Locomotoring

Seven continents, seven seas, seven billion people and seven thousand good eats …

Bhut Jolokia @ Dzükou tribal kitchen

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Dzükou tribal kitchen in Hauz Khas market.

Bhut Jolokia or Naga Mircha (Bengali/Naga name) or Ghost chili pepper – call it what you want but it is the second hottest chili pepper in the world. And Dzükou tribal kitchen in Hauz Khas market serves chutneys from the chili. Yum!

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Written by Som

January 3, 2015 at 5:43 am

Chai by river Hooghly

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Chai-wallah. Super sweet milky chai with hints of ginger. What is special are these earthen cups in which the chai is served. The pots are size of a child’s fist. So even though the sweetness of the tea hurts your teeth, it lasts only a few tiny sips. Tea gets a slightly earthen flavor when served in these pots.

I remember the pots being nicely proportioned back in the days.

Post Peter Cat, we decided to do a family outing to Outram ghat and threw in a boat ride. Last similar trip was in 2008. We had desperately needed the exercise but instead our boatman got some. The ghats along the river are full of untapped tourism potential but as a third generation Calcuttan, I have now finally given up hope. However, it never fails to provide some elements of interest. During this particular boat ride, we drew close to Prinsep ghat and found a long haired baul singer entertaining the crowd. When he got up for an ovation, we realized that he was a hipster to boot. We found remnants of bisarjan, a long legged goddess, dangling by her ankles at one of the canal bridges.

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Written by locomotoring

November 20, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Peter Cat of Kolkata

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Peter Cat of Kolkata, started in sixties, it is unclear how much has changed since. My brother is pretty convinced that absolutely no changes have occurred in last 2 decades.

A mindless concoction of a bloody mary. Completely avoidable.

Sizzler. This is not on the menu but clientele seemed to know of it. Various kababs, liver, shrimp, paneer doused in a creamy sauce. Quite nice.

Tandoori shrimp, my favorite this time. The shrimps were amazingly tender and disappeared rapidly.

Spicy chicken liver. I got some back home to try with the Kentucky bourbon.

Chelokabab plate. The sheek kabab was over spiced but the tandoori skewers were tender and juicy. We had a lot of left over tandoori chicken which came back home – to be converted into tikka masala.

Written by locomotoring

November 17, 2014 at 11:49 am

Posted in Calcutta (Kolkata)

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Singapore Sling

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Should have had one at Raffles Hotel but had one at LongBeach@Dempsey which was awful to say the least. So I had another one on the flight out. And the one on the flight was better than the one at LongBeach!

According to Singapore Airlines menu, Singapore Sling was created in 1915 at the Long Bar of Raffles Hotel and is a concoction of dry gin, Dom Benedictine, orange liqueur and cherry brandy and shaken up with lime and pineapple juices and a dash of Angostura bitters and Grenadine. Does this have the potential of being sublime like a good gin-martini? Possibly not.

Written by locomotoring

November 14, 2014 at 9:05 am

Posted in Singapore

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Salut to Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles

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We had to wait only a few minutes for our $5 bowls at Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodle shop. Karma, baby!

This little hawker shop at Pek Kio serves noodles and broth just the way I like it. A bowl of ambient temperature flat rice noodles was served with crunchy bits, bean sprouts and spicy oil, like dan-dan noodles. A separate bowl of hot delicious shrimp broth came with two juicy jumbo shrimps. When served separately, the noodles and broth can be independently perfected and enjoyed.

Every time I am outside of the cocoon of SF Bay Area, I am humbled at the sight of hard working people in their 70s and 80s. At Wah Kee, grandfather meticulously puts the shrimp broth together, one bowl at a time. Shrimps are cooked after the order is placed. Grandmother serves the customers, and puts together the noodle bowl. She is supposedly a bit moody but we did not see any evidence of that.  She helped us choose the right type of noodles (gluten free) and afterwards when we went up to thank her, she shook our hands and gave us a lovely smile.

It was too muggy to bring a mobile phone to the food center but if you want to see photos, check out the links below.

  • Here is where we got our recommendation from.
  • Another foodie whose site I must wade through before our next trip to Singapore.

For coffee we recommend Cambridge Coffee Stall – serving rich coffee made cowboy style and served with a small tsp of condensed milk.

