Food @ Annapurna Circuit Trek

I am not a big fan of Indian food so I was initially apprehensive about the type of food I will be getting in Nepal. So to be sure that I don’t have to consume Indian or pure Nepalese food everyday, we brought along instant noodles, instant soup and instant porridge. But I was delightfully surprised when our very first day, we saw the menu at the tea house. There was of course Nepalese food but there were also very familiar food like fried rice, fried noodles, pizza, pasta, all sort of soup and bread. Our guide told us this was the typical menu for all the tea houses and we could pick any items from the menu at all the meals. Hooray!

Throughout the 11 days of trekking, our staple for lunch was mainly fried rice or fried noodle. These was because it was the easiest food for the tea house to prepare and the more easily digestible for us being familiar food. They were a hit and miss. Some places, it was well prepared and taste almost like those back home but some places it simply taste weird, especially the way the noodles were cooked.

For dinner when we have more time to wait for our food, we generally ordered more varied variety – like pizza which is just a base of dough with tomato on top and whatever toppings available which is either egg, tuna or vegetable, mushroom or cheese or a mixture..  Not great but still when one is hungry, it tasted really good!

Fried Pasta

One of my favourite was this spring roll – actually looks like chappati with whatever fillings like egg, tuna or vegetable or a mixture. Some places served it deep fried as well.

For breakfast, there was the usual toast with butter and jam spread but there were also other options like Tibetan bread which tasted really great, chappati which comes with egg or plain; pancake and corn bread among others.

This is chappati with fried egg which was real good as the chappati was freshly baked. 

The pancake was not the usual small pieces we get in Singapore but this full plate size giant and it comes with butter and honey. 

However, for us the single most requested food especially at the higher grounds was this simple instant noodles which they cooked in a garlic based broth. The hot soup and the noodles goes down so well in the cold and we have it for a number of breakfast and dinner!

Of course, when in Nepal we have to have Nepalese food and the most popular item was definitely the Dal Bhat, a rice dish served with lentil vegetables and curry and some assorted side dishes. 

My own favourite is the Mo Mo which is similar to our dumpling and comes with either tuna, cheese, potato or vegetable filling and is served either steamed or fried. However, of all the items available, this is the only one that is in my opinion too small a portion for me and I only had it twice although I think it was really great. I even tried to find them in Kathmandu to bring back to Singapore but was unfortunately unsuccessful.

Out in the circuit, they don’t have much fresh meat so our guide generally tell us not to order the meat item but on our way to Manang, we actually had our first taste of Yak meat in the form of a Yak burger! Yak meat is almost similar to beef but I thought they were a bit dry but it was good to have meat for a change.

At Manang, there were bakery and good real coffee – not those black water that pass off for coffee in the tea housesSo despite my initial apprehension, I didn’t starve or had to eat Nepalese or Indian food throughout and because of that, my original target to lose 5 kg for this trip did not materialise despite trekking for so many days!

Good but not so Cheap – Gyu Nami

Amoy Street Food Centre is fast becoming a start up for young food hawkers. The latest to join the line up is Gyu Nami, a Japanese Donburi stall set up by 2 cousins or that what I was told.

They served only 1 item – Wagyu Beef Donburi. At $10.00 a bowl, it is not cheap by hawker food standard. The rice serving portion is also rather small as evidenced from the small bowl. But what does not lack for is slice and slice of Wagyu Beef cooked medium well. There is also an Onsen egg and a bit of vegetables. The whole thing is topped with a rather interesting tasting sauce which I figured got mayo and some other stuff which I cannot identified.

Once again, not cheap for a food centre lunch but definitely value for money!

4 Uniquely Singapore Sandwiches

Some time ago, some “ang mo dude in the United State of Awesomeness~” mocked and dissed one of our beloved sandwich – the delicious heat busting ice cream sandwich that can be found in street corners all over the island and in Malaysia and Indonesia. Now why is it that I am never surprised at the fucked type mentality of these people who thinks they know what is best for the rest of the world never mind that the guy had never even tried it. For those of us who have eaten this, this must surely ranked as one of the best treat whether you out shopping at Orchard Rd, or at the beach or just walking out of the school compound.

Ice Cream

Ice Cream (photo from foodinmouth.com)

That post got me thinking though. Beside ice cream sandwich, we have some other sandwich that is really shiok and unique and which even the Malaysian and Indonesia cannot claim is their heritage food. Here are 4 of the best. For illustration purposes, the photos are taken with a single slice of bread instead of the usual 2 slices.

Pork Floss Sandwich

Most of us are familiar with the pork or chicken floss bun made famous by Breadtalk and now sold in every single bakery in Singapore and other parts of Asia. But before the pork floss bun, there was the Pork Floss sandwich.

Pork Floss

Pork Floss Sandwich

Seen here is crispy pork floss on a single slice of bread. Best eaten together with a thin spread of butter on the bread. I prefer the non crispy floss but the Mrs prefer the Crispy version. Either way this is great for breakfast.

