Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fun Foods In Guam...

Guam has some fun foods. We have influences from all over Asia, the U.S. and unique local foods.

Anna and I went on a hike recently and on the way spotted some red seeds that the locals use to make red rice. We've had it a number of times, but we had to try to make our own. The local red rice is more than just rice colored red, it has a unique taste. Despite it's looks, it taste nothing like Mexican style rice. Often it has added onions and some pig fat. We chose to mix in some bacon instead. It was really good.

Red Rice

Home made red rice.

One of the local foods I've always liked is breadfruit. It's a fruit that grows in a tree but has a starchy, almost potato-like taste to it. Traditionally it is cooked in coconut milk. But I've also had it as a delicious substitute for french fries.

Breadfruit Fries

Breadfruit Fries

I also buy breadfruit chips when I can, but Anna eats them so fast, I couldn't even get a pic of it.

Recently, Anna and I saw some local yellow watermelon for sale. I had to get it just because it was like nothing I've seen before. It tasted very sweet. I think I like it more than the regular old red stuff.

Yellow Watermelon

Red and Yellow Watermelon

My last trip to Palau I even got to try a food that is illegal most places. Fresh Sea Turtle. Three months a year in Palau there is a legal Sea Turtle eating season. I couldn't let a trip there during the season go to waste. The serving I had was cooked in coconut milk. But I have to say, it was much better than I would have guessed. Almost like a pork and beef dish.

Sea Turtle cooked in coconut

I recently was given a food from Japan. I don't know what the label calls it, but I call it Cake-in-a-Can.

Cake in Can

Cake in Can

Cake in Can

In case you were wondering, it wasn't as good as real cake. It's like the difference between fresh peaches and caned peaches.

And it goes without saying that you almost always have to wash food in the islands down with a fresh coconut.

Coconut Drink

Always refreshing; Coke-a-nut drink

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Anna Turns 26...

In Vietnam a birthday is no big deal. Yes, they keep track of them and will wish you a happy birthday if they happen to know, but that's about the end of it. For me, a birthday has always been like a holiday dedicated to that person. When Anna and I began dating I expected much more from her on my birthday than she was prepared to give. I understand now that it was because that idea was foreign to her.

Since then Anna has caught onto the idea. And I always keep up birthday traditions for her even though she didn't really see a need for it. Last year, I may have overdone it. I took her to a small island south of Guam called Cocos and we went para sailing. I kept it a secret to heighten the experience. It never occurred to me that she would later expect me to match that.

Last week, a couple of days before her birthday the below conversation took place. She shocked me when she said she wanted a surprise activity.

Ngoc: ghosh, sometimes I like surprise
amazing what you can do to me

me: yeah, I'm confused. Usually you can't stand it when I try to do something secretive.
that's why I didn't plan anything this year.
i guess I have to now... :-o

Ngoc: no, all I need to know is what I am getting

me: dinner does not count?

Ngoc: no need go into detail. tell me when how where who whom why

me: oh, so when, whom, where and why are not details?

Well, I don't think I ever did compete with her expectations. We did have fun, though. On her birthday we went out to dinner at Tony Roma's. Following that we went over to our friend's house where we had high quality home made cake. Then on the weekend we had some other friends come over and eat dinner, share more cake (with candles and singing, of course) and played some Wii games.

No matter how good Anna's birthday was, one thing brought all the fun of birthday celebrations crashing down. She found a white hair on her head. She was already feeling old (even though she is only 26) but that white hair clinched it. It was just one hair and that will be the last one for a long time, but that came of little consolation to Anna. Needless to say, that hair was readily plucked.

The only thing I could try to make Anna feel younger was to remind her that I turn 30 this year. And then she was reminded that she is also married to an old man...

Well, happy birthday anyway. I think next year I will have to both surprise Anna and raise the bar. Can you sign someone up for plastic surgery without them knowing it...?