snacking my way through a vacation

Far from being a champion of healthy-living and healthy-eating, I do indulge in snacks pretty often. On the whole, I think I am fairly well-balanced in terms of good and bad foods that I consume, although there could certainly be improved to skew it more towards the good than bad. But vacations are usually the times for people to let go, let loose, enjoy and indulge, in various senses of the word. And so, this of course includes gastronomic indulgences, and for me, someone who relishes in cheap food (someone I think my palate is just not geared for expensive food, unfortunately), would mainly be snacks. If I could and would, disregarding health concerns, I could just survive solely on snacks the entire day!

This was a stash I got on the very first day that I arrived in Seoul.20140807-093839-34719832.jpg

And what I stuffed the mini bar fridge with. It’s comforting to return from a day’s walking to the hotel room, open up the fridge and be greeted by such stuff waiting. Typically by the time I get back during the mid-afternoon breaks, my stomach will be craving for some snacks and as usual, I will be feeling peckish. These are great to pop a few in the mouth before stuffing them back again into the fridge.20140807-093856-34736713.jpg

Apparently, the banana milk is something quite well-known in Korea, or it’s supposed to be a famous Korean beverage yet I have never tried it before. I picked it up at the supermarket as I have seen it in the Korean marts in Singapore, but opted for the light version, which proved to be a good idea. My friend told me thereafter that the original, which carries a green packaging instead of blue, is much sweeter than this, and as I drank my first sip, I already found this to be too sweet for my liking. But to be fair, it has a strong banana flavour scent/taste to it. Not for the non-fans of bananas definitely. 20140807-093914-34754371.jpg

And everywhere I go, I always try to get my prebiotic fix in the form of yogurts. I love yogurts, not for any of their supposed health benefits if they are really as claimed, but just for its tinge of sourness and the creamy or fluid texture, depending on which type of yogurt, is something that I really enjoy. 20140807-093914-34754273.jpg

And biscuits! They are one of my loves alongside breads, cakes and pastries. I have morphed into a flour monster of sorts over these years, oddly, when in the past, I think I didn’t even enjoy eating bread and cakes that much. This little pack was picked up at a subway station and it provided a great snack for me on the move, when I’m experiencing hunger pangs on those long rides or just tired from walking. 🙂20140807-093914-34754318.jpg

Chocolates! Also something that I just can’t live without these days, whether they serve their purpose as a purported stress-buster, or just for the sugar rush when I need a boost of energy during the day. I am always fascinated by the variety of snacks and what-nots that convenience stores or supermarkets overseas carry, but then again I think it’s more a factor of me being too familiar with what we stock on our stores’ shelves in Singapore to truly see the variety. As the time passes, there is a greater array of products being brought into Singapore, so there really isn’t a lack for us so to speak, whether we are talking about snacks or other kinds of food, Western or Asian. It’s just that familiarity just makes me glaze over the assortment, I guess.20140807-093914-34754231.jpg

Another cup of juice and a pack of crispy, crunchy Korean spicy chicken-flavoured snack! It isn’t spicy at all, but more sweet, so I didn’t like it as much as if it had a spicy taste. Maybe I was imagining it to be something like Twisties, the curry-flavoured type that I really used to love until I resolved to cut down on snacks and Twisties fell from grace. Haha.20140807-093914-34754434.jpg

Hello Panda!

I think I have been quite susceptible to snacking these days. Or maybe I am just losing control over my knack for snacking. And it can only spell trouble with a capital T.

Anyway I don’t know about most people, but occasionally I like to pop into those value shops that seem to have sprouted up in many places. There’s one in Toa Payoh Central, just opposite the NTUC Fairprice near the MRT station. I go there once in a while to stock up on the haw slices that I really love the snack on. Even though there are people who say that those haw slices or haw flakes (also called 山楂片 or something like that) are a healthy snack, I believe that in the form on which I snack on, it can’t be all that healthy considering how sweet it can be. Nevertheless, it had been a childhood snack that I enjoyed and over the last few years, I have rekindled that enjoyment.

There is also a value shop in NEX, on the top-most floor, where I visit also on and off during lunch time, if I bother to make that MRT ride to Serangoon. On one of those trips, I picked up a party pack of Hello Panda, which has an assortment of flavours of these small packets:

20131109-222839.jpgThere is the original chocolate flavoured Hello Panda that comes in red packaging, this pink one which is strawberry, a brown one which probably is cocoa biscuit and a blue packaging which is milk flavoured. These biscuits that contain the flavoured cream (in a small quantity though) make for a happy treat in the afternoon when I am starting to feel like I am nodding off, and because it is a biscuit which means crunchiness with a mixture of sweet aromatic cream, it’s double the joy!

