3 Asian Dishes That Have Greatly Deceived You

3 Asian Dishes That Have Greatly Deceived You

Many of us have had our fair share of bad food experiences – where the food isn’t as good as the review, or when the price isn’t always right. Now imagine something worse, being told that the porridge you had is frog instead of chicken, that the delicious ice cream in your hand is actually vegan – the horror. We Malaysians take our food very seriously, so finding out that our favourite dishes aren’t what they appear to be may send us into shock. Cross your fingers and hope your nasi lemak isn’t a lie because we bring you a list of 3 Asian dishes that may have deceived you.

 

1. Vindaloo Curry

Vindaloo, the curry, is a hit in European countries and is arguably the most popular Indian dish outside of India. Its recipe can be traced back to Goan Catholic Community in western India; however, it’s true origins are further west, approximately 8,900 kilometers west, specifically Portugal. The word Vindaloo is a garbled pronunciation of “vinha d’alhos”, which translates to meat marinated in wine-vinegar and garlic in Portuguese. The dish made its way to India in the 15th century by Portuguese explorers – its recipe tweaked to local conditions – for there was no wine-vinegar in India at the time. Franciscan priests would ferment their own palm wine, incorporating local ingredients such as tamarind, cinnamon and cardamom. The secret of the dish – chili peppers – Portugal’s legacy in trade. The dish gradually met the same fate as Indian dishes in England: it became another hot curry. Luckily, in Goa many restaurants still stay true to their Portuguese roots.

2. Kimchi

Conceived around the 7th century, kimchi isn’t just a major staple in Korean cuisine – it is also considered to be one of the most healthiest food in the world. In present day, K-everything is more popular than ever in Malaysia, resulting in plenty of Korean restaurant chains. Besides the lack of an adorable elderly Korean aunty in the kitchen and misspelled menu items, most kimchi in non-authentic Korean restaurants are from *drum roll* – China! This Asian invasion on cuisine isn’t just happening in Malaysia, but in Korea as well. Just imagine, 98% of Korean kimchi is made in China!

3. Wasabi

We all know the taste of wasabi … right? While most of us are accustomed to the tear-jerking kick of the paste, courtesy of our neighbourhood sushi chain, the real deal is much different. Most wasabi in Japan isn’t cut with horseradish and green-food colouring, it tastes sweet yet medicinal-like. Despite its popular demand in legit Japanese establishments, most restaurants (even in Japan) prefer its fake counterpart, mainly because fresh wasabi loses its flavour 15 minutes after grating.

Fascinated by our list? Get your Asian cuisine fix when you shop with Happy Fresh today! We’ve prepared several bundles just for you, so you can get your very own taste of Asia! See more here.

Four Ways to Cook Salmon this Chinese New Year

Four Ways to Cook Salmon this Chinese New Year

Delicious, versatile and easy to prepare, salmon carries an endless list of nutritional benefits. Filled with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and an abundance of vitamins B and E, there is no reason not to opt for this fish dish this Chinese New Year. Scroll below and find out our list of four healthy ways to cook salmon this festive season.

1. Yee sang (Prosperity toss)

A must-have in every household during the lunar new year, yee sang is perhaps the most popular dish to pair salmon slices with. Bring this dish to life with a squeeze of lime juice and sesame oil over the top, and get ready to toss yourself to a year of great prosperity! Make your own yee sang dish here.

2. Smoked salmon porridge

A heartwarming comfort food perfect for the little ones in your family, this porridge dish is an easy way to introduce salmon into your child’s life. Try out this delightful, seven-ingredient recipe here.  

3. Smoked salmon temaki

A healthy roll perfect for any time of day, this temaki recipe serves up to four people, and can easily be dressed up with perilla leaf and caviar for a luxurious zest. Find out more about this dish here.  

4. Smoked salmon salad

A refreshing bite that is low in fat and quick to make, this salmon recipe serves up to two people and carries the zest of wasabi in its dressing! Light, crisp, and zesty, this dish is a perfect balance to the occasion’s hearty dishes. Learn more about this recipe.

