Work travel

My alimentary tract has come alive with the smells, sights and sounds of Delhi

How much of my alimentary tract?

All my alimentary tract! I’ve just returned from eight nights away from Canberra, five of which were spent in Delhi, India. I was participating in a World Health Organization meeting on poliovirus containment.

One of the highlights, apart from the meeting, was the food. Every meal was filled with flavourful spices from all parts of India.

Twitter embed for alimentary tract alive tweet

Facebook embed for alimentary tract alive tweet

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Breakfasts

I ate breakfasts in the hotel and each morning I had an omelette with bacon and most days spicy baked beans. I also added a few Indian treats including the different types of bread.  

Cheese omelet with baked beans and bacon breakfast at The Imperial alimentary tract Gary Lum
Cheese omelette with baked beans and bacon breakfast at The Imperial
Tuesday breakfast at The Imperial Hotel. A little more adventurous with some local bread. alimentary tract Gary Lum
Tuesday breakfast at The Imperial Hotel. A little more adventurous with some local bread.
Is it wrong to have lovely spicy baked beans with my poori along with a cheese omelet and bacon? alimentary tract Gary Lum
Is it wrong to have lovely spicy baked beans with my poori along with a cheese omelette and bacon?
The potato dumpling went well with the spicy baked beans as well as the cheesy omelet and bacon alimentary tract Gary Lum
The potato dumpling went well with the spicy baked beans as well as the cheesy omelette and bacon
Croissant and doughnut alimentary tract Gary Lum
Croissant and doughnut
TGIF my last breakfast. Aloo Bhaji on paratha meets my spicy baked beans, cheese and chilli 🌶 omelette with bacon alimentary tract Gary Lum
TGIF my last breakfast. Aloo Bhaji on paratha meets my spicy baked beans, cheese and chilli 🌶 omelette with bacon

Lunches

Each day I tried something different and yet each day there were elements that were the same, like pappadums. The main regions with distinctive flavours are the north, south and east.  

Northern Indian food alimentary tract Gary Lum
Northern Indian food
Eastern Indian curry lunch alimentary tract Gary Lum
Eastern Indian curry lunch
Southern Indian lunch Imperial Hotel alimentary tract Gary Lum
Southern Indian lunch Imperial Hotel
French chicken cassoulet and crepe Florentine with mutton masala is such a good flavour combination alimentary tract Gary Lum
French chicken cassoulet and crepe Florentine with mutton masala is such a good flavour combination
Chocolate mousse and vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce alimentary tract Gary Lum
Chocolate mousse and vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce
Friday lunch Imperial Hotel, chicken, cauliflower, lamb and paratha alimentary tract Gary Lum
Friday lunch Imperial Hotel, chicken, cauliflower, lamb and paratha

Dinners

Monday night was a buffet with a northern touch.

Northern Indian dinner at The Imperial Hotel | The big green balls were a bit funky, everything else was fantastic. alimentary tract Gary Lum
Northern Indian dinner at The Imperial Hotel | The big green balls were a bit funky, everything else was fantastic.

Tuesday night I had a Thai duck curry.

Kaeng Phed Ped Yang | Roasted duck cooked in Thai red curry garnished with pineapple and rambutan | Spice Route Restaurant alimentary tract Gary Lum
Kaeng Phed Ped Yang | Roasted duck cooked in Thai red curry garnished with pineapple and rambutan | Spice Route Restaurant

On Wednesday night, I went out with some WHO colleagues and we went to Barbecue Nation. It was a barbeque pit with hot coals placed in the middle of the table with spicy meat on metal skewers cooked as you want it.

Barbecue Nation, Delhi. Prawns, Chicken and Fish. alimentary tract Gary Lum
Barbeque Nation, Delhi. Prawns, Chicken and Fish.

Thursday night was my last night staying at the Imperial Hotel, and I ate at Daniell’s Tavern. I enjoyed Burra memsahib’s favourite pepper mutton from Coorg. It was mutton tossed in spicy marsala with lots and lots of black pepper corns. 

My mouth is so happy with Burra memsahib's favourite pepper mutton from Coorg. Mutton tossed in spicy marsala. Sorry about poor light. alimentary tract Gary Lum
My mouth is so happy with Burra memsahib’s favourite pepper mutton from Coorg. Mutton tossed in spicy marsala. Sorry about poor light.
Garlic naan alimentary tract Gary Lum
Garlic naan

Would I return?

Sure, if I need to return to work there, of course, I would. Would I go to Delhi for a holiday? I wouldn’t in winter, maybe summer. I’d probably want to explore the other regions.

My reason for not returning in winter is not so much the cold, it wasn’t. It was the very low humidity. My skin became a mess. I was forever applying moisturiser and it didn’t feel like anything would help. It was very uncomfortable.

Final thoughts on eating in Delhi

I titled this post “My alimentary tract has come alive with the smells, sights and sounds of Delhi”. Every mouthful of food was like having a party in my mouth. Some meals were spicier than others. The food from the south seemed to be hotter and more intense. The food from the east seemed to be milder. Each meal though was very nice. I didn’t go much for the desserts, I was eating so much rice, I don’t think I needed any more carbohydrates.

