December 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Newtown, south of the border

Newtown is a suburb close to the heart of Sydney, Australia. At first glance, it struck me as a cowboy town with its colonial style buildings and its laid-back look. As one goes deeper within Newtown though, it becomes more apparent that this is a hippie town similar to Camden Town in London, with one exception – the streets don’t smell of weed.

Organic food markets, vegetarian restaurants, oriental furniture shops and “exotic” restaurants serving African, Mexican and Nepalese cuisine line King’s Street, which passes for the main street of Newtown. Thai restaurants are especially numerous – Newtown likely has the highest concentration of Thai restaurants in Sydney, if not the whole of Australia. There is the occasional busker and beggar. And even open air markets selling amulets and CDs.

On closer inspection, the statue of the dog in the distance has an exposed stomach with gears inside

Camperdown Memorial Park. Sydney Tower (the gold tower) can be seen over the trees

Newtown was established as a residential and farming area in the early 19th century. The name of the suburb came from a general store that was set up in the area. After the Great Depression hit in the 1930s, Newtown became increasingly rundown; until it was revived in the 1970s as students from the nearby Sydney University flocked to Newtown for its relatively cheap rent. It became known as a bohemian center with a rising gay and lesbian population.

True to the Newtown spirit, I had dinner at a vegetarian Thai restaurant named the Green Palace. I have had Thai and vegetarian before, but never the two together. It turned out to be surprisingly good – the staff were polite and friendly; and despite the restaurant being packed, the waitress took my order within minutes of me sitting down. My main dish was spicy fried rice with “duck” made out of soy. Don’t give me that face! – it actually tastes close to the real thing, with a softer texture. The Thai spices, as usual, was impeccable.

Spicy fried rice with "duck"

Just as I was about to finish up, my dessert comes up piping hot onto my table. Coconut cream with real coconut flesh covered pandan flavored sago beneath, with the occasional corn tucked away. Sago is mainly eaten in Southeast Asia and comes from tropical palm trees.

Party-goers will crowd the clubs and the streets at night but I call it a day.

Categories: Travel

Christmas, Kim and Santa’s black slaves

December 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Merry Christmas, everyone….Hohohoho!

First off, a plump old man died with supposed supernatural powers and supposedly brought people gifts died last Saturday. Kim Jong Il, the enigmatic Dear Leader of North Korea (DPRK) for nearly 2 decades, died last Saturday. While not nearly as jolly as Santa, Kim’s career is just as entertaining as that of the old elf’s reindeer escapades. His reign saw him kidnap a director who made him a Communist version of Godzilla (Pulgasari), had lobsters airflown to his private bulletproof train when he traveled (while his people starved to death) and had a state religion that equated him as the son of God (his father Kim Il Sung being worshiped as practically God).

Kim Jong Il, ronery Dear Leader

Kim was widely believed in North Korea to have power over the weather. He is succeeded by his youngest son, Kim Jong Un (whom according to the computer game Homefront will unite the Koreas and invade the U.S.). State media reported Saturday that Kim Jong-Il’s “loving care” for the North Korean people lingered even beyond his death, with residents in the capital enjoying a special treat of fresh fish. Maybe he will be turned into beads…


Next, a lesser well known fact about Santa Claus. The bringer of Yuletide joy to good boys and girls was based off a Dutch character known as Sinterklass. Sinterklass is a former bishop of Turkey who now resides in Spain and takes a ship each year to the Netherlands.

Santa Claus

Instead of elves in green, he is attended by a retinue of black faced slaves known as the Black Petes. Due to the obvious racist connotations, the Black Petes are now explained as his friends rather than slaves, and their black faces from being chimney sweeps.

Sinterklass and his Black Petes


Categories: News

Seafood couscous

December 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Hi there and welcome to the Log of the Seer. Here you will find posts about travel, news and my thoughts – elements from the concept of this site.

We’ll start off, right here at home with a Travel post. There are many forms of travel, not just physically being in a foreign country. One of these you can do right in the comfort of your own kitchen – through the tastes, smells and sights of food – and be transported off to a faraway land. Well now, lets head to Tunisia with:

Monastir, Tunis 2007

Seafood couscous

About couscous:

Couscous is pasta made from seminola (durum wheat middlings), traditionally the staple food of North Africa (Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco). It is part of Berber cuisine. The Berbers are the indigenous people of North Africa, having lived there since the time of the Romans.

Ingredients (for 1 person)

  • 250grams of seafood (selection up to you)
  • Oil or butter
  • 1 stalk of young broccoli
  • 1 potato or carrot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • pepper and salt
  • vinegar
  • a bit of lemongrass
  • couscous

Ingredients for seafood couscous


  1. Chop up the garlic, broccoli and potato/carrot into agreeable sizes
  2. Stir-fry the seafood, potato/carrot using the oil or butter for 5 minutes.
  3. Add vinegar, pepper and salt (quantity up to your discretion)
  4. Add in the broccoli. Stir fry another 2 minutes
  5. Add lemongrass and garlic. Stir and leave to sizzle
  6. Pour out one cup of couscous. Add one cup of water. Then, either microwave for 2 minutes, or boil for 5 minutes.
  7. Ready to eat!

Seafood couscous

Udon Lunch

January 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Busy life? Low on money? Well look no further, here’s an idea for a cheap*, easy homemade lunch at:

Logan’s Easy Lunches

Udon (a thick white Japanese noodle)

Step one: go to your nearest Asian market and pick these out:


  • Udon noodles – I can get these at $1 for 4 packs
  • Frozen pre-cooked food like fishballs (or fish tofu, lobster balls etc.) – $5-8 enough for 4 small meals
  • Ready-to-eat salad leaves (available at supermarkets) $2-3


  1. De-frost the fishballs (I usually leave it overnight in the fridge instead of the freezer for this)
  2. Put all the ingredients together in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for 1 min 30 seconds
  3. It’s done! Add any spices/virgin olive oil/salt/soy sauce/chilli etc. as desired

*Prices and currency are Australian

Categories: Food, Travel