Thai Krapow Gai (minced chicken with holy basil)

I lived in Thailand for two years and in that short time, I learned a lot about Thai food and Thai cooking. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing chefs and learned to cook some Thai staple dishes in their kitchens. I started with curries and green papaya salad – in fact, these were the first dishes I tasted in Thailand. And then I decided I needed to master the iconic Thai soups like tom kha (coconut milk soup) and tom yum goong (sweet and sour soup with shrimp). Continue Reading →

Comfort food – my mother’s recipe for macaroni and cheese

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I grew up in the Southern part of US. And what everyone now calls “comfort food” was just regular ‘ole food to us. Southern food is rich – with dishes like fried okra, ribs, creamed corn, BBQ, buttermilk biscuits, mashed potatoes and such being part of the everyday diet. When I go home and visit my mother in North Carolina every year, I start thinking about my mother’s cooking…and when she asks me, “do you want me to make anything special for you?,” it’s her homemade mac and cheese that tops the list. Continue Reading →

Kamalaya Koh Samui – a holistic wellness retreat beyond compare

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Often, I find myself needing some time off. Time off from the world, from long work days followed by longer dinners, from my computer(s), from my cell phone, from happy hour cocktails, and just from the world… I was seeking a break where I could nourish my body and empty my mind. So I did a lot of research and asked around, considering various options from yoga ashram in India to a Chinese medicine retreat in Northern Thailand. In the end I discovered the best of both worlds in Kamalaya in Koh Samui, Thailand. Continue Reading →

Sushi Etiquette – what you don’t know might surprise you!

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You have been eating sushi your whole life? Well, what you might not know about sushi etiquette could just surprise you. Like many things Japanese, it’s all in the details. Confession: when my Japanese friend (who is also a sushi chef) gave me these tips, I realized I had been doing several things wrong for years! So here is a quick cheatsheet on the Dos and Don’ts of proper sushi etiquette. Continue Reading →

Best Burger in Los Angeles? Father’s Office

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When I worked in advertising, I was constantly back and forth from New York to Los Angeles for TV commercial shoots. The thing that was immediately apparent to me about this city was the amazing food culture, and particularly the love of burgers. Regardless of where we live, we have all been part of a ‘great burger debate.’ Who has the best burger? Best overall, best taste, best value, etc. When I was traveling there in the early 2000′s, I was told Father’s Office was un-challenged by the city’s denizens as the best burger in town. Today in 2013, Los Angeles is littered with “gastropubs” but Father’s Office is still heralded by many as the City of Angels’ best burger. Continue Reading →

Best Cookbooks of 2012

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I am a cookbook junkie. I have an entire bookcase of cookbooks and food related non-fiction titles. And I have been trying to wean myself from this addiction. Unfortunately, in 2012 there were so many exciting new cookbooks introduced that I couldn’t resist. After reading about so many in my “go-to” food magazines, websites and blogs, I narrowed it down to the top six cookbooks of 2012. These were the most recommended, most blogged about, most inspiring cookbooks of 2012 – and I acquired them all. I simply couldn’t resist and I am glad I didn’t because now I am experimenting with all sorts of cuisines I love but had previously rarely made at home.

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Warm & cosy Christmas treats – Molasses Cookies and Swedish Glogg

It’s that time of year again – the festive season. No matter whether you are in New York (where I am from), Bangkok, Singapore or Shanghai (places where I have lived), it is undoubtably Christmas. However, being from a non-tropical country, I always found it slightly odd to enjoy Christmas in 34° Celsius weather. My Christmas memories of childhood are about frosty windowpanes, hot drinks and cookies warm from the oven enjoyed in the flickering light of the Christmas tree. Continue Reading →

‘Tis the Season for Hairy Crab in Shanghai

It’s that time of year in Shanghai, from September to December, for hairy crab. Having  greatly enjoyed humongous Sri Lankan crabs when I lived in Singapore, these tiny (and frankly ugly) crustaceans took some getting used to. Because the crabs are so small and prickly – imagine a body the size of a fist, and legs like cacti – it takes some serious effort to pick them clean. But nobody seems to mind as the reward of sweet, delicate flesh and creamy roe makes it all worthwhile. Continue Reading →