I’m vungry!

It means I’m very hungry!

First of all, apologies for the lack of updates here. I can no longer use the quality over quantity excuse, but it has been a fun-filled and exciting year for me.

This blog is just going to be a quick hi and bye again because I want to announce a project I have been working on for a while now that has finally come into fruition that fulfils one of my first loves – food photo blogging.

I won’t rattle on about it here, you can check it out and read all about it for yourself at http://vungry.com/

What this means though is this blog will be relegated to ranting and raving and for all those other times my creative juices are flowing but can’t be shoehorned into food photo blog form.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love you anymore, it just means I have another family now and have to give it the love and attention just like I used to give you…

So updates will be even less frequent here than they used to be (could they ever have been considered, frequent?) But don’t fret I won’t be too far away. Although a-chau.net and vungry.com start with different letters and end in different suffixes they are not too far apart. The power of technology and the internet has made the world a much smaller place!

I’m still the same me I used to be. I won’t allow these changes to get to my head, I promise!


Net neglect and iBud drivers

Well it’s been a while since anything has happened on this blog but I’m not going to make excuses. Nope, not me. Ok well maybe there are a couple of things…

Life has been a bit irregular as of late but aside from the fact that I do not use social networking this is the one and only official portal to the parts of my personal life I am willing to share with the interwebs (deliberately not much). My new Windows Phone 7 has amazingly tight (and impressive) integration with social networking but alas I have managed to resist the urge so far.

The galleries have had a few nice additions from recent trips and I am also going to briefly rant about people who drive in their cars while wearing ear buds. Not any ear buds though, Apple iBuds to be exact. You know, the white ones that every man and his dog wears so proudly (Beats by Dr. Dre are making in-roads right now but not yet as prolific)

I’ve had no less than 2 near death experiences with drivers who should have been paying more attention to the road than their iPod/iPhone! Worst of all, 1 guy was well and truly aware of his blunder and when I eventually managed to pass him without dying had a smug grin all over his ugly face! The other driver oblivious the entire time.

If I didn’t have enough reason to dislike Apple products (R.I.P. Steve Jobs) then this is one more to add to the growing list. Fair enough if these terrible drivers were listening to the latest flagship Stax SR-009 headphones (practical problems aside) but no, they were listening to bog standard, terrible Apple ear buds. Seriously!

Bring back the golden years

Re-living my childhood memories, one egg roll at a time…

Is there any Australian born Asian that does not remember eating these as a child?

I’m also sure that the metal tins such egg rolls came packaged in formed part of many a  drum set :)

ATTN: lipladycarol

Dear lipladycarol,

I’m not sure I know who you are or whether you will ever read this post before continuing (and failing) to login to my photo gallery.

But after numerous failed attempts surely you would have given up or at least tried registering for an account by now.

If in fact you are someone known to me please get in touch – I hope you can figure out how (hint: ring me).

Best Regards,


United States of Bacon (and Bathrobes)

A long time between entries sure but it’s quality, people; I have made a pledge to deliver quality content. Stuff worth waiting months and months for! As you read on you can decide whether or not this is a complete lie…

Well I recently returned from the USA for a wedding and a visit to my brother. There is however so much more to see in the USA than I or my photos can do justice (I guess this applies to any country really with such a short trip). Despite that I don’t think I’ll be in a hurry to return.

For some reason American bacon is so much more incredibly tasty than Australian bacon. I can’t decide whether it’s the bacon itself or the technique used to cook it – probably both. The whole thing about bacon being the only thing able to break vegetarians completely makes sense now!

Relating to bacon’s goodness and the fact that waffles somehow manage to work with such salty dishes including fried chicken, during this trip I had it in my head that bacon and waffles doused in syrup was the dish to eat. I’m going to try and let photos do the talking:

Seems crazy right? Even though it’s doing all sorts of bad to my health it was great. I was on holiday!

