Hello all! I am in foodie paradise!
Not really, that was just a hyperbole merely intended to attract your attention. Well, Sydney certainly does offer much more culinary choice than Brisbane, but the main reason is not because of the actual restaurants/food offered in a place per se, but more the notion of one’s prerogative to become a lunatic and stuff onself crazy since everybody is treating you to food that is entailed from holiday mode. It’s not like I’m complaining here, I love to eat out, but sometimes it’s a bit too much.
I’m here right now, in pain from overeating tonight. It feels as if my stomach is being weighed down by a 5kg rock inside that won’t budge, just sitting there like some intrusive, irksome visitor adamantly refusing to leave. I tried to resist, but it’s just so hard to not eat when there’s food in front of me. My uncle is a huge eater, akin to the appetite of a sumo wrestler (despite his svelte frame), and I think I owe my genetic makeup to my lack of overweight (without such unusually high metabolism, my diet (probably double or triple the amount a typical asian girl would consume) would no doubt have made me morbidly obese), and I think my family tends to encourage me to keep eating, don’t waste food… But I need to learn to say no. The few weeks I’ve been in Sydney, I’ve been stuffing myself silly even though I’m already full, and I think family has a lot to blame, being the frugal Chinese we (they) are, constantly forcing me to finish the scraps left from every dish. I am staying in Wagga Wagga for 5 days with my uncle, and he knows I love to eat, so he brought so much food for me. A pandan cake, black sesame soup, pocky, “sachima cookie”, two tubs of yogurt, three mangoes, six Chinese buns, Panetonne, ice cream sticks… you get the gist. And this is in addition to the three meals a day. And he expects me to finish it all, in five days. I like snacks, but it’s just too much! I know he loves me and is being hospitable, but when it gets to the point where my stomach is about to explode (me being my vocab-extending self, I was on the brinkof writing ‘implode’ before I realised that would probably be the verb used to describe a famine), it’s kind of overboard.
Okay, so I have part blame too, loving eating so much and a natural curiosity to try a bit of everything (if they order 20 dishes in yum cha for example, I’ll try each and every one of them), but then my family is again to blame, because at home I would cut things in half so I can try a small piece of everything, but here, they’re so rigid, and thinks I’m rude for doing that.. making me eat a huge piece of everything).
But anyway, aside from my health, I’ve been having wonderful meals down in New South Wales. Good food. I just went to a Vietnamese restaurant today with uncle, and we ordered the pork and shrimp rice roll for entree, and beef with lemongrass and chilli, and combination meats (chicken, shrimp, beef, pork) in tammarind sauce. My uncle, having such an astute tongue, commented the mains were a good combination because the two had very distinct flavours of their own and stood out individually, rather than the common problem of ordering two very similar dishes that just taste the same (very easy mistake to do in an Asian restaurant where all the dishes are doused in sauces which are practically identical). The spicy, poignant flavour of the beef contrasted well with the sourness of the tarramind sauce. So it got me thinking… it’s rarely discussed, the matching of dishes in one meal, but it’s such an important thing, and I wonder why that is? Perhaps most Western people are less lavish than us Chinese, and just have one main with a salad to match. Much more simple.
This restaurant, called Saigon restaurant (it’s in Wagga Wagga), was the first time I tried those lovely Vietnamese spring rolls and fell head over heels for. In this version, it’s made with fillings of shrimp, pork shreds (it’s marinated, not just plain), vermicelli noodles, lettuce, carrots, bean sprouts, Thai basil, with the dipping sauce probably made of hoisin sauce with crushed peanuts on top. I don’t know how authentic it is, but it seems to taste nicer than the ones in Brisbane. That’s probably because there’s coriander leaves (yuck), and maybe the sauce wasn’t the super sweet hoisin sauce. It’s probably more authentic in Brisbane, I remember there’s always a little strip of green protruding from the ends of the rolls. Oh well. I think I’ve had enough rambling for today. My goal for the rest of the holiday: to say ‘no’ when I am already stuffed, and avoid further stomach aches.
(P.S. I’ll upload some pertinent photos when I get the chance)