Aroma With a View

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(photo: soy coffee and mango-mint smoothie garnished with a mint leaf & tiny pinch of powdered sugar)

When in Munich, a nice place to hang out on a hot summer day is Aroma Kaffeebar, a short walk from Sendlinger Tor. It's airy, with big open windows and wooden tables and people hanging out there forever. They have antique wooden school chairs and cushions in the window sill and a range of gourmet small goods like home made schnapps (the label was in Bavarian dialect so I couldn't read it, but it seemed to have been made from pears and something golden) and giant-sized Nutella jars.

The coffee is good and they have soy. ..Still haven't figured out the politest way to order a 'melange' (in Europe, the drink that NZers so romantically call a 'flat white' is a Vienna-only specialty). The best thing would probably be to order a double strength latte macchiato with only a little bit of foam ('wenig schaum') to somewhat approximate this. Except that I'm usually too embarressed to ask for wenig schaum. Achtung, diva!

The food is more imaginative than usual cafe fare - no relying on feta quiches and lentil salad here. Everything, as seems always to be the case in Munich, is beautifully presented. Maybe a little on the Annabel Langbein side but hey. A beetroot and quinoa salad that looks pretty. What in the world could be wrong with that?

A good place to recover after partying at Rotte Sonne
the night before.

Aroma Café
Pestalozzi 24

Graubrot (German sourdough) bread with pecorino, borage, sprouts and seasoning:
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Miniature milk-rice jars:
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Reading the Süddeutsche Newspaper:
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Sometimes, the cream sinks to the bottom.

Munich is sort of fancy. It's very clean. It's just a little bit Marie Claire, and a lot BMW. It wasn't bombed beyond recognition in the war. It has the strongest economy of any city in Germany.

Still, from strolling in the Englischer Garten
, to touring the delicatessans, it's not somewhere you need a bulging wallet to have a memorable time. Especially when it's summer and the sun is blazing. Cheap AND nicely-presented: that's my kind of food.

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The Viktualienmarkt
is the spot for wooden vats of fat pickled gherkins, jars of Kürbis-zimt (pumpkin-cinnamon) jam, and a sharp fresh smell in the air from the juicing stalls, where you can get a ginger-beet-celery-apple-carrot juice for a couple euro. The Viktualienmarkt is the perfect cure for a hangover.

The Münchner Suppenküche
is a highlight of the market, Many & Anne introduced me to these soups on my first 24 hr trip to Munich. Check them out. The carrot-coconut-ginger soup is delicious, light, not too creamy, drizzled with a little pesto and chopped garlic and bright blue borage petals. It was about 3 euro 30 cents.

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The leberknoedel (liver dumpling) soup was sooo good: it's a speciality of Munich. A substantial bread dumpling seasoned with pork liver (the effect is of a nicely-textured savoury meat, there is none of the usual glutinous dumpling vibe) in a really tasty broth with fresh parsley, only 2 euro 80 cents.

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If you're feeling really game(y) at the market, you could try a horsemeat sausage, like this fellow. (A sign on the window said "Fresh foal meat in today!"). And what a mighty table cloth.

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Next stop on an eating tour of München: fancy delicatessan Alois Dallmayr
. Here you'll find American and Japanese tourists buying the famous grind of drip coffee; and a fountain filled with scuttling freshwater crustaceans. Stuffed stags' heads mounted on the walls cast their glass eyes down over a glittering array of gelatinized amusements, like half tomatoes filled with piped schinkenmousse (ham mousse) then glazed. But what a beautiful array of cheeses and Black Forest hams. See the picture: we got 100 g of that black-crusted Niederbayerische smoked ham for - I thought 5 euros but looking at the photo, I'm not sure! Could have been 2.40? The server peeled back the black crust and sliced very thin, succulent slices of the ham.

I'm a big fan of the black forest ham from our local supermarket, but obviously the fresh stuff is totally different. More complex flavours, and more juicy.

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(photo: on the left, Aragon jamón, along with Bavaria's most devilish pig product)

We also got a bottle of really good 2003 Spanish cab-sav at Alois Dallmayr for about 5 euros.