The good news is I didn’t feel unwell at all and there were no episodes of gastroenteritis. That said, there was an awful lot of gurgling noises from my bowels. Some nights it was almost musical.

The food is also very colourful. It was like art on a plate or in a bowl. The only meal I had that didn’t look pretty was my favourite meal, the pepper mutton. Best meal but nothing to look at.

In terms of smells, each dish had amazing aromas, and given the title of this blog post, the fragrant aromas passed completely through my alimentary tract. I suppose I shouldn’t write anything more about that.

Another surprising thing!

Apart from my iPhone, I didn’t bring a camera. You can tell the images are not as sharp. My iPhone photography suffers from motion blur, especially on aeroplanes. 

Parting words

I regularly post photographs of food to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Please feel free to connect with me on any social media platform.
I also have a podcast. It’s not food related but each show is short and it’s named Medical Fun Facts. You can find it in the iTunes podcast store as well as Stitcher. A show drops every Monday and Tuesday. It has a little cynicism, a little scepticism and occasionally some sarcasm.

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Travelling from Canberra to Delhi

Why am I going to Delhi?

I’m currently travelling to Delhi for work. Poliovirus containment is a part of what I do at work. The World Health Organization’s global effort to eradicate polio (the disease, as opposed to containing poliovirus, the microorganism that causes polio) also includes poliovirus containment. The distinction is important, it’s important to eradicate the disease and contain the ætiological agent.

Australia has been polio-free for decades and we’re well advanced in poliovirus containment.


Please do me a favour

I think I’ve managed to work out how to use e-mail lists for sending post notifications and newsletters. I’d love it if you would sign up using the ‘form’ in the sidebar (if you’re using a laptop or desktop) or at the bottom of the post (if you’re using a mobile device).


What preparation is needed?

Spending time in Delhi had me thinking about potential travel-related health problems I might encounter. In addition, if you visit the smart traveller site hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, you’ll see there are some important statements about India.

It’s important to speak with a travel doctor, even for work-related travel. That’s what I did. January and February are low-risk times in terms of mosquito-borne infections, especially if I’m mainly going to be in a building with other health professionals. It’s winter so I’ll be in long sleeves and trousers the whole time.

Eating street food isn’t on the agenda because I won’t have an opportunity. I arrived late the night before the meeting and the schedule is packed for all the days I’m in Delhi.

Eating cooked hotel food is part of my staying healthy plan. I have a colleague who is Indian and she returns to the northern parts regularly to visit family and she told me to eat deep fried food. Exactly the opposite of the nutritional advice she shares with me each Friday at the hospital.

One of the problems that India is experiencing is widespread antimicrobial resistance. So much so, that the usual antimicrobials for diseases like typhoid fever are no longer useful.

Canberra to Sydney

I flew Qantas in a Dash 8. There was a snack. It was a little container of a savoury dip and biscuits along with a small piece of apple and coconut cake. I also drank a Bundaberg ginger beer.

Border control at Sydney International Airport

Fortunately, there weren’t a lot of people trying to cross over into the secure zone. For some reason, there was an apparent randomness to queue allocation and while some people went through unhindered after the electronic assessment I was directed to speak with an Australian Border Force officer. He was very friendly and processed my paperwork very quickly.

One poor Englishman though had to say goodbye to his pocket knife. He was remonstrating with security about how other countries let him travel with it but this was to no avail to the private security contractors at Sydney International Airport. 

Dinner

Dinner at the airport was good. I had a caramelised lamb shoulder and chickpeas and then a small deconstructed pavlova.

 

Caramelised lamb shoulder with chickpeas parsley salad and garlic yogurt | Qantas First Class Lounge Delhi Gary Lum
Caramelised lamb shoulder with chickpeas parsley salad and garlic yoghurt | Qantas First Class Lounge [Click for a better view]
Pavlova with cherry nectarines and raspberry | Sydney Airport Qantas First Class Lounge Delhi Gary Lum
Pavlova with cherry nectarines and raspberry | Sydney Airport Qantas First Class Lounge [click for a better view]

Sydney to Kuala Lumpur

I flew Malaysia Airlines on MH140. The flight left on time and soon after take-off, we enjoyed some Malaysian satay, some smoked salmon and then a piece of beef. I also had a piece of cheesecake.

MH140 Malaysian Satay Delhi Gary Lum
MH140 Malaysian Satay

MH140 Smoked salmon entree Delhi Gary Lum
MH140 Smoked salmon entree [click for a better view]
MH140 Beef main course Delhi Gary Lum
MH140 Beef main course [click for a better view]
MH140 Cheesecake dessert Delhi Gary Lum
MH140 Cheesecake dessert [Click for a better view]
The flight was turbulent most of the way and it got worse over the Top End and as we approached Malaysia. I really didn’t sleep. I deliberately didn’t try to stimulate myself with my iPad or iPhone. I’d downloaded a heap of podcasts and I had a couple of books but I basically tried to keep my eyes closed.

The flight was turbulent enough that breakfast wasn’t served. The flight landed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at about 3.40 am. It was dark but warm (26 °C).

