Exchanging winter for summer

Sacks of dried shrimp in Singapore We left a damp, wintery Ireland last Friday morning and touched down to blue skies and sunshine in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Wednesday after a three-day stopover in Kuching with my Malaysian family. Sure beats sitting around in Ireland with the post-Christmas blues! While in Kuching we got a chance to feast on our favourite teh tarik, or pulled tea, and roti canai, layered Indian breads that are served with a runny dahl. The next day, the reheated roti are especially delicious when they reappear with kaya, an unctuous coconut spread, not unlike lemon curd. Daily feasts of tropical fruit at my aunt’s house included papaya, the hairy-skinned rambutan, several types of banana, mangosteen, sweet ripe pineapple and rich, juicy-to-your-elbows windfall mangos from the neighbour’s tree. This time round we avoided the durian, however!

This was my fourth trip to Kuching – the Boyfriend’s second – and our laziest. Tired from the first leg of the journey, we just relaxed, read, slept, enjoyed the heat and had some quality time with the family. There was time to snack on my aunt’s rich fruit cake, my cousin’s sesame-flecked brownies – although we didn’t go for too much of the durian cake, after our last experience with that noxious fruit – with meals of homecooked Malay curries contributed by neighbours and my uncle’s relatives. Had some good, spicy, although not too hot, Tom Yam, dishes of Mee Goreng (fried noodles), Butter Prawns and Nasi Ayam, but we missed out on Laksa, Satay and Murtabak this time round. We’ll have to store up those treats for the next time we return.

Now we’re back in the land of numerous types of ginger beerBundaberg is still at number one and, we discovered on a brief explore round the city, also available in Singapore – Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Semillon, feijoas, fantastic cafés, the Boyfriend’s favourite savoury meat pies, kumara and Ginger Gems…roll on the next couple of weeks!



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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9 Responses

  1. plum says:

    Welcome back to the sunny side Caroline! I’ve had friends in New Zealand this month and they say it is just wonderful there at the moment.

  2. Mary says:

    Welcome back Caroline! Wonderful to hear you are in the neighbourhood and I hope you enjoy what the next few weeks may bring. Don’t suppose you brought a bit of warmer weather with you?Cheers!

  3. Ruth says:

    Summer weather, New Zealand skies, cold drinks, meat pies… sounds wonderful. (I’ll have to take your word on the merits of ginger beer!) Have a great holiday!

  4. Maria says:

    Hi Caroline,Sounds like ye had a real food fest at aunts house… will have to go again!!You were wise to avoid the durian…. has to be the worst smelling food ever!Enjoy NZ

  5. beccy says:

    Lucky you enjoying the sunshine. I was hiking aroung Glendalough in the rain yesterday! Enjoy your trip.

  6. barbara says:

    But this week it is damp and wintery here too! A bit of a shock for me after three weeks of 30 degrees in Perth. You are not coming through Auckland at all?

  7. Caroline says:

    It’s so good to be back! We’ve been enjoying great food in Nelson, courtesy of the Boyfriend’s mother – who is a wonderful cook – flat whites at the local cafés, lots of fragrant Sauvignon Blanc in the sunshine – and plenty of rain today! That’s not so bad, though, as we spent the night at the Boyfriend’s family bach near Lake Rotoiti, nice to hear the rain on the roof in the morning and snuggle down for another hour in bed.Barbara – you must have had a major shock if you returned to today’s kind of weather. Unfortunately I won’t be travelling through Auckland this time round. We’re flying direct to Singapore from Christchurch. Maybe we’ll finally get to meet up the next time I’m in New Zealand.

  8. Maeve Gebruers says:

    Hello Stranger, Have spent the last hour reading bibliocook.com, didn’t realise the time passing. I’m now starving. Next time you’re in North Cork let me know and maybe we could try and meet-up. Have printed off the receipe for Cinnamon Apple Cake and will attempt it over the weekend! Really enjoyed the site. Maeve G.

  9. Caroline says:

    Hi Maeve! It’s been a long time indeed. Glad you enjoyed wandering around Bibliocook and hope yourself and Des enjoy the Cinnamon Apple Cake. I’ll definitely be in contact!

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