Below you see the resulting dinner: the mozzarella and antipasti from Viktualienmarkt were the lowlight - they didn't seem too fresh despite the stall doing a roaring trade. I would stay away from those. The ham, bread and pumpkin-cinnamon jam and wine were tops.

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Speaking of the bread! Wow! That is the best sourdough I've ever had. No dry 'graubrot' (greybread) variation this. Moist open crumb (probably 60% hydration), tangy and crusty on the outside. And to think that we bought it at trendy homeware store Manufactum
. Now that I know their store in Duesseldorf also sells the bread, it's yet another reason on top of short grain rice and disco dancing to catch that train across the Rhein. Half a loaf costs 2 euros.

We ate the whole half loaf and half a jar of the Kürbiszimt jam.

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Last delicatessan stop on this tour of Munich was the even more famous Käfer
, a well-stocked but very reasonably-priced deli. I think this place is the grandmomma of all those modern, functional delis in the new world, from Alimentari to the Dixon St Deli.

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Big rounds of ciabatta with peperoni for only 1.80:

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Japanese tourists checking out the risotto rice with porcini.

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If you're wondering where the old Gut Feelings look went, I had a fool about with it this afternoon in a rampant abuse of the editorial powers. If anybody thinks it now sucks, I'll change it back. I also managed to lose the Gut person picture, so if anybody has the link, it would be mighty handy.
When I posted about this great Isaan restaurant deep in the Thai suburbs.

I forgot to include photos - so here they are...

The restauranteur is a big Liverpool fan, thus the table cloths....

Som Tum
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Salt Baked Fresh Water Fish
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Which they serve with this delicious and morish chili sauce
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Duck Larb
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Ubiquitous Thai BBQ Prawns
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Achingly Hot Lemon Grass Salad
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Isaan BBQ Chicken....mmmmmmmmmmmm
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Isaan BBQ chicken is one of my favourite's pretty easy to do at home, but you need a scrawny chicken that is full of flavour, not a big fat roasting chicken that you get in most western supermarkets

once you find your scrawny chicken, marinade it in fish sauce, garlic, coriander root, and white pepper.

and then serve with a dipping sauce made of the following ingredients

Dry roasted (with both fresh lime leaf and galangal) and then crushed sticky rice
chili powder
spring onion
shallots minced
fish sauce
lime juice
chicken powder (nitnoy meaning little bit)
sugar (nitnoy)
water (nitnoy)
As some of you my know, my days in Cambodia are numbered. That number, as of today, is two. This means that Phnomenon will come to an end when I run out of material in about a month’s time. So I invite you to check The Last Appetite: Great eating from the white trash of Asia. Nothing’s happening there at the moment, but any feedback on design would be great.

More Reasons to Make Mushroom Dumplings

"We’ve already heard about the large carbon footprint of a burger [... Lloyd has brought us some pretty unappetizing news of the link between cows and global warming. Now we hear, via a report in The Guardian, of a new study just published in New Scientist magazine showing that eating just one kg (approximately 2.2lbs) of beef creates the equivalent emissions as driving for three hours while leaving all the lights on at home! Unfortunately the true cost of emissions will be even higher than stated, as the study did not include the energy involved in maintaining farm equipment, nor in trucking the meat to market. All is not lost, however, as the scientists believe that significant savings in greenhouse gases can be made"

The other day at my Thai lesson the teacher told me that I am a sa-nee-plai-jaa-wak.

She didn't know how to explain it so she pointed at her dictionary

it said

"an attractive woman due to her fine culinary arts"

I'd like to think I'm attractive for more than just my cooking, but I'll take any compliment that's on offer.

I think it's telling that the Thai language has a specific word for such an attractiveness

Anyway, so later that day I went home and as if to prove her point I made really yummy mushroom gyoza.

