Culinary subversion (Pancake Puff vs. Moffle)

A while back, G-man tipped me off in the comments that he’d found something pretty funny: Pancake Puffs, which seem an awful like something we’re used to seeing in Japan all the time (incidentally, I love how Google asks if you meant “teriyaki” when you search for “takoyaki”). Check it out:
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I guess this can only be described as the result of a firesale at a takoyaki pan factory.
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Word of the day: Moffle

What is a moffle
?
Waffle is Mochi + Waffle, much in the way that “lion” + “tiger” = “liger” (or “tigon”)
I don’t have a problem with the moffle in theory, however, there are certain aspects of its execution that lack a certain, erm, appetizability. Case in point:
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Front and center is a shiokara moffle… Um.
Shiokara + mochi + waffle = interesting projectile vomit
Let me explain. From the wikipedia entry on shiokara:

Shiokara (??) is a food in Japanese cuisine made from various marine animals that consists of small pieces of the animal’s meat in a brown viscous paste of the animal’s heavily salted, fermented viscera. The raw viscera are mixed with about 10% salt, 30% malted rice, packed in a closed container, and fermented for up to a month.

Bon appetit! One of the worst kitchen chores I can possibly think of is having to clean burnt shiokara off of a waffle iron, but to each his own I guess.

Underneat this

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Okay so this is how I imagine this conversation went:
Walmart Employee: “Hello ‘dis be Walmarts, how can I help you?”
Customer: ” I would like to order a cake for a going away party this week.”
Walmart Employee: “What you want on the cake?”
Customer: “Best Wishes Suzanne” and underneath that “We will miss you”.
(original link)
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Bonus question: Which is better, Walmart cake or third-world cake?

Taco truck ban?

(I need to take a quick break from baby blogging)
As if bacon-wrapped hot dogs being outlawed wasn’t enough, it seems taco trucks are now in jeopardy on the streets of LA:

Led by District 1 County Supervisor Gloria Molina, the L.A. Board of Supervisors has passed new restrictions that will effectively eliminate taco trucks from our streets. Under Supervisor Molina’s new rules, taco trucks will have to change location every hour, or face a misdemeanor charge carrying a $1000 fine and/or jail.

LINK: saveourtacotrucks.org
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Captain Ahab: The Man Who Brought Us Lizard Salad

Yesterday provided a chance encounter with a local character which has forever changed our culinary lives. WE HAVE EATEN LIZARD, SOME KIND OF IGUANA. Specifically, this kind of iguana, although it might have been a blue-colored one since those are apparently bigger and tastier. There are so many things I want to say about this experience, it’s all just a jumble in my mind right now… I think I’ll tackle the explanation chronologically.
So yesterday, Nam and I were in front of our house taking photos. I set up a tripod in front of the pond and we started taking a long series of shots in the hot sun. Along came Captain Ahab, carrying his mini-harpoon gun:
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“Do you want to try it out?” OH HELL YES PLEASE!
I tested out his fine contraption on a bunch of reeds floating in the pond, and maimed them quite handily. The trigger pull was about 20 lbs. and activated the release of the thick rubber bands (not tubes) attached to either sides of the receiver, acting much like a Hawaiian sling.
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He assured us this longarm was also effective for home defense. I belive his actual words were, “you can also use this to shoot burglars!” Check out the awesomely hand-ground and nastily-barbed mini-harpoon:
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You could probably do a lot more than shoot your eye out with this gun; the Captain said he’d bought it off a student 30 years ago and had speared too many fish with it to count over the years. (note: The reason I deemed this fine fellow Ahab is that he claimed to have brought in a 300 kilogram fish with this rig once. I called bullshit, first off because the harpoon was only attached with what looked like around 20 lb. test. Also,
I firmly believe anyone harpooning a 300 kg. fish with this rig would end up just like the original Captain Ahab – it’s just not possible to land. Later, I found out this may have been a misunderstanding – he may have meant 300 kgs. of fish, not a 300 kg. fish. Since the time period wasn’t specified, this sounds totally feasible. Sorry for doubting you, Captain, and sorry for the undeserved moniker) Unfortunately, he did not know where I could find one for myself. Here’s a shot of the loaded projectile (gun uncocked).
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And here is where we come to lizard salad (iguana salad?). (Well not really salad. It’s about as salad-ish as a fruit salad, in that it’s not, really… ah screw it, you’ll see.) A few weeks ago some friends told me that it’s prime iguana hunting season right now and I was really jazzed about rounding up some friends and going… They hypnotize the hapless beasts with special whistling sounds, then shoot them out of the trees with slingshots made from inner tubes. Nam also wanted me to go, but was worried about karmic implications during this period just before the baby is born, so I refrained from going. For some reason, Nam thought I merely wanted to eat the iguanas (where as for me, the hunt is the only reason I would even consider eating a lizard to begin with), so she asked Captain Ahab, who certainly appeared to be able to live off the land, if he could round up some for me.
This is how we started the lizard negotiations. He asked how many she wanted, she said one or two. He said that wasn’t enough and said, “how about ten?” Nam countered with five, and we were all set. He promised to catch some later that night and asked if we knew how to prepare them. He was worried that we didn’t know how to slowly roast and skin them, and then mix various herbs and fruits together to make it all very tasty, and rightly so – we were totally like lizard virgins, man. So it ended up that he had his wife cook up the lizards he caught for us and brought us a bag of LIZARD SALAD for lunch today. Behold:
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THE VERDICT: The lizard meat was smoky from being slowly grilled, presumably over charcoal. Just looking at the photo, it looks like many other variations of Thai country “salad,” most of which are based on local veggies or fruits such as eggplant, bamboo shoots, tamarind, papaya or mango, or are fish-based. This one was definitely lizard though, because I picked a spiny part out of my mouth. The closest flavor I can compare iguana flesh to is canned tuna – it had the same kind of consistency when mashed up, and didn’t taste too strongly of anything, perhaps just hinting at fish.
An added bonus was the ant queen salad Ahab’s wife also prepared for us:
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Today was a good day. I learned things about this culture that even Thai people don’t know about. I KNOW WHAT IGUANA TASTES LIKE, BITCHES!
That is all.