Barbecued Pork Sandwich

Practically every one of us ie the non Muslim must have eaten barbecue pork or bak kwa before. But how many have eaten it between 2 slices of bread?

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Barbecue Pork or Bak Kwa Sandwich

This is one of the best treat when one is out in the trails and doing a long race or ultra. Oh… the kick that you  get from just biting into one mouth of this when you hot and tired after hours and hours of hiking and running. If you never try this before, pack one for your next hike/race. You won’t regret it!

Hae Bee Hiam Sandwich

This is one of my favourite especially if it is my Mum’s version of Hae Bee Hiam or spicy dried prawns. A slightly different twist to this is to use pork instead of Hae Bee.

Hae Bee Hiam

Hae Bee Hiam Sandwich

This is best eaten with the Hae Bee Hiam hot. Spread a thin layer of margarine or butter on the bread. Toast the Hae Bee Hiam if it is not hot. And then spread them liberally on the bread. Best as a tea time snack or even a full meal by itself.

Braised Pork Sandwich

Last but not least, my personal favourite. A big piece of succulent braised pork tucked between 2 slices of bread with just a little bit of the black sauce. This is similar to the Kong Bak Pau that is served at Hokkien restaurant and sometimes funerals.

Braised Pork

Braised Pork Sandwich

I usually eat it with the pork steaming hot and sometime throw in the skin or egg that is usually served together with the pork. Best eaten? Anytime!

What other unique local sandwich have you eaten before?

Sungai Lembing

I never heard of this place before but somehow I heard about a race there and on a whim decided to sign up for the race and at the same time look see look see the place. And after 8 hours of travelling, we finally reached into the past! Yes that was how the place looked. It remind me of those scene one see in those Mediacorp pre war drama series or of places one see only on old postcards in museum.

This is the main street of Sungai Lembing.

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Probably takes no more than 10 minutes to walk the whole place but within the town of Sungai Lembing itself, there are much more than the main street. Sungai Lembing built its fame from its tin mine. At one time it has the largest underground tin mines in the world. That glory days are now over but there are still remnants of the tin mines like the Tin Mines Museum. DSC_1531

Even the chalet we stayed in had a tin mine tunnel!

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Other than the tin mines museum, there are  a fair number of things to do and see like a 3D Gallery, an adventure camp and plenty of hiking options like a climb up to Panorama Hill to watch the sun rise or sun set or a trek to Rainbow Waterfall. (more on these 2 in later posts). Of course a visit to Sungai Lembing would not be complete without visiting its namesake the Sungai Lembing or Lembing River.DSC_1628

There are multiple bridges including 2 suspension bridges spanning the river offering beautiful and postcard worthy view of the river and the town.dsc_1635

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Venturing further out into the kampongs or villages, one is taken back into the days of P Ramlee and Pontianak shows with quaint little kampung houses.dsc_1616

And of course we never go to any places without trying the local food. Sungai Lembing has one market cum cooked food centre selling all sort of Chinese food including this popular Yong Tau Foo stall.290816-001

We had dinner at another place famous for its tomato noodles which I wasn’t very impressed with and on another day we had lunch at a coffeeshop selling one of the best roast pork I ever tasted.20160829_132413

It was a interesting 2 days there. Manage to do a short race, did some climbing and went on a long bumpy ride. More of these later. But certainly I was glad to have been there and despite the small place enjoyed myself pretty much.

Expensive but Good – Park Bench Deli

It was not so long ago that I ate my first “atas” sandwich. Before that, sandwich to me was 2 slices of white bread with a piece or 2 of luncheon meat or fried egg.  Then came Delifrance with its croissant and baguette ‘wich which changed the meaning of sandwich for Singapore. But it was only when Subway came that eating sandwiches as a main meal became mainstream and soon all sort of sandwich joints which charges an arm and a leg started sprouting all over especially in town.

One of the latest to open is Park Bench Deli, a small little outlet in Chinatown.DSC_0389 Now I really don’t know why they need to devote such big space to the kitchen and left the dining area with just 3 rows of benches but I guess they probably thinking sandwiche is still pretty much a takeaway thing.

What so unique about this place is that beside the usual beef, chicken and turkey sandwich, it has a “kong bak” pau sandwich which is braised pork stewed Vietnamese style. And it cost $16 for one! We had 3 different type of sandwiches so one can imagine how expensive it is nowadays to eat bread! No more jokes about no money to eat lunch and can only afford bread. Not at this type of prices!

This is the cross section of the kong bak pau sandwich. Looks at the fatty succulent piece of pork in the teeny weeny sweetish sauce.DSC_0392

The opened up section of hte sandwich.
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And cross section of the 3 different type of sandwiches which my lunch companions had. Pork, beef and turkey.DSC_0394But apart from the expensive price, this is seriously good stuff. Too bad that this can only be reserved for the occasional treats. Not when I can have 3 Subway for the price of 1.