2010 in review

WordPress sent me this lovely summary. 🙂

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 40,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 75 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 447 posts. There were 2 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 55kb.

The busiest day of the year was November 19th with 256 views. The most popular post that day was Pandan Agar Agar recipe.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were Only Here for the Food, eating is the hard part, Loosen Your Belt and Eat Around Edmonton, A Canadian Foodie, and The Celiac Husband.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for baked portobello mushrooms, agar agar recipe, kabsa, gurney drive hawker centre, and langkawi food blog.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Pandan Agar Agar recipe June 2010
18 comments and 2 Likes on WordPress.com


Baked portobello mushrooms March 2009


Bellagio Buffet and Wynn Buffet, Las Vegas August 2009


Kimchi scrambled eggs February 2009


Langkawi food March 2009


Fun Friday

Isabelle, from the Little Red Kitchen, has a series on CBC Radio where she reviews various cookbooks. You can listen to past reviews here.

My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’Homme, and Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell

Today you get two book reviews in one – My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’Homme, and Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell.

I actually bought my copy of My Life in France way back in March when I picked it up in a clearance sale, but hadn’t gotten around to reading it. I recently picked up one of the (heavily discounted because it’s on the bestseller list) Julie and Julia books. And then I found out that I won a draw for a preview movie ticket, so I figured that I should probably read both books before going to enjoy the movie.

I first started reading Julie and Julia. It was a relatively quick read and I can certainly see how it would appeal to a certain kind of reader. My best description of the book would be to say it’s like Bridget Jones or one of the Shopaholic books, but with a lot of swearing, some food, and less charm. I tried to like this book – I really did. But I have to admit that she got on my nerves.

It’s not so much about the food as a journey that Powell takes to “find herself.” Julia Child and her food just happened to be the tool. To be very frank, there were too many times that I felt like she didn’t like any of the food she was making. And when she did like the food, the descriptions usually ended up being something like “hmm” or “mmm” or “it was good so we ate it” (I’m paraphrasing). There weren’t really many explanations as to why the food tasted good to her, or even in most cases why the food tasted bad.

Half-way through Julie and Julia I HAD to take a break. And so I switched to My Life in France.

This book is not so much an autobiography but is actually a collection of memories and vignettes, accompanied by many fantastic photos taken by Paul, Julia’s husband. I found this book even easier to read than Powell’s book due to the length of each vignette. Similar to a book of short stories, it is a book that can be easily picked up and put down again without interuppting the narrative flow.

Julia and Paul’s adventures in France made for entertaining reading. And, unlike Powell’s book, you can actually feel the passion Child had for food. Food, however, isn’t the only thing that you experience in this book. You get to see post-war France through Child’s eyes, and even some insight into the political life of the U.S. diplomatic service.

This book makes me want to go to France. And to try cooking some of Child’s recipes, whereas Powell’s book gave me very little encouragement to even flip through the cookbooks. If you want to learn about Julia Child, I highly recommend My Life in France. I unfortunately cannot say the same for Julie and Julia, unless you’re looking for chick lit.

I’m seeing the movie tonight, so expect a review in the next couple of days.

Edited to add: After some thought over the past couple of days I decided that I should have added this to my original review. I just wanted to say that my opinion of Julie Powell’s writing is only based on her book, and not the old blog or her current blog. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t read either one. At one point I did read a bunch of her Julie/Julia blog posts around the time that she was finishing her project but I didn’t find it particularly compelling at the time and never bothered to read the whole thing or to continue to follow her. I do admire that she finished the whole project, but I didn’t care for the book and I think I agree with Julia Child’s opinion that it didn’t seem like Julie respected the food.

Pho Hoan Pasteur, Edmonton

Pho Hoan Pasteur

Pho Hoan Pasteur

There have been quite a few new Vietnamese pho places popping up around the city. I recently had an opportunity to try out a new place called Pho Hoan Pasteur. Pulling up to the restaurant, I was intrigued to see “Fusion Noodle House” written on the restaurant’s sign. Not quite sure why, as the menu looks like any other pho restaurant. I was there quite early (after 5 p.m.) and was surprised there were so many patrons at that early hour. Many more people trickled in as we ate and just before we left, so it looks like this place may stick around for a while. Booths line three walls, with additional tables and chairs in the middle of the room.

