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I've been doing a lot of walking lately. Being in a city again has been very good for me that way. The ethnic greengrocer's about 2 blocks away turned out to be a surprisingly well-stocked mini-market, with a cheese counter, a colourful variety of fresh produce, a modest but very well-varied selection of dry, tinned and bottled goods and a most helpful spice rack. Having a store with a spice rack that includes whole and ground dried shrimp, tamarinds, grated coconut and assorted currying spices is certainly helpful. I'd mentioned to scanner_darkly that one of the first things I wanted to make upon moving into our new place was beef rendang, so that was exactly what I did. Bought all these lovely ingredients and cooked them the same day. It was very pleasant. And for whatever reason, I was able to make a tasty rendang emerge from the depths of my desolate cooking soul.

It's pretty desolate in there. My knife skills alone could shame my family for seven generations.

The other thing we seem to live fairly close to is good food. By the first day of having moved in, I'd Yelped my way through restaurants in a six block radius. We've already verified that one of the Chinese delivery places serves authentic Cantonese food, including a Soup of the Day if you eat in, and everyone gets a free char siu bun and a sesame-coated fried mochi with red bean paste with their fortune cookies. I have tried its salt and pepper soft shell crab, and I vouch for its authenticity. Mind you, I'm still looking for a place that serves either a hor fun or crispy noodle in egg sauce -- I suspect if I ever worked up the nerve to test my miserable Cantonese on the waiters at Red Jade (which is unlikely -- my own mother has trouble understandng my Cantonese), I might get results. Or I could just run their possible noodle dishes past a dictionary and see if any of them roughly translate to wat tan hor (er, "smooth egg rice noodles"?).

I insisted we should try Udupi Palace for its tosai today, since I was starving and craved a dish familiar to Malaysia. Ever since I found out there was not one, but two places with paper tosai within a few streets away, I'd been making suggestions like a looming storm cloud at the Trusty Guide that we should perhaps try South Indian food instead of that lovely, rich, but seriously very, very creamy North Indian stuff. Paper tosai, a thin rice paper crepe that is crisp to the last molecule, is high on my list of favourite foods. It's such a favourite food, that if I were in Malaysia, that would be my daily breakfast. Udupi Palace makes such a crispy paper tosai, and such a very large one at that. When our food arrived, the Trusty Guide thought I might have ordered too much, since the roll nearly extended as far as the other end of the table. With a lot of help from the Guide in question, and an appetite from far too much walking in a short span of time this morning, I was able to finish my food. The chutney was very nice. They had the usual tomato and coconut stuff, but there was a third coconut chutney that has a strong taste of mint. The curried dhal was thick and creamy, but pretty peppery on its own.

I am not particularly looking forward to the walk tomorrow. Four blocks with carry-on luggage and my laptop deserves some form of shameless food. I wonder if the airport has chicken nuggets. 21-ingredient nuggets, for which only one of those ingredients is vaguely chicken. Honestly, I pity the Trusty Guide more than myself. How he walks the same distance I do and still has the strength to do chores after that is beyond me.

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