For centuries, travelers and "discoverers" have encountered new countries and new cultures and they have thought or said: "you eat weird stuff here!" Some of those intrepid swashbucklers then add: "Can I taste?" I am one of said intrepid discoverers, leading with her tongue.
I have just returned from nearly two weeks traveling Singapore, Malaysia (for 10 food-filled hours), and Indonesia. Claire and Huzir took pains to introduce me to all of the important dishes, fruits, and tastes on offer. As Huzir feared I would, I am now publicly declaring that I have met my match in those two. They love food journeys as much as I do.
I took pictures of nearly everything, and will chronicle it all here in such detail that your eyes will bleed. Or your stomach growl. Whatevs. I begin tonight, when I should be asleep already, with:
Upon arrival in Jogja (that's the island of Java, hey now), our houseboys greeted us with a welcome drink. Last time I saw such a maneuver was on "Fantasy Island," and the gesture was lost on me. Suddenly, on that hot Indonesian patio, I understood why we greet visitors with a taste of their new home. This drink sought to transform us from the inside out, sending streams of rose syrup, cinnamon, tamarind and lemon grass through our veins, synching our pulses with those of the Javanese. This isn't it pictured here, but it's something similar.
In fact, at every turn, each time I reached for a Coca Light (see my recent HuffPo post on that ol' silly habit), Claire pushed me to try something new.
avocado "juice": basically an avocado smoothie. hello!
fresh squeezed sugar cane, with one of them mini limes
kickapoo joy juice: this is not a name I have made up. Seriously.
and the list goes on.
In fact, I took a pic of a menu at a coffee shop (not what we think of when we say coffee shop. Something else) and it gives you a sense of all the crazy beverages they've got going on.