Archive for July, 2008

Kong Bak Pau

Braised Pork Belly Pau or more commonly known as Kong Bak Pau is such a sinful dish. I just love the ones sold by Westlake (Xi Hu). There are a few Westlake stalls in Singapore but the one that comes to mind is at Plaza Singapura. The fatty pork, the rich braised sauce; who could resist that! Those low fat zealots sure are missing out on a true delicacy.

Anyway, since my wife and I both love this dish, we tried cooking it the other day. Just happen to have frozen pork belly at home so we just marinated it heavily with dark soy, light soy, hoi sin sauce, oyster sauce, star anise and garlic. We just mixed all these marinde with the pork and chuck it into the fridge for few hours. Of course marinating it overnight would be the best but we needed it for dinner!

After the marinating process is completed, we just heated up some oil with some more garlic and pour the whole lot in stir frying slightly. I’m using a pressure cooker by the way so after the stir frying we just add in some water and pressure cook the lot for about 20 minutes.

Here’s the result…

I must say I was quite satisfied with the results. The meat was nice and soft, the gravy rich in taste and to top it off, buns bought from the supermarket and it’s absolutely fabulous. Yummy. Will definitely make this dish often in future.


Lights Out: Sleep, sugar and survival

Today I’m gonna talk about this book I read recently. Well, you won’t be able to see me “review” books often cause I’m not really keen on reading books. What I  write about this book from here onwards is by no means comprehensive. It’s just random snippets and personal interpretations of it.

This book “Lights Out: Sleep, sugar and survival” is really an interesting read. The main premise of the book is describing how light, sleep and sugar affects our health. DUH… To be more descriptive, it tells about how the increasing hours we are bathed in light, lack of sleep and excessive consumption of carbohydrates is killing us. It also talks about how heavy exercise such as running on threadmills, doing the stairmaster etc is actually helping to kill you off sooner. (which incidentally encourages me further to be a lazy arse..)

I won’t go into the scientifics of it but basically overexposure to man made light after the sun comes down puts us out of sync from nature. We have extended the day to way beyond the daylight hours of nature. We’re reducing very much the time that we sleep. And furthermore, we are no longer sleeping in complete darkness as lights from streetlights, corridor lights are shining into the windows.

Why the need to sleep in complete darkness? Seems like our whole body can sense the presence of light, even our skin. And prolong exposure to light will reduce the production of a hormone melatonin that’s tasked to repair our body. So even if we’re sleeping well at night, with the presence of light in the bedroom, production of this important hormone will be varsely affected.

Prolong exposure to light also “tricks” our body into thinking that it’s summer time, where the day is long (although I don’t understand how this theory is applied to tropical climates). When the body thinks it’s summer time, it’ll start to store a lot of fat to prepare for the coming winter where food is scarce. Summer time is also when a lot of carbohydrate (carbs) rich food are available in abundance (talking about nature, not about carbs from human farming). So there’s plenty of carbs or sugar (they’re really the same thing) to go round to be stored as fat.  This is the way our body is “programmed” to survive; to store fat or risk famine.

You see the implication of the above? Since we’re now always bathed in light and we’re always consuming a lot of carbs, our body is in eternal summer. Body is turning all the carbs into fat via insulin. We crave for carbs all the time. This is now known as the Feast or Famine cycle. Unfortunately, since the supply of light and carbs never go out and there is no winter to used up all these excess fats, it just stays perpetually in our body.

So, how to save ourselves?

  1. Sleep more. At least 9.5 hours as highlighted in the book. And in complete darkness please.
  2. Take very little carbs.

Sounds simple but very hard to do and ironically I read this book late at night way way past my bedtime and at the same time craving for chocolates. Hehe.

I can do on and on the describe what I’ve read but that will take too long and a lot of the information there can be quite controversial to what we’ve been brought up to believe in. So go read this book yourself. You can either purchase it or just borrow it from your local library.