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Monday, June 09, 2008

Terrible Twos!

Wandering Chopsticks turned two today!

Thankfully, the blog, and I, are fully potty-trained. I make no promises about temper tantrums though. ;) Last year, I reflected upon how and why I started blogging. This year, I feel like I should write something deep and meaningful, but I'm really not in the mood! Maybe I'll be reflective later, maybe I won't.

Instead, I'll quickly point out some of the changes I've made to the blog in the past year. I finally created a "proper" About and FAQs page so please read that if you haven't yet done so or if you're a new reader. On the top of my sidebar, you'll find the "Directory" with links to all major categories. The top of the sidebar also includes links to the Recipe index with (as of now anyway) more than 250 original recipes by yours truly. The recipes are arranged by category, cuisine, and Vietnamese recipes now also have a separate page of Vietnamese recipes by category, which you can also find at the top of the favorite recipes list.

The Restaurant index, with more than 140 posts, is separated by city, county, and cuisine. Random musings are separated by thoughts on blogging, family, food, and travel. Coupons and Discounts contains special discounts for Wandering Chopsticks readers. Gardening, is broken down by month with a list of what's growing in my garden or my uncles' gardens. I also recently created Weekend Wokking, so come play if you're a blogger. The main directory link, however, also includes other categories such as Copyright and Attribution Requirements, Explore SoCal, Fun Food, Guides and How To's, Quilting (and Some Crocheting and Knitting Too), and Readers Cook Wandering Chopsticks' Recipes. I literally spent months and months organizing everything so please have a look around.

Now, on to the festivities, yes? Afterall, it is my blog-birthday. And coincidentally, I got two packages in the mail today! How did they know? First, Christine of Holy Basil sent me some of her candied tangelos and pomelos. These are really yummy so head over to her blog for the recipe because I'm not sharing. :P Thanks Christine!

Holy Basil's Candied Tangelos

Second, the good folks at Asian Supermarket 365 sent me a whole slew of Malaysian and Indonesian goodies to try out!!! Just look at what they sent me!!!

Asian Supermarket 365

While I love eating Malaysian and Indonesian food, the restaurants are few and far between, and the ones I do know about, I don't go to as often as I should. As for cooking, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisines have really intimidated me. But I'd never turn down a free chance to try something new. So let's explore together shall we?

Together? Yes! Not only did the folks at Asian Supermarket 365 send me a box of goodies, they're offering three $10 vouchers for my readers too! So happy blog-birthday to everyone! Yay! I am not being paid. How it all came about was that last week I got yet another email from them about new products. So I replied back and said I don't write about such things on the blog unless they'd like to send me products to review, or if they'd like to offer discounts to my readers. And they decided to offer both! I thought they'd send a few spice packets but I got a whole box full of goodies to try. Unfortunately, because of shipping restrictions, only my readers in the U.S., Canada, and Bermuda are eligible for the $10 vouchers.

So take a look at the Asian Supermarket 365 website to see if you'd be interested in any of their products. The company was started by a homesick Chinese Malaysian so there's lots of Malaysian curry, spice, and other mixes. Most products run between $2 to $4 so you can select quite a few items for that $10. I think packaged mixes are a great way to try an unfamiliar cuisine until you can figure out how to cook the dishes yourself. I've already got my eye on the tea eggs, bakuteh, assam laksa, rendang, and Hainanese chicken rice mixes. I'll write posts when I make something.

Do you have preferred brands for some of these mixes? What should I try first? In alphabetical order by brand name, I've got...: (I'll link to my posts below once I've reviewed the product. I added an asterisk to products that I really liked in case you were trying to decide what to purchase.) AA1: Instant Seafood Curry Mix (Rempah Kari Segera) Aik Cheong: CoffeeTea 3 in 1 Mix Malaysian Coffee Mixture (Uncang Kopi Campuran) Milk Tea (Teh Tarik)* White Coffee Tarik Ayam: Sardines in Tomato Sauce* Bamboe: Ayam Goreng (Indonesian Fried Chicken) Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice) ChanHong: Instant Rendang Mix (Rempah Rendang Segera) Pandan Kaya spread* Penang Asam Laksa Noodle Instant Sauce (Perencah Segera Asam Laksa Pinang)* Deli-Bes: White Coffee (Kopi Putih Ipoh)* HaoMeiWei: Tea Egg Spices (Campuran Telur Herba Asli) Hup Loong: Belacan Chicken Powder (Tepung Goreng)* Maesri: Green Curry Paste Nestle: Milo Fuze (Nutritious Chocolate Malt Drink) Old Town: White Cafe Hazelnut (Kopi Putih Hazelnut 3 Dalam 1) White Coffee (Kopi Putih Klasik) White Milk Tea (3 Dalam 1 Teh Tarik)* Pondan: Pandan Chiffon cake mix* Power Root: Alicafe (Kopi Pracampur dengan Tongkat Ali dan Ginseng) Santan Rasa Enak: Coconut Milk Powder (Serbuk Krim Kelapa)* Singlong: Black Pepper Sauce (Sos Lada Hitam)* Chicken 'n' Rice Chilli Sauce for Hainanese chicken rice* Hainanese Chicken Rice Mix* Tean's Gourmet: Bakuteh Herbs and Spices Chicken Curry Paste (Tumisan Kari Ayam)*

