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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cuisine by Design

So recently I had a blog explosion.  One or two posts a day for a week.  A lot, I know.  I was just so excited to share two of the best weeks I've ever experienced with all of you.  And now I don't really have anything to post.  Quite a shame.

As of right now, I am super busy with school work.  And my busy social life isn't helping any.  Due to this lack of time, I have a lack of subjects to blog about.  However, there is a subject that will apply to everyone that even my school and social lives can't get rid of.  And that topic is, of course, food.
Who doesn't like food?  (Rhetorical question by the way).  I know I've mentioned food in this blog before, but I don't think I've gone into too much detail.  That is about to change.  The rest of this blog is dedicated to some of the foods I have discovered/ been introduced to in New Zealand, be they good or bad.  That way I can make you drool and also, if you ever come to New Zealand, you'll know what's up.  We will start with some general observations...

So the first, and best in my opinion, thing about New Zealand food is the variety.  There are so many cultures represented it's ridiculous.  Some of the most prominent are Asian and Indian cuisine, but just about every culture is represented somehow, somewhere.  Out of all the restaurants/cafes/whatever in Palmy the only thing that I find missing is Mexican.  The closest good Mexican place that I know of is in Wellington, two hours away.  Sadly that is a minor problem to us Americans who just want a taco or an enchilada or a quesadilla occasionally.  Which is why we resort to cooking our own.
Back to the topic at hand though, cuisine variety.  New Zealand was, of course, conquered by the Brits.  Thus the general food here is pretty standard.  But if you ever want something not English you don't have far to go.  Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, Italian, Cuban, etc.  It's simply amazing.  I have greatly expanded my outlook on food simply by being here.

My two new to me favorite foods (not store bought) have to be kebabs and curry.  Kebabs are not the same as shish-kebabs.  No.  They are a glorious creation of chicken, lamb, or falafel, combined with any combination of sauces (sweet chili and garlic yoghurt being my favorite), at your choice of spice level, with a number of fixings on top (lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, etc.).  Put it all on a wrap, roll it up inside a wrapper and eat it straight out of there.  So. Good.
You may look at this picture and say, "Well that looks just like a wrap, I could totally make that/ buy that most places."  Well, you would be wrong.  Want to know why?  Because of the way they cook the meat.  Check it out-
Now this is quite a large example, but it really is what they look like.  They shear the meat off a little at a time, making your kebab nice and fresh.  So yes, you can try to make your own, but I would recommend searching for the nearest Turkish restaurant and finding out if they make kebabs.  In wrap form.

My second new favorite food is curry.  Curry is quite a standard dish in Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Thai or other Southeast Asian cuisines.  And trust me, the best curry is from a native.  The word curry simply describes a variety of spiced dishes, and is analogous with the words soup or stew.  There is no single ingredient that makes a curry a curry (Thanks Wikipedia).  The curries that I've had involve rice and the 'stew' portion, usually involving meat of some sort.  The best curries I've had came from two separate sources.  One was homemade by Kaleb's Sri Lankan roommate Rashmi, and the second was at an Indian restaurant in Wellington called Tulsi (mentioned here-April 18).
Kaleb at Tulsi
Basically, curry is tasty and you should try some sometime.  If you are uncertain about it, try butter chicken.  It's a pretty standard option, and you can always control the spice level.  You should also consider buying nan (bread) to go with it, it helps keep the spice level from overwhelming you...