Where The Girls Eat


Perhaps it was the yellowing fluorescent lighting. Or the sticky plastic chairs. Or the fleshy young girl in the black fishnets, scuffed-up heels and too-short shorts sashaying in for her nightly order of chicken wings.

But I had the distinct feeling: I’ve been here before.

Not here, at Cafe Supunsa in Singapore, specifically. But at a saucy place of ill-repute, enduring the mental undressings of men wondering if I’m one of the crowd, all in the name of searching for a good meal.

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The Heart of Things


They say that you can’t go home again.

Over a snack of mutton murtabak and Malay ginger tea, scalding hot and satisfyingly milky, the phrase suddenly popped into my head. And my mind immediately banished the logic.

I had been bemoaning my rudimentary photography skills to my friend KF Seetoh, a Singapore TV food host (the Saint Anthony of Southeast Asia, really), when I confessed, “I just learned how to focus.”

The camera, that is. And this would be, oh, after four years of owning the darned thing. 

In fact, I’m the only person I know who can take a picture of a perfectly delicious specimen of food and somehow produce a vision that is capable of inspiring nausea and thoughts of never lifting morsel to mouth ever again.

My problem, always, has been the hunger.

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Soup in a Storm


It has been hot in Singapore. 

Not that it never is. But this now-Americanized body always takes some adjusting to the 90-degree heat and sweat-like-a-hormonal-teenage-boy humidity that assaults you the moment you land.

But it’s bearable because you know there’s always the inevitable break from the swelter. That floor-rumbling, tree branch-crackling, giant-fat-drops-of-rain, monsoon-like storm that chases the birds into hiding and clears the air.

It finally came this morning, and I immediately thought of soup.

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A View From The Road: Hong Kong Airport Food


All airport food should be this good: Taiwanese braised beef noodles (in a broth that’s heavy on star anise) with a big scoop of super-sour, minced pickled veggies at Hong Kong’s airport.

Take that, McDonald’s!

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A Sicilian Summer Lunch: A Cure for April Winter Blues

This morning, I woke up fantasizing about the glorious January day in New York City a few years ago when it was 70 degrees and out came the open-toed heels.

I know one isn’t supposed to be so gauche as to go bonkers over wintry days that are insanely warm, given that worrisome bit about “global warming” and all that. But it’s mid-April in New York, guys. And it’s 40-something degrees out today. It just will not get warm.

This started me thinking about a perfect summer lunch I had last year in Sicily. It all began with a morning trip to the historic La Vucciria market in Palermo, where for hundreds of years, fishermen and farmers have brought their freshest produce and catches of the day.


The place was a seafood-lover’s heaven. Massive pesce spada (swordfish) aside, vendors sold squid, slender, silvery fish, oysters the size of your fist.

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