Kuala Lumpur for ten hours

My next flight, MH190 didn’t leave KUL until 4 pm in the afternoon I spent a pleasant day in the airport reading work papers and walking around. Free Wi-Fi is marvellous. I’m so grateful I brought an ‘English’ power adapter as well as the Type C adaptor for India.

Kuala Lumpur to Delhi

MH190 left Kuala Lumpur on time and the flight arrive in Delhi a little early. It was a comfortable flight with a little turbulence on approach to Delhi.

Me on board MH190 Delhi Gary Lum
Me on board MH190

Again, the food started with some satay followed by a small salad and then a round of beef with vegetables. The beef was nice. Not very tender, but it had a nice flavour.

Malaysia Airlines MH190 satay Delhi Gary Lum
Malaysia Airlines MH190 satay [click for a better view]
Malaysia Airlines MH190 Grouper and vegetables Delhi Gary Lum
Malaysia Airlines MH190 Grouper and vegetables [click for a better view]

First impressions of Delhi

Getting off the aeroplane was trouble-free. I’d packed three small bags and had no check in luggage so I didn’t have to wait at a carousel hoping that my bags hadn’t got lost. Delhi airport immigration area has a specific line for diplomats and official passport holders. I got straight in and out in less than one minute. My best experience ever.

As I moved through I could see long lines of people wanting to buy rupee. I’d been told I could get by with my personal credit card so I elected not to wait in line.

WHO takes personal security very seriously so whenever a delegate lands there is someone to meet them and arrange transport to the hotel. This was no different and it worked well.

India celebrated republic day on 26 January, the same date as Australia day. As I drove past all the government buildings they were lit up beautifully in white light bulbs.

The Imperial Hotel

The meeting is at the Imperial Hotel in the middle of New Delhi. It’s an older building, built in the early 1900s in an Art Deco style. It’s very comfortable.

Room 265 The Imperial. After a long flight a bed is good. Delhi Gary Lum
Room 265 The Imperial. After a long flight a bed is good. [click for a better view]
The food in the hotel restaurants has been very nice. You’ll see examples in my social media feeds.

I’ll catch you later.

Parting words

I regularly post photographs of food to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Please feel free to connect with me on any social media platform.
I also have a podcast. It’s not food related but each show is short and it’s named Medical Fun Facts. You can find it in the iTunes podcast store as well as Stitcher. A show drops every Monday and Tuesday. It has a little cynicism, a little scepticism and occasionally some sarcasm.

Helsinki, Finland

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I’ve just spent three nights in Helsinki, Finland for a work meeting. This is my first time visiting continental Europe. I’ve been to England twice (for work) but never to the continent. As I prepared for the meeting I took a look at where Finland is on Google Maps. I didn’t quite appreciate how far north it is in comparison with England. I recall watching a documentary on World War 2 and learning some history of Finland and its relationship with Sweden and Russia. Helsinki is in the south of Finland, can you imagine what it would be like if the capital was in Lapland. Being summer, the sun set well after 10.30 pm and it never really got completely dark. The sun rose before 4 am so I was grateful for curtains not that I was asleep after 3.30 am. The room I was in had a view of the water and the reflection of the low sun on the water produced a lot of glare that beamed straight into my room. The weather was very similar to Canberra at the same time. Early morning was <10 °C (I note Canberra was ‘enjoying’ some subzero mornings) and the maximum temperature was about 18 °C. It was like being in Canberra with extra sunlight. That’s not a good thing. Like Canberra, it was very dry. We all know how much I dislike the weather of Canberra. I don’t think I would like a Finnish winter. The cold dry darkness would be inhospitable and the snow would depress me.

I flew to Helsinki via Melbourne and Singapore. It was a pretty long trip. Because of the flights schedules I ended up with some time on the day of my arrival and the day of my departure to walk around a bit of the Helsinki CBD.

I’d been told that Finnish cuisine has a high seafood content and that I might also be able to try some reindeer. Regular readers will know my love of salmon. I wasn’t disappointed. I had salmon at least once every day in Helsinki and also became fond of pickled herring. I love whole baked salmon. It is just so moist and full of flavour. Whole baked salmon beats baked salmon fillets hands down. It would be great to bake a whole salmon but it would be hugely expensive and even I would have trouble eating a whole salmon at once. Friends and even my mother told me about rollmops but I never saw any. The best I could do was put a bit of gherkin between two pieces of pickled herring to make my own sort of rollmop. I don’t know that I could eat a lot of pickled herring in one sitting, but a few pieces for breakfast was really good especially with a poached egg and Hollandaise sauce.

I also got to try reindeer. It was cooked very nicely (medium rare) with a juniper sauce which offset the flavour of the reindeer nicely.

I also got to try some pike-perch which I assume is more perch than pike. It has a delightfully delicate white flesh which flaked really nicely.

Apart from proteins, I also drank my fill of lingonberry and blueberry juice. Who knew egg butter is a thing!

I was expecting the coffee to be good, but it was more akin to American and Canadian coffee.

Helsinki is a really nice city. I saw no homeless people and only a few people begging for money. The streets and buildings are all clean and I get an impression that Finnish people are very neat and tidy. I’m guessing the social welfare system is second to none and unemployment is minimal.

