Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dreaming of my Grandparents

I walked out of the room.

There, in the living room of my maternal grandparents' house, was my brother, some maternal aunties and uncles, and little Miss Ellie sitting on her green glider.

Standing behind the sofa was an old couple. They looked familiar, probably in their 70s. The lady had curly hair and the man had a box of something in his hand. They smiled lovingly at me. Was it really them?

"Can't you recognise me? I am grandma!" she said, with her usual boisterous tone in our native Foochow language.

One of my aunts smiled, as if she knew about the surprise.

Grandpa didn't say a word. He put his hand forward, gesturing me to take a snack from the box. It was my favourite 礼饼 (a foochow pastry eaten during happy occasions with filling made of dates). I took a wedge and sat down beside my brother.

Subsequently, after some random chatter (which I don't remember) with the folks in the room, I was shocked to realise that my aunts and uncles did not know of their presence. I then looked at my brother, who was also munching on the same pastry. He nodded, indicating he saw them too, and the pastry in our mouths were more real than ever (I can still taste the sweetness in my mouth while typing this).

I shut my eyes to suck it all in, and when I opened them, I was back in my own living room in Bangkok (I sleep in the living room sometimes when I have to get up early in the morning). This was when I couldn't control it anymore. I sobbed like a baby.

I took at look at my phone, it was 5.41am, exactly 4 minutes before my alarm is supposed to go off, waking me up to cook chicken soup for my family. They even woke me up at the right time, so that I can switch off my alarm to allow my family to continue sleeping in peace.

Why did they appear? On this day, at this time, right before I was supposed to cook my favourite Foochow style kampung chicken soup, the soup that they cooked for my mum, the soup my mum cooked for me, and now I am cooking for my family.

The same pot of soup linking generations together

One thing I know for sure, is that the soup tonight will taste doubly sweet.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Answer Cheeze Food Truck: Cheese sandwiches that taste as good as they look

If you read my previous post on ArtBox@The Em District (direct link here), you will realise I found Answer Cheeze via an accidental decision while feeling bored at the popular pop-up market.

How Answer Cheeze looks at the current version of ArtBox
I will be lying if I told you cheese is one of my favourite foods, but even though a cheese sandwich does not sound like anything that inspires imagination, I was surprised it could taste this good. After my wife gave a similar thumbs up, I decided to dedicate a blogpost specially to them.

The blogger trying to catch their attention with a myriad of moves

One cannot talk about Answer Cheeze without mentioning the 2 exceptionally good-looking young men behind it. Oat and Ton, after graduating from Dusit Thani College together, spent many years refining their craft in the kitchens of 5-star hotels before recently deciding to come out on their own. With the bustling food truck scene in Bangkok overly-crowded with one too many burger trucks (so many that they are differentiating themselves with one suggestive name after another), Oat and Ton capitalised on the vacuum in the sandwich market with their own take on the perfect gourmet cheese sandwich.

Sandwich-making process at a glance

As the name suggests, their answer to your hunger revolves solely around cheese. Each sandwich consists of up to 5 kinds of imported cheese (Parmesan, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Brie and Emmental), all intricately-cooked to contribute both crispy and oozy textures in every bite we take. For a neutral like me, it delivers exactly what it promises, which is fantastic, but for the cheese lover, it could be a trip to cheese paradise. There are only 3 sandwich choices at the moment, so it's basically like a simple multiple choice question while deciding. My personal favourite is the BBQ as I love bacon.

Cheese Heaven or what

From my brief meeting with Oat and Ton, I can almost feel a silent determination from them to make this venture much bigger than what it is now, so the old man here is going to do whatever small part I can to give them the postive energy they need to perservere.

In any case, from now till 19 June, you can find Answer Cheeze parked at ArtBox@The Em District every Friday-Sunday from 4pm until all their 200 sandwiches run out (often before 10pm). After that, you will have to either follow their Instagram stream @answercheezebkk or their Facebook page to be updated on their next location.

Beauties and the beast

So ladies and gentlemen, here's the Stranger in Bangkok promising you that the sandwiches taste as good as they look, so if you do happen to find this bright yellow truck parking round the corner, do show your support.

I am pretty confident these gentlemen won't disappoint.

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