Mandarin Oranges

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Living at the top of a 6-storey apartment in Beijing (inside the 2nd ring road northeast of the Forbidden City) without a lift do has its advantages. Yes, no elevator for 2 to 6 stories and having a penthouse that is literally on the 7th level doesn’t count at all. Aside from the daily and sometimes unwanted exercise, we love the view from our penthouse and watching the marvelous fireworks over Beijing skyline for the 2nd time since Beijing lifted its 12-year ban on it was simply awesome!

Xinnian Kuai Le! Gong xi fa cai! Above is a photo of Antonio at Novotel Oasis where we spent a brief holiday a week earlier. Le Cafe, the hotel’s western restaurant that was also part of our project years ago, was decorated with Chinese New Year motifs and pots of tangerines. These tiny, very sweet and mostly seedless mandarin oranges are symbolic of good luck. You can buy them anywhere for 3 to 5 RMB yi jing (0.35 to 0.65US$/P18 to P30 per half a kilo).

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

2 thoughts on “Mandarin Oranges

  1. aba! new look is in the air talaga! pati si mae, bago ang skin…huy! let me know when you’re not as busy ha, kc temporary lang un skin ko, i can’t seem to figure out how to do what i really want eh…thanks and gong xi fa cai!

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