The city is about 150 years old, so it is about one and a half times older than Canberra. The buildings, especially the larger ones are beautiful. There are also some magnificent places of worship. They are quite architecturally beautiful.

The other revelation is the taxicabs. They are so clean and the drivers are friendly, neat, clean and they do not smell of really bad body odour. They also speak excellent English and know where they are going without referring to a GPS device and relying on a customer for directions. A trip from the airport to the CBD will set you back about €30.

While in Helsinki I stayed at the Hilton Strand Helsinki. This was the recommended hotel by the meeting organisers. I found it to be an excellent option. The staff are all friendly and helpful. The breakfast buffet was very good and the restaurant served very nice meals for lunch and dinner. I did not try room service because there is an associated €10 service charge. The Wi-Fi was fast and reliable with good upload capacity if you’re backing up files to a cloud service.

One the subject of currency, euros are quaint looking notes and the coins are nice and solid. I like them more than Australian coins.

As part of the meeting we spent one night socialising at the Design Museum which was really interesting. The Finns are very proud of their designers. A significant portion of the museum is currently dedicated to the designer of the ball chair, which in my opinion is a most uncomfortable and impractical chair. This designer, viz., Eero Aarnio, also developed a pony chair for children and the bubble lamp. Again I’m not sure why these designs are awarding winning. I prefer function over form especially when it comes to posture and maximising comfort and efficiency.

On another evening, meeting participants dined in a floating restaurant which isn’t a boat. This was quite nice and gave me an opportunity to meet new people. I learnt quite a lot about Holland, Denmark and Norway. The word is Scandinavia can be seen in two weeks with good planning.

So I shot a few photographs of food and some of the things I found interesting as I walked in the CBD.

Coffee with my passport

QF795 CBR to MEL Cheese omelet with sausages
QF795 CBR to MEL Cheese omelet with sausages
Almond croissant with pineapple juice in Qantas First Lounge MEL
Almond croissant with pineapple juice in Qantas First Lounge MEL
Crab and vegetable savoury pancake on QF35
Crab and vegetable savoury pancake on QF35
Toasted beef, mushroom and fontina sandwich with crème fraiche and rocquet on QF35
Toasted beef, mushroom and fontina sandwich with crème fraiche and rocquet on QF35
Baked chocolate, wattleseed and almond tart with date cream on QF35
Baked chocolate, wattleseed and almond tart with date cream on QF35
Roast pork with black bean, chilli, garlic, chives, tofu and noodles on QF35
Roast pork with black bean, chilli, garlic, chives, tofu and noodles on QF35
Port Keats from QF35
Port Keats from QF35
Ice cream in Singapore Qantas Club lounge
Ice cream in Singapore Qantas Club lounge
Meripaviljonki Ravintola Floating Restaurant
Meripaviljonki Ravintola Floating Restaurant
Helsinki public art
Helsinki public art

Bicycle rack

Hilton Strand Helsinki
Hilton Strand Helsinki
Transformer cow
Transformer cow
Pepsi Max and biscuit in Helsinki
Pepsi Max and biscuit in Helsinki
Steak and salad
Steak and salad

BRO restaurant menu BRO restaurant Bread from BRO BRO restaurant

Alder smoke reindeer roast from Kemijärvi, juniper berry sauce, shimeji mushroom, fennel butter brussels sprout from BRO Restaurant
Alder smoke reindeer roast from Kemijärvi, juniper berry sauce, shimeji mushroom, fennel butter brussels sprout from BRO Restaurant
Canapes at the Design Museum
Canapes at the Design Museum
The Mushroom at the Helsinki Design Museum
The Mushroom at the Helsinki Design Museum
Hilton Strand Helsinki room view
Hilton Strand Helsinki room view
Vegetable tartlet with morel cream and asparagus caviar at Meripaviljonki Ravintola Restaurant
Vegetable tartlet with morel cream and asparagus caviar at Meripaviljonki Ravintola Restaurant
Roasted pike-perch with spinach quinoa, grilled asparagus and lobster sauce at Meripaviljonki Ravintola Restaurant
Roasted pike-perch with spinach quinoa, grilled asparagus and lobster sauce at Meripaviljonki Ravintola Restaurant
Chocolate ganache with rick salt and caramel plus vanilla ice cream at Meripaviljonki Ravintola Restaurant
Chocolate ganache with rick salt and caramel plus vanilla ice cream at Meripaviljonki Ravintola Restaurant
Chicken breast and meat balls
Chicken breast and meat balls
Bacon and eggs with Hollandaise sauce and egg butter
Bacon and eggs with Hollandaise sauce and egg butter
Salmon, pickled herring and pickles
Salmon, pickled herring and pickles
Pickled herring, smoked salmon, poached eggs, with Hollandaise sauce plus crispy bacon and potato on buttered toast
Pickled herring, smoked salmon, poached eggs, with Hollandaise sauce plus crispy bacon and potato on buttered toast

Helsinki

Firefighters
Firefighters

Helsinki Helsinki Helsinki Helsinki

Beer garden
Beer garden
Pansies
Pansies
Performance art in Helsinki
Performance art in Helsinki
Public art in Helsinki
Public art in Helsinki
Performance art in Helsinki
Performance art in Helsinki

