Tag: food

Thanksgiving in Arizona

Thanksgiving in Arizona

This year, the annual US trip was a bit slower than last time, only Arizona was on the agenda, so no crazy flying around between 3 states. We spent 7 full days with my host family, and had lots of fun and food.

Family fun

Games, charades, swimming in the pool, cooking, baking, eating together, snuggling (or yelling at) the 4 dogs, watching movies, and just hanging out talking – that’s how we spent the majority of our trip. I was lucky that I got to see 4 of my host siblings, plus my host sister’s super adorable twin girls, which let me practice my auntie skills a little 🙂

Burgers & Shopping

In N Out deserves it’s own category! I managed to get 2 cheeseburger meals in, which we worked off with a day of outlet shopping. We also took a trip to Costco to give Thorben the full American experience 🙂

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was our second to last day and we spent the day before and half of Thanksgiving itself making lots and lots of yummy food. We had an awesome buffet with all the classics: a 15 pound turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes and a potato hash casserole (which I named heart attack potatoes), homemade rolls, green beans and roasted veggies. The desserts were an American-German collaboration: pumpkin pie, pecan pie bars, apricot bars and Apfel-Streusel-Kuchen plus the first round of Christmas cookies, which I’d finished just in time for our trip 🙂

I’d say the 2019 US trip was a big success. As always, I wish it could have been longer and hopefully, I’ll manage to see the Utah part of the family on my next visit! Thanks to my awesome host family, it’s been 13 years now that they put up with me at least once a year 🙂

Indonesia Part I – Jakarta

Indonesia Part I – Jakarta

Almost a month and a half after our Golden Week trip to Indonesia, it’s time to catch up on the blog posts. Thorben already shared a lot of pictures, so here come all the details … and more pictures :).

We planned our trip to Indonesia together with Marlyn (who’s from Indonesia), so our first and last stop was Jakarta, where her parents live. In total, we spent 4 nights in Jakarta and 6 on Flores – Part II coming soon!

Marlyn’s Birthday

Our first full day in Jakarta it was Marlyn’s birthday, so she made the plan and we just went along with whatever she wanted to do. Mostly, that meant eating a LOT of Indonesian food. We started with going to a local market, had some food there and also bought some fruit we had never seen before. Next, Marlyn wanted to eat something that translates to “brain brain” – she said there is no brain inside, just fish and flour. No way to confirm her story so we just went with it 🙂 We also had a seafood omelette and the first of many plates of Nasi Goreng (fried rice). To get to a supermarket to buy some snacks, we took a tuk tuk. Our driver seemed quite excited to take around the only foreigners in sight 😉

After a short rest at home, it was time to eat yet again, so we went to another restaurant for some meatball soup. Also, we picked up the birthday cake, which we had after dinner (yes, more food) at a nice seafood restaurant overlooking the water.

Jakarta sights & food

On our second full day, Marlyn’s dad was our tour guide and took us around Jakarta for some sightseeing and more Indonesian food. We started with noodles and wonton soup for breakfast and then went to a banking museum which was inside a cool colonial building. We also saw Jakarta’s first train station and wandered around in an old market square. During our time in the city center, Thorben and I got interviewed by some students who wanted to practice their English.

The second part of the day, we visited a “mini Indonesia” theme park. They had lots of different buildings, showing the different cultures and architecture of the different islands. One place we visited in detail was the Komodo museum, in preparation for the next stop of our trip 🙂 There was also more food: we had a very late lunch/early dinner at another Indonesian restaurant and then picked up some “martabak”. Martabak could be described as diabetes and a heart attack rolled in one – it’s a giant cake slathered with butter, peanuts, chocolate and sweetened condensed milk, but it was super tasty!

Even more food

After coming back to Flores, we spent one more night in Jakarta. I think Marlyn’s mom was worried we didn’t eat at all during our 6 days away, so she prepared a huge feast for us. I forgot the name of everything but it was delicious!

Overall, our time in Jakarta was really fun, especially since Marlyn’s parents were so nice and took so much time to show us around and feed us 🙂 It was really cool to experience the city more from a local perspective and not just as a tourist.

Shanghai Summer 2019

Shanghai Summer 2019

I haven’t posted anything in a while but that doesn’t mean nothing has been happening over here 🙂

Both Thorben and I started new jobs. We’re still at the same company and same location but in different roles. I stayed in the same department but started a new project in May. Thorben changed to a different role and division in July.

Summer is in full swing and it’s hot hot hot. We already had a week filled with 36 and 37 degree weather, see the obligatory screenshot below. Now it’s “cooled down” to 33 degrees with a balmy 27 at night, so it’s still quite sweaty. I’m loving the inventor of the air conditioner more than ever.

Typhoon Lekima got a lot of coverage here as it got pretty close to Shanghai last weekend. We had a couple of days with a lot of wind and rain but thankfully, we were not affected a lot. There was some flooding and lots of leaves and little branches in the street but otherwise Shanghai got lucky. I just used the days inside to catch up with Harry Potter, which I’ve been re-reading (for the 8th time probably) since July.

On the travel front, we went to Kuching in June and each had to go on a business trip to Germany. We’re lucky we can usually combine business with seeing friends and family, so it still feels like fun trips, even without vacation time.

Other than that, there were birthday parties, a few GGI events for me, archery for Thorben, and we helped a couple of people move. Sadly, a few friends left Shanghai this summer, so we went to some farewells as well.

Of course there is always a lot going on food-wise: Marlyn cooked some Indonesian food for us  – or mostly instructed Thorben what to do ;). We had a nice dinner with yummy things of which I forgot all the names.

