Author: aiman_1417

Student, University of Wollongong, Australia

Auto-Ethnographic Research: The Beauty of Thai Cuisine (Final + Verdict)

Aiman's

To recap my auto-ethnographic research on The Beauty of Thai Cuisine, and its variations from other southeast asian dishes, I’ve explored a few popular ones like the Thai Laksa, Coconut Agar-Agar Jellies, Thai Steamed fish  and even the iconic Tom Yam dish. In all honesty, the research did not go as I proposed in my post, but I would still consider this a successful one.

I’ve come a long way from the embarrassing Thai laksa incident to actually experience making Thai Laksa on my own. I’ve analyzed my old and new experience to relate on my thoughts on Thai cuisines. From my recorded documents, I did relate to a few dishes from the culture I’m familiar to. I found out that it is impressive how one dish can be interpreted differently from different culture. The question that was flowing inside my head before the research was ” why would…

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Auto-Ethnographic Research Podcast: The Thai Experience in Australia (Part 3)

Aiman's

Note: Play the Audio while proceeding with this post

Its Time For Thai Restaurant

Screen Shot 2018-10-08 at 12.17.15 PM Source: Google Maps 

My Food

IMG_20171224_212832_364 Thai Laksa: Source: My Insta Story

The Menu

Screen Shot 2018-10-07 at 12.17.43 PM Source: Its Time For Thai

Taste of Thai Restaurant

Screen Shot 2018-10-08 at 12.19.03 PM.png Source: Google Maps 

The menu:

My Food

20180930_201010 From left: A bowl of rice, Tilapia fish with Thai Curry, Crispy Chicken with veggies and Thai Herb Soup

Herb Soup Source: HealthyThaiRecipes.com

CORRECTION: Its not curry soup, its actually “Thai Herb Soup” which contains Mushrooms, Soy Sauce, and Garlic (Source)

Chicken Rendang with Lemang (Malaysia / Singapore / Indonesia)

Lemang and chicken rendang, bamboo glutinous rice dumpling with spicy meat dish Source: Google

Instant Tom Yam by Maggi

Things that I added with the Maggi Cube:

  1. Chicken
  2. Mushroom
  3. Prawns
  4. Water
  5. Onions
  6. Broccoli

More Instant Products

OOLD TOWN

Furthering my research, I found out they are able to re-create drinks as well: Old Town White Coffee is an instant drink where consumers add the powder and water then stir it for 30…

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Auto-ethnographic Research Podcast: Coconut Agar-agar Jellies (Part 2)

Aiman's

Note: Play the Audio while scrolling through this post:

https://soundcloud.com/user-129422831/the-beauty-of-thai-cuisines-auto-ethnographic-research-part-2-coconut-jellies

Coconut Agar-agar Jellies

COCUnut Agar Source: SBS

Tutorial: Hot Thai Kitchen.com

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 11.29.14 AM Source: https://hot-thai-kitchen.com/coconut-agar-agar-jelly/

Recipe:

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 11.39.01 AM Source: https://hot-thai-kitchen.com/coconut-agar-agar-jelly/

Tutorial Video

Tepung Pelita, a traditional Malay cuisine: (Malaysia)

Kuih-Tepung-Pelita-Asli Source: Facebook

How a typical Ramadan Bazar looks like (Malaysia)

bazaar-ramadhan-taman-tun-dr-ismail-ttdi3 Note: This is in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia’s capital city), not Johor Bahru (South Malaysia / near Singapore’s Border )

20161117_121609 An epic picture of me in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2016)

Screen Shot 2018-09-29 at 2.16.31 PM
South Malaysia (Johor) – Singapore Border. Source: Google Maps

Nata De Coco (The Philipines)

1200px-Nata_de_coco Source: Google

Different Flavors for the Nata De Coco

Natade coco Source: Facebook

Pandan Leaves

pandan-leaves Source: Google

Fun Fact: The real name of this leaves is:

Pandanus Amaryllifolius

The sweet aroma of the leaves is the reason why its really popular in a lot more south east asian cuisines like:

Pandan Cake 

Pandan cake Source: Twitter

Nasi Lemak: A signature dish in Malaysia

Nasi Lemaks.jpg Source: Facebook

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Welcome to Flavor Town: The Beauty of Thai Cuisine

Aiman's

Here’s a follow-up to my previous post:

So I began my auto-ethnographic project with some research on Thai cuisines. I browsed through 6 different websites and highlighted some dishes that I want to focus on. Here are some of the dishes:

1) Coconut Agar- Agar Jellies

COCUnut Agar.jpg Source: SBS

Coconut jelly is a classic SEA dish. I notice the word “Agar-Agar” which means “Jellies” in Bahasa Malaysia.

It is interesting how they adopt a Malay word in a Thai Dish, that really shows the connection between Thailand & Malaysia as neighboring countries.

2) Pad Kee Mao

PAD KEE MOW.jpg Source: SBS

Pad Kee Mao is a stir-fried rice noodles, cooked with oyster sauce.

This dish reminds me of Singapore’s Char Kway Teow for some reason.

Maybe its the Oyster sauce.

