'Tis the season for iced coffee. I have a batch of cold brew going at the moment-- my first in years. Cold coffee was a must when I lived in Downtown Los Angeles. Sometimes I would cold-brew, sometimes I'd use a phin for Vietnamese-style coffee. Always, there would be condensed milk.
When I was in Cambodia in 2013, I noticed a strange thing: it was fairly difficult to find canned sweetened condensed milk that was actually just milk and sugar. In most markets, the "milk" I found all contained palm oil. I've noticed that a lot of markets now carry cans of "sweetened condensed creamer" which are made with nonfat milk, whey powder, and palm oil. One brand has a cow on the label and states that it's organic. Well.
Not only are there various ethical issues with palm oil, it also turns the milk a strange color and consistency. The "creamer" is shinier, thinner, more translucent than real sweetened condensed milk. And it just doesn't taste as good.
Thankfully, the brand whose label I find most charming, Longevity Brand, still sticks to the plain old milk and sugar. I love that hermit. And, I assumed that they're owned by Nestle by now, but a quick Wikipedia search revealed that they've actually been owned by a cooperative called Friesland Campina since 1975. Colonialism aside, at least it's a co-op?
Layers and layers of money money money. Now I'm wondering what other Southeast Asian businesses fell to western companies who continue to capitalize (ever-increasingly, as well) on the branding.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I just got back from a three month stay in Cambodia. I spent a lot of time sitting in cars/vans/buses. Here are some of the things I ate.
My very favorite bananas were nam va. I could eat those for days. How I miss their abundance. My family's able to grow them in the backyard, though, so I got to have a few to ease my missing Cambodia. In a few years, I've promised myself, I'll go back. And I'll brave the dry, hot season, because that's also the season for mangos, and mangos are special.
|Milk fruit. Sticky, sappy, sweet.|
|Banana dessert version of this.|
|This is how you enjoy a Battambang orange. Lots of seeds, tasty juice.|
|Nom krok, sort of a Khmer version of takoyaki, but vegetarian. Until you soak it in luscious coconut-y fish sauce.|
|Ripe tamarind again.|
|Fresh longan ruins you for the frozen/imported kind in the US.|
|The last mango from my aunt's tree. Sometimes I ate 3 a day.|
|Green water apple (also from my aunt's farm) that I mistook for a cashew apple when I first saw it.|
|Boiled little taro.|
|Similar to typical bananas found in the US, but still green when ripe. Not my favorite.|