateries these days.

And I can remember back to the late 90s/early 00s, and even earlier when the area around little Malop st, McLarty place, James street was full of interesting shops. All of the walk-by shopper traffic was sucked away by the Westfield monstrosity. Plus I bet rent prices went way higher than was affordable for most shop-owners.

So anyway it’s great to see a new (relatively new?) cafe in that area.

They make almost all of the stuff they have for sale. It’s good quality and very good prices. Dave, the chef, is a really friendly bloke too.  I guess another thing I like too is that when we go in there on a Saturday lunchtime it’s fairly quiet. Good for me, not so good for the business. Although I’d like to think they are much busier on weekdays with the office crowds.

<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/14621000808″ title=”HipstaPrint by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3883/14621000808_cc21cd2458.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”HipstaPrint”></a>

waxin’ an’ wanin’

I just had a thought – whenever and however I have my funeral and then there’s some music of the dead one’s choosing I’d like to cue up Lose This Skin by The Clash off of Sandinista! It’d have to be uncomfortable loud. It has a guest vocalist who I, up until a minute ago deadset thought was a woman but it’s someone called <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tymon_Dogg”>Tymon Dogg</a>.

Being back here in the West, a first world country, I’m starting to see less reasons for me to continue being carnivorous.

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/IJgCDs-Us7Q” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>


tony fernandes ate my lunch

First thing I have to say is golly it’s nice to be on holiday. It’s been a long 12 months and when I do take the opportunity to visit somewhere different I usually end up having to go by myself, but this time my sweety is with me.

And we tried flying with Air Asia. It’s a different set up they’ve got going. It’s all online booking, and lots of detail to it. You chose where you want to sit, and there’s different areas — like a no kids ‘quiet zone’, “hot seats” ie. the first row of economy/coach class (you know if I owned my own airline, I would call economy class Riff-raff class) and instead of business/1st they have premium. We went for the No kids section and it worked well.

Meals are not standard either. You can order a meal when you’re doing the online thing, and it costs about 7 bucks. There’s a fair few different choices, and in theory it’s a good idea. In reality, the meals we got were really crappy.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/8437394416/” title=”Flight etc by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8051/8437394416_60fb1a32f5_n.jpg” width=”320″ height=”320″ alt=”Flight etc”></a>

This was my green curry. It was mostly rice. When I say crappy, I mean really cheaply put together, and small. Airline food has never been known as being good but this is a new bottom. J/e’s chicken rice was also regrettable.  All part of the learning-curve I guess. The idea is to eat up good before you get to the airport and then bring wholesome munchies for mid-flight — except their rule is you’re not allowed to bring food or beverages (everyone’s saying F&B these days) on board, but how are they going to know if you bend down, stick your head in your backpack and munch away like a horse on chaff. A horse bag.

There’s no screens anywhere, not even a standard one at the front of the section on the wall showing where the plane is in geographical space. I kind of missed that graphic. But really it’s a clever idea. Those back-of-the-headrest things are looking mighty dated now that everyone’s carrying their own tablet/phablet/smartphone around.

There’s no complimentary newspapers, blanket, pillow, there’s no free drinking water (gulp!), the only coffee available is cheap instant stuff – 5 ringgits please, and when we got to KL A.A. have their own budget terminal where the plane just pulls up on the tarmac and you deplane down a set of steps like when the Beatles invaded America. Air Asia’s gone budget in areas that other airline’s wouldn’t think of changing, and it’s working for them. Apparently it’s the fastest growing airline in an era when airlines are going belly-up left, right and centre.

my name is yum-yum

This is an inspiration: <a href=”http://neverseconds.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/i-decided-to-try-something-different.html”>the never seconds</a> blog, written by a Scottish primary school girl. I’m a bit late to the party because it looks like that in less than two months it exploded and has been negotiated out of its bite. If you’re not going to click: a girl took fotos of her school lunches, blogged it. Local council freaked out. The kid used the huge media coverage to raise money for school lunches in Africa. The end.

1. It’s great to see that blogging can still make a difference. I guess you have to be a kid to get noticed though.

2. I didn’t have a fine-tooth comb through to see if was disclosed that Dad was proofreading, but the British Education board should be taking credit for the good grammar and spelling there.

day at the rat races

What I’m enjoying this week: Bald Guy brand Chinese pickles. Only available: from china. I love tearing open a new packet and getting that limey chinese pickle smell. J-e is in Tsingtao for a few weeks for work and has promised to bring back a big haul of bald guy pickles. There’s four variations. I like them all.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/6975298739/” title=”Untitled by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7180/6975298739_46d6878a25_m.jpg” width=”179″ height=”240″ alt=””></a>

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/6975299253/” title=”Untitled by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7190/6975299253_cee80c28c4.jpg” width=”500″ height=”374″ alt=””></a>

There’s a little nugget of wisdom from the eastern mind. Although what it fails to consider is the anti-carb lobby that has been waging a propaganda war against the potato for some time now, in the west at least. I tell ya though, what the west does take for granted is the price of potatoes. Damn expensive here. I don’t really know why either. The carbohydrate-food lobby needs to get together with the gluten-food lobby and form a united front the way red meat & eggs have, in the west at least. People love gluten here. You can buy star-shaped gluten treats at Dunkin Donuts.


lady n the tramp

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5467010065/” title=”IMG_0187 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5174/5467010065_88e0ac8caf.jpg” width=”500″ height=”374″ alt=”IMG_0187″ /></a>

Here we have the South Korean dish, budae chiggae (부대찌개). It translates roughly as army camp stew and dates back to the times of the Korean war, when local folk didn’t have much to eat so they’d go trash-can diving around the back of Uncle Sam’s. Its got some broken up bits of instant noodles (ramen to the americans, and _Ramyeon_ here), sliced up sausage, some sort of bacon/ham stuff, bean sprouts, clear noodles, _dokk_ (unflavoured pulped & compressed rice), a little bit of spring onion and the ever-present kim chi.