Also, the folks at Asian Supermarket 365 have nicely offered a 3% discount to Wandering Chopsticks readers, just enter code "WC30608A" at checkout. Expiration date is June 30, 2008. If the discount is popular with my readers, they said they might extend the expiration date. July 1, 2008 Update: The Asian Supermarket 365 folks have extended the 3% discount to Wandering Chopsticks readers, just enter code "WC30708M" at checkout. The new expiration date is July 31, 2008.

And third, yes, we're not done folks. For those of you who answered my survey, I will pick three winners who may ask for any one item from my "backlist" of recipes. I will ship worldwide. You must make sure the item you request can be sent to your country, and be willing to pay any customs fees. Exceptions include liquid, heavy, or expensive items. I reserve the right to repackage for easier shipping. So within reason, if there's a recipe that you've been wanting to try but just couldn't obtain the ingredients where you live, now is your chance.

For example, you can ask for Vietnamese rice paper, a bag of dried tree ear fungus, Vietnamese curry powder, Sichuan peppercorns, or well, you get the idea. So here are the rules: Open to all readers in the U.S., Canada, and Bermuda, leave a comment if you'd like the $10 vouchers from Asia Supermarket 365. I will select three winners from a random drawing. The "vouchers" will be an online code. Open only to readers who responded to my survey (Ha! It pays to delurk!) either in comments or through email, leave a comment telling me what one product you would like if you win. If you live in Asia and don't want any Asian products but have always wanted to try something American, you can say so too. I will select three winners from a random drawing. Just to be clear, all readers in the U.S., Canada, and Bermuda are eligible for the Asia Supermarket 365 $10 vouchers, but you must tell me if you'd like to be entered since not all of my readers are from those countries.

In addition, if you responded to my survey, you are eligible for both drawings of Asia Supermarket 365 $10 vouchers and one item of your choice from my backlist of recipes. You must tell me in the comments, however, if you'd like to be entered in both and what item you'd like from my backlist. Obviously, you may pick whatever you want if you win the $10 vouchers. Because not everyone wants or needs this stuff, if you don't explicitly tell me, I will assume that you are just leaving a general comment and won't enter you in the random drawings. Example: "Happy Birthday Wandering Chopsticks you are the most wonderful, smartest, stupendous person ever! Errr. *Ahem*" ;) Real example: "Yes, I would like to be entered to win the $10 vouchers and would like a bag of dried wood ear fungus from your backlist." I will take entries up until 11:59 p.m., Friday, June 13, and announce winners on June 14, same as last year. Thanks for two great years everyone!

P.S. If you'd like to double or triple your chances to win either of these prizes, as well as a chance to win a choice of 5 items of food or a handmade scarf, please read my post about Click! Yellow for Bri.

P.P.S. I'm now opening the 1 item giveaway to any reader who has commented on my blog before. So please leave a note with what item you'd like if you win.

1 year ago today, Wandering Chopsticks turned 1 and I posted about how and why I started blogging.  
2 years ago today, because I was too embarrassed to take out my camera, my sad little first post about Claro's Italian Market - Upland.


  1. Oh my gosh, if I got a $10 voucher, I'd probably end up spending $100! They have all sorts of stuff I've never even heard of before, but now am dying to try!

  2. Wow, what a way to celebrate...Happy Birthday Wandering Chopsticks! Did you grow any taller? ...since i did respond to the survey, if i win the $10, i would get the malaysian kangkung belacan to make rasa malaysia's morning glory w/ belacan...i love that dish!

  3. I'd like to be entered into both contests. I'd choose the Pandan mix b/c I've heard about it several times, but never seen or tasted it - that, and maybe some wood ear fungus.

    những lời chúc mừng trong hai năm! - hope that's right :)

  4. I just want to wish you a happy bloggy birthday....!
    Reading all your great posts is prize enough for me.

  5. Happy Birthday, WC! Yes, I also think you're the smartest, most wonderful, most stupendous person ever. =) I'd like to be entered into the Asia Supermarket 365 (didn't delurk for the survey, heh. Thanks very much.