Helsinki

Polka dot trees as part of a public art installation by Yayoi Kusama
Polka dot trees as part of a public art installation by Yayoi Kusama
Public art and pubic art in Helsinki
Public art and pubic art in Helsinki

Design museum

Hors d'oeuvres including wild boar pâté and salmon
Hors d’oeuvres including wild boar pâté and salmon
Surf'n'turf with salmon, prawns and beef plus a slider. The salmon ceviche and Skargen was great.
Surf’n’turf with salmon, prawns and beef plus a slider. The salmon ceviche and Skargen was great.
Meringue and sponge cake dessert in Helsinki. This was better than Pavlova!
Meringue and sponge cake dessert in Helsinki. This was better than Pavlova!
Pressed beef neck, celeriac purée, herb butter and spring vegetables
Pressed beef neck, celeriac purée, herb butter and spring vegetables

Cloud porn coming into Singapore

Have you been to Helsinki? What did you think? If you haven’t, would you like to visit?

 

My week in food

I’ve had an interesting week. Work has been busy and on Wednesday I flew to Perth for work. I heard from Ms18 that the Queensland state gymnastics competition has been going well. She did well on the first day and I’m hoping her second day of competition finishes with even better results.

In terms of sleep, it hasn’t been great. Despite my CPAP machine I seem to be going through a period of early waking and an inability to return to sleep. My tinnitus has been worse and I’m not sure why. I’m quite careful not to expose myself to loud sounds and before bed I try to observe good sleep hygiene. I guess I should try to do more exercise. That always seems to be a good option.

So this week I’ve enjoyed some nice food.


On Monday I had leftover slow cooked beef, speck and spam for lunch

Leftover slowly cooked beef, speck and spam
Leftover slowly cooked beef, speck and spam

For Monday dinner I enjoyed some greens with a piece of baked salmon

Baked salmon with peas, sugar snap peas and broccoli
Baked salmon with peas, sugar snap peas and broccoli

Tuesday breakfast was scrambled eggs Gordon Ramsay style

Cheese and chives scrambled eggs
Cheese and chives scrambled eggs

Tuesday lunch was leftover corned beef congee

Corned beef quinoa congee
Corned beef quinoa congee

Tuesday dinner saw me flake some baked salmon and enjoy it with noodles

Baked salmon with ramen noodles with cheese, avocado, and beef, speck and spam gravy plus sugar snap peas
Baked salmon with ramen noodles with cheese, avocado, and beef, speck and spam gravy plus sugar snap peas

I had sugar and cinnamon doughnuts for Wednesday breakfast

Coffee and doughnuts
Coffee and doughnuts

My Wednesday lunch was a repeat of Monday, this time with different reading material

Slow cooked beef, speck and spam
Slow cooked beef, speck and spam

A friend at work likes to share with me when Urban Bean Espresso Bar is selling really nice cheesecake. This photograph shows three things I really like. A Queensland flag, a photograph of a FA-18 Hornet which was a gift from the CO RAAF Tindal and Squadron 322 and of course a caramel almond toffee cheesecake.

Caramel almond toffee crunch cheesecake from Urban Bean Espresso Bar with a Queensland flag and a gift from 322 Squadron Tindal, NT
Caramel almond toffee crunch cheesecake from Urban Bean Espresso Bar with a Queensland flag and a gift from 322 Squadron Tindal, NT
Caramel almond toffee crunch cheesecake from Urban Bean Espresso Bar
Caramel almond toffee crunch cheesecake from Urban Bean Espresso Bar

I was in Perth on Thursday morning and stayed at the International on the water hotel.

Bacon and eggs with mushrooms and a hashbrown
Bacon and eggs with mushrooms and a hashbrown

On Thursday night I had room service for dinner

Chilli mussels International on the water Hotel
Chilli mussels International on the water Hotel
Stuffed mushrooms International on the water Hotel
Stuffed mushrooms International on the water Hotel

Friday night was an easy one with leftover corned beef quinoa rice congee

Corned beef quinoa congee
Corned beef quinoa congee

On Saturday I had a leisurely breakfast of cheese and chives scrambled eggs with a cup of coffee

Cheese and chives scrambled eggs with coffee
Cheese and chives scrambled eggs with coffee

Saturday much was tinned pink salmon with an avocado on Vita-Weat with cream cheese

Tinned pink salmon with avocado on Vita-Weat with cream cheese
Tinned pink salmon with avocado on Vita-Weat with cream cheese

Saturday evening I had a lovely chicken giblet congee with black fungus

Chicken thigh, drumstick and giblet congee with black fungus
Chicken thigh, drumstick and giblet congee with black fungus

Sunday lunch was a chicken breast hot pie

Garlo's chicken breast hot pie
Garlo’s chicken breast hot pie

This dish is known as “Jacqui” after my friend Jacqui

The 'Jacqui' aka Garlo's chicken breast hot pie with cheesy potato gems
The ‘Jacqui’ aka Garlo’s chicken breast hot pie with cheesy potato gems
The 'Jacqui' aka Garlo's chicken breast hot pie with cheesy potato gems
The ‘Jacqui’ aka Garlo’s chicken breast hot pie with cheesy potato gems
Potato gems
Potato gems

So it’s been a pretty yummy week in food. None of this is really helping my waistline. Oh well, I will work on that later.