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Easy CNY Recipes to Try At Home

Easy CNY Recipes to Try At Home

Red packets, sweet and savoury nibbles, mandarin oranges, delicious reunion dinner dishes – these are just some of our beloved Chinese New Year traditions! Regardless of how taxing it is to prepare for the occasion, the experience is always one that is extremely worthwhile.

Ignite the spirit of the occasion this New Year. Scroll through our list of four mouth-watering easy ideas below, and try them from the comfort of your home!

1. Har Gow 

A great favourite for young and old alike, the har gow (or chinese dumplings) is customarily enjoyed during brunch as part of a dim sum meal, but there’s no reason not to enjoy this during your reunion dinner too! With only 30 minutes of preparation time, this can easily be a family bonding activity! Simply:

  • Form a smooth dough and knead it into a ball. Leave to rest for half an hour.

  • Prepare the meat filling.

  • Knead the dough and divide into 60 pieces, each about 3-inch diameters wide.

  • Place a tablespoon of filling in the middle of each dough piece. Fold the dough over and pinch the edges to seal tightly.

  • Bring a pot of water to boil, then add the dumplings in.

  • Add half a cup of cold water and bring to boil.

  • Drain, and serve!  

2. Szechuan Shrimp

Amazing in taste with a slight dose of heat, this traditional dish from Szechuan carries an auspicious meaning in the Chinese culture. With the word ‘shrimp’ associated with ‘happiness’ and ‘laughter’ in Mandarin — due to its similar pronunciation — this dish is a must-have for every reunion dinner. Try this easy recipe that takes about 30 minutes:

  • For the sauce: whisk together vinegar, broth, soy sauce, tomato paste, cornstarch, crushed red pepper and sesame oil in a bowl and set aside.

  • Place the shrimp in a colander and rinse with cold water. Drain the shrimp and pat dry with paper towels.

  • Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat and swirl in a tablespoon of oil.

  • Add the ginger and garlic, and fry for 10 seconds. Add the rest of the oil along with the shrimp and fry until the shrimp starts changing colour.

  • Add the bell pepper and salt. Fry for 30 seconds.

  • Add the sauce in. Fry until the shrimp is cooked for 1 to 2 minutes.

  • Serve!

​3. Chinese Steamed Fish 

No Chinese New Year is complete without a plate of steamed fish! Another auspicious dish known to bring an increase in prosperity, this steamed sea bass is a heartwarming cuisine that is sure to be a hit on your dinner table! Try this 40 minutes recipe:

  • Rinse a readily gutted fish and shake off any excess water. Transfer to a heatproof plate.

  • Assemble your steaming utensils such as a heat-proof plate or wok with a metal steam rack.

  • Place the fish in the steam dish and let it steam for 9 minutes. Turn off the heat and make sure the fish is cooked through.

  • Pour all the accumulated liquid and spread some ginger, cilantro and green portions of scallion over the fish.

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and ginger in a saucepan. Once the ginger sizzles, add salt, water, white pepper and soy sauce. Heat until it simmers.

  • Add some oil and scallion. Stir until the liquid simmers.

  • Spoon the mixture over the fish and serve hot.

​4. Chocolate Fortune Cookies

Give these traditional plain cookies a twist by dipping it in chocolate! Check out this 10 minutes no-bake recipe:

  • Line a baking sheet with wax paper.

  • Place some butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Allow to melt while stirring occasionally.

  • Once the mixture is smooth, remove from heat.

  • Dip the rounded ends of the cookies into the chocolate mixture and let the excess chocolate drip off.

  • Arrange the cookies on a baking sheet and place in the fridge for 10 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened.


Excited to try these easy dinner ideas for Chinese New Year? Head on to your nearest Cold Storage store for more inspirations on easy meals for the entire family!

Halloween Celebrations in Asia

Halloween Celebrations in Asia

As the season of ‘trick-or-treating’ approaches, you may find yourself wondering … is the tradition of Halloween a result from Western pop culture, or do other Asian countries reel in the celebration the same way?

