info 04.16.08


Old Streets is Gilbert Tauber's guide to virtually anything on the city map that has been "demapped, obliterated or renamed." Learn where Wine Bridge, Cat Hollow, and Paisley Place were.

A project to document a haircut at each of the Subway Barbers in the city seems stalled for lack of encouragement. Consider it encouraged.

Flatbush Gardener: "Adventures in Neo-Victorian, Wild, Shade, Organic and Native Plant Gardening, Garden Design, and Garden Restoration." Recently created for reasons that aren't especially clear to us: a bat house.

Astoria gets the love it deserves from Joey in Astoria, a neighborhood blog done well.

Blog or pathology? You be the judge. But alcohol is the theme at NY Barfly.

Williamsburg is Dead casts a gimlet eye on the neighborhood that, as with Eskimos and snow, has innumerable gradations of cool.

Re your article about durians and other pilau—the Hawaiian word for putrid—foods. It reminded me of the locally famous sign on the doors in Kuala Lumpur's Federal Hotel; "Girls and durians not allowed in rooms."

Durians are an integral part of the S.E. Asian culture. Malaysians believe durians have an aphrodisiac effect. There is an expression, "When durians fall, sarongs rise."  

The funniest durian incident I recall, happened to one of my Singaporean engineers returning from Bangkok during the season. While taxiing out, the flight attendant came on the PA an announced that someone had brought a durian onboard. If you have to ask how they knew, you have never smelled a durian from near or afar. The stew asked the culprit to surrender the durian and when no one did, had the pilot to taxi over to the engine run-up area. Shortly thereafter, someone rolled two durians down the aisle. My engineer said a pair of European tourist ladies in front of him saw the durians roll by, thought the spiky fruit were terrorist hand grenades and let out a series of terrified shrieks. The flight attendants calmly scooped up the offending fruit, opened a cabin door and tossed them onto the tarmac whereupon the flight proceeded without incident.

A year or so ago, the Times mentioned chinchalohk (sic) in an article on Nonya food. Once I brought a bottle through immigration in Honolulu. The customs inspector said, "If you have the guts to eat this stuff, I have the guts to let you bring it into the country." Now that is really pilau—but a great fish sauce.

What did I have for lunch yesterday? Ong choi with fu yu (a white, fermented, garlicky, soy gravy) at the Mei Sum in Chinatown. The dish is better with tau mil greens but you can't get them in the Islands. Both fu yu and its cousin in smell, hahm har sauce are worthy of being called pilau.

Mahalo for the great site,
Tom Moore
Lanikai, Oahu, Hawaii


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