Corregidor Island A sobering history lesson

Have you heard of Corregidor Island?

I first heard of Corregidor Island while watching “World War II in Colour” on Netflix recently. If you’re interested in modern history I highly recommend this documentary. I binged watched the entire program over a weekend.

Corregidor Island day tour is the trip I took. It was with Sun Cruises and a day tour cost me Php2549.00 (AUD$75).

I had a 4.30 am start because I’d been told the roads around the Seaside Esplanade Terminal would be closed from 4 am to 10 am for a fun run. I thought about walking but I’d been feeing a bit under the weather (fever, chills, sore throat and headache) for much of Saturday so I arranged with the hotel to hire driver to take me. It cost about P575 (AUD$17).

I ended up having a poor sleep filled with odd dreams and some nightmares.

At 6 am I got into the hotel car and explained to the driver some of the roads would be closed and suggested a road we should attempt to take based on the map I’d been shown of the path of the fun run. He ignored me. We got close to the Seaside Terminal and he exclaimed, “roads closed!”. I said “yes, that’s why I tried to show you a different route based on the information about the fun run.” “You should get out here and walk. I cannot drive.” So I walked to the Seaside Terminal. The driver had got me most of the way there so I shouldn’t complain.

I quickly found myself amongst the fun runners. I still think it’s an odd concept…fun…run! I really don’t like running.

Manila fun run Manila fun run

I got to the terminal at 6.15 am. Check in was at 7. I’d been told the night before in an e-mail that I should get there well before 7 to avoid the fun run traffic which would start at 4 am! The ticketing and check in process was really confusing. An inordinate amount of time was spent just standing with very little activity.

I had time for breakfast from 7 Eleven. A snickers bar and a bottle of water. That would have to sustain me until lunch time. Little did I know that lunch would be delayed.

Snickers and water at Seaside Terminal Manila
Snickers and water at Seaside Terminal Manila

We boarded the boat at 8 and didn’t shove off until 9. I just wish I could have slept in my seat. We all wore stickers that had our names, seat number and bus number on them. I had no idea what anyone was saying so I followed the crowd. At one stage I nearly got on the wrong boat.

The trip across from Manila to Corregidor Island takes about an hour. The water was flat and calm which was good. I didn’t need to add nausea to a headache and sore throat that I had worsened overnight. I think Sun Cruises must be owned by a church. The music being played on board were gospel choruses. On the way over we also watched a documentary on the WW2 activities on Corregidor Island. Veterans, especially former members of 503rd Regimental Combat Team (part of the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment) who surprised the Japanese forces who were expecting an invasion force by marines from the north of the island. I was fascinated watching Japanese tourists sitting in front of me on the boat. They started watching and then they went quiet and they all tried to sleep. Listening to these veteran parachute war fighters was fascinating. They were asked why they joined the parachute regiment and many conceded it was because they were paid an extra $50/month. In the 1940s that was a lot of money. Notwithstanding their motivation, these war fighters were incredibly brave.

When we arrived we were instructed to climb on board buses which we would stay with for the entirety of the tour. One of the buses was dedicated to Japanese tourists. Their tour guide could speak Japanese fluently.

Mooring on Corregidor Island

Tour buses on Corregisor Island
Tour buses waiting for us
Fred our tour guide on Corregidor Island
Fred our tour guide

The island has a fascinating history in terms of the Spanish occupation and then the American move into the Philippines. The World War 2 history is the most fascinating. I just wish we had stopped next to the flagstaff made famous by MacArthur when US Forces raised their flag when he returned (as promised) to the Philippines after being sent to Australia by the president to plan the Pacific Ocean war strategy.

We saw the armoured batteries, the huge mortars and the barracks that were all bombed and disrupted by the Japanese Imperial Forces.

They hold separate Japanese tours which we’re told tell the truth but not in harsh terms. It was interesting and I will say troubling to see Japanese and Italian tourists just lounging over the weapons and spending their time taking selfies. The Filipinos say they forgive and forget and reap the rewards of Japanese investment.

The tour guide we had was Fred and his driver was Bert. Fred is laid back and easy going. Bert likes to keep to time. They made a good good cop bad cop duo.

I’ve created a gallery of photographs here. Because of the number of photographs, when you click on the first one and you scroll through you may need to wait a second or two for each image to resolve to a sharp picture. Please take the time because the photographs look much better when they’re viewed as sharp images.

Middleside Barracks video clip

We were scheduled to have lunch at the Corregidor Hotel at 12 noon but they couldn’t accommodate us so we went on to the Japanese War Memorial and then on to the Malinta Tunnel light show. The bus passengers moaned when we were told lunch would be delayed by about 90 minutes. Apparently lunch in the Philippines is 12 noon and eating later is not the norm. I didn’t say anything. I try to eat my lunch at about 11.45 am most days at work.

At the Malinta Tunnel the dioramas were very good and very well done. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in those tunnels with bombs and mortars going off above and around.

