Bench Perfumes

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These days, in many parts of fast developing Asia, what with the endless and mindboggling array of distractions or attractions for our social life, asking pals out for a night of bowling and revelry can get you a yawn emotion response in your smart phone :0. But, tell them that the real intent is to eventually linger over supper, and bond over smoky sticks of chicken stay with little balls of grilled egg yolks sitting atop, at Block S in Jakarta, paired with rock sugared jasmine tea, or perhaps platters of tempura mantis prawns and fried sambal (chilli paste) baby clams bee hoon with refreshingly cold baby coconut water at a Telok Gong corner eatery just outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia . . . then you just might get a smiley face response instead. Food bonds. This is especially so in Asia. And good street food in the region is a religion. If you are so blessed to have friends in the places you visit take you out on local feasting jaunts, then you’ll also know that it’s the secret little street hawker stalls or warung that you’ll end up at, not at some fancy digs. While tucking in, your friends will inevitably tell you stories about just how iconic and meaningful these mum and pop outlets are to them. If the food culture of a city is one of the better ways to experience a new place as a visitor, then eating like a local is the best souvenir you can take home. You get to eat the food and digest the culture at the same time. The flavours of Asia, particularly in Southeast Asia, are a heady perfection of fused culinary concepts influenced by the three motherland food nations: China, India and Indonesia. Just think Mee Goreng, a popular Indian style fried sambal noodles awashed in tantalising red. Noodles never traditionally featured in Indian cuisine but it was the Indian migrants who came, saw and subsequently conquered with their version of fried noodles with accents borrowed from China and Indonesia, complete with wok hei (the distinct whiff of a wok in fried...
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