Mushroom Gyoza

Packet of little flour dumpling wrappers

Mushrooms - you can use any you like but I use
dried shitake 2 (soaked in hot water and then squeezed out and thinly sliced)
dried black ear fungus mushrooms (same as above)
fresh shitake thinly sliced
oyster mushrooms thinly sliced

shredded cabbage
minced garlic 1 - 2 cloves
minced ginger good table spoon
4 garlic chives chopped

oil for frying
season with a couple of chugs of oyster sauce
or soy sauce or both
and/ or shaoxing wine
sesame oil

fry until done and then cool


put a teaspoon in the middle of the dumpling and fold over, seal edges with a lightly beaten egg mixture

you can keep them in the fridge, covered with a moistened paper towel or cook straight away

To cook

put gulp of oil in the bottom of a cold non-stick pan along with a quarter of a cup of water (or enough water to just cover the bottom of the pan and steam the dumpling)

put dumplings in the pan and turn on the heat and cover. As the water evaporates it steams the dumplings, then the left over oil frys them nice and crispy on the bottom

take them out when you hear them sizzling and serve with chinese vinegar, this yummy mustard sauce

Mustard Sauce
1/2 table spoon of djion mustard
water down to a soy sauce like consistency
add a spalsh of rice vinegar
sugar to taste
good number of drops of sesame oil



They are good with beer

Afterwards I had left over filling and egg so I made a mushroom omelette too

Eats & Beats: 07 Festival Round Up part 2

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(photo: Moxo Tengu
about to get the Corny-licious nutrition he needs to play the RBMA Radio stage at Melt festival)

Melt festival is a two-night affair in deepest East Germany. The festival site is a 20 min car ride from the nearest town, Dessau, which means you are somewhat bound to eat what's on site. So don't forget your packet of hazelnut Corny bars!

Luckily there are some stalls offering decent snacks to rockers and ravers (Melt has an equal mix of both, a bit like mixing oil and water,... or oil, vinegar and eggs: it results in quite a mellow social mayonnaise).

In the picture you can see a typical German fairground snack, the gingerbread hearts with declarations of love in icing, These didn't seem to be selling too well to the fans of Dizzee Rascal and Kelis. Nor did this same store do much of a trade in its roasted nuts or chocolate-coated apples. I felt sorry for them. What's wrong with a good honest nut then eh?

To the girl's left in the picture below was a smoothie stall where I had a truly delicious smoothie of frozen strawberries, apple juice and peach pulp. 2 or 3 euros. And they told me I was the first one to order it! Melt punters, you missed out!!

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Otherwise, you have the option of a very long queue at a white lady diner caravan for a damn good Currywurst
with fries - actually the best currywurst I've ever had! The outside of the sausage was perfectly grilled, crumbly and toasted and sort of falling off into the quite sweet sauce. The fries were just OK.

Or there is a bio (organic) wurst stand: I had a bratwurst there with a small piece of graubrot (german sourdough). The sausage was good but quite small and the bread was dry. The 'chutney' was a slightly exotic tasting mayo.

Sausages are unsurprisingly the staple rock concert snack of Germans, traditionally consumed with liberal amounts of Jaegermeister. At Melt I really grew to understand the effectiveness of this combination! Jaegermeister is totally the perfect rave alcohol! I hold it partially responsible for how much I enjoyed Maurice Fulton's set, though Maurice himself deserves most of the credit.

Which of the people in the picture below has consumed the perfect ratio of sausages to Jaegermeister? That's right - it's our old friend Mr. Monkey Sausage...otherwise known as Yannick Elverfeld: see a clip of his monthly party here

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Stay away from the falafels in the Turkish tent, as nice as the rugs and divans might be: the falafels look and taste like hard, irregular pieces of rabbit shit.

In the backstage area, they had a buffet for artists to take one helping only. So you had people like Tobias Thomas
hob-knobbing with Alex Smoke
over gratinized potatoes, and the very German (though Scandinavian in origin) dessert of Rote Gruetze
(literally 'red groats'?) - a thick mixed berry compote with vanilla cream ( a light custard).

No photos of that, but here are some people backstage going to the Red Groats tent:

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I guess the brave campers have it the best food-wise. BBQing under a tarpaulin next to this abandoned steel-mining-pit-turned-lake, seems the way to go.

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Be careful how much Jaegermeister and currywurst you consume: everything becomes a bit backwards the next morning, especially your German, and you might find that when you order a cafe latte, they bring you an ice cream sundae. Like Kat here, a Californian currently living in Berlin:

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Every day is a Phuket day.