A lot of the information for the tour focuses on the 503rd paratrooper regiment. These men basically run out of the back of aeroplanes at low altitude with almost no time. If their main parachute failed they had 3 seconds to deploy a reserve. If that failed they died.

When we finally made it to lunch it was a buffet in the hotel. I think I had pork and chicken but I can’t be sure of what it was.

Crumbed pork and braised chicken on a bed of sweet corn at the Corregidor Island Hotel.
Crumbed pork and braised chicken on a bed of sweet corn at the Corregidor Island Hotel.

The trip back to Manila was trouble free. We were shown a film about Todd Burpo who had a son who thought he had been to heaven and back. As I looked around I couldn’t see one passenger who was interested in the film. I thought I may end up walking from the Seaside Terminal to the Pan Pacific Manila but I managed to haggle with a cab driver to take me back to the hotel for an extra 50 pesos.

I think a trip to Corregidor Island is worthwhile for many reasons. You get to escape the pollution and smog of Manila, you learn some modern history and it reinforces a better understanding of how awful war is and why we must do all that we can to avoid armed conflict. I’ll add that in my opinion, that does not extinguish a need for nations to have national security and defence measures and to have trained and battle ready war fighters in case of armed conflict. It’s just as important to be well equipped and I support the need to wisely spend money on defence measures.

Battery Crockett http://corregidor.org/ca/btty_crockett/crockett.htm

Have you been to Manila? Did you visit Corregidor Island?

Travelling to Manila via Sydney and Singapore

I’m not sure as I ‘tap’ this out on my iPhone if I’ll publish this on Monday or not.

I’ve been pretty good lately at doing a Monday post and sharing some link love from the Canberra Food Bloggers Facebook group. I won’t be able to do that this week because I’m spending most of my day flying to Manila for work. I’m flying from Canberra to Manila via Sydney and Singapore. All going well I should be in Manila by 2300 AWST (0200 AEDT 20160216 [Tuesday]).

My day started at 5 am doing the last minute shut down and lock up of the apartment making sure everything was secure and there weren’t any perishable items left in the refrigerator. Have you ever gone away and come back to a refrigerator failure? I have. It’s not pleasant. Putrid and rancid odours assail the nostrils.

When I arrived at Canberra Internationl Airport I had some fruit for breakfast and a small skim flat white to wake me up.

I discovered while in the Virgin lounge that the free Wi-Fi ‘thinks’ YummyLummy.com is unsafe. I couldn’t open my page!

I flew to Sydney on VA637. An uneventful flight which landed ahead of schedule.

The snack was a raspberry muffin which had a use by date of 20161021! My goodness I wonder what preservatives it contained. I wonder if I could treat patients with fungal infections with that muffin 😃


Making my way from the domestic to international terminal wasn’t difficult. Virgin Australia puts on a bus.

Domestic to International terminal drama

When I got to gate 46 for the international terminal bus we were told there was a 30 minute wait and then the trip would take longer than 30 minutes because of a traffic problem around Sydney International Airport. We were instructed to catch the train. I’ve never caught the train from Sydney Domestic Airport before so this was a new experience. I followed some other passengers who seemed to know what to do. In the end it worked really well. This may be my standard method to get between terminals in the future.  
The border control processes were smooth as silk. The Singapore Airlines lounge is a short walk from border control. I stopped and changed some Australian dollars into Philippine pesos and then entered the Singapore Airlines lounge.  
Boarding my flight to Singapore via Singapore Airlines was pretty easy and when I got on SG232 I saw what must be the widest business class seat ever 😃
After boarding lunch was served pretty quickly.

Chicken in rice paper roll with mesclun, cherry tomato and nam jim dressing

 Garlic bread img_8753-1Grilled riverine beef with horseradish butter. Bordelaise sauce, celeriac dauphinois, green beans (which were squeaky), baby carrot and red capsicum.  Khiffir lime-coconut sorbet with passionfruit coulis.

 Woodside Mclaren Camembert, pyengana mature cheddar and trinity cellar blue cheese with grapes and sweet paste.

 The lunch was delicious.

The seats on the SG232 Airbus 380 are really wide. The widest seats I’ve experienced. I was able to work the entire flight from Sydney to Singapore except for when I was eating. The Singapore Airlines Airbus 380 is equipped with AC power plus two USB ports. It also has Wi-Fi but I wasn’t going to try that assuming the cost would be prohibitively expensive.

Close to the end of the flight we were served with a refreshment.

Braised egg noodles with seafood and mushroom in oriental sauce. It also came with a nice little bowl of green chilli in soy sauce.

 

There was a little turbulence throughout the flight but not enough to disrupt my work or any of the service.

The flight attendants were all very friendly and helpful. I’d say the service is amongst the best of any airline.

Getting into Changi Airport was pretty smooth and finding my way from terminal 3 to terminal 2 on the airport shuttle train was easy.

Do you want to know how big this airport is? The signs add walking times!

My next flight is SG918 SIN to MNL. As we board we’re told there is a delay because anther flight had to make an emergency landing.

The flight was smooth and the food was good.

Classic gravadlax cured salmon with dill, asparagus, mesclun salad, salmon roe and mustard dill dressing.  Char siew rice Chinese barbecued pork with steamed rice and leafy greens.

