Food Notes

Daily Post #69-70: QVM Finds

While my pork ribs is simmering away, I’ll write.

These past few days had been really tough for my lazy bum. I now feel heavier and I do notice that I get tired easily now. Last Sunday, I took advantage of the sunny weather in Melbourne. I left the house at around 12 noon and headed on to Queen Victoria Market to food-hunt. I ordered some Butter Chicken with Biryani in the Food Court as I was liking some Indian food that time. That sweet dish was what I expected it to be!

I first knew of Butter Chicken from my Indian colleague at work. Her name is Raj and she once brought this huge container of food filled with this yummy-looking yellow dish for lunch that I was so afraid to touch at first because I thought it would be one of those spicy curries. You have to know that I have a love-and-hate relationship when it comes to spicy foods. So I only took a spoonful of the Biryani rice and topped it with a spoonful too of the sauce, followed by the chicken. Oh my, Cupid hit my palate! It was the yummiest Indian dish that I have ever tasted! There was no hint of spiciness at all but just some lovely spices and aroma that I would never forget. I went back and took a second serving. I then got a dish bowl and filled it with rice and the Butter Chicken!

The Butter Chicken at one of the stalls in the food court at Queen Victoria Market did not disappoint. Though the serving size was kind of small compared to the ones that the people who were standing in front of me in the queue were getting, I was still beyond satisfied. But of course, ultimate satisfaction won’t be reached without having a treat for my sweet tooth. So I stood up, abandoned my plate of Butter Chicken that looked like it had been tongue-scraped and roamed around some more.

I love the Queen Victoria Market because it is huge and there really is a lot to be discovered! I went to the Deli Hall, which is just adjacent the Meat and Fish Hall and my favorite spot in the market for its very-European feel. The Deli Hall is filled with a wide range of produce. You can find there every imaginable dips, pates, cured and preserved meats you can think of and for cheese lovers, it also has one of the most extensive ranges of local and imported cheeses found in Melbourne. An ultimate cheese-lover heaven! Which I am admittedly not! There is also a nice range of poultry produce and a variety of game meat, such as crocodile, rabbit, kangaroo and venison, to choose from. Aside from the fresh produce, many stalls also offer cooked foods that you can try while you are busy roaming around the hall (mental note: try the Borek next time). And for the sweet tooth like me, a nice number of patisseries abound the place so you’ll surely find cakes, pastries and chocolates in there.

I found a patisseries shop just across the Bratwurst shop and stall that sells Borek. I had been wanting to try the Vanilla Slice for so long now but I just could not bring myself to get one as its slice is usually bigger than the other pastries. Good thing I found this amazing Lemon Slice which is smaller in size but so sinful as the base below the lemon frosting is so compact and dense! However, the tanginess of the slice is a winner. It already proved to be enough to clean my palate and satisfy the sweet tooth in me. A perfect ending for my short trip in the Queen Victoria Market!

Daily Post #66-68: For The Love of Food

I love watching food shows. Whatever it is, as long as the show centers on food, I will watch it. Watching a food show is a torture upon one’s self. Even though I am well aware that I won’t be able to eat or, at the very least, smell those delicious food that they were displaying on the screen, I still watch them. Perfect definition of torture! I am such a masochist.

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No Reservations, Man Vs. Food and Bizarre Foods are my top favorites. I came to adore No Reservations because of Anthony Bourdain’s dramatic and soulful take on hosting. It’s just so nice to see a travel and food show host who also has a penchant for the spoken word. When he speaks, it felt like he is always reading poetry to me. I get drawn to the flow and sway of his words.

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Man Vs. Food had been a favorite because the show does not fail to make my mouth water. I love grubby foods and that’s what Man Vs. Food is all about - grubby, delicious food in huge servings. Because of that show, I’ve always dreamt of taking a trip to the United States, renting a car and hopping from one state to another just to food-trip. It will only be about food, nothing else! It’s really bad!

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And of course, how can I forget Bizarre Foods. I haven’t tried that many exotic foods yet but I do consider myself to be an adventurous eater in the sense that if I will be immersed in a situation that would allow me to try an exotic food, I would no doubt try it. I am so game when it comes to food.

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When I came here in Australia, I was introduced to more local cooking and food shows. There’s Luke Nguyen’s Street Food Asia. Luke Nguyen is a big name here in Australia, particularly in Sydney where he grew up. He is an Australian chef of Vietnamese descent and is known for his modern take on traditional Vietnamese dishes. I just arrived here in Australia then when I came to know of Luke Nguyen. It was during my first week in Sydney, while we (my aunt, mom and I) were doing our weekly market trip to Cabramatta when I first saw Luke Nguyen. He was in location to shoot a food show (it must be!). Of course, being a noob that my mom and I were, we did not have any clue who he was until my aunt pointed out that he is a celebrity chef. Being a true-blooded Filipino that my mom is, she asked me to take a picture of her with him. He did not mind at all!

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Then came in My Kitchen Rules. It is an Australian cooking show that I came to love because of its authenticity. The show presents various teams composed of two contenstants with pre-existing relationships (much like The Amazing Race) from different states across Australia. They would initially compete against each other by transforming their own home into an instant resturant complete with a theme and decorations, welcoming the panel judges and their competitors into their home and serving them with three-course meals which they will prepare from their own kitchen. At the end of each night, the judges as well as their competitors would score them based on the dishes that they’ve concocted. Surviving the “instant restaurant”, the remaining teams will then be subjected into a series of challenges numerous process of elimination until a winning team emerges.

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Lately, the Nine Network started to air The Family Food Fight which if I’m not mistaken is their first series ever. It is unlike any other cooking show that I’ve watched and I got instantly hooked when I first saw the trailer. The show presents various teams composed of 4 people that are amateur cooks and are related to one another! Can you imagine that? A family making up a team? That must be chaotic! And you know what? I am right! It really is chaotic but that’s what I love about the show - the pureness and realness of it. The love-and-hate relationship that you see in a family is very evident. I really think all families are like that. There’s no perfect family. There are a lot of instances that some of our family members get in our nerves and most often that not, they will push our buttons but at the end of the day, they are still family and the love is always there no matter what. The show presents multi-generational families who are there to showcase family recipes and food traditions and compete against each other in various cooking challenges to win an ultimate prize of AU$ 100,000.

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I am putting my money on the Shahrouk sisters because I love their humor, passion and frankness. I would also love to try their food! They all look amazing and I really think that these guys have that potential to be amazing. If ever they open their own restaurant, I would definitely be the first one to fall in line.