My Survival Kits

A month before quitting from L’Oreal Group, the news that I was moving to Scotland was spread and everybody always gave me the same questions: 1) where is Scotland, 2) it’s far and cold, how do you survive? and 3) won’t you miss Indonesian food?

For number one, I’ve already tried to explain it in great details in my blog (see Where Is Scotland? in October 2006). Number 2 question, hmm, nothing I could do about it except try to wear warm clothes. And for number three, interestingly enough, food is never an issue for me.

I like trying on new food. We have been to Turkish restaurant in Aberdeen twice this month and I’ve fallen in love with its huge appetizer selection (it’s so funny, they served 6-plates hot food and 4-plates cold food just for appetizer, and my dad asked for a bill, he didn’t know it’s just appetizer and the main course was yet to come!). I like other middle eastern food like Al-Nafoura in Le Meridian (it’s Lebanese, it has nice atmosphere, and it has belly dancing performance at 8.30 pm, where guys really enjoy and girls look with envy) or Anatolia in Kemang. I can eat Indian food although it’s never been my first preference (but I never like food with coconut in it anyway, including rendang and opor). Other Asian food (Thai, Vietnam, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc) are my favorite. Western food is ok although I pity Australians because they only have, what, Vegemite, and claim that fish and chips is originally from Australia. Italian, Mexican and French are ok. However I haven’t yet discovered North and East European food.

I’ve tried so-called Scottish food.  I’ve tried my first haggis in St.Andrew’s Ball in Jakarta three years ago (only to find its ingredients in horror, thanks to late explanation from GG and Stuart, who looked at me with wide grins). I’ve tried rowie (this you don’t want to try, it has at least 600 calories in it, very unhealthy). I’ve tried pickled-egg (it’s disgusting in both taste and colour, but if you want to find out, go to The Highland Gathering which is held every June and taste it yourself). I also tried cullen skink several times (despite its suspicious name, the soup is creamy and yummy, see picture, right).

Of course I’ve instantly fallen in love with sticky toffee pudding (see picture, left) and deep-fried mars bar. But Aberdeen is not Sydney, which has at least 40,000 Indonesians there. When I was living in Sydney it’s easy to find Indonesian food and spices like Indomie, terasi, petis, ikan asin, even keluwak for rawon.

At least Aberdeen has Asian supermarket. Its tiny shop which is adjacent to halal butcher has quite good selection of exotic food (yeah we even call mango as an exotic fruit). And look what I’ve found!

Right, 60,000 miles away from Indonesia and I managed to find Indomie, woohoo! It’s bizaere yet such a blessing to me. London at least has 5 Indonesian restaurants but even Asian people in here are quite rare. However I only bought 4 packages because after the 4th one, my fiancé silently stopped me and reminded me that those are still instant noodle, and those are still unhealthy.But wait, I’ve found 2 packages which I’ve never seen in Indonesia before. Is the first package in… French? Hmm, interesting. The second one, I’m sure,  was snatched from exported goods to Arabian countries.

As well as Indomie, I also found… kecap manis! This sweet soy sauce concept apparently only exists in Indonesia and alien to westerners. It’s easy to find a salty ones (even Marks&Spencer has its own kind), but kecap manis, hmm, it is considered exotic!

Well, those are my survival kits so far.

PS: Rockz, Max, can we expand Rocks’ Noodle in Aberdeen?

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