Apart from the usual decorative pumpkins, scary costumes and spooktacular parties, below are some of the ways in which the freaky occasion is celebrated across Asian regions; namely China, Japan, Philippines and Thailand:

China

The month of October customarily carry little signs of the Halloween excitement, as only the major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou will fill its bars and restaurants with Halloween decor. Relatively a non-event for the locals, Chinese families by large do not practice ‘trick-or-treating’ for their kids, and rarely accustom themselves to the acts of stocking up candies and dressing up their homes with Halloween decorations.

Japan

Halloween celebrations in Japan have grown in popularity over the years, with shopping malls and theme parks embracing the custom with relevant spooky activities. However, this wasn’t traditionally the case and a significant amount of Japanese locals continued to steer away from this celebration. Viewing it as a disruption to those commuting when the occasion turns public trains into big parties, the locals who do participate in the Halloween parties make the most out of the occasion, using the opportunity to dress up in remarkable cosplay get-ups.  

Philippines

Halloween in the Philippines constitute a different significance compared to other Western countries. Celebrated from the eve of 31st October to 2nd November, the occasion exists as a tribute to the deceased loved ones, with the first and second day of November dedicated to graveyard visits. With the locals returning to their home provinces in a custom of candles, flowers and prayers, some Filipino families still adhere to the habitual Halloween activities, though majority treat the occasion in a solemn manner.

Thailand

Naturally respectful of ghosts and spirits, Thais view these entities as guardian spirits and believe that it will anger the entities should Halloween celebrations take place. In light of this, the locals revel in the festivity of Loi Krathong, sailing paper rafts in lakes to pay respect to the goddess of water. The Halloween merriment still exists, however, within the touristy areas of Sukhumvit and Silom (Soi 4), where urban Thais party the occasion away with foreign tourists at the local night bars and restaurants.

Interested in having your own Halloween party this October? Drop by Cold Storage for more inspirations on fun snacks and party supplies!

Top 5 Favourite Asian Dishes

Top 5 Favourite Asian Dishes

A beautiful continent of over 30% of the Earth’s land, Asia carries numerous attractions to its name alongside a vibrant dining scene. With its dishes widely known across the world, here are the top 5 favourite Asian dishes that keep tongues wagging at every corner of the world:

Spring rolls

A delightful roll enjoyed fried or freshly wrapped in a rice paper, this Asian favourite is popular in most Asian countries, with Vietnam and Taiwan topping the list. Fresh spring rolls are light and refreshingly fragrant, with raw ingredients such as lettuce, mint leaves and the occasional basil, whereas the fried spring rolls are crunchy and carry a savoury afterbite. Usually enjoyed as a tea time snack or appetiser, many still prefer the Vietnamese Spring Rolls till this day.

Sushi 

A bite-sized favourite that requires no introduction,sushi is so well-loved that numerous sushi bars have mushroomed across the world. Though easily available everywhere from hypermarkets, food trucks to established sushi restaurants, the art of sushi-making is a challenging one that requires great precision in the technique and ingredients used.  

Dim Sum 

Traditionally wheeled around on trolleys by restaurant waiters and served in small steamer baskets stacked above one other, dim sum owes its name to a Cantonese phrase which brings the meaning of little treasures of food. With a variety of choices from light to hearty bites of dumplings, meatballs and tarts, this delightful food is habitually enjoyed in early mornings with a pot of Chinese tea.  

Noodle dishes

Nothing feels better after a tiring day than a hot bowl of noodles. Originally from China, the culture of noodles were later adopted by the Japanese and Koreans due to travel and trade, giving birth to a myriad of noodle savours from la mian (hand-pulled noodles), to ramen and udon.

Curry dishes

A universal dish found on every menu in Asia, curry is said to have originated from the provinces of Philippines, Indonesia and Borneo Malaysia. Usually cooked with coconut milk, ginger and saffron, the dish is presented in various thickness across different cultures. Indonesians typically prefer their curry thinner – with a watery gravy. Japanese curries however, carry a sweeter savour and employ chicken stock and the occasional tomato sauce.  

Interested to try and make these popular Asian foods in the comfort of your own home? Head on to your nearest Cold Storage stores for the right ingredients this October!

