Friday, December 04, 2020


The last time I saw my doctor, or the nurses in the clinic, was at a regular appointment several weeks ago the day after my birthday. The next time will be in March. I'm happy with that, but also not entirely happy. I miss little nurse Mak fiercely jabbing me with a needle to vaccinate me against the dangers of the world. Partly because she's cute, but mostly because she hates needles. The sheer irony of a needle-phobic nurse just slays me.

The other thing I miss is deflecting my doctor's well-meaning words of wisdom about the evils of smoking. On which he did not touch at all during our last conversation.

'More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette. In a repeated national survey, doctors all across the country, in all branches of medicine were asked "what cigarette do YOU smoke, doctor?" Yes, not surprisingly, the answer was 'Camels'. Why don't you try Camels to see what a difference the smooth rich taste of Camels can make to your smoking enjoyment?'

I suspect he had other things on his mind.

The evils of smoking open the door to the pleasures of Indonesian cooking, as everyone knows, especially when the patient is Dutch and the medical man is Chinese from Indonesia. And there is a market across the street where I've bought swamp cabbage (Ipomoea aquatica: 蕹菜 'ung choi'; kang kong), asparagus beans (Vigna unguiculata sesquipedalis: 長豆角 'cheung dau gok'; katjang pandjang), Chinese Brocoli (Brassica oleracea alboglabra: 芥蘭 'gai laan'; kailan), and bitter melon (Momordica charantia: 涼瓜 'leung gwaa', 苦瓜 'fu gwaa'; peria, labu pahit). All of which are healthy and please the Indo within.
Plus they taste good if you know how to cook.

Especially nice if you use a little ginger, chilipaste, fish sauce, with a squeeze of citrus or dash of vinegar, and a splash of rice wine to sizzle after blanching or stir-frying.

In lieu of fish sauce (魚露 'yü lou') or shrimp paste (鹹蝦醬 'haam haa jeung') you could use oyster sauce (蠔油 'hou yau') or abalone sauce (鮑魚汁 'baau yü jap').

Also good with salt fish (鹹魚 'haahm yü') and stock.

Bacon is another option.

I miss talking about smoking food.

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