The restaurant attendant sticks it on a burner on the table in front of you. With the lid on it boils up and 5-10 mins later, voila!

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5467010387/” title=”IMG_0188 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5252/5467010387_e97ce10765.jpg” width=”500″ height=”374″ alt=”IMG_0188″ /></a>

You’re ready to ladle a bit out into a small dish and eat. It’s spicy. I’ve read that there can be some flexibility to the ingredients included, along the lines of tofu or mushroom. It’s cheap. The meal pictured was KRW12000 for two people which works out to about $10AUD.

My first reaction to this kind of meal (poverty food, as I call it — there are quite a few dishes that fit into this category) is ‘well, the country is a lot more wealthy now, so why not chuck some broccoli, cherry tomatoes in there and standardise the mushrooms while you’re at it. It’d make it healthier’. But then, this would make it that bit more expensive. But then, that would only be until more farmers started growing those things. One thing I do like about the economy of the whole thing is that there doesn’t have to be 40 cooks in the kitchen boiling up everyone’s chiggae; if you do it at the table (and it’s easy) then that keeps the price down a tad.

This is a meal where east and west could benefit from each-other. Some more greens in this really would be good. And people in cities like Melbourne would lose weight if they could get to a budae chiggae restaurant every now and then. The intense spiciness has the effect of making you feel full before the point when you really are. And, an hour and a half later when you feel hungry again, if you can push through those brief pangs without getting on the doughnuts, then you’ve made your first step away from being a fatty.

shabooh shoobah, shabu shabu

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5028451571/” title=”IMG_5324 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4144/5028451571_41f56e2c08.jpg” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”IMG_5324″ /></a>

Shabu shabu is, apparently, originally a Japanese thing. But when it comes something as amorphous as throwing bits of food into boiling liquid then pulling it out and eating it, who can really say where it originated. They have a variation in China, and they do here in Korea too, as seen above. In Japan the liquid is a mild-tasting kind of thin soup stock. You can get that style in Korea too, but spicy is more popular.

There’s lots of minor variations on it. The restaurant I took this foter goes for more of a ‘whatever’s in season’ approach to vegetables, and they don’t have some of the more japanesy bits like tofu. Most places you share a pot, some you get your own separate one.  On the left is beef, cut thin and rolled. I don’t know how they do that. It’s been in the fridge.

You can also go for a seafood shabby – that has lots of squid, some muscles, octopus rings,  shell fish of various kinds and prawns.

The idea is once the liquid is up to boiling you throw bits of food in then fish them out (with your chopsticks) when cooked, eat, repeat. Most places give some sauces to dip your stuff in; soy sauce and spicy chilli sauce are common. You also normally get a bowl of flat noodles which it is recommended you throw in at the end of the veges/meat. Then after the noodles come out you have a certain amount of liquid, rich in the flavours of what has been boiled there. The last part is using this to make a kind of ricey porridge with. An egg, cooked rice and little bits of green, like chopped chives or something are thrown in, mixed and cooked til they get to a solid-ish state.

Eventhough, on volume, you’re not eating that much it’s very filling, healthy and kind of fun — it keeps you occupied — not the kind of thing you can mindlessly gobble down in 4 minutes. The g/f is crazy about shabu shabu and would eat it every night if she could.

deung byo hye jang guk

In an effort to provide some sort of world public-service food shall now be talked about here.

Korean food is sometimes a little like Chinese food and sometimes a little like Japanese food and really quite different to western food. After eating the same thing regularly it can get boring but occasionally I come across new kinds of Korean foods that I like.

Last year I came across  등벼헤장국, pronounced deung byo hye jang guk. It’s pork, I think from the back, with the meat still on the bone, in a slightly spicy red soup-water. There’s a restaurant near my place that does it like so.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4405449944/” title=”IMG_4945 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4070/4405449944_5b38236c06.jpg” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”IMG_4945″ /></a>

It doesn’t look that great, but I find it very tasty. After trying a few other places I found that my local place does it best by far. I think their secret ingredient is salt. People who’re totally adept with chopsticks pick the meat off the bone with them. I do a bit too, but mostly I use a spoon. There’s nothing wrong with that. Also with the main bowl comes a small bowl of rice, kimchi that you cut yourself, (it’s all the rage now) radish in a peppery garnish and some green peppers that I never touch because they look way hot. There’s also a small dish with a dipping sauce that’s a mix between a kind of brown vinegar and wasabi. You’re meant to dip the meat in it. I do sometimes.

The deung byo, while it looks hot, isn’t really. I like to get a little bit of the meat off on my spoon, get a little bit of rice on there and then get some of the soup on it too. The owners of the place just put the price of this meal up from 5500won to 6000, which works out as $5.60AUD. It’s still a pretty good deal.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4404688113/” title=”IMG_4946 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2759/4404688113_2c9b23f4d5.jpg” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”IMG_4946″ /></a>

Other places I’ve had it at, like seen below, sometimes put a half a potato in there, or a bit more green vegetable matter (kind of like a weed) or make it a bit hotter (spicier).

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4559546854/” title=”IMG_5223 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3369/4559546854_9be22586ac.jpg” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”IMG_5223″ /></a>