News and events, and the Tostitos contest winner!

Congratulations to Kelly, who won the draw for the 2 bags of blue corn Tostitos and a lovely chip basket! I will be sending you an e-mail. I hope you enjoy them; personally, I find that blue corn chips have a slightly different taste than yellow corn tortilla chips and go really well with salsa, but doesn’t fit as well with cheese.

And now, here’s some news for you:

Food news from around the world

The secrets of successful food blogging, from SXSW via Twitter.

Meat Madness – vote and watch your favourite proteins face off, bracket-style.

Cyrus causes salmonella – sorry, couldn’t resist. Disney’s Hannah Montana Peanut Chocolate Granola Bars are being recalled though.

Toronto launches (possibly unnecessary) project to expand street food offerings.

Researchers question the benefit of eating so much fish.

McDonald’s Canada cancels the Shamrock Shake, and launches the Mac Snack Wrap (a.k.a. a Big Mac without the bun).

Shiitake mushrooms and green tea may fight breast cancer according to study of Chinese women.

If you haven’t read it by now, read Incanto’s letter Shock & Foie: The War Against Dietary Self-Determinism (the restaurant where Chris Cosentino is chef).

Beautifully written food and family memory from Gourmet’s Francis Lam. This is more like the Hong Kong I remember, rather than the Hong Kong I saw last spring.

Michelin gives first three-star rating to Chinese chef

HONG KONG (AFP) – Culinary bible Michelin on Tuesday gave its coveted three-star rating to a Chinese chef for

Launching its inaugural guide to restaurants and hotels in Hong Kong and Macau, Michelin inspectors gave three stars to Lung King Heen, a Cantonese restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel run by Chinese chef Chan Yan-tak.

Read the rest of the article here.

Methinks I would have liked the food better here than at the supposedly fancy restaurant my cousin took me to for below average Peking duck that made me ill afterwards. Which reminds me, I need to do a restaurant review on that place….

More milk recalls

So Hong Kong announced that they’ve found melamine in some Pocky and Lotte Koala Biscuits (Koala shaped cookies with chocolate cream inside) too. Is there no Asian snack food that is safe anymore?? (Other than dried squid and preserved plums, I mean.)

I still haven’t thrown out my milk tea yet. Every time I open that cupboard I see the giant bright yellow boxes sitting there. I know they’re mocking me. I know I should throw them out, but deep down I keep waiting (in vain) to hear that the tests were a mistake and that my boxes are perfectly fine. Go ahead, you can mock me too.

Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety – melamine tests

Food recalls

I’m starting to wonder if any processed food is safe.

After the spinach E.coli problems and massive listeria recalls, I now see the China milk and melamine scandal affecting products that I’ve eaten in the past or have at home. Today the Canadian Food Inspection Agency recalled three kinds of Mr. Brown instant coffee that was imported from Taiwan and may contain some of that tainted milk powder. Now I don’t drink coffee, so ordinarily that wouldn’t affect me. But I do drink milk tea, and bought some Mr. Brown instant milk tea while I was in Hong Kong as I had a hard time finding it here. That a Mr. Brown product was being recalled set off all sorts of alarms in my head, and I immediately hopped onto Google. To my dismay, I find that Taiwan recalled all the Mr. Brown coffees AND milk teas, and that Hong Kong is doing testing on the products.

Oh and apparently, White Rabbit candy is tainted too. I don’t have any of that at home, but I brought some to work this past summer. I feel so great knowing that I poisoned my coworkers as well as myself.

Edited to add: The New York Times is reporting that the milk issue was discovered back in December 07, and was hushed because of the Olympics. That means if they had actually owned up to the problems before hand I wouldn’t have bought tainted milk tea (and consumed some during my trip)!

My blog avatar

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but at some point last week (or maybe the week before that) I finally uploaded a photo for this blog’s avatar.

Arent I cute?

Aren't I weird, but also cute?

Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. That is panda corn standing there next to a piece of bamboo (although a friend of mine insists it’s Snoopy).
The photo was taken at Ocean Park in Hong Kong, just outside their panda zoo exhibit. There is this strange obsession with corn in Asia, and it’s usually paired with desserts. In a shopping mall in Malaysia, I actually found a shop that sold ice cream and freshly steamed corn niblets side by side. (Too bad I didn’t think to take a photo of it at the time.)
And then there is this corn panda. There was actually a whole row of them along a wall, and each one had a different pose. It was just too funny and strange that I felt compelled to take numerous photos so that I could inflict them on my family and friends.

Preparing for travel

Most people, when they know they are travelling somewhere, will read travel books and figure out transportation. Me? I run to foodie sites first. At the end of May I will be going to the food meccas of Malaysia (specifically Penang and Langkawi) and Hong Kong. All I’m planning on doing is eating and shopping! 😉

In preparation for that, I’ve been looking at past blog posts from Rasa Malaysia, scouring the posts on the Asia Chowhound board, and doing Google searches for key words like “hawker stalls.” I even found some quality foodie posts on Tripadvisor.

My mouth is watering already.