And while it’s nothing new or uniquely American, this trip also ignited my love for bathrobes. Due to the fact that we were staying at hotels most of the time bathrobes were a welcome inclusion and I soon fell in love with the comfort and style afforded by a good bathrobe.

My favourite bathrobe this trip from the Raffaello Hotel in Chicago

Yes it really is as luxurious and awesome-feeling as it looks. Perfect for rollin’ in, ballin’ in or just general chillin’ in. It is alleged that I was even able to sleep in one of these – I’d believe it too, the things are just so comfy!

Worry not, there is no shortage of food photos. I ate myself silly and while I did eat a few burgers and hot dogs along the way I didn’t think too much of them. At least not as much as some would have you believe.

Highlights for me include Mexican food in California and just about all the specialities we ate in Chicago but the showstopper undoubtedly being Italian beef sandwiches. Click the photo of the juicy, wet Italian beef below to see more of this trip!

Bánh Mì Xíu Mại > Döner Kebab

Call me lazy (true) or call me busy (dubious) but I will have you believe that the reason it’s taken over 3 months to write this blog entry is because I’ve been plagued by a matter that has caused so much debate, so much rivalry and heated discussion that I could not possibly publish this entry without first having done sufficient research to methodically present the evidence and settle the issue.

I’m not saying that I’ve found the best Bánh Mì Xíu Mại and pitched it against the best Döner Kebab. I’m not saying that this type of food is superior to that type. I’m not even suggesting that the life expectancy or muscle structure of one race is greater than the other based solely on the consumption of these 2 food items alone. No.

I realise that this isn't even a photo of a Bánh Mì Xíu Mại however since my photography late at night is rather horrible I shamelessly turned to the interwebs and borrowed a photo.

What I do want to say is this: that according to my tastes, in my locality and what is readily available to me I would personally reach for a  Bánh Mì Xíu Mại (Vietnamese for meatball roll) over a Döner Kebab (Turkish for Doner Kebab). This has met and will likely continue to be met with much criticism and abuse but it’s for this very reason I am writing this entry, and the reason it even became a topic worthy of being written about.

I’d like to clarify that this is in the context of late night dining where nothing else is really open (apart from McDonalds or service stations) – which is the only time I would consider a Döner Kebab anyway. What makes it more complicated is it’s not generally the time people consider eating Bánh Mì either.

In Cabramatta, there is a Việt Hoa bakery on John St that operates 24 hours (another on Hill St). In the grand scheme of things their Bánh Mì is good but not fantastic, but in the wee hours of the night/morning there is no competition. Side note: the KK Hot Bread a few doors down in my opinion makes some of the best Bánh Mì Thịt Nguội (cold pork roll) and Bánh Mì Nem Nướng (grilled pork mince roll) in Cabramatta, maybe even the world! (for the record I don’t think the chicken or meatballs there are to the same standard though)

What’s special about the Xíu Mại (meatballs) at Việt Hoa is that they are kept steaming hot in an electric stove and are only removed after you place an order and they begin to assemble the roll. The chilli they use (a must for me) is also exceptionally hot and adds a nice big hit of flavour and colour contrast to the sandwich, cutting through the meaty, fatty flavours – something missing from kebabs.

Việt Hoa Bakery

Most other Bánh Mì Xíu Mại purveyors I’ve seen keep their meatballs in a bain-marie at luke-warm temperatures – not a good start. Add some weak chilli to the equation and that pitiful excuse for a Bánh Mì will be more to the effect of “bin me”.

Another clear advantage and definite win in my books for Bánh Mì over Kebabs is ration sizes. The former will set you back $4 while the latter will set you back $8-10. Of course the kebab is more filling but sometimes – especially late at night – you just don’t want to eat that much so it’s good to have the option of eating less without waste. At the end of the day (or night) if you’re still hungry you could just eat a second Bánh Mì.

So if for whatever reason you’re in the area late at night, are hungry and seek some hot, freshly prepared food then my pick is clearly the Bánh Mì Xíu Mại.