Last night a chili pepper saved my life

Me, the wife, the baby – we’ve all been extremely busy the whole time I haven’t been blogging. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had a gadzillion papers and tests to mark and final grades to issue, AND NOW IT’S ALL DONE!! In front of my office door, the tortured souls of those not determined enough to earn a passing grade moan and roil with much indignity. Oh wait, that’s not the sound of tortured souls, it’s just my fever hallucinations again!
Yes, I have been sleeping a lot (when not busy) trying to recover from this nasty congestive head cold thing that I even got prescribed industrial-strength pills for last week. However, the only thing that really helped was a couple nights ago when a coworker and her husband came over for a visit and she cooked up a big pot of sticky fat noodles with nuclear orange chili peppers from a market in Kalasin (a neighboring province).
I should explain here that I’ve always had a high tolerance for spicy food and enjoy feeling the heat after popping an errant chili or two… This was beyond that. After slowly chewing one, sweat was pouring from my brow and my sinuses were clear for the first time in a week… So I popped four more at once (hey, I wasn’t thinking clearly). DANGER WILL ROBINSON DANGER! It blew my head off andtears were pouring down my face for a few minutes…. But my sinuses were clear for a full 24 hours!
I woke up this morning again a little congested, but I don’t know if I can face those fiery orange hell peppers again… I can honestly say that eating them is a life-changing experience. Anyone wanna try?

2nd Anniversary Dinner (at home)

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From 12 o’ clock, clockwise:

  • Samoo – A special delicacy of ground pork and a whole bunch of special herbs, from the Ubon area. Nam’s mom made a pot of it for us a few days ago, and she’s the only person we know who can make it.
  • Sukiyaki-sliced beef we found at the local Tesco. I fried it in butter/sesame oil with garlic and sprinkled with coarse ground salt, pepper, and kaffir lime.
  • Deep fried tabtim (hybrid tilapia, pink/orange in color). They fry these (and any other fish) up for you at Tesco.
  • Tom Ka Gai, spicy/sour chicken soup with coconut milk
  • Thai version of a mixed salad with local tubers, pumpkin, and fresh tomatoes

(Thanks to everyone who wrote congratulations – we miss you all!)

Upside down in the Third World…

…or is it the First World that’s fucked?
First check out this article:
The Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog: So Good It’s Illegal
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Now, which of the following do you think is harder for me to explain to a classroom full of average Thai kids?

  1. Why it’s illegal (and a jailable offense) to sell grilled hot dogs where I’m from
  2. Why street vendors where I’m from have to watch out for cops, health and safety officials and extortionate gangs
  3. Why any of the above parties can’t be universally placated with a free meal now and then

If they outlawed (and enforced) hot dog grilling in Bangkok alone, 20,000 people would have to change careers. Luckily, most of the changing would be done by just selling different stuff on the cart the next day, but still…