Pho Hoan Pasteur - steak pho and pork vermicelli

Pho Hoan Pasteur - steak pho and pork vermicelli

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Restoran Khaleel, Malaysia – roti

A couple of breakfasts were spent eating Malaysian flat breads at Restoran Khaleel, an Indian place near my hotel.

Restoran Khaleel

Restoran Khaleel

(By the way, “restoran” is Malay for “restaurant,” by the way. There’s this odd logic once you catch on to how Malay works… “ambulans” is “ambulance,”  “polis” means “police,” “Amerika” is “America, and “air” means “water.” Okay, that last one is a bad example, but you know what I mean.)

Roti canai (pronounced chan-ai, in Singapore called roti prata) is a favourite of my family, and is one of the few Malaysian dishes that we have access to here in Canada. It’s made of wheat, is pan-fried and (when done right) is layered inside a bit like phyllo. To eat, you rip off a piece and dip it in curry. At this place, they served it with a lovely chicken curry.

Roti canai with chicken curry

Roti canai with chicken curry

While there, we also tried another kind of roti, a roti tosai. Roti tosai is made from rice and lentil flour. It’s thinner, more crepe-like, and is steamed. They also served it with three dips – a lentil curry (middle), a yellow curry (right), and a spiced coconut milk chutney (left). I really liked this as it wasn’t greasy like roti canai can be, and the variety of sauces made this dish interesting. (And no, I didn’t have Sprite for breakfast. Those culprits were my siblings.)

Roti tosai and roti canai

Roti tosai and more roti canai

Did I miss Western breakfasts like toast and eggs and cereal? Not one bit.

Restoran Khaleel Sdn Bhd
Gurney Drive (a.k.a. Persiaran Gurney), Georgetown, Malaysia

Koey teow th’ng – Hai Oan Kopitiam, Malaysia

Hai Oan kopitiam

Hai Oan Kopitiam

One place we stopped at was a small kopitiam (coffee shop) called Hai Oan. This place, I was told, had fantastic koey teow th’ng – a clear soup with hand-made fish balls, minced pork patties, and flat rice noodles. It was delicious and mellow, and I could easily see how this would be a good dish when you aren’t feeling well or when you want a lighter meal.

We took the soup to go, and it was eaten too quickly for me to take a photo. I did manage to take photos of the signs though.

Pitt Street koey teow th’ng stall

Pitt Street koey teow th’ng stall

Pitt Street koey teow th’ng stall close up

Pitt Street koey teow th’ng stall close up

Tambun biscuits (tau sah peah) – Him Heang, Malaysia

tambun biscuit (tau sah peah)

Tambun biscuits, or tau sah peah, are round little cookies stuffed with green beans (a.k.a. mung beans). Flaky, dry, a little salty and savoury, they are a popular snack and boxes are often given as gifts. The ingredients of tambun biscuits are actually quite simple: wheat flour, green beans, fried shallot, vegetable oil and salt.

My grandmother insisted that we had to stop at Him Heang, a local bakery famous for these cookies. The place was packed and boxes were flying off the shelves. I think we only managed to get some because my grandmother, this persistent (and stubborn) little old lady, shoved her way to the front counter and shouted her order to the staff there.

Frankly, I was disappointed once I bit into them. They were so dry that you had to eat them with a drink handy. Although they weren’t greasy, I did find there was a bit of a greasy aftertaste – perhaps from the vegetable oil used? Also, the beans didn’t taste very strong at all and made me wonder why they even bothered to add the beans.

I ended up lugging two boxes of these with me onto the next leg of my trip – Hong Kong – and gave them away to people there, because no one else in my family wanted to take them back to Canada.

inside view of a tambun biscuit (tau sah peah)

inside view of a tambun biscuit (tau sah peah)

Him Heang Sdn. Bhd.
162-A Jalan Burma,
10050 Penang,