Written by locomotoring

November 13, 2014 at 8:50 pm

LongBeach @ Dempsey

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House specialty prawn. Shelled and batter fried shrimps topped with salted egg. The salted egg bits were crunchy and about the size of sesame seeds.

House specialty, a 1.8 kilo black peppered Sri Lankan crab – about the size of my head. The pepper flavor danced around in my mouth while I spent better part of an hour devouring the giant on the plate. Only a few women at the establishment were using bibs. Several of the patrons, like us, were using all available appendages and implements in sight – tourists like us perhaps. Someone at the table across us was eating his crab with chopsticks!

After all that effort, we were hungry enough to share a durian pudding which arrived at the table promptly. Some presentation flair involving basic chemistry was involved – the bowl of pudding was situated on a tumbler containing blue liquid that emitted vigorous white vapors. The pudding was creamy and exuded a super strong durian flavor. My husband fondly describes durian as jackfruit flavored with (two week old sweaty gym socks that has been dowsed in kerosene.)

On our way back from LongBeach, our cab driver mentioned the urban legend surrounding the gigantic size of Sri Lankan crabs.

Written by locomotoring

November 12, 2014 at 7:42 am

Posted in Singapore

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Katanashi at Boat Quay

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Boat Quay is touristy but to be honest it is really pleasant to sit by the river and eat. Singapore, like other warm weather countries is hot and humid even in November and the hawker stalls do get a bit too muggy. We have a general motto – when in doubt, eat Japanese cuisine – it paid off in choosing Katanashi.

We were early at Boat Quay. We whetted our appetite by walking from one end of Boat Quay to other, crossing over to the other side of the river and walking back. In spite of all that walking about, we were early and decided to seat ourselves at a table by the river. We could hear the staff starting their shift with pledges of hospitality and customer service. Within a short time of lunch opening, the restaurant filled up with office goers. It emptied up equally quickly. It was great to watch others rushing about their lives while we were lazing about!

Katanashi at Boat Quay, prides itself in really fresh ingredients, apparently eggs so fresh that one could eat them raw!

Although at lunch time, only beer is served. Damn gluten sensitivity. I wish I could have ordered sake. Cold green tea just wasn’t the right substitute. Perhaps it was for the best, I was only a foot away from the river.

Scorched mackerel. Scorching happens at the table, the fish is marinated in vinegar, served with freshly grated horseradish, scallions and soy.

Signature dish, curried slow cooked beef tongue. Served with rice and picked cucumbers.

Korean style salmon served on a bowl of rice, with fried egg, fresh okra and pickled cucumbers.

Written by locomotoring

November 11, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Posted in Singapore

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Hong Kong Style Chee Cheong Fun, really really fresh

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A clean kitchen towel is placed on the steamer. A thin rice batter is poured on the towel and ingredients laid on top. In this case, shrimp. A cover is placed and the noodle sheet is steamed for a minute or so.

On a different station, oil is first applied on the pan. The kitchen towel is laid rice noodle sheet side down and a spatula is used to loosen the towel. The towel is then picked up by hand. leaving the noodle on the pan. The noodle is rolled up and cut up.

Busy duo from Chee Cheong Fun noodle stall at Pek Kio Market

Plain noodles with sprinkled sesame seeds, a rich broth with five spice flavor, a tea spoon of red pepper the side.

Minced pork noodles.

Written by locomotoring

November 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Posted in Singapore

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Carrot Cake at Pek Kio Market

There is no carrot in this carrot cake (Chai tao kway). No sweet either. Daikon radish cakes (Luo Bo Gao) are chopped up and fried with “Good Spice” flavors, eggs, scallion and soy sauce. The fried cakes get chewy and the eggs are soft. Perfect anytime food.

Good Spice Carrot Cake Shop

Good Spice Carrot Cake Shop

Chef and co-owner. During the 10 minutes I saw him, he never stopped moving his spatula.

Chef and co-owner. During the total of 30 minutes I saw him on three different mornings, he never stopped moving his spatula.

Thick Indonesian style soy sauce is added at the end to lend sweetness and umami flavor.

Thick Indonesian style soy sauce is added at the end to lend sweetness and umami flavor.

Written by Som

November 11, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Posted in Singapore

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Richmond night market, taste of Asia in the middle of Vancouver

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I thought I had stepped into one of the markets of Hong Kong. But it was the Richmond Night Market of Vancouver. A garish night market selling cheap trinkets. Skill-free Karaoke accompanied skillful food making displays.

