at at-sunrice

Alright, another lag entry. lemme reset the date

Date: January 05 10:35 PM

 

Okey dokey…let’s get things started. SO for the helmsman week me and a bunch of others from IP2 will be going to at-sunrice to learn how to cook (mind the pun)  (actually that’s the name of the workshop) What a dreary day I thought. Cooking is interesting, the possibilities are endless…you can make a thousand varieties from one dish, which the Koreans are exceptionally good at. (If you read the entry: Korean Frenzy you’ll get what I mean) I a;ready have some intel about what we’re going to cook: chicken, popiah and another dish that I cannot remember. Intel also says it’s poison. Unfortunately, we have to cook our own lunch. Heck, just do the way of the premchand: anything bite-sized can and will go into the stomach. So I hobbled over to the bus bay, still reeling in from double shock, Japillai’s scolding about not attending assembly and running away like mice coupled with Huang laoshi’s reminder that chinese homework is due next week. I’m dead…but I’m already dead. I was born to die the moment I was born! Er… nvms. So I met up with all the PRCs from our class. It seems like all the PRCs and ME from our class is going together. Do I look like a PRC to you? Wait till I speak chinese and you’ll know I’m malay…whoops Singaporean Chinese I mean…Enough about the pre-trip let’s get to the main part.

 

After playing taiti on the bus with cui yue, yu hang and esmond, we reached fort canning. WTFOMFGBBQ??? Fort canning? ALL THE WAY THERE? I wonder how far I am from simei…so after getting there and getting to know the chef, his name is chef A btw, his real name is to long for conversation, so we’ll call him A, we got on the spice hunt. We were split into groups by drawing lots from a glass goldfish bowl. Esmond was nudging me to take group: Asam which was obviously the same as his. It was pretty easy to get Asam as well. All I needed to peer into the bowl and see the label: Asam staring at me. I picked it out without difficulty. Later we got to find out who was in our groups. I was in teh same boat as Esmond, Beau and Prohan. Soon after we went on our hunt around the spice garden in Fort canning which at-sunrice was smack in the middle of and to jot down the locations of each spice on the list onto the map given to us. When I first saw the map I almost puked. A hand drawn map, at least with ruler and no scale. Worst of all, NO NORTH ARROW!!!

 

ARGH!!!

Oh the anguish! You have to feel the same pain as I do…because all of us will be going through it…Actually it didn’t matter, cuz we don’t have a compass. BUT!!! You can always make your own. All you need to do is to stick your arm in the air during mid morning or mid-afternoons to get a direction. Very simple, problem is…there was no sun there, only shade…I almost went bonkers. So after hunting around for some lousy weeds, we finally made it back to at-sunrice hot and sweaty. The humidity over there is way over the limit. Me and Esmond were squatting infront of a fan that was placed on the floor. And we all took gulps of lemon grass tea that so many of us used to water the plants before the hunt began. Honestly it tasted like cough syrup but you people didn’t have to throw it away…so what if it tasted like strepsils? Coca cola was originally meant to be cough syrup too you know…So, the results of the spice hunt. Guo Wei’s group turned out tops with a full score of 10 out of 10. He was pointing Ls with his index finger and thumb at everyone. How "L"ucky, his prize was to be able to enter the kitchen first! HAHAHA! My group came in second with 9 points and tied with at least 4 other groups. Heh heh, nubbad eh? SO after the announcements and stuff, we have to learn table setting. Like, WTH? I’m from CHINESE family, I don’t eat with ze fork and spoon. I use a pair of chopsticks. Honestly, I hardly touch a fork unless eating western food, which is rare on the dinner table. But the napkin folding was interesting. Being able to fold it into a Kimono, tuxedo and T-shirt was simply fascinating. I doudn’t do it very well but blame the napkin…it wasn’t perfectly square. After which the chef announced what we will be cooking. That will be Thai food. I almost did a parkour off the ledge of the building and flew 2 stories downwards. I was so happy with the nine out of ten and then you tell me THAI food??? Aw…c’mon…too bad, gotta cook it gotta eat it. In the end, we cooked pineapple rice, some funny pumpkin plus chicken curry and steamed fice with lemon grass. Wasn’t so bad because it wasn’t really thai food. I eat this all the time. except for the pumpkin and chicken curry. I only ate pumpkin once in my life and I know why people carve it into such hideous shapes during halloween.

 

The cooking was interesting. All of us had different tastes. Imagine a venn diagram. Three circles, labelled Spicy, Sweet and Salty. Esmond and Piao Han was in the Salty circle, I was in between the Spicy circle and the Salty circle and Beau was in between the Spicy and the Sweet circle. While me and Beau were discussing whether to add more chilli padi, Esmond would object. And when me and Esmond were comtemplating how to add more fish sauce into the pineapple rice, Beau will VIOLENTLY object with rebuttals such as: You’ll die of Kidney failure, and the classic: You guys are mad. In the end, we all reached a consensus. Not too spicy and not too salty. If you’re wondering why Beau didn’t want to add more sugar is because there wasn’t much of it to start with. All ingredients were given to us in nice portions together with a piece of tree bark which they call a herb. All we had to do was to cut, chop and stir fry. Simple. And one interesting thing that happened was what happened to Esmond. After cutting up the chilli and standing next to the onions, he decided to rub his eyes…and he almost went beserk…his eyes were super red and he said it felt like putting muscle relief cream on your eyes, that kind of burning sensation…Lol. As my policy goes…help first, laugh at the poor guy later.

 

After lunch which was nubbad, considering all the effort into cooking the food. We didn’t steam the fish btw, and thankfully it was beautiful. The Thai chilli sauce which was a simple mix of fish sauce, lime juice, chilli padi and garlic was heavenly. After laughing and joking at the lunch table, we all went back to do friut carving. We were given extra-sharp knives to cut the fruits. I was paying more attention to the knives really. The feel of the knife through fruit was sensational. Only if my knife could do that through flesh…not human flesh of course…unless…just kidding…am I…? we were supposed to carve flowers out of chillies, CARROTS and make a basket out of a cucumber together with something that looks like a fern out of a piece of spring onion. I made two "flowers" out of a carrot then gave up. I cut the spring onion leaves so delicately but when soaked in cold water, it ended up looking like shredded Kang Kong…sad…so sad…So I decided to make something out of the cucumber. I split the thing lengthwise and gave the other half to esmond. I hollowed out the insides and made a canoe with carrot oars and carries two carrot and one chilli flower and a piece of Kangkong longer than the canoe itself. Esmond made an engraving onto the cucumber and filled the spaces with carrot such that on the outside it looks like an oval pencil box with orange letters: VJC IP. You can ask him for the photo.

 

After the carving I had to part with my beloved knives. Knives so sharp, yet so delicate, drop them and they will bend and lose the sharpness. Just like a young child, you have to shower them with care and concern…never mind, not many people share the same love for knives as me.

 

What a day at at-sunrice…or what a day at-sunrice. Hahaha, mind the pun again. Lollerskates.

 

>>>Camper signing off with a fruit carving knife

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