Dec 10, 2010
This site’s under sketch, a third makeover since ’03. We have a baby now :-) and life is suddenly all wonder and tedium at the same time. So on the rare free moments I’ll post some scatterbrained bursts of consciousness about working in foreign aid or family life in our home away from home, which is Cambodia right now. These are my personal updates to friends and family, but since you’re here have a look around. Thanks for stopping by… more about me
Mar 21, 2013
I’m very picky about desserts, cuz I’m not into sweets so much. But I love love LOVE mangoes, especially the sweet Philippine varieties. Someone made this dessert at a family event and Tristan didn’t finish his so, thanks to my habit of polishing off his leftovers, I discovered this great dessert, Mango Bene. This one below is from Mary Grace, a great cafe chain in Manila. It consists of layers of meringue, homemade cream and sweet mango slices in between, and is served frozen at this cafe. At my family gathering it wasn’t served frozen, and I thought it was perfect for the hot summer day in the province.
Whenever we had Mango Bene, I had to order a cup of traditional tsokolate too. If at home we drop a couple of tsokolate tablets into a small cup of hot water and milk. Perfect combo!
Mar 10, 2013
I ate so many fruits while I was there. If I never eat another mango again, I know I’ll have eaten the sweetest, most buttery melt-in-your-mouth mangoes on the planet, in the Philippines.
Chesa, the two more orange fruits next to the guyabana (green prickly-skin fruit), is grown from an evergreen tree native to Mexico and South America but now cultivated across Asia. It’s in the same genus as Cambodia’s Lamut, which is smaller and browner. Sri Lankans call their varieties laulu/lavulu/lawalu. Another variety that may have a more familiar ring to English speakers is Sapodilla.
Guyabana is a fruit in the Annona genus in the pawpaw/sugar apple family, which I believe is native to the Andes but now cultivated in many countries that don’t get too cold (correct me if I’m wrong!). Similar fruits from the genus are called Tiep in Cambodia, Atis in the Philippines, Annona in Guatemala. I’ve heard other species called Soursop, Cherimoya, Custard Apple. Apparently many species in this genus have important agricultural, medicinal and pharmaceutical uses.
Photos are courtesy of Keith Kelly.
Mangoes, Chesas, Guyabana
Chesa half, close-up.
And here’s another pungent fruit from the tropics, mabolo. This one is native to the Philippines. It grows from a tree called kamagong, which is sought-after for its unique dark characteristics. I’m used to durian, jackfruit and other foul-smelling fruit and not averse to trying them despite the off-putting aroma, but this one is an exception. The outer skin is red and has the fuzzy texture of velvet – I’ve been told to wash it very well or your skin will itch where it came to contact with the skin of this fruit. I can’t find reference to that, though. When cut open it has the texture and feel of apple, but a bit more creamy. The ones we had was a bit bland, so I was not very impressed.
Feb 27, 2013
I’ve been in Cambodia for over seven years now and have never heard of this annual tradition that takes place around the full moon, signaling the end of Chinese New Year. The Chinese I know who live in Phnom Penh don’t have a clue of it, and Khmers don’t want to claim it as their tradition. The most prominent community still practicing it around Phnom Penh is in Takmao (the biggest celebrations). Festival activities include a wide range of spirit mediums, channeling the gamut of intentions towards their human communities. These mediums will draw blood and use it to facilitate a prediction, guide decisions and confer protections.
Given I have little interest in seeing it, I have very scant knowledge of the event. So here’s a Cambodia Daily piece on it: Spirits, Possessions Mark End to Chinese New Year, by Dene-Hern Chen and Chin Chan, February 27, 2013