Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday, my favorite things 01

Yesterday, while I was raving about the edX online education platform, I thought about other things that I am excited about and decided to share them. In not particular order, other things that I am loving at this moment in time:

Dr. Bronner's Sandalwood & Jasmine Pure Castille Soap
SB and I are regular users of the peppermint Castile soap, because it is safe for use when we are lake bathing in the Adirondack mountains. We had never seen the sandalwood & jasmine soap, and found out that it is only available in the Australia/Asia market. I will probably bring some back to the US on my next trip. The soap leaves a light scent of sandalwood on my skin. I can't really smell the jasmine, though, but that's just fine with me because I am a sandalwood fan. You can still supposedly buy Mysore (Santalum album) sandalwood soaps but Mysore is endangered so I assume this one is made from Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum), which is perfumistas look down on but I can't really tell the difference when smelling it in soap form. Even if I could, I prefer that no one in India is being murdered so that I smell nice. (On a side note, I own both Samsara and Santal 33 and enjoy both the classic Mysore sandalwood scent in Samsara as well as the sharper Australian sandalwood in Santal 33). You can buy Dr. Bronner products in several HK shops, including oGreen. If you purchase more than $500 in products, they will deliver for free. I went ahead and visited the store (Room 501D, 5 / F, Causeway Bay Commercial Building, 1-5 Sugar Street, Causeway Bay) because it is located right in the center of the Causeway Bay Indonesian restaurant cluster.

Cracker Peanuts and Homemade Snacks at Indo Market
The highlight of braving the pedestrian traffic in Causeway Bay is that I can treat myself to tasty snacks at the shops along Sugar Street. I love every single iteration of coconut, rice and banana leaves that has ever been invented. At Indo Mart (G/F, Lok Sing Centre, 19-31 Yee Wo Street) I cannot withstand the Nagasari that is sold near the register. I have a hard time deciding between whether it or Filipino suman (with taro!) is my favorite. I also can't resist buying cracker peanuts. They are an addictive snack, available in many flavors; I like the original and Adobo flavors while SB like the spicy flavor. They are sweet and satisfyingly crunchy.

Kecap Manis
My college roomate's mother always carried a bottle of Cholula hot sauce with her, which she liberally drizzled over just about everything that she ate. The Fijian player for my club's premiership team requested Tabasco sauce with almost every meal. The younger generation of hipsters like to hit up their meals with Sriracha. Then there is the ubiquitous brown sauce found in certain types of British eateries. I never understood how people could become obsessed over a condiment until I discovered kecap manis. It was an accidental purchase, as I was trying to buy sweet soy sauce for dim sum, but I opened the bottle to discover this treacly concoction instead. I use it to bastardize so many dishes from adding it to my hot chili oil wontons to drizzling it over soft boiled eggs to eat with kaya toast. I have also learned to cook new dishes from my searches for recipes that use kecap manis. SB calls me obsessed but I notice that he hasn't stopped eating.

More MTR stations on the way
Just look at the bustling F&B in Kennedy Town and Sai Ying Pun, and you can see the positive externalities that have resulted in the West Island Line Extension. On 23 October, the MTR Kwun Tong Line Extension's Ho Man Tin and Whampoa Stations will be opened, providing access to some older and historic neighborhoods. I hope that the improved access will revitalize the areas without driving the prices to the point that the immigrant community is adversely affected. I also hope that this is just the thing required to finally bring attention to underappreciated gems such as Ko Shan Theatre or Cattle Depot Artist Village down the road in Ma Tau Kok (which will be even more accessible once the Shatin to Central Link Ma Tau Wai station opens).

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