  6. Happy Blogger-versary WC - Here's to many, many more!

  7. Wow! That huge pile of scrumptious food is amazing. And Happy Happy Happy 2nd Birthday, Wandering Chopsticks! (To your blog) It must be very cool to look back and now look at how many avid readers you have.
    And I really like the idea of having the idea of the "one year ago" or "two years ago". It is a fun way to read posts that I haven't read before...but I have read all the new posts that you have posted since I started reading our blog! Your Claro's Market Post makes me want to go to my local one (but I've never been to it). And I have to try the cannoli too (but I will be in a week :)
    Ohh...and a restaurant recommendation to you, Wandering Chopsticks! The Sesame Grill in Arcadia (on Huntington across the street from Souplantation) has very nice food and is a great restaurant.
    Thank you for all the posts you have written throughout the years!

  8. HI! Greetings from Ning of Heart and Hearth!

    Happy Happy Birthday Wandering Chopsticks!!!

    I think you are the most wonderful and generous blogger I've met!

    Although I do live far away from the places you've mentioned to qualify for the give-aways, my third sister lives in SoCal. Can I use her address so I can join? I've always wanted to taste Curry Pastes and Vietnamese coffee... :)

  9. Yay! Second Blog Birthday!

    Two is my favourite age in my nieces and nephews. It's when they really come into their own selves.

    I'm not eligible for either prize, but I second the stupendous, generous, smartest etc. Look forward to heaps more posts!

  10. Vicki,
    I am so excited to try everything they sent me too! Are you putting your name in for the drawing? I'm assuming, but you didn't explicitly say.

    Unfortunately, I only get wider. :( Too much food blogging does that to ya! Just clarifying, you only want to be in the $10 drawing, or did you want to be in the 1 item drawing as well, since you did take the survey?

    Very good. Yup, that's right. But you can simply say, "Chuc mung sinh nhat" ie. Happy Birthday. ;)

    Aww, thanks! And thank you as always for reading.

    Hahaha. Flattery gets you everywhere. ;)

    Thanks for the bday wishes. And thank you for getting me started blogging.

    Umm, I've been doing the 1 year ago posts for a year now! :P Thanks for the recommendation. I'll have to keep it in mind. I've also written about the Claro's Market in San Gabriel on Valley, it's in my restaurants archive. Lots more photos of what they have to offer if you'd like to see.

    Awww, thank you sweetie! Yes, if your sister is willing to mail you whatever you order with the voucher, I'll put your name down for that drawing. As for the Vietnamese coffee, did you mean you also wanted to put your name down for my 1 item drawing? You can choose a VNese coffee filter and I can also mail a small bag of coffee. Last year I sent a whole box and the shipping for it cost as much as the contents.

    Does that mean my blog will be coming into its own in the next year? ;)

  11. WC,

    Happy 2nd B'day!! No such thing as Terrible Twos I say....!!!

    Thanks for being such a wonderful, smartes, stupendous person!!! I don't know how i would spend my lunch hours without your blog:)

    Anyway...so envious with the package from Asian Market. Try the Pandan Kaya Spread...and the Pandan Chiffon Cake...my 2 favorites from your loot!! I know i didn't respond to your survey...but if you can't find anyone who will take the Kaya spread, let me know:) hahahahhaah

    Keep up the blog... and wishing you many years of awesome blogging!!

  12. Over the two years, you've amassed an impressive number of reviews and commentary and recipes far and wide. Happy Birthday, WC Blog! Oh, I'm itching to check out Asian Supermarket 365's website!

  13. Happy Blog Birthday to you, WC - how cool that you got the candied tangelos on the same day :)

    The stuff from the Asian market looks so cool. Thanks for sharing some of it with your readers - how nice of you!

  14. "Yes, I would like to be entered to win the $10 vouchers and would like" some of the jerky you used in your vietnamese papaya salad recipe.

    I hope I win the voucher... I really want some kaya..

    Happy birthday :)

  15. hey, belated happy birthday. I'm not eligible for any prize either but that doesn't matter. Your blog is still one of the best I've come across.Hugs.

  16. wowww look at all those goodies! happy bday!

  17. Vicki,
    Sure thing!

    You can get your own kaya spread if you win one of the vouchers. That's open to all my readers.

    Thanks but my blog is not nearly as grand as you make it sound. :P

    Don't you want any of it?

    I just tried the kaya. It's good stuff!



  18. Hi i'm back to list my item of choice -banh trang ba co gai - My local store has only one type of banh trang and I didn't like it at all so if I win can I have a pack of rice papers then?

  19. Sorry, am late. Am in waterlogged Iowa. Will appreciate Pandan chiffon mix, sardines, green curry. Thanks & more blogging years to you!

  20. Hedgehog,
    Yup, sure thing.

    Oh, I hope you're OK. I've seen pictures of the deluge in Iowa. Anyway, sorry you missed the deadline.


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