This is for Phil and Hasselhoff Experiment (who was living in Phuket but is now "doing the right thing" and finishing his studies in sunny Wellywood rather than becoming THE liquid chef of Asia).

Before Phil started writing for the Wall St Journal Asia he use to write kick ass beer reviews . I am sure this is how I stumbled across his blog Phnomenon. It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I was cooking in Cambodia and he was writing about Khmer food.

I am all about the beer, which I am sure both Phil and the Hass can attest to.

Phuket beer or according to the label - biere or birra or biere or cerveza or piwa - it's a beer that likes to cover all linguistic bases (much like the taste and the tourist mecca itself) - is one of the better beers in Thailand and the people of Belgium seem to agree, they awarded it 'monde' selection in 2006.

There is no noticeable use of rice or any metallic taste (a good thing?). The brewers website attests to manufacturing small batches and use this reason as an excuse for its relatively high price tag compared to other local Thai beers.

I like it and the can is pretty. It conjures all things tropical without any strict adherance to annoying geographical facts, like the fact that Toucans are only found in South America...fuck's Phuket man...home of white rastas and other such ethno-biological oddities.

(yeah yeah she wrote the last paragraph)
So a while ago I attempted to make Fergus Henderson's Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad from his book Nose to Tail Eating

He says to use veal bones but I just used old frozen beef bones from the supermarket

Bone Marrow Parsley Salad.JPG

It was good nonetheless. Although I made far too much. I could only manage 3 bones. It is rather rich and very unctious a bit like beef flavoured butter. The parsley salad is a must and make sure it is lemony as all hell to cut through the rich marrow.


Turn your oven on high and heat for 10 mins and then put defrosted beef bones in an oven proof pan and roast until the ooze fat (around 20 - 30 mins)
Prepare parsley salad with sliced shallots, capers and lots of lemon juice
Toast some good bread

Serve bone marrows with toast, sprinkle with parsley salad and fresh cracked pepper and good quality salt flakes

Eats & Beats: 07 Festival Round Up part 1

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photo: DJ & radio coordinator Yannick
offers his monkey sausage to fellow German Sonar-ambulist Dixon

Note: 'monkey sausage' means banana in Frankfurt dialect.

Here's one festival which isn't all about monkey sausages. One of the best things, if not THE best thing, about visiting Sonar in Barcelona in mid June, is the food. If you aren't put off by the hams hanging in La Boqueria market (they hang next to slicing machines with hooves still attached, looking rather like elegant high heels). The bocadillo sandwiches are probably the staple Sonar sustenance: very simple small skinny baguettes smeared with a little smashed tomato & garlic and filled with a couple of pieces of thin sliced jambon (ham), which is very umami-ish and musky.

A lot of people wander down the road to the giant La Boqueria market which is a stone's throw from Sonar. There is a fish restaurant there, and you have to hang around til a seat at the counter is free. Gerd Janson
snuck down there on the first day of Sonar and sat in the very seat where moments before Woody Allen had been snacking on prawns. This was my third time at Sonar and the first one at which I had time to visit the Bar Boqueria
(I did forcibly interview a couple of RBMA people while they chewed on shellfish). The mixed fish plate is supposedly the thing to get, but Erik & I felt that for the price (22 euros ish) it wasn't so amazing. If you are into very simple & fresh preparation - simply covered in oil & garlic - you might love it. But we wished they would at least de-vein the prawns.

We visited a couple of restaurants of very good repute... of course it was the little humble tapas place around the corner which ended up being the most memorable meal. No doubt it was because it was our first night in Barcelona and we just walked down there by ourselves in the warm air and randomly picked out some dishes from the plates behind the bar. (I'll post the address of this place when I find the piece of paper at home).

The best thing of all was the crab salad... probably just surimi, fake crab, but cut up fine in a very light mayo (more like a creme fraiche?) with tiny chopped pieces of cornichon gherkin and chives. And those biscuity things for dipping. Yum!