 Iced parfait of lychee and coconut with passionfruit coulis.

 I need to stop here. I landed in Manila quite late and I have an early start.

Suffice to say I hope I sleep well.

I’ll fill in some details in the next post.

Hanuman Restaurant Darwin and Cold Rock too

Hanuman Restaurants serve a combination of Thai Indian and Nonya cuisine

My favourite place to eat in Darwin apart from getting casual fish and chips on Darwin wharf is the Hanuman Restaurant on Mitchell Street

Tonight I walked from my hotel into town and through to the Hanuman Restaurant. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to eat initially and I thought it would reveal how predictable and obsessive I am, but you know what? Who cares. I like the food. I like the restaurant. It was my choice. 

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Parliament House
Parliament House

Parliament House in Darwin has been nicknamed the wedding cake. You can see why.


 

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Inside the Hanuman Restaurant (outside section)

I arrived a little after 6 pm and was amongst the first diners.


 

Tuesday night dinner in Darwin. Duck salad. Cashew nuts, Chilli, Coriander, Garlic, Lychees, Orange, Pineapple, Spring onion.
Tuesday night dinner in Darwin. Duck salad. Cashew nuts, Chilli, Coriander, Garlic, Lychees, Orange, Pineapple, Spring onion.

This was a gorgeous duck salad. I could have stopped at this and been happy.

Tuesday night dinner in Darwin. Thai crispy whole fish Hot, sweet and sour.
Tuesday night dinner in Darwin. Thai crispy whole fish Hot, sweet and sour.

The whole fish was really nicely cooked and the flavours of the sauce were truly hot, sweet and sour. Perfect. 

Tuesday night dinner in Darwin. Thai crispy whole fish Hot, sweet and sour.
Tuesday night dinner in Darwin. Thai crispy whole fish Hot, sweet and sour.

Bones are always a problem when eating whole fish, but you kow what? When the fish tastes this good it doesn’t matter.

Tuesday night dinner in Darwin. Thai crispy whole fish Hot, sweet and sour.
Tuesday night dinner in Darwin. Thai crispy whole fish Hot, sweet and sour.

This is the image I posted to Instagram


 

After a spicy meal I needed some dessert and I wanted ice cream. My favourite ice cream place in Darwin is Cold Rock

Cold Rock coconut ice cream and a freckle
Cold Rock coconut ice cream and a freckle

I love Cold Rock


 

Parliament House at night
Parliament House at night
Darwin wharf precinct at night
Darwin wharf precinct at night
Darwin Entertainment Centre by night
Darwin Entertainment Centre by night

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Hanuman on Urbanspoon

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Fish and chips at Stokes Hill Darwin wharf

Fish and chips isn’t my favourite food but it comes close

I’m in Darwin for work. I used to live here (from 1996 to 2007). I call Darwin the place where my soul and spirit lives. Don’t get me wrong, I like Canberra. I love the people of Canberra. I like that it’s small without traffic and really is just a country town. Darwin though pops and sizzles. Darwin has life. Darwin is exciting. Best of all Darwin is warm and moist and has Darwin-friendly people. Yep that’s a thing…Darwin-friendly.

I used the RunKeeper app on my iPhone to provide a GPX file so I could pinpoint the places where I captured images.

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The view of the wharf
The view of the wharf
This is where you buy all sorts of food and drink on the Darwin wharf at Stoke Hill
This is where you buy all sorts of food and drink on the Darwin wharf at Stoke Hill
Monday night eating dinner in my happy place. Darwin wharf. Barramundi, calamari rings, and chips.
Monday night eating dinner in my happy place. Darwin wharf. Barramundi, calamari rings, and chips.
Barramundi, calamari rings, and chips
Fish and chips and calamari rings from heaven

 

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Papaya Thai Eatery and cafe restaurant review by Yummy Lummy

Tonight I ate at the Papaya Thai Eatery and cafe

Not far from the Rydges Camperdown on Missendon Road is Papaya Thai Eatery and Cafe. It’s not a flash looking place but it was close and I was hungry.   

A photograph of Papaya Thai Eatery and cafe
Papaya Thai Eatery and cafe

The menu reminds me a little of Chong Co Thai in Canberra. I chose the salt and pepper calamari for an entrée and the soft shelled crab as a main meal.

A photograph of Deep fried calamari
Deep fried calamari

The calamari wasn’t really salty or peppery. In fact it was just deep fried, not that there was anything wrong with that. I enjoyed eating it. The squid pieces were a little big and therefore chewy but not tough. The salad had a nice tang to it. I finished it off.

A photograph of Soft shelled crab
Soft shelled crab

The soft shelled crab was delicious. The vegetables were nicely cooked and still crunchy. The chilli wasn’t too hot but it had nice heat. The crab itself was done is a spicy sauce with a good hit of peanut paste to make it retain its flavour while masticating. 

I’d happily eat a quick meal here again. I was satisfied with the portion size and the service was quick and friendly. Not too bad for a suburban Thai restaurant.

 

 

 

Papaya Thai on Urbanspoon

 

Google maps https://goo.gl/maps/7FhGs

 
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Hope you have a great weekend and eat YUMMY