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May Days

Mamma mia! Brace yourself for some culinary mayhem this May – from marvellous Mother’s Day treats to exotic cooking classes, we’ve rustled up a smorgasbord of delights from around the region. 

Words: Alice Yong


Bumbu Bali Restaurant

Food of the Gods

No visit to Bali is complete without a meal at the award-winning Bumbu Bali restaurant established by intrepid restaurateur cum cookbook author Heinz von Holzen in 1997. Highly acclaimed for its truly Balinese delights – roast duck in banana leaf, roast suckling pig, black rice pudding and Balinese cakes, Bumbu Bali also offers cookery classes on authentic Balinese dishes. www.balifoods.com

GETTING THERE AirAsia flies to Bali from various destinations. Go to www.airasia.com for details.

A Blue Elephant Cooking Class in progress


Deepen your Thai cuisine cooking skills at the renowned Blue Elephant Cooking School in Bangkok, Thailand under the guidance of Master Chef and Blue Elephant restaurant founder, Nooror Somany Steppe. Located in Sathorn Road (BTS: Surasak), students learn how to shop for ingredients at the local market before being taught how to prepare a four-course Thai meal. Then it’s time to sample the fruits of your labour over lunch. Upon completion of the class, participants will receive a Blue Elephant Cooking School Certificate, a souvenir apron and a gift set containing Blue Elephant herbs, spices and curry paste. www.blueelephant.com

GETTING THERE AirAsia flies to Bangkok from various destinations.Go to www.airasia.com for details.

Francis Francis X7.1 iperEspresso machine

Caffeine Rush

Just insert an illy Metodo Iperespresso capsule into the sleek and stylish Francis Francis X7.1 iperEspresso machine and you can enjoy a cup of freshly made illy espresso at a simple touch of a button! This advanced technology, feature rich model boasts a steel internal thermoblock, a panarello steam wand that froths milk for delicious cappuccinos and lattes, a cup-warming rail and an auto-off, power-saving switch. www.classicfinefoods.com.my

Tod Mun Pla

Tod Mun Pla

One of the tastiest savoury snacks in Thailand is tod mun pla or Thai fishcakes. Made from minced fish, red curry paste and chopped long beans, these fritter-like cakes are deep-fried and eaten dipped in a tangy chilli sauce. A popular street fare, the fishcakes are easily available at most restaurants but the best ones are normally sold piping hot from food carts.

In Koh Samui, Sabeinglae Restaurant (438/82 Moo 1. T Maret) serves a mean tod mun pla! Fiery but with an unusual touch of sweetness, the cakes sold here are springy and full of fish meat. Highly recommended!” ~ Alongkorn Soontornpot, AirAsia guest


Mango Mania

Did you know there are over a thousand varieties of mango in the world? Rich in Vitamin C and E, calcium, iron, beta carotene, magnesium, potassium and flavonoids (substances that give fruits and vegetables their bright colours and help our bodies get rid of free radicals), mangoes contain enzymes that aid indigestion, and a high amount of fibre.

Here are two useful tips using mangoes:

• Apply mashed mango pulp to acne-prone skin for 10 minutes to unclog pores.

• Steam unripe mango and juice with some cumin, rock sugar and salt. Drink concoction as remedy for heat stroke.


PHILIPPINES Green mangoes with bagoong (fermented shrimp paste)

THAILAND Mango with sticky rice

Microplane gourmet parmesan grater

MALAYSIA Spicy young mango salad

INDIA Mango powder in curries

INDONESIA Green mango sambal

Close Shave

Thanks to its high quality, supersharp and easy to clean stainless steel blade that comes in varying grades of coarseness, Microplane graters make grating citrus peel, chocolate, cheese, garlic and even nutmeg or cinnamon bark a complete breeze! microplane.com

Guide to Herbal Remedies book

Herbal Heroes

An easy-to-use guide on natural healthcare, Guide to Herbal Remedies by Martha Schindler Connors with Larry Altshuler, Md (Advantage Quest Publications), is an excellent reference book for alternative and holistic healing methods. The book explains in great detail the use of herbal medicines and offers suggestions on how to use natural ingredients in easing or curing ailments. From treating prostate problems to taming asthma, the book is a treasury of knowledge on natural healing. www.aqpublications.com


Repel ants by sprinkling pepper or cinnamon powder along ant trails. Cotton wool soaked in vinegar is just as effective.

• Get rid of odours in your car with fresh pandan (screwpine) leaves placed under the car seat.

• Instead of popping aspirin tablets to relief headache, eat 10 to 12 whole almonds.

• A cotton ball soaked in lime juice diluted with a little water can soothe mosquito bites.

• Feeling nauseous? Boil 1/2 cup of rice with 1 cup of water for about 15 minutes. Strain the water, cool and drink the water until symptoms subside.

Food on Mother's Day

Mum’s the Word

Cinnamon Coffee House at One World Hotel in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, is going all out to please the Queen of our Hearts for Mother’s Day on May 13 with a sumptuous hi-tea buffet. The talented chefs there will cook up a storm at their ‘show kitchens’, dishing up refreshing salads, hearty pasta and noodles, local, Western, Indian and Japanese specialities for mothers and the entire brood. Available from 12 noon to 4.30 pm at RM70++ per adult and RM35++ per child. www.oneworldhotel.com.my

 Xiao Long Bao from Din Tai Fung

Dumpling Ground

Lauded by New York Times as one of the World’s Top 10 Restaurants, Din Tai Fung is home to the world-famous xiao long pau, dainty steamed porkfilled dumplings that have won thousands of fans not only in Taiwan but also across the globe. Other signature delicacies to savour include drunken chicken, pickled cucumber, hot and sour soup, pork chop fried rice and la mian (hand-pulled noodles topped with spicy minced pork). Make sure you order the latest xiao long pau variant that comes with a scrumptious minced meat and black truffle filling! www.dintaifung.com.tw