3) Pork Satay with Chili Dipping Sauce

PORK SATAy.jpg Source: SBS

Satay was originated from the middle east. This is Thailand’s interpretation of the dish.

Since…

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Cultural Differences

Aiman's

The process of conducting an ethnographic research isn’t really new to me considering how I moved around a lot and had to adapt to different cultures for the past couple of years. I was born and raised in Singapore to a Malay-Singaporean father and a Portuguese mother. In 2007, my family and I moved to Portugal and stayed there for about 4 years before moving back to Singapore in 2011. Fast forward to 2018, I’m currently on my 3rd year of my Bachelor’s Degree program in Australia.

There’s an old saying in Singapore that “we are forever blessed with South East Asian’s culture and cuisine”. Knowing Singapore’s history, we embrace multiculturalism, with ethnic Chinese, Indians and Malays represent the whole nation (Stereotypically). We share the same passion for food and the infamous support for Singlish (Singaporean- English). 

Apart from food, Singlish is what holds the bond between different ethnic groups…

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A Different Experience (Akira)

Aiman's

I remember when I was 10, my cousin introduced me to the anime Akira. I watched it for about 15 minutes and thats about it. My young mind couldn’t handle the graphic violence and the dark dystopian vibe, especially the scene where a guy shot a dog and blood splatted everywhere (yup, I saw that scene when I was 10).

I’m not an anime expert,  I’ve watched a few decent ones like Gundam Series, Naruto, and Howl’s Moving Castle. But Akira was a whole different experience . First, the visual looks stunning for an 80’s anime. Visually compared to Gundam: Char’s Counterattack (another anime from 1988), Akira looks like one of those anime from the early 2000’s.

Chars Counterattack.jpg Gundam: Char’s Counterattack (1988) Source: Sunrise

Akira.jpg Akira (1988) Source: Toho

Most anime I know has one thing in common which is the one dimensional “I wanna be the best” lead…

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How I remember Japanese Monster Films

Growing up in Singapore/Malaysia, my childhood has always revolved around Japanese films and animation (Anime). Back in the 90’s, western cartoon shows like Rugrats, Dexter’s lab and Hey Arnold can only be accessed with an Astro cable subscription (which was new and super expensive at the time).

Source: Cartoon Network & Nickelodeon

Throughout the 90’s until the early 2000’s, the majority of kids (From my circle of friends) prefer Japanese shows like Ultraman, Gundam Series (Gundam Wing) and Ninja Warrior (Sasuke) because its accessible on the public channel every Saturday morning and Sunday Night.

Gundam Wing

Gundam Wing Endless Waltz (1998) Source: Sunrise

Every kid in the neighborhood knows who Ultraman is, we used to play pretend who’s Ultraman and who’s the monster at the playground and ended up having bruises when we get back home. I remember beating my friend so hard because he pretended to be “DADA”, my most hated monster in the Ultraman series.

DADA.png

“DADA” Monster from the Original Ultraman (1966) Source: Tsuburaya Production

When my family got an Astro subscription, I got the privilege to access both western and Japanese cartoons. At that moment, I was exposed to shows like Spongebob and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody where I don’t have to read subtitles to understand. At the time, that was considered as a privilege.  The idea of having 3+ Channels for cartoons was beyond my expectation.

A few days back, I saw the original 1954 “Gojira”, and cant help but to feel nostalgic because it reminds me of the good old “Ultraman” days. The sound and special effects  were similar. Have a look at this comparison :

Ultraman (1966) Source : Youtube

 

Gojira (1954) Source : Youtube

The original Ultraman was first aired in Japan in 1966, so its understandable to see similar values and effects from Gojira. There was an episode from the Original Ultraman (1966) that had a Gojira reference. They introduced a monster that looks and sounds exactly like Gojira and named it “Red King” as a reference to the nickname that was given to Gojira, “Godzilla: King of The Monsters”. That was the closest one we can get for a Godzilla vs Ultraman crossover.

Source: Google

We can clearly see how influential the original Gojira is to the film industry. It became its own genre (kaiju) that inspired awesome films like Ultraman, and Super Sentai. Throughout the years, this film culture has been utilized to its full potential and people tend to link this genre, to be a part of the Japanese culture. Even Hollywood are trying get a piece of the cake when they attempt to make an American adaptation of Godzilla in 1998, 2014 and the upcoming sequel to the 2014 movie.

GOD Z BOI.jpg

Godzilla (2014) Source: Google

They did the same thing to Ultraman as well. There were 2 non – Japanese version of Ultraman throughout the 90’s, one from the US (Ultraman: Ultimate Hero, 1995) and Australia (Ultraman: Towards The Future, 1992).

Source: Google

From my cultural background, I can clearly spot the differences between Japanese films and its western adaptations. Maybe its just my gut feeling, but the American Ultraman has a different tone into it, even with an Asian lead character, and the same monsters from the original, it doesn’t feel the same as the original formula that the Japanese had been using from 1966 – 1980.  Same goes to Godzilla, my first Godzilla film was, Godzilla vs Mothra (1992). When I first saw the 1998 American Version, it felt different. In conclusion, both sets of film shares the same values but different approach and it could be the result of cultural difference.