After 5 months in Chicago, if I have to choose one improvement I see in myself, it will be my drastic improvement in cooking.
I have lived alone in university halls and overseas before, however I never once mustered any form if cooking skills. Simply cos it is way too convenient to buy food, and it is really all types of delicious food at cheap prices in Taiwan and Singapore. Therefore there is absolutely no incentive to cook myself when I could just go downstairs, spend 3 dollars and get a piping bowl of hot noodle soup which will most definitely taste better than if I were to try cooking myself.
However now that I am in USA, firstly it is hard to find good chinese food. Secondly I really dislike the tipping culture whereby I feel compelled to tip at least 15% if not I will feel self conscious that waiters are looking at me and thinking of me as a freakin stingy Asian.Therefore a Chinese meal with 2 dishes for 2 people can easily cost nearly 30USD which us equivalent to 40SGD. Worse still, it might not taste that good. And all these ingredients probably just cost about 5 dollars. By choosing to cook myself, i not only can save about 20 USD per meal but also be shielded from the irrational fear of being judged as a miser.
This is why I decided I can only count on myself to deliver tasty and cheap Chinese food and how I started on my cooking journey.
Surprisingly and miraculously, my cooking isnt too bad for someone who seriously nevet cook before. I used to only cook instant noodles and cook rice in a rice cooker. But my mum gave me a crash course on cooking before coming to Chicago and i finally realised how easy it actually is to cook!
Here’s my lotus root soup and all i did was throw in the ingredients and let it simmer. And it tastes decent!And very healthy and non-oily.