Friday, March 27, 2015

A Child's Life Is Like A Piece Of Paper On Which Every Person Leaves A Mark

Hey my Buddha Within friends,

Another two weeks has gone by and the second chapter entitled "The Child is Father of the Man" has been completed. This addition to the book introduced my hometown in Malaysia, Ipoh, and the local food specialties there. The food in Malaysia is well known worldwide for its flavors, thanks to its unique location. Ever since they discovered an alternate route from China to India hundreds of years ago, Malaysia has served as a trade hub for spices. Therefore, many different spices were brought to Malaysia and are still used in the local cooking today.

This chapter introduces some of my favorite Malaysian cuisine, including Nyonya kuih. The Nyonya kuih are bite-sized snacks or dessert foods commonly found in Malaysia. It’s more often steamed than baked, and thus has a very different flavor, texture and appearances than western cakes. Most kuih are sweet but there are some savory versions of kuih as well. Because writing these chapters on food and culture were making me homesick, I reached out to a chef friend of mine and he agreed to work with me to recreate some of these Nyonya kuih here in New York City. As a result, I will be planning a Malaysia dessert tasting party very soon. Stay tuned for more updates. Check out the photos for some of these yummy treats on Pinterest.

Another key topic in this chapter is the exposure to spirituality early in my childhood. I was introduced to the Buddhist sutras, but never really understood what it all meant until later in life. There is one particular celebration in the Chinese folk religion that I would like to share with you. It is called the Nine Emperor Gods celebration and it happens every year during the first nine days of the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. It's a fairly large and elaborate festival that includes thousands of worshippers gathered at temples to light incense and to pray. There is also a parade on the last day of the celebration where people who practice shamanism get their piercings done, walk through piles of hot, burning charcoal with bare feet, eat vegetarian food, and see free Chinese opera. It’s a celebration that we would never miss.

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