The crab salad that ate Sonar:
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Another highlight of Sonar eating is these green pimientos: in Japanese they're called shishitou, they are amazing! Some hot, some mild, it's pimiento roulette. Fried and well salted.
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Squid, Barca-style:
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More tapas drenched in tasty olive oil:
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The restaurant:
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If you need some new music to help you digest, here are some of the sets we recorded in the RBMA Lounge:

Sonar Sessions 2007 - Flying Lotus (Warp/Plug Research, Los Angeles) - the cartoonist nephew of Alice Coltrane plays funky beats

Sonar Sessions 2007 - Ian Martin (Spin Palace, Rotterdam) - cheery mix of deep housey techno and italo new wave stuff

Sonar Sessions - Tunng (Full Time Hobby, UK) - amazing acoustic pop-electronics from the Sonar before last
It was another sopping wet night in Bangkok

Not really the night for venturing out to eat a dirty Chinatown seafood meal on the street.

But we did anyway, with our friend Reneau (friendly neighbourhood french restauranteur from Siem Reap) and his french and argentinian friends who live in Costa Rica


We had forgotten that Mondays are street food free days in Bangkok. So we ended up sitting inside at T & K's, a grubby little seafood restaurant in Chinatown where we usually perch on plastic stools on the street and order a cheap seafood feast. E's is positively high class compared to this place. But it is exceptionally cheap and mostly fresh.

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I had never been inside the restaurant, but I'm glad I did because we got to see their beautiful tinsel signage

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The thing this place does exceptionally well is bbq river prawn. They have charcoal grills on the street and the prawns are infused with a wonderful smokey flavour. They are also fresh. Fresh enough to suck the heads. I never used to suck prawn heads until Hock told me to close my eyes and think of boulliabase...I did, it's worth it.

Grilled Prawns.JPG

The crab fried rice was very good also
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I like to eat sea snails, just as I like to the eat the little foot that always stick to the shell when you eat a mussel. There is something satisfyingly chewy about sea snails. These were big, but some weren't fresh which of course ruins the chewy thrill.


The fried fish with fish sauce was a disappointment. It was dry and over cooked, a pale comparison to the original Rayong recipe which comes with shredded green mango marinated in fish sauce on top

Fried Fish.JPG

Decent cockles stir fried with chili sauce and Thai basil

The bbq crabs were a bit dry and old
If you are in Sydney you may be interested in attending this:

Distinguished Lecture Series #2
“Global Sushi: Soft Power and Hard Realities”

Theodore C. Bestor
Professor of Social Anthropology and Japanese Studies Chair, Department of Anthropology Harvard University Visiting
Academic to the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne

Venue: Building 10; level 6; Training Room 1. (enter through Jones St but use lifts at Wattle St end of building)
See Map
Time/Date: 6-7pm Monday 16 July 2007

For the past eighteen years, Ted Bestor has been visiting fish markets, fishing ports, tuna ranches, and sushi bars in the
Asia Pacific and North American and European Atlantic regions to track the spread of “Global Sushi,” as Japanese cuisine
has been transformed from exotic ethnic specialization into an icon of Japan’s “gross national cool,” an aspect of Japan’s
projection of “soft power” into the arenas of global popular culture. But Global Sushi is not just slick cosmopolitan
consumption; it is an industry of off-shore production and distribution, created by complex joint ventures and
technology transfers, environmentally controversial aquaculture projects, illegal fishing and international attempts to
regulate global common property regimes. Global Sushi depends upon complex arrangements of production and
distribution, and an extensive and only partially transparent international trade in seafood.

E Pochana: Bangkok Seafood Gluttony

It's somewhat a family tradition to take first time Bangkok visitors to E Pochana's. So before my pop's left we took Green Dean to experience his first curry crab.

While Somboon's may very well be the curry crab originator, E's is definitely the perfector.

Everytime we go we only ever order the same dishes, because they are sooooo good

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Satay, ok it's not seafood but they do make it especially well

Clams stir fried with Thai basil
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Simple stir fry kangkong with garlic and chilis

Goong woo sen - Teow Chew dish of glass noodles in a pot baked with prawns, sichuan peppercorns, garlic and pork fat
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Fragrant baked fish with pandan leaves, and a yummy paste, my guess is garlic and corriander roots
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The piece de resistance - curry crab
Curry Crab a la E's.JPG

The money shot
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E's is located next to Sam Yaan Seafood Market


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