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Posts tagged ‘Spice Odyssey’

Meet the Bandanese

Bandanese Portraits_1

I cannot begin to describe how much I adore the Banda Islands. Bama and I have recently spent the second half of September happily marooned on this tiny archipelago in the seas of eastern Indonesia. Both of us consider it one of the most beautiful places we have ever been to, and while I mull over exactly how to write about its incredible history and the wonders we saw, I will introduce Banda with photos of its people. Read more

Cook like a Nyonya

Nyonya Cooking Class_1

It’s too late when I notice my pot of duck stew boiling over. In those split seconds between Bama’s warning and the time it takes for me to put down the camera, the damage has already been done.

Quick as a flash, Pearly Kee rushes over to turn down the heat. By now the excess liquid is bubbling and steaming on the hob, with a minor cascade dripping down the drawers and pooling on the floor tiles. “Too much water,” she says. The embarrassment must be evident on my face, because Pearly is telling me not to worry while she wipes down the mess. Read more

My first Idul Fitri

Idul Fitri_1

Indonesian TV stations these days have been peppering their news broadcasts with “suka-duka Idul Fitri”, a round-up of the positives (suka) and negatives (duka) over the long weekend. It has been a privilege to spend Idul Fitri, or Eid, with Bama’s family, and experience the celebrations firsthand. For me, the similarities between our home cultures have been brought into sharp focus – I now realise that this festival is a lot like Chinese New Year. Read more

Fasting for Ramadan, or “puasa”

Puasa Ramadan_1

Just before 5:30pm, we find ourselves in the middle of a restaurant packed with patrons. At the next table, more than 15 university students load up on white rice and a rich assortment of main dishes. Some stir their ice-cold drinks in anticipation of the coming feast. It is the perfect representation of a scene that my father described from the days before I was born, when my parents lived in Kuala Lumpur. Read more

2015: A Spice Odyssey

Spice Route Map

Several years ago I had a vision.

I was standing on a powder-soft beach with the waves gently lapping against my feet. A wooden pier stretched out into the calm, crystalline waters. In the distance a schooner had its sails furled, and the vessel cut a graceful figure against a ridge cloaked in tropical rainforest. Read more