Saturday, May 02, 2009

Why I love connecting in Hong Kong

Only because I can get great zhong zi (steamed rice dumplings )between flights! Oh, and free wifi. Liveblogging it here, in 1 hr, off for a mega-long flight to Chicago. Good thing I was up 24 hrs the night before, should be able to doze out most of the next flight...

My 36 hours in Singapore

A completely successful 36 hour trip to Sngapore - got my food cravings done, spices purchased, friends visited, but didn't quite buy all the clothes I was looking for. Was very fortunate to meet up with my classmate's fiance who was doing the same routing, but with a 5 hour stay in S'pore before returning back to the US! It was fun though, stayed w/ my INSEAD friends until about midnight, met Sen's cousins and brothers briefly before going to the airport, met my classmate's fiance at midnight at the airport, and spent 4 hours in the S'pore late night life... eating food at the hawker centres (and finishing up my 'to-eat list') and checking out the 24-hour Mustafa Centre to buy some Indian home goods.

Overall a great trip, but definitely too short. I really missed being in S'pore, wish I could have spent more time, but every minute here was definitely time well spent.

Back in the US by Sunday night...

Edit: And a link to my friend's blog, for her perspective of those 4-5 hours...

Friday, May 01, 2009

Mileage Run

I'm doing one of those crazy mileage runs, quick overseas trip that makes sense due to the cost of the ticket, and/or mileage bonus in return, going from Minneapolis to Singapore for an extended weekend. Plus, I needed to pick up a few things from the grocery store, and was kinda "homesick" for Singapore.

Interestingly, this is concurrent with the flu threat. I'm currently at Narita Tokyo airport, where the Japanese Ministry of Health has really gone overboard on trying to protect people from the flu. Apparently, as a part of new procedures, planes from the US are held up at the gate, while officials come in with thermal imaging cameras to check people's temperatures (at least non-invasively), ask you to fill out forms about your health, where you've been, etc, and requiring everybody to wear masks as they exit the plane. That was really an interesting experience, considering masks are actually not that effective in preventing you from getting the flu. (although they are more effective in preventing people from spreading it), but yet at the airport, there's nothing keeping you from taking off the masks, and there are plenty of people who aren't wearing them. (probably from non-US flights).

Just to put it in scale, regular flu kills something like 30k people in the US every year, and we're seeing this reaction where there's been only 10-20?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lamb Kheema Recipe

I first learned about kheema, an Indian minced meat dish with spices and peas and served with bread, when I used to frequently stop by a nearby Indian/Pakistani grocer, which had this fantastic cafe in the back run by the aunties. You would often see single male South Asian engineers from nearby tech companies stopping here to eat after work. Unfortunately, the owner has since moved, so I have had to suffer.

Luckily, while at INSEAD Singapore, my roommate and I found a North Indian hawker at the Dover Market, across from INSEAD who had a half decent lamb kheema, but it was always scary to see that the hygiene rating was a C (normally A or B is good enough). I never got sick, but at least I was able to complete my kheema craving.

This weekend, with the help of my Indian roommates, we were able to re-create a kheema recipe from a cookbook. The recipe is somewhat based on Sanjeev Kapoor's Khazana of Indian Recipes

Here are the ingredients:


  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 green chilies, thinly sliced
  • Coriander leaves, chopped, to taste
  • 4 TBS Frozen Peas (depending on your taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed (I'd be a bit more generous here)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder (or to taste, depending on how spicy you like your food)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 TBS ginger paste
  • 1/2 TBS Garlic paste
  • salt to taste
  • 1 lb ground lamb

1. Chop the onions and tomatoes finely

2. Heat up about a tsp of oil and a similar amount of ghee in a pan on medium heat. Take care that the oil isn't smoking hot

3. Add in the cumin seed, mix them with the oil, and fry until the seeds start to bubble

4. Once the seeds are bubbling, add in the chopped onions. Continue to fry over medium heat until the onions start to carmelize and turn soft. Be sure that the onions don't start to burn on the edges, that means the heat is too high.

