Sep 17, 2021 Metro Eats
People are getting desperate. Yesterday, I noted that 30 croissant 6-packs (from Luna) sold out in under one minute. The first day of Level 3 seems so close, yet so far.
A couple of weeks before we locked down, I went out for dinner with a friend at that new Indonesian place on Dominion Rd, Raos. They were talking about how disillusioned they were getting with the food at restaurants; how the love, attention, and the quality of the ingredients you can curate in your own kitchen surpasses what you can get on the outside. I nodded, and somewhat agreed, though at that time I didn’t really. But after five weeks of chasing what brings me much joy (eating) within the parameters I’ve been forced into, I’ve started to understand just a little bit of what they were talking about. There is something so clear and calming about it all, especially when all the various parts of a complicated process start to make sense as it coalesces. (Yes, some of this epiphany did occur as I made this Russian honey cake, which took four hours.) In the absence of my usual productivity, the control I can have in the kitchen is one of the few things stopping me from going out of my mind.
If you don’t get any joy out of cooking, though, I can understand how this may seem extremely corny to you. It’s like when people talk to me about what they get out of running, and my mind immediately remembers every single time I attempted to go on a run and felt like I was going to die. Don’t worry — we are (hopefully) just mere days away from takeaways. I’ll have a full guide with you next week, when restaurants have rolled out their options. This newsletter is more of a short check-in, a how-are-you and hope-you-are-well. I hope you are well.
This week, we also put the Pasture story online — a reported feature about ex-employees experiences working there, and how it speaks to normalised, industry-wide issues that need to be addressed.
I also wanted to remind any magazine subscribers that supported us right in the beginning (thank you!) that we are now going into our second year of new Metro, meaning you probably have to re-subscribe if you haven’t already. And if you haven’t yet subscribed at all, you could do that now too. Our next issue is coming out in December, so it would make a cool Christmas gift, if you’re organised about that sort of thing.
For all my rhapsodying about cooking, I enjoyed this breezy short story by Bryan Washington, Other People’s Kitchens, which is loosely about being a private chef in the pandemic, the appeal of breaking up routine monotony, and loneliness.
Like everyone else, my love for KFC spurred me to get these Tegel Take Outs Nashville Style Portions (not the tenders). They aren’t quite as spicy, or have the same secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices, but did something to curb the cravings while we wait for Level 3.
After I mentioned the chicken shawarma kit from Kohkoz a newsletter back, they generously sent me one (#gifted). Though the actual wrap as it was meant to be made was tasty, what I’ve really been enjoying are the various dips and spreads Kohkoz offer (particularly the hummus, which I’ve been scooping up with my finger in between meals to snack on). The falafel bites were delightful too.
I read Michelle Zauner’s (also known as Japanese Breakfast) memoir Crying in H Mart and found it almost too sad to bear. The feeling of loss from the very first essay hardly ever lets up, and it feels intrusive and honest and made me want to eat Korean food so very, very bad. I read this the second week of lockdown and just the word “jjajangmyeon” on the page had me near tears, tbh.
If you care about restaurant reviews, I found this piece from a food critic at Eater about why they’re giving up starred ratings interesting. It made me consider some things about how we review in Metro too, especially the difficulties of translating the nuances of a restaurant experience to a five-point scale. Also interesting to consider it against that announcement (that Noma finally got three Michelin stars, despite topping World’s Best lists many times).
Mid-Autumn festival starts next week on 21 September, so mooncakes are on the agenda. Most Asian bakeries do them, as do Asian supermarkets (which are open during Level 4). Some places are also delivering mooncakes during Level 4, such as La Couronne Cake Boutique and Classic Bakehouse.
I tried the Makhani sauce from Cassia at Home’s range of jarred sauces, which is their version of butter chicken, but made with cashews, not butter. The description says ‘medium spicy’, but, reader, it was not medium spicy. Of the three flavours they offer, my favourite by far is the Karahi, paired with some homemade naan.
If you have an idea for a food-related story, Stone Soup Syndicate are currently taking submissions for a new digital form — and they might be able to pay you for it, too.