SINGAPORE — Greetings from the Republic of Singapore, the Southeast Asian city-state-island country that's roughly halfway between China and Australia. Though we're 9,364 miles or so from Chicago, about 21 hours on a plane direct with United, the question of thick or thin crust rages here too. But in this, the Lion City, we’re talking about kaya toast, the national breakfast dish that consists of toasted bread spread with kaya then tiled with butter, served with soft-cooked eggs, and coffee.
Kaya is a pale green, sweet coconut milk jam infused with pandan leaves which impart color and herbaceous flavor.
Like billions of Chinese worldwide this weekend, I'd hoped to observe Ching Ming (Cantonese), or Qingming (Mandarin), to pay my respects to ancestors by visiting gravesites with family for a bit of spring cleaning, as well as leave offerings of food and drink.
But with the current bird flu scare, travel is noticeably down, while authorities destroyed more than 20,000 birds in live markets, though poultry is still being eaten.
In Chicagoland, most locals now celebrate the holiday in the Chinese section at Mt.
Greetings from Shanghai, where a new strain of bird flu has killed two men and caused four more people to become critically ill. A patient diagnosis leaked to the Chinese social media site Weibo offered details of the most recent patient: a woman who worked as a poultry butcher in a Nanjing market. On March 30, doctors confirmed she was infected with H7N9 avian influenza.
Did you save any Kinder eggs for Easter? Remember I told you about the $2,500 contraband chocolate eggs at Christmas? Well a new street legal chocolate surprise egg, with a toy inside, has just been released in this country. But is Choco Treasure all that it's cracked up to be?
I'm flying to Shanghai on Friday packing shang. That is Midwestern slang for what the Chinese consider one of the most treasured gifts from our country: American ginseng from Wisconsin.
Saturday, March 23
The Chicago Park District presents the Maple Syrup Festival at North Park Village Nature Center. If you didn't make it down to the National Maple Syrup Festival, you're in luck, you can still see the making-of from tree to syrup, and maybe if you're really lucky taste some maple sap. Admission FREE.
Sunday, March 24
Speed Rack Chicago at Cobra Lounge, like March Madness with booze and Chicago's best female bartenders, benefits breast cancer education, prevention, and research.