What Asian grocery ingredients have added to our palate

asian-grocery

Oriental supermarkets have countless products popular with Asian customers that many westerners skip over. A little knowledge can show us how we might make great use of them, or how we have already been using them without noticing. Online Asian shopping retailers have far products than we could list here.

SOY SAUCE: Useful if you want to replace salt, but also for so many other things. Soy offsets and enhances so many other things, it works with almost any savoury dish and even combines well with some sweet ingredients- try looking up Honey and soy on the net and find all sorts of ideas for chicken and beef.

FISH SAUCE: Perhaps this should be plural as there are several types of fish sauce, but they are all a combination of fish, herbs and fermentation. The fermentation process varies the taste from mildly fishy to savoury/nutty. The type of fish, or combination thereof, also provides countless variations. Fish sauce can be used as a great cocktail dip, is an essential ingredient in Koran Kimchi. Many sops and casseroles contain fish sauce.

RICE WINE: So very different to western wine made with grapes it should probably be given a different category and name, yet it make distinctive sauces and marinades in the same way that western wine does.

GINGER: already part of western culture for centuries ginger did originate in southern China. One of the few things on this page that is sometimes eaten in isolation Ginger is also an additive to many condiments, curries, desserts, pastries, cookies, soft drinks … the list goes on. It is reportedly great for circulation, the immune system, nausea and has countless other health benefits.

NOODLES: Largely considered a fast food in western cultures, rather like packet soup, noodles are seen differently in Japan, where there are literally museums dedicated to their history. The numerous types of noodles in Japan are too many to list, but ingredients, with various flavours, include acorn, mung beans, buckwheat, sweet potato, arrowroot, kelp (seaweed), tubers, mugwort, green tea, tofu, soy, tapioca and of course, rice.
Gluten intolerant individuals can find several types of Asian noodles that will suit their diet, though this does not apply to every type of noodle.

TEA: So long integrated into the western diet that we forget where tea originally came from. Those only familiar with the black tea that comes in bags are in for a discovery. The many varieties of tea include green, yellow, white, oolong and Pu-erh tea, each of which must be made at a different temperature. There are websites and magazine articles dedicated to the best ways to prepare each type of tea. There are as many types of tea as there are types of bread; some teas are as different to black tea as white bread is different to croissants.

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What to look for in a pair of sunglasses

THE OBJECTIVE SIDE:

Ultraviolet light (UV for short), though invisible, affects everybody who can see. Over time UV will damage skin and eyesight.

Normal visible light consists of vibrations with a wavelength between 700 Nano-meters and 400 Nano-meters, a Nano-meter being 1000 times smaller than a millimetre. UV light consists of vibrations even smaller than this, between 400 and 100 Nano-meters.

UV light can be divided into:

  • UV A light: 320 to 400 nMeters.
    This may cause skin damage over time.
  • UV B Light: 290 – 302 nMeters.
    This causes sunburn and eye damage.
  • UV C light: less than 290 nMeters
    of little concern, does not enter atmosphere.

UV B is the biggest concern for eye and skin care. UV B causes skin to sunburn and eyes to suffer photokeratitis damage.

SUNGLASSES:

sunglassesSunglasses should protect against UV light. There is some debate whether UV A is harmful, but UV B definitely causes problems. Ideally glasses should protect against UV A and UV B light.

The UV 400 label on a pair of sunglasses means they block out all UV light, both UV A and UV B. the ‘400’ refers to the 400 Nano-Meter wavelength of UV light.

OTHER TERMS:

Polarized Glasses: These are designed to block out reflected light, such as glare. As such they are an advantage with skiing or with beach condition where sun reflects off water and snow. Their only minor disadvantage is that they can block computer monitors and displays.

Blublockers: these glasses (actually a brand name) block some blue light as well as offering UV protection. Blocking blue light, which is the visible light next to UV light, can improve vision contrast. Always check the UV certification, however, as there are many fake products on the market.

Always check that Polarized glasses have UV protection as well.

And the most important subjective factors?

COMFORT: Find a pair that feels comfortable. If you like how they feel you are far more likely to wear them! When you’re new to wearing any types of glasses you may not know what to look for here; being used to something is part of feeling comfortable with it. Likewise, if you’re used to your old pair you find similar glasses seem comfortable because they feel familiar, even if better options come along. Consider other options, though maybe the earlier pair of glasses actually were a good choice all along.

APPEARANCE AND EFFECTIVENESS: Find a pair of glasses that look right for your face. Of course, you don’t want to compromise on anything else here, but if the glasses leave a lot of surrounding skin exposed any UV protection is compromised; you skin will be open to sun damage. Covering more of your eye area with the glasses tends to be better, but you can always use a hat and sunscreen to help as well. If you do like the way you look with a pair of quality UV sunglasses try finding a way of adding protection to your skin with shade, hat, sunscreen and anything else that works for you.

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Sydney Airport Shuttle

When travelling interstate or internationally, getting to the airport can just be another thing that adds to the stress. If travelling for a long time, driving to the airport and leaving the car there until you return can be costly… Carpooling with friends can be an option, but what if their car is too small (or your luggage is too big?).

Sydney Airport Shuttle services seem to be THE way to go… Companies that provide these services such as PlanB shuttle have a door to door, 12 Seater Mini Bus service which is much cheaper than a regular taxi; PlanB shuttle has a fixed rate and is usually prepaid before using the service whereas taxi fares take into account tolls and traffic.

These services are normally family friendly, with attachable baby seats which is an important safety requirement when commuting on the road.

A good question to think about when there is door-to-door… wouldn’t there be a heavy reliance on punctuality on all customers, traffic and the shuttle? Airport Shuttle Services deal with this simply by delegating the pick-up times way ahead of the departure times (The general rule is to be at the airport 3 hours before departure)

Ultimately when travelling, people want to make the journey hassle free, safe, cheaper, reliable and timely. It is all about choosing the right options that will make your trip a more pleasant one.

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