Can pregnant women have gravy and chips?

I’m not a doctor but my guess would be yes, so long as it’s in moderation (like anything really) and preferably kept to a minimum. My understanding is you’re not really eating for 2. At least not like that.

Actually, if you really are unsure about this you should speak to a real doctor or even better, ask your doctor for a referral to an obstetrician if you haven’t already. Specialists are often much more, uh, specialised than the garden variety family doctors.

No I’m not considering having a child. And if I did, I am not considering substituting breast milk for gravy. At least not without a good amount of S-26 in the mix.

Aside from the generally random nature of this blog this post is actually a follow-up to the previously well received post about how people find this website.

Besides not having had much of a chance to check my web server activity there hasn’t really been anything noteworthy recently apart from the above question.

Hopefully future visitors as well as the handful that stumbled on my website in June and September keep looking for answers because all you’ll find here are posts and pictures of gravy chips and the like. Such things will surely not help a mother’s resolve to abstain from gravy and chips.

Wouldn’t mind some now actually :P

Restaurant racism

As I sat in a Korean restaurant last week, a work colleague and I noticed a peculiarity in the way the cashier operated. To understand how I came to my conclusion, let me provide some background:

This particular restaurant issues ticket numbers so you can take a seat as your food is made. When it’s ready your ticket number is shown on a screen so you can pick up your meal from the counter. I wouldn’t classify it as fast food, but not table service either – something in between.

As we eagerly waited for our number to appear I tried to figure out the numbering system as it seemed that only even numbers were used and with random intervals. For instance, 62 was followed by 64 but then jumped to 70 and back t0 72 and 74 and so on. There seemed to be no differentiation between take-away or dine-in and didn’t correspond to the number of meals on an order.

What did catch my attention was when an odd number appeared on the display. Still hyper-observant and with our thinking caps firmly planted on we noticed that the odd numbered ticket was issued to a caucasian customer.

I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt but since the diners at this restaurant are predominantly oriental it was not difficult to spot the trend when others ordered. Between the regular oriental clientele, a mix of indian and caucasian customers appeared and sure enough each was issued an odd numbered ticket while orientals continued to receive even numbers.

Coincidence? I think not!

While I wouldn’t call it outright racism, I do wonder what the reason for it is. Are different ingredients and condiments used depending on the person’s background?

We must go back to find out.

falafel, falafel, falafel

hummus, hummus, hummus

tabouli, tabouli, tabouli

falafel, falafel, falafel

See! Even the words look good when arranged near each other.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In favour of developing RSI I instead present a picture:

I’m kind of obsessed right now with finding the best falafel around. This is going to be… difficult.

Ever so enjoyable for me but at the same time difficult.

To the good Lebanese haunts around Sydney: you’ve been put on notice!

High latency driving

Latency is a term oft used in computing, especially in relation to networking. It’s basically a measure of delay or response time. When your work depends heavily on a stable and responsive network connection – in my case to a database – high latency is highly undesirable.

Similarly when driving in peak hour traffic travelling to said job, drivers who take their sweet time taking off at traffic lights or struggle to keep up with the flow of traffic are what I consider high latency drivers and also highly undesirable (that’s a polite way of putting things).

This will be another traffic-related rant: I think that drivers should be re-tested every few years to ensure that they are eligible to keep their licenses – the amount of bad driving I see boggles the mind.

I also think that unless people are actually driving with some sort of purpose, they should be banned from the roads during peak hour! This afternoon I observed 4 young men driving in their pimped out bomb with no clear intention of going anywhere since they were travelling about 25km/h under the speed limit getting around just to be seen.

Driving for pleasure is certainly not a bad thing, in fact driving is one of the most relaxing pass times I enjoy. Ironic that it can also be one of the most stressful too, but must people really behave like ‘Sunday drivers’ in peak hour during weekdays?

Let’s get a move on people!

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