Once you are out of the Bridgeport train station, the urban scene changed rapidly. We walked through dirt roads, guided by city traffic police and bright night lights to get to waterside barren ground where the market was setup. The long queue moved fast, tickets were cheap and then we were surrounded with deluge of trinkets – electronic junk, cute socks, Japanese swords, lenses to change your eye color… At bazaars like these, food is always the most fascinating part. Most of the food was some form of grilled or fried food – fried stinky tofu, fried calamari, grilled chicken, grilled shrimps, fried noodles… There were some curious food making on display like bubble waffles and fish shaped waffles. And then there were some fairly complex food being made like meat balls being formed with chopsticks.


Written by locomotoring

September 7, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Lemonade, Vancouver’s gluten free bakery

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Chocolate and cherry brioche from Lemonade.

On our recent trip to Vancouver, we happened to book an AirBnB home within a few blocks of Lemonade. Not only did this result in devouring of these gluten free chocolate and cherry brioches, we also had our only real tasting sandwich in over an year. Their gluten free bread comes close to real white bread in texture.

Written by locomotoring

September 7, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Canada, Vancouver

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Saltwater and champagne by the bay

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Saltwater happened to be located right opposite our cottage.  We started our outdoor dinner with the raw deal where we were served the same variety of oysters raised in different waters – indeed they tasted different.

Salmon tartare

Smoked tuna with a celery, pine nut, berries and tangy creamy sauce

Back at our cottage to share a bottle of champagne.

Written by locomotoring

June 2, 2014 at 6:55 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Marin and its happy cows

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Cowgirl is a great place to pick up local cheeses – some of them are such limited production and they don’t even make it to their Ferry Building location in San Francisco. 

Their cheeses are made with milk from happy Jersey organic cows from John Taverna’s dairy, located in Chileno Valley in Marin County. On this trip, we tried a couple new ones:

  • Inverness: Cowgirl describes this as full flavored, tangy lactic curd with a dense, creamy mouth feel. This is aged for two weeks to create a delicate version of St Marcellin style cheese.
  • St Pat: This is cowgirl’s spring seasonal cheese. This creamy semi-firm cheese is wrapped with nettle leaves that grow wild in Marin. Cowgirl describes this as mellow, soft, and full of smoky artichoke flavor.

Written by locomotoring

June 2, 2014 at 6:28 am

Meandering about Abbotts Lagoon trail

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This photo is from the Point Reyes lighthouse and if one kept walking on this beach in a straight line, one would reach Abbotts Lagoon. Attempt this crazy route only if you are equipped with heavy woolens on a summer afternoon.

Some kids were being kids while their parents had beached themselves nearby.

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June 1, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Drakes Bay Oyster Shack

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In Bay Area, oyster on the half shell is usually $3 per piece. I am convinced that Oysters are calorie free food particularly when not accompanied by champagne. Hence, if it weren’t for the price, I think I would eat them by the dozens every day. Drakes Bay Oyster Shack is where you can get your oyster fix for half the price. They have been farming 4 generations at Point Reyes but we don’t know how long they will be allowed to continue. While they are, one hopes will continue to serve big fat plump oysters by the dozen. We landed up here towards the end of the day so all they had left were oysters doused in Bloody Mary mix – what a lovely start to the evening!

Written by locomotoring

June 1, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Marin Sun Farms

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One can presumably spot myriad wild life at Point Reyes National Seashore but what we saw most were happy cows. I can only assume they are happy – rolling grasslands and other fellow cows as far as eyes can see. Occasional hikers and cold breeze can perhaps be considered the only hardship they endure.

Marin sun farms in a family owned pasture to fork farm with the restaurant right on Highway 1 at Point Reyes Station. Sea air and good hikes can easily prepare you for their fat and juicy steaks. Be prepared to wait an hour for your food, even if you are ordering just a burger, but the wait is well worth it.

Written by locomotoring

June 1, 2014 at 5:03 pm

A brief sojourn at Inverness

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Cottage on the beach. Skylights and large windows dissolve the barrier between inside and outside.

If we had a kayak, we could launch from our doorstep. Blue Waters Kayaking were a mile away.