How to Make a DIY Lantern for Mid-Autumn Festival

How to Make a DIY Lantern for Mid-Autumn Festival

One of the cosiest Chinese festivals, the Mid-Autumn Festival is all about celebrating with the family. It’s also the time of the year to light up the empty street with varicoloured lanterns! As interesting as those fancy lanterns the shops are selling, nothing beats the lantern that you make from scratch.

Here’s a quick and simple way to make your very own lantern:

What you need:

1. A4 coloured paper

2. Cardboard

3. Paint

4. Scissors

5. Pencil

6. Double-sided tape

7. Craft glue

8. Wooden chopsticks

 

STEP 1

Start by making accordion folds on the A4 paper (colour of your choice). Begin folding it at one end and working your way to the bottom. Then, unfold it.

 

STEP 2

Create a cylinder shape by rolling up the paper. Fasten the ends with a double-sided tape and now you’re done with the body of the lantern.

Tip: You may need someone to help you out with this step as it’s not easy to stick the ends together without creasing the paper.

 

STEP 3

Next, place the circular end of the lantern on a thin piece of cardboard. Use a pencil to trace the circumference and then draw four additional rectangular strips sticking out from the circle — these extra strips will be folded in and stick to the inside of the lantern.

 

STEP 4

Cut out the circle with the attached rectangles that you’ve drawn. Use double-sided tape to stick the rectangles to the inside of the lantern.

Optional: To beautify the lantern, you may decorate the base with coloured or patterned paper.

 

STEP 5

Use a pin to poke two holes at the top of the lantern. Make sure both holes are at the opposite ends. Insert a string and tie the ends. The string will be wound around the end of a chopstick later. 

Tip: To prevent the paper from tearing, stick a piece of tape on the paper before you poke a hole.

 

STEP 6

What’s a lantern without some candle to illuminate it? Attach a tea-light candle to the base of the lantern with a super glue.

Tip: Always remember to fold the lantern before you light up the candle. You don’t want to watch your hard work burn away in a matter of seconds.

 

STEP 7

Finally, wind the string around the end of a chopstick. If needed, use a drop of super glue to help secure it.

Types of Mooncakes You Probably Didn’t Know Existed in Malaysia

Types of Mooncakes You Probably Didn’t Know Existed in Malaysia

Mooncakes are as quintessential to Mid-Autumn Festival as cookies are to Hari Raya. Just like Raya cookies, shops and brands are launching innovative mooncakes to attract young consumers, driving the market shift to more novel, unconventional mooncake flavours. No offense to the traditional mooncake bakers, but these modern mooncakes are claiming their place in Malaysians’ hearts during Mid-Autumn season!

Jelly Mooncakes

Jelly mooncakes are a refreshing treat and best served chilled as it is a type of agar-agar. The popular fillings for this type of mooncake are fruits, but don’t be surprised when you come across cendol jelly mooncakes or even cappuccino jelly mooncakes!

 Mahjong Mooncakes

These cube-shaped mooncakes are perfect for mahjong lovers. They resemble mahjong tiles where each ‘tile’ is handmade and the mahjong characters have to be carefully inscribed on the bite-sized mooncakes using food colouring. 

Ice Cream Mooncakes

Ice cream mooncakes are basically ice cream cakes, intricately designed to look like mooncakes. A refreshing twist on the traditional recipe, an ice cream mooncake consists of a shell (usually chocolate) and is filled with mouthwatering ice cream.

Durian Mooncakes

Durian is a current craze among Malaysians. We have durian puffs and durian waffles – what’s stopping us from creating luxurious mooncake iterations with the King of Fruits? The premium versions of durian mooncakes contain no preservatives, no cream and no added sugar, which makes them perfect for wholesome indulgence.

Cheese Mooncakes

Besides durian, Malaysians are obsessed with cheese. Hence, it’s a smart move to appeal to cheesecake lovers with cheese mooncakes. Instead of lotus paste, cheese mooncakes are filled with cream cheese, and often contain fruity jam as a surprise center.

Have you come across any other types of unconventional mooncakes? Let us know in the comments! If you feel like baking your own mooncakes this year, head on to Cold Storage for high quality ingredients!