Only thing is, how different are these sold in the value shops compared with those that are sold elsewhere? I haven’t really scrutinised the details of the packaging, but I guess they are probably manufactured in different counties, which in some cases actually lead to differing tastes. Like how Milo, from what I have heard, whether it is made in Malaysia or made in Australia, smells and tastes different. Same goes for chocolates, and yes even Starbucks coffee, and accordingly so too does the price differ.

Nine layer cake (九层糕)

When I was a kid, this was a breakfast treat that I occasionally had. I think those of us who grew up in that era where hawker centre fare was our usual breakfast menu would remember this nonya snack, which in Mandarin we call it the 九层糕, and in Hokkien, it’s known as the “gao deng kueh”. Supposedly, people call it kueh lapis, but to me, that is an altogether different kueh, most represented by Bengawan Solo, that comprises many thin layers occupying various shades of yellow and brown.

When one of my colleagues turned her nose up at this with a comment “Actually, I don’t really fancy such kuehs,” I thought about whether I really liked it. Well, to me I don’t think that much about what I eat sometimes if I truly savour each morsel and mouthful that I put into my mouth. But my greatest enjoyment from eating this nine-layer cake is not so much in its eating but the peeling of each layer one-by-one before popping them into my mouth.

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Sometime ago, when I had one of these, I was pretty distressed by the fact that the layers were not peelable at all, what travesty! How can it be called a nine-layer cake if it is in fact just a block of sticky flour with different colours “printed” onto it? You can imagine how miserable I was at having to eat that. I can forgive the fact that it doesn’t always have nine layers like its name promises, but it MUST be peelable!

And surprisingly, this didn’t even come from any famous stall, if there are even any famous confectioneries making them in the first place. A new snack stall opened in the office canteen recently, and I was wondering how they could actually survive with the little array of such kuehs that they sell, which not everyone enjoys and will buy on a daily basis, especially not at lunch. It isn’t like your economic rice stall, noodle stall, yong tau foo stall or the likes that enjoy a steady stream of customers be it morning or afternoon. So it was with a “let me just give them some business” attitude that I bought the kueh, of course not without first dropping by the stall and checking out if the nine-layer cake looks good (i.e. layers that can be peeled). It costs S$0.70, and besides being peelable, which made me quite happy as I ate it in office, it actually tasted pretty good. It had a nice fragrant pandan flavour somewhat, and the stickiness of the kueh wasn’t overwhelming.

So that was my mid-week kueh treat for myself, a little gastronomic indulgence with the health-consciousness put aside for the time being. 🙂

smile a little smile today

I am a pessimist by nature, and it’s just a trait of mankind to be so. Every day when we flip through the papers or read some news online, more often than not, we get more bad than good news. The financial turmoils, the rising prices, the natural disasters, things just seem to get worse. Yet in the midst of all these, we know that all is not lost, for we are still alive aren’t we? For me, I have lots to be thankful for, despite that there are also many challenges that I face in my day-to-day life. Sometimes, I wonder if perhaps these challenges and problems are not conjured up because I think too much. I should learn to let go, because only when I do can He work His miracles on me, and then I can start to receive.

For the longest time, I have always walked around in Isetan supermarket when they are having a special fair of sorts, and on-and-off there will be yummy-looking and nice-smelling snacks being sold. One of these items that never fail to attract me are the small bite-sized dorayaki, the aroma of baked buttery goodness wafting in the air that just arrests my olfactory senses completely. But I have only actually bought them a few times, because they don’t come cheap. In the past, I remember that prices start at maybe S$7.50 for 16 pieces, and this has risen steadily, until now it costs S$9 for 16 pieces. First of all, $9 for 16 pieces is expensive for a snack, and 16 pieces is too much for one person. There aren’t many for me to share this around with since my brother isn’t a big fan of such snacks. But I decided to give in to temptation one day and get them anyhow; I ended up finishing most of it on my own, with my mum helping a little.  20131017-094333.jpg

Don’t you think the fish-shaped spongey cakes help to brighten up one’s day? And they taste great too, for a pastry-lover like me. The only downside is that the fillings inside are quite pathetic, and there were even some that came without! I thought they all had fillings so I asked for a mixture of everything, so I was a little miffed when I bit into a couple that were effectively “kosong”. They have the usual flavours like red bean, custard, chocolate (or was it nutella) and the likes, but I think there was also a strawberry-flavoured version I had which was good, and the best of all was the black sesame!

