“Not all those who wander are lost.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien His name was Ben. I met him in a hostel in Taipei’s red zone where he’d been staying off and on for a few months while he looked for work as an English teacher. He […]
Month: October 2015
Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the […]
Recently, while planning a trip, I started thinking about the last time I’d been to Mexico. Having grown up there, I consider Mexico more my home than the U.S. – even though I was born in the States. There’s a couple Mexican habits I brought with me when I moved abroad (like the weird belief that when I’m overseas I’m somehow immune to the effects of tequila) but I realize that there are many more things I’ve left behind. And, as it turns out, most of them are food:
Most Mexicans love their hot sauce, which is pretty much why there are so many amazing varieties. My two favorites? Valentina and La Guacamaya. These are delicious on everything from fresh fruit to chips to corn on the cob. Sadly, in Singapore they’re both pretty scarce which leaves me to lug bottles back in my suitcase every time I return from a trip home.
Okay, I’m not talking about just any kind of corn tortillas, I’m talking about good ol’ fashioned, made by hand, hot from the stove, corn tortillas. I’ve tasted my fair share of tortillas in Singapore (although flour tortillas are usually what you’re offered at ‘Mexican’ restaurants) but they all fall short of the true-blue Mexican ones. Oh, I’ve tried learning how to make them myself, but they’re still not the same. Maybe I’m missing that Mexican auntie touch.
I’m a pico de gallo fanatic and at home I would make it almost daily and eat it with everything! Jalapeños really add that perfect spicy touch to this tomato-based salsa, but in Asia can be rather hard to find. Asian food uses mostly green and red chili of a different variety and my pico de gallo hasn’t tasted the same since I moved here! Fortunately, I can occasionally find my coveted jalapeños at the local Cold Storage, so I guess all is not lost.
There’s just something about a mug of steaming Abuelita hot chocolate that really makes you feel cozy and at home. Of course with Singapore’s year-round hot weather, drinking hot chocolate here probably wouldn’t be that wonderful of an experience. Part of the nostalgia comes from sensing the chill in the weather and knowing winter is coming. Then it’s time to break out your Abuelita chocolate and start brewing! Maybe if I turn down my AC really, really low….
Like pico de gallo, guacamole was an almost daily staple for me before. Now, I find myself constantly on the hunt for that perfect avocado so I can get my guac fix. I don’t know what it is about Singapore avocados, but the ones available don’t ripen the same way my avocados would at home. Quality-wise I’d also say they aren’t the same, but I guess I can’t complain right? At least I’m finding one item my Mexican soul loves on a fairly steady basis.
Oh, you knew this was coming. Mexican Coke is an entity in itself and once you’ve had it you’ll never be able to drink regular Coke again. They say the difference lies in the type of sugar used, and I like to argue that Mexican Coke is more natural and, therefore, healthier (probably not true, but hey, I like my delusion). Of course if you’re from Mexico’s west coast then you probably yearn for ToniCol too. Ah, I miss the days of drinking a cold ToniCol while sitting on the malecón!
What about you? What are some of the things you miss about your home country? We’d love to hear what you have to say!
If you, like me, are a Singapore expat who is really missing their Mexican fare, I do have some good news to share. Mexican restaurants in Singapore are pretty subpar, but you can actually find ingredients to make your own Mexican meal at Belmonte Latin Foods. This is the only Mexican grocer in Singapore and, my goodness, they’ve saved me. I bought all the ingredients to make tamales from them, and their empanadas are to die for!