Winter Melon 冬瓜

The Biggest Melon
A Cold Food for Slimmers

cropped-Winter-Melon.jpegThe Winter Melon (Dong Gua in Mandarin) may be the biggest melon, even bigger than Watermelon.  It can grow as big as 45 kilograms, though the ones found in shops are usually much smaller.

A native of the area around Thailand, Malaya and Java, Winter Melon has been known in China for a long time, since Continue reading

Malaysian Cuisine

Durian Cake and Zuberbuhler’s Special
Raffles, Maugham and Lord Jim Country

“At the end of the tenth century Canton carried on direct trade with the Malay Peninsula.” —Friedrich Hirt and W. W. Rockhill [1]

Tang Dynasty horse from the Silk Road

Tang Dynasty Camel
From the Silk Road, 8th Century

For centuries the Malay Peninsula has been an important corridor in the southern sea route of the Spice Route.

The Strait of Malacca was an important Continue reading

Ginger I

Tamil Time-Traveler
As Fundamental as Onions

“Fresh ginger is as fundamental to the Asian kitchen as onion is to European cuisine.” — Molly O’Neill

Ginger Flower

Ginger, like Rice, was an ancient Tamil time traveler around the Pacific Rim.  Ginger, which grows underground and has beautiful red and yellow flowers above ground, is one of the most important foods in Asian kitchens.  And it is healthy, too!

Continue reading

Rendang

Minangkabau Legacy
Jungle-Proof Meats

“CNN has named Rendang, a traditional dish from Padang, West Sumatra on the World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods, beating out French croissants and American donuts.” — Jakarta Post

The Minang ethnic group of Sumatra are known for their matrilineal society, the world’s biggest women-run social structure anywhere.

They are also famous for their elaborate folkways and evolved cultural patterns, including their food. One of their dishes may be the tastiest in the world, as CNN found. Continue reading

Ginger

Tamil Time-Traveler
As Fundamental as Onions

“Fresh ginger is as fundamental to the Asian kitchen as onion is to European cuisine.” — Molly O’Neill

Ginger Flower

Ginger I – Ginger Basics: Ginger, like Rice, was an ancient Tamil time traveler around the Pacific Rim.  Ginger, which grows underground and has beautiful red and yellow flowers above ground, is one of the most important foods in Asian kitchens.  And Ginger is healthy, too!

Natives of South India: Linguistic detectives have found out that the names for Ginger in the Indo-European languages all come from ancient South Indian languages Continue reading

Chopsticks

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Elegant Replacement for Fingers
The Most Refined Eating Utensils

What They Are: Chopsticks are the principal eating tools of a large part of East Asia, centering on what Toynbee calls the Sinic culture sphere.

They are about 10 to 12 inches long, with longer ones used for cooking and serving. Children’s chopsticks are about 5 inches long. In Japan, chopsticks for use by women tend run smaller than men’s chopsticks.

Chinese chopsticks tend to be longer than Japanese, and have more rounded ends, while Japanese ones tend to have pointed ends. Continue reading

Pacific Rim Cusines – Overview

Cooking – The Oldest Art

Chinese Tang Dynasty art from Silk Road

Chinese Men in Foreign Dress
Tang Dynasty Figures from the Gobi Desert

Our focus is the food and cooking of the Pacific Rim, but it is also a story of human history. As Brillat-Savarin said, “Cooking is the most ancient of the arts, for Adam was born hungry.”

With such a wealth of culinary styles, ingredients, cooking methods and national ways, how can we make some kind of order out of this ocean of recipes? It’s a good idea to create a kind of grid or structure to group the major national cuisines that we will feature in this Site. Continue reading