treats

I have a problem with snacking; the need to constantly munch on something. I wonder if it’s due to the fact that I am frequently and easily bored. So I brought some animal biscuits and mixed nuts to the office the other day. Well, the biscuits are not the healthiest snacks anyone can think of but they are really fragrant and the shape of the biscuits help to break the monotony of the day somewhat. A small treat for myself that day! 20130802-091452.jpgObviously, I didn’t have all these snacks pictured on the same day at the same time. I received some Smarties one evening in Jap class from a classmate. There wasn’t any special occasion, but sometimes the people are pretty generous with treats. I used to buy stuff for them too when I travel, but these days I have kind of stopped with the practice because it became a bit of a burden at some point to have to consider getting something for them on each trip that I went, and the class started to have some changes in terms of the student mix. It’s weird to buy something and just distribute it to selected people but some days I don’t know exactly how many are going to turn up. Maybe I can continue with it again, since I don’t travel that often now, otherwise it really does become a chore.

20130802-091504.jpgThen these! Well, we can find this in our supermarkets locally too, I saw it in Isetan supermarket the other day, but this box was from my colleague, air-flown halfway around the world! Note that the words below the brand are also different! I checked out the one in Isetan, and that row of words was in English. Haha.

20130802-091513.jpgI keep this box in the office, and I am consistently having a couple of these each day. OMG, think chocolate, hazelnut and caramel, every day. I can just about imagine all the calories that are being added to my waistline gradually. =/

Anyway, snacks are supposed to make people happier, momentarily or otherwise. I snacked a lot today, as I thought about what I had… pop chips, mixed nuts, haw slices, chocolates, … I can’t even remember all that I have had. And to add to the list, I had an apple, a slice of papaya and a plum. And then before that I actually ate sushi. This was just evening.

Seriously, what’s wrong with my body and strange obsession with constant eating?

“You are lucky today”

It has been a long time since I last had any Yam Yam, you know, the biscuit snack that comes in sticks and is contained in a red (usually) cylindrical cardboard container with chocolate dip. I think it comes in other flavours too but I only remember the chocolate one as it’s probably the only one I’ve had. I forgot to take a picture of the packaging, that’s why I’m going to great lengths to explain it. So the other day, I opened this box (or whatever) of Yam Yam that had been sitting around for the longest time… yes, I know, me and my expired/near-expiring foodstuffs, one of these days it won’t be surprising if you hear that I have got food poisoning, but touchwood.

So it has been so long, that I was pleasantly surprised to notice this, and how coincidental!  20130612-082253.jpg

Of course, that wasn’t my first stick but I just thought it was interesting and fun to be eating and seeing something like this; makes the snacking process more enjoyable doesn’t it?20130612-082306.jpg

Sure hope so! Have a great mid-week!

goodness of greens

The very first time I came to know about what “Thunder Tea Rice” is was probably years back when I was working in the Suntec/Millenia area. Oh how I miss those days…

Back then when Food Republic was still at the convention area (until recently that is) there was a stall that sells this and I was quite a fan of the stall but I never ordered this dish, because simply put it’s just a bowl of vegetables and rice, which comes with a bowl of mint green concoction that I was told wasn’t too nice. So obviously, it never entered into my realm of consideration when I was choosing what to eat for lunch. Instead, what always ends up on my tray is a bowl of brown rice, topped with dark soy sauce basil chicken and a fried egg. Supposedly, this stall sells healthy stuff, as in this Thunder Tea Rice is touted as a healthy food option, but with the basil chicken rice that I always order, seemingly coated with a glistening sheen of oil, I am not too sure about that.

20130305-112633.jpgIt was only recently, maybe in the last couple of years, that I started to appreciate the goodness of Thunder Tea Rice. No doubt I always knew how it is generally healthy, but the taste and texture of all the greens mixed together, plus the peanuts and anchovies and my additional option of the fried egg, these have begun to grow on me. Now instead of Basil Chicken, I only order this. Even the mint green-coloured soup that is served together with it doesn’t really taste that bad. You have to try it to know it, and although I won’t say I love the soup, it is pretty much ok; I just worry if greenish fibre-like objects stick to my teeth after drinking it that will cause a whole lot of embarrassment.

Honestly, I do not know if this is entirely a healthy lunch choice, but I just tell myself it is, and the best part is that I like it. Healthy food is generally never good or tasty but in this case, I would think otherwise, or perhaps it is an acquired taste. Some people think I am health-conscious and eat really healthily; I will admit to the extent that I am conscious of some of the things that I put into digestive system, but not so because I am always concerned about my health and well-being but because I try to compensate for my unhealthy eating habits. As compared to the average adult, I snack way more than most; even if I have a proper full meal my mind invariably wanders to the type of snacks that I can have. And we all know how most types of snacking are very unhealthy, which also happen to the types that I indulge in.