Also, we cooked, had people over for dinner and went out to eat a bunch. As always, I’ve neglected to take pictures of people because I’m too focused on the food 🙂 So here’s a little, okay a big, food picture selection.

Shanghai Night Eats Tour

Shanghai Night Eats Tour

It’s been more than a year and a half since Ellie and I went on the Shanghai Street Eats Breakfast Tour. Ever since then, I wanted to try the UnTour’s night tour and finally got around to going a couple of weeks ago.

June is the last month Cassie, a friend I met through GGI, was in Shanghai before going back to the US. She wanted to go as well, so we did it as kind of a fun farewell dinner. The tour was a culinary journey through China: We tried food from Xi’an, Guangzhou/Hongkong, Ningbo, Sichuan and finally Shanghai. I knew most of the cuisines from our China travels (and other food tours), but also got to try some new dishes, which was fun.

Xi’an Burgers

On our first stop, we got some Xi’an style “burgers” – crispy buns stuffed with pork. It was similar to the lamb buns we tried in Xi’an last year but I think even better.

Cantonese Food

Next, we walked over to a Cantonese place and had some really tasty sweet barbecued pork. I skipped the fatty pork belly, but also tried some fried noodles, pinapple bun and the mango tapioca dessert.

Tastes of Ningbo

The Ningbo restaurant was the most interesting stop for me because I’ve never been and never tried the food. I wasn’t a big fan of the jelly fish and fried fish they served, but loved the fava bean puree and fried bamboo chips. The rice cakes they served were also pretty good.


Spicy Sichuan

It’s a good thing we already did a food tour in Chengdu, so the rabbit head didn’t come as much of a shock 🙂 Our guide demonstrated very well how to take it apart and eat it, so Cassie and I tried some of the parts, cheek and brain to be exact. The cheek meat was good, I didn’t care too much for the brain, but maybe it’s just because it was hard for me to get over what we were eating. The spicy wontons, noodles and cucumbers were very tasty!

Shanghainese Goodies

And finally, we also had some Shanghai food – you can never go wrong with xiaolongbao 🙂

It was a really fun and yummy evening. Even though all the places are only a metro stop away, I would have never gone to any of them myself, since they’re mostly little holes-in-the-wall and Chinese only. Now, I have a map with all the stops and names of all dishes, so Marlyn and I are thinking to recreate the highlights of the food tour soon 🙂

Kuching: Orang Utans, Sights and Beach

Kuching: Orang Utans, Sights and Beach

Besides celebrating Eid and eating lots of yummy Malay food, we also had a little bit of time left to explore more of Kuching.

Kuching Waterfront

Our hotel for the first 2 nights was located right at the Kuching waterfront and after the first day of eating, we took a walk along along the water. Syuke and Thorben quickly became an attraction for Chinese tourists, who wanted a picture of them 🙂

Semenggoh Nature Reserve

On our second morning we headed out of town to go looking for some monkeys, Orang Utans to be exact. In the past, the Semenggoh Nature Reserve rescued orphaned, injured or captive orang utans and trained them to live in the wild. Now, it’s a habitat where they live semi-wild.

There is a feeding twice a day where the caretakers put out some food, in case the orang utans couldn’t find enough in the forest. Depending on the season, some of them come to pick some up. We saw 2 male and 2 female orang utans and one of them even had a baby 🙂

Orang Utan Mural

After getting back from the real life Orang Utans, we stumbled across the Orang Utan Mural downtown. It’s a corner with some really cool street art.

More Food

Even during and after 2 1/2 days of open houses, we still had room for some more food 🙂 Below are pictures from some yummy cake we had at a cute cafe inside the old courthouse, and of a seafood dinner we went to with Syuke and some of his friends.

Beach time

Our last 2 days in Kuching were spent relaxing. We stayed at a cool little hotel, where each room is basically a cement roll. It was super cozy and also had access to the beach. The sign “Beware of crocodiles” kept us out of the water 😉


Celebrating Eid in Kuching

Celebrating Eid in Kuching

Last week, it was Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan, the fasting month many Muslims observe. Syuke, a friend of ours, invited us to celebrate the holiday with him in his hometown Kuching. We’d been talking about going to Kuching for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity to visit.

Dressing in style

Syuke explained to us that typically you buy something new to wear for the first day of Eid. He mostly wears the traditional clothes during festivities like Eid and weddings. His family chose to wear green for the first day. During our visit, we saw that many families were wearing matching colors.

He lent some clothes to Thorben to wear as well, see the efforts it took to properly put them on below and the final result 🙂 I didn’t have any special outfit, I just tried to dress modestly and cover up to be respectful.

Open Houses

Over the course of 2 1/2 days, Syuke took us to 7 open houses hosted by various family members and friends. At each open house, people come together to enjoy lots of good food and cakes. Our first open house was right after getting off the plane. Everyone was super friendly and welcoming, it was really a pleasure to meet so many nice people and enjoy this special holiday with them.

One of Syuke’s friends is a baker and has been baking non-stop for the past 2 months to make all the beautiful cakes for Eid. They looked too pretty to eat but she insisted, so what could we do? 🙂 Understandably, all cakes were completely sold out, so I couldn’t bring any back.

Here is a little selection of pictures from 6 of the open houses and all the amazing Malay food and cakes.

Our first Eid was so much fun and it was so interesting to try all the food and talk to so many of Syuke’s relatives and friends. We’re very lucky to have such a diverse group of friends and be able to make these experiences with them!

In case anyone was wondering, I have not stepped on the scale since coming back – but whatever it says, it was worth it 😉