I always thought the fried rice has some kind of American influence. Indeed it has a fascinating history and is crossover food.
The common explanation and assumption is that the U.S.A. abbreviation stands for Udang (Shrimps), Sotong (Squid) and Ayam (Chicken). There’s also an omelette on top or wrapped around the fried rice.
Its real origin or influence ought to be the American Fried Rice (ข้าวผัดอเมริกัน) dish, invented by the Thais during the Vietnam War.
It has American side ingredients like fried chicken, omelette, hot dogs and ketchup. The Americanization of the spicy Thai fried rice was to cater to American soldiers stationed in Thailand during the war.
Today, it can be found in the menu of Thai restaurants in the States and is listed as “Khao Pad American”.
Not surprisingly, many Tom Yam and Nasi Pattaya stalls serve this dish here. Locally, this is a dish where no two restaurants serve it the same way.
This one is from Restoran Studio 5 in Ampang Jaya. Even the 3 chefs in the 3 shifts here, cook it differently. Show this pic if you want the same version.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 1600, f13, 1/80 sec.
Chui Ker (Hokkien) or Woon Chai Koh (in Cantonese) is rice flour cake steamed in metal cups or bowls. The rice pudding is then topped up with ‘Chai Por’.
The toppings of Chai Por is preserved and fried radish (lobak) chopped into bits with sesame oil and soy sauce added. Chili sauce is optional.
It is takeaway or street food that should be eaten on the wax paper it comes wrapped in.
The exact recipe varies. Some use shallots or turnip, some add dried shrimps (heh bi) while others soak the toppings in a special oil concoction.
For the rice flour, some mix it with potato flour to enhance the texture and smoothness.
As such, chui kueh from different stalls never taste the same and the satisfaction varies greatly. If you find a good hawker selling it, pray it stays.
It is a dying traditional Chinese breakfast snack and is not as easy to find these days. Chui Ker is more popular in neighbouring Singapore where it is spelled and pronounced as chwee kueh.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 800, f14, 1/80 sec.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 50, f11, 1/500 sec.
Inside the tunnel of an underpass, I decided to have some fun with the camera. For safety reasons, try this only when you are a passenger.
Set the camera’s shutter speed to between 1 and 2 seconds. Click and rotate your camera during the length of the exposure. The rotation need not be a full or perfect circle. Your mileage may vary.
To make the light bluish at the end of the tunnel, change the white balance to one of the presets by pre-viewing to see which works best.
This may be one of the last of such colour combos as the city’s street and infra lighting are gradually converted to daylight-coloured LEDs. The spider web patterns here are the result of warmer and older sodium lights.
I wish there are more taillight reds but many local motorists fail to see the need to turn on the lights when entering a tunnel. The red streaks are cars braking into a traffic jam at the end of the underpass.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 50, f22, 1.6 sec.
Trampled by humans and decimated by grass cutters, the plants survive somehow.
Each pod is smaller than a finger nail and a closer look reveals its understated and strange beauty.
Macro photography with the Sony FE 55mm prime and Raynox DCR-250.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 1600, f4, 1/1250 sec.