Sunday, November 4, 2012


I'm what they call a foodie. Many people have noticed I can talk about food for hours and that my eyes start glowing whenever I talk about food. Growing up in Holland with Chinese parents (who grew up in Vietnam) I was lucky enough to be exposed to many different foods from many different countries.

My first food memory is of my mom's home made fries. She made them (from scratch!) whenever we had a birthday party. Well, actually, my first food memory is of me drinking my younger sister's leftover milk from a bottle. Maybe I'll just go with the fries as my first food memory. So yes, my mom's fries were really delicious. So was the birthday cake our neighbour made whenever we had a birthday party. Yes, we had good parties back then. This was the time (a long long time ago) when people made many foods themselves as opposed to buying ready made foods from the supermarket. Back then we also had bakeries, butchers and fish mongers. Imagine! Many people also had vegetable gardens back then. My mom had a vegetable garden. She grew green beans, carrots, herbs, strawberries (although the snails always got to them before we did) and probably some other vegetables. Nothing tastes as good as food from your own garden. My mom doesn't have a garden anymore but she grows mint and coriander in boxes on her balcony. She's a stubborn woman, my mom, and she WILL grow something!

Another food memory is of me asking (begging) my mom to make a traditional Dutch dish called Stamppot boerenkool. All my friends' moms made it and I wanted to be Dutch so I begged my mom for weeks to make it. I still remember my mom slaving in the kitchen making Stamppot boerenkool. I also remember us all sitting around the table and no one wanting to eat the Stamppot boerenkool. And my mom bursting into tears because of that. My sisters and I felt so sorry for my mom that we started crying too. It's not the best food memory but for some reason I remember it really well. I also remember having to take cough syrup and being paid a quarter to drink it. But cough syrup isn't really a food.

Anyways, my mom and dad (my dad is his own biggest fan and he is often convinced his food is the best even though he doesn't mind hearing it over and over and over again) are really good cooks and growing up my parents often made Chinese and Vietnamese foods. I like Vietnamese food more than Chinese food. Ah, glorious Vietnamese food. Spring rolls, marinated pork chops with spring onions, rice paper rolls with fresh vegetables and prawns/meat, Phô (traditional beef noodle soup) and savoury pancakes filled with minced meat, vegetables and covered with a generous helping of my dad's fish sauce. Writing about it makes me want to move back in with my parents. I probably had the best Phô in Paris, the best marinated pork chops in Vancouver and the best savoury pancakes (accompanied by an ice cold Coke) in Ho Chi Minh city. Or maybe I had them all at home with my parents and siblings.

I am such a foodie that from all my trips I mostly remember the foods. I don't remember Vancouver Island but I remember I had the best Chili con carne on the boat to Vancouver Island. I don't remember much about Malta except the delicious ice tea (mediterranean flavour) which you can't get anywhere else. I remember the goat's cheese salad I had on a terrace in Paris and the tartiflette I had after a day of skiing in Les Menuires. Living in Holland you don't really have to travel anywhere for exotic food. Holland has/had so many colonies (Suriname, Indonesia, Netherlands Antilles etc.) and so many immigrants which has created this wonderful and delicious melting pot of flavours. I would recommend a trip to Holland. Not for the cannabis, red-light-district or the canals but for the glorious food!

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