Put your feet up and stare the flecks of gold blow across the blue sky.

Watching the changes in sun, breeze, tide and sounds, you really feel moored like this old boat.

Early in the morning, sitting on the patio, drinking tea and looking out at the sun sparkling on the Bay.

Lazing out on the deck, body and soul disappears into the surrounding.

Written by locomotoring

June 1, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

San Diego Food Highlights

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This warm winter in San Francisco Bay Area with its little to no rain is reminding me of San Diego. In particular, a crafts beer shop and a taco truck, both near my then home in San Diego. The beer shop is  Bottlecraft beer, located in Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego downtown. They hold flights of beer and here is where I tasted my first sour beer. The taco truck is Mariscos Alex, a San Diego fixture.

Written by locomotoring

March 10, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Posted in California, San Diego, USA

A memory from the vault

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Watched an episode of Portlandia yesterday. Missed our friend who now calls Portland his home. Browsed through some old photographs of a memorable trip to Portland, and found these …

…a cup of coffee at Stumptown.

…a macaron at Pix.

…a glass or was it two of delicious beer at old Lampoc.

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February 22, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Posted in Oregon, Portland, USA

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Remembering each day in Barcelona

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A different way to celebrate food each day. Go on, click on the photos one by one and enjoy the vicarious ride.

Day 1: Bait fry, first meal

Day 2: Found the perfect cocktail

Day 3: What a ham!

Day 4: A dessert that may well worth be dying for

Day 5: And the machu-picchu flight takes off…

Day 6: The famous Spanish tortilla

Day 7: Seafood paella by the sea

Day 8: A local pub

Day 9: An icecream in Girona

Day 10: A sweet eggplant

Day 11: Carme’s childhood memories

Day 12: A tale of two sticks

Day 13: Street food at farmer’s market

Written by locomotoring

February 18, 2014 at 3:24 am

Posted in Barcelona, Europe, Spain

Rattlesnake sausage, you say!

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Rattlesnake+rabbit sausage and a cajun sausage, served with smoked beans and salad – Rosamunde Grill.

Really, rattlesnake and rabbit! Do rattlesnakes eat rabbit?

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Written by locomotoring

February 18, 2014 at 12:56 am

Gajalee, Indian coastal cuisine in San Francisco

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Machi fry – catch of the day, coated in semolina and deep fried. Served with sambaar, a south Indian daal and  yogurt raita. The semolina has a coarse corn grit like texture and offers an additional layer of crunch.

Tisyra Masala – Half shell mussels cooked with spices, onion, and grated coconut. For those of you who can close your eyes and imagine a coastal Indian town, this dish can transport you there. Watch out for broken clam shells.

Written by locomotoring

February 18, 2014 at 12:45 am

A perfect dessert at Range

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Hazelnut millet génoise with cardamom mousseline, huckleberry compote and popped millet brittle.

For dinner we had couple of fish dishes that were unapologetic in their subtle and non-fussy conception and closer to Catalan style cooking than Californian. One, an olive oil poached cod, was extraordinary. Cocktails were definitely designed for a younger audience in mind – smooth and sweet. L’Ascensor….sigh!

Our dinner at Commonwealth on the other hand was so disappointing that we came back to Range for a repeat of the hazelnut cardamom génoise.

Written by locomotoring

February 18, 2014 at 12:13 am

Posted in California, San Francisco, USA

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Chocolate and Coffee at Dandelion

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Absolutely the best chocolate I have had so far…

There is XoX for the times when you want something romantic and there is Valrhona when you want a bite of something perfect knowing that it won’t disappoint. But Dandelion’s chocolate is for the moments when you to mix the two. In taste, it is like an intense Tcho, in texture it is like Valrhona, and after a bite, it makes you feel pampered like XoX. In the past, irrespective of where I wandered in the chocolate land, I always came back to Valrhona but now I am not so sure. Coffee at D is Four Barrel but if you are bringing Maya Mountain home, then try with Chromatic’s keynote.

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Written by locomotoring

February 17, 2014 at 11:20 pm

Ganja cookies at Dolores Park

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Ganja cookies happens to be one of the many things you can get at Dolores park – sunshine, music, people watching, dog walking, watching kids improvise, picnic-ing – joys of a summer day in San Francisco.

Written by locomotoring

February 17, 2014 at 10:40 pm