5. Once the onions are brown, add in the sliced green chilies, garlic paste, and ginger paste. Continue to fry the mixture until the chilies are soft, for about 1-2 minutes.

6. Add in the ground lamb, break up the meat into pieces and make sure that the onion/chili mixture starts to stick to the meat. You can turn up the heat a bit here if it helps to turn the meat brown. (Note: not recommended to have meat sit in a big ball as pictured - harder to break up!)

7. Once the meat is browned, add in the remainder of the spices: turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder. Mix in with the meat and continue the fry up the spices.

8. Add in the tomatoes, continue to fry until the tomatoes are "melted soft" and turned brown, and you see some oil leaving the spice mixture. (typically 5+ minutes)

9. Add peas to the mixture, and add 1 cup water to slightly thicken the mixture, add salt to taste, then simmer for 15-20 minutes.

10. Once finished, add chopped coriander leaves into mixture.

11. DONE! Serve with rice or chapatis

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Disease - Coronary Arrest, the hybrid combination of coronary infarct and cardiac arrest

I was reading this Wall Street Journal article about Citi and Hedge Funds getting hurt on the trading of Citi shares when I read this funny quote:

"There are a lot of hedge funds looking for free money, and a lot of people were betting against Citi," says Jonathon Trugman, who runs Pendulum Capital Management, a stock-picking hedge fund in New York. Hedge funds lost money on Citigroup because "not every patient who goes into coronary arrest fails to come out of it."
Coronary arrest? Sounds like a new disease, the love-child of coronary infarct and cardiac arrest....

Although, I guess if you have an infarct, it would lead to coronary arrest, after cardiac arrest. =P

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Singapura Daily Makan Photo: Kampong Fried Chicken @ 34 Dover Road

There are days where I really miss things from Singapore, and reading the blog post above (courtesy: Singapura Daily Makan Photo) made me miss the fried-chicken shop that was next to school. This place was great, they had an incredible chicken cutlet dinner, with fries, cole slaw, two thinly sliced fried chicken fillets, yum! Or, you could order a whole fried chicken for yourself. Note: these are not the American sized chickens, they're a lot smaller, and I think, tastier.

The blog post brings back memories about an afternoon where one of my classmates walked in with takeout from this place, and I immediately felt a craving for it, but was too lazy to walk across the street to get one for myself.

The shop used to be located in the coffee shop on the opposite side, but apparently they moved while I was in France / Geneva. For a while, I really missed the place, but when they re-opened on the other side, I was so excited!

Did you notice the name? Kampong Fried Chicken? KFC anybody? (Kampong means village in Malay)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Where's George?

A while ago, I came across these $1 bills stamped with It was a pretty cool idea, based on the bill's serial number, people could see where and when it was last entered into the database, and you can see where the bill has travelled.

Over a year ago, I encountered a number of bills like this, either at work (where I think somebody was stamping them), and at the local farmer's market. So, when I got one, I decided to enter the bill into the database.

Today, 1 year, 184 days later, that bill has been found and re-entered in the database, in Texas! Pretty cool. The most ironic part is that this bill originated from the TC, ended up in Fargo, and then back to MN, then I tried to make sure that I spent it someplace away from the TC so it wouldn't get stuck here.

Check out the report:

You call that a small?

Culture shock x 2 this week. Was driving, decided to stop at Burger King for a quick lunch. Didn't want something too big, so I got a whopper w/ cheese and a small coke. The lady pulls this gigantic cup and places it on my tray.

Me: Um, that's a small right?
Lady: Yes, that's right.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Culture Shock

I've been back in the US for about a week, and it's been a bit wierd to be back. Especially when it's super cold out, and just a week ago I was talking around in shorts and sandals.

But one of the most interesting moments happened to me today at the store. I was looking for some reading material, and decided to browse the magazine rack. You know you're back in the US when you can't find a single issue of the Economist to catch up on international news, but there's a whole section carrying 5+ gun magazines...