Six Raya Clothing Hacks You Need to Know

Six Raya Clothing Hacks You Need to Know

The end of the holy month of Ramadan is here, welcoming Eid al-Fitr and the beginning of Syawal! Aside from the great assortment of delicious food, Hari Raya is a time for family and friends to celebrate each other’s company – all in great fashion. So here are some handy hacks to overcome any Raya clothing dilemmas.

How to Fix Stuck Zippers

If you have any candles laying around, this is a great time to put them to use. Instead of tugging jammed zippers, simply rub a candle over the zipper teeth. Vaseline works just as well.  

How to Hold Zippers in Place

The best way to enjoy Raya open houses while ensuring your fly stays in place is to tie a rubber band on your zipper, looping it around the button. Alternatively, a key ring does the trick too.

How to Remove Oil Stains

A quick way to remove pesky oil stains from your outfits is by applying talcum powder over them. Allow the powder to absorb overnight and wash it off.

How to Shine Patent Leather

If you are not a fan of cleaning agents, let this trick change your mind. In order to revive your items’ glossy finish, spray a light layer of window cleaner onto your dull item. Wipe the leather gently with clean cloth afterwards.

How to Shine Leather Shoes

Instead of spending extra cash on shoe polish, you can also restore the shine on old leather shoes using water and vinegar. Mix one part water and one part vinegar, and apply the solution directly onto your shoes.

How to Deodorise Shoe Odour

Let’s face it: sweaty feet is never a favorable thing, especially because it tends to leave an unwanted stench in our shoes. Tackle this problem head on by sprinkling a generous amount of baking soda in your shoes, leaving it overnight, before throwing it out and wiping it down the next morning.

With these useful tips on hand, you can guarantee that your Hari Raya will be smooth sailing. But remember: The next time you encounter any of the hiccups above, just head on down to Cold Storage and get all the items you need!

Eid Dishes around the World

Eid Dishes around the World

Eid al-Fitr is not only a time for forgiveness; it is also a time for family and friends to gather and observe the holy festival. Indeed, with any festivity, it is never complete without a mouth-watering spread of traditional cuisine! Here are our must-have Eid al-Fitr dishes and delicacies that are relished and cherished by people from across the globe.

India: Seviyan ki Kheer

Hailing from the land of spices, Seviyan ki Kheer is essentially a thick and creamy dessert that is prepared with ghee-laced vermicelli strands, milk and sugar. This effortless treat is also mixed with toasted nuts and can be served either hot or cold.   

Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq: Butter Cookies

This Middle Eastern snack is a crowd favourite with its soft, melt-in-your-mouth filling and its crunchy pistachio-laden topping. This cookie also differs from every country: known as graybeh in Palestine, using pine nuts or almonds; mamoul in Syria and Lebanon, featuring walnuts or dates; kahk in Egypt with a honey-based filling; and klaicha in Iraq.

 China: You Xiang

Simple in appearance, You Xiang is a symbolic Chinese dish enjoyed during this festivity. This snack is made using only flour, oil and a pinch of salt and is then deep fried. Yes, it’s that easy!

Sudan, Yemen, Saudi, Libya: Aseeda

Aseeda – also recognised as Aseed or Asida – is a flour-based dish that is savoured mostly in western and southern Africa, Saudi Arabia and Libya. The base of this dish varies in different regions from wheat flour to corn flour, pearl millet flour and even potato starch.

Russia: Manti

This delicious dumpling dish is one of the most popular fares consumed throughout Russia today. It is typically prepped with seasoned ground beef or lamb and wrapped in homemade steamed dough. Manti or Mantu is also enjoyed in neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Uzbekistan.

Afghanistan: Bolani

Another delightful Eid cuisine loved by Afghan natives is their famous fried flatbread. This local vegetarian affair is made with spinach, potatoes, pumpkin or lentil stuffing, and is served with a side of cooling mint yogurt.

If you’re feeling adventurous this Raya, spice up your food prep with these timeless delicacies and find all the ingredients you need at your nearest Cold Storage!