Swirly Korean red bean paste bread- danpat bbang

Swirly Pat Bbang & other musings…

Swirly Korean red bean paste bread- danpat bbang

 

Flavours collect like memories.  They are powerful conjurors that dance on the lips and the tip of the tongue.  I am an amalgamation of everything I have ever eaten.  A stew.  A mélange.  Continue reading

Cabilao, Philippines

Two Tickets to Paradise

Cabilao, Philippines

This is what January feels like in the Philippines, I thought, as our  boat motored across a perfect expanse of blue toward the little island of Cabilao.  The January place we had just left with its grey and ice and bundled clothing literally melted away.

Blue sky, blue water, warm skin, a thousand dancing diamonds stretched out before me. Continue reading

Wander Seoul... Leeum Art Gallery

Wander | Seoul

Wander Seoul... Leeum Art Gallery

It is hard to believe that it has been a whole 2 years since our toes first touched down on the Korean peninsula. In that strange and mysterious way that time has of expanding and contracting it has felt simultaneously much longer, yet somehow contained in the blink of an eye. I love those beginning days in a new place when Continue reading

Yellow Mountains- Huangshan - Anhui Region, China

Poetry of the Yellow Mountain

Yellow Mountains- Huangshan - Anhui Region, China

Thirty six strange peaks,
Immortals with black top knots.
Morning sun strikes the tree tops,
Here in this sky mountain world.
Chinese people, raise your faces!
For a thousand years cranes come and go.
Far off I spy a firewood gatherer,
Plucking sticks from stone crevices.

-Li Bai “Dawn Vista On Huangshan”

There are some places in the world that just seem to inspire gushing wellsprings of poetry. Metaphors woven together to create tapestries that reveal glimpses of those inner workings that lie just below the surface. Meaning layered upon meaning until everything is saturated and more than the sum of its parts. Huangshan in China’s Anhui region is one of those places. Continue reading

Admiring the architecture of Tunxi Old Street, China

Discovering Tunxi

Admiring the architecture of Tunxi Old Street, China

A wall of gold has been mounted on Shu brocade.
Craftsmen from Wu collect spare change
To pay tribute to the abundance of a myriad of families.
The watchtowers of the city rise to great heights.
The bustling scene is truly impressive.
It is a chance to explore vestiges of bygone days.

-excerpt from a poem on the Qing Dynasty remake of Qīngmíng Shànghé Tú

Located in the foothills of the Yellow Mountains, Tunxi is Continue reading

exploring back alleys and side streets for something delicious

Dumplings, unite!

exploring back alleys and side streets for something delicious
It all started with a wooden table in an alley: square, unadorned, pressed up against a cement wall. It wobbled a bit on the uneven cobbles.

Somewhere nearby, a game of mahjong- the soft clinking of tiles echoed faintly on the evening air. Wisps of a forgotten dream, sounds from another time. I imagined the room where they played. Dark, smoky. Fingers twisted with age shuffling, shuffling, shuffling. The worn bone and bamboo whispers as it slides between mysterious symbolism and a poetry of deeper meaning. Through all that is lost and everything that is gained, what will be revealed? Plum blossom, peacock, white tiger, sword. Continue reading

The-Passage.org kalguksu recipe

Not Your Eomma’s Kalguksu: an ode to eating on the side streets

vibrant colours of Tunxi, China's local market

It turns out that I am a back alley kind of girl. This was something that I didn’t know about myself until we moved to Korea and began to travel through Southeast Asia.

Give me food stalls, stacks of dumplings steaming on street corners, wobbly stools, plastic chairs pressed up against cement walls, narrow passages crammed with tables. Let me sit elbow to elbow on a wooden bench in a bustling market noisy with sizzling, slurping, hissing, lip-smacking goodness. Paper sacks and plastic bags. Crunchy, greasy, savoury, sweet, bean paste, sesame, skewers, buns, pancakes and pockets. I am happiest at Continue reading

Qinghefang Ancient Street- Hangzhou, China

Qinghefang Ancient Street: A Feast for the Senses

Qinghefang Ancient Street- Hangzhou, China

just before the crowds…

We emerged from the narrow street where our little guest house sat nestled into a row of white washed buildings. It was quiet, and the essence of another era lingered between the walls and the cobbles. Then, as we rounded the corner and stood at the opening of Qinghefang Ancient Street we saw it: a throng of humans stretching as far as the eye could see. I am not going to lie- Continue reading

West Lake walkabout: scenes from Hangzhou, China

West Lake Walkabout

West Lake walkabout: scenes from Hangzhou, China

We woke on our first morning in Hangzhou to the sound of birds chirping in the courtyard. I kept my eyes squeezed shut and listened intently to their song, not yet wanting to break the spell, and tried to imagine what words the ancient Chinese poets would use to describe the moment. Is it possible that there was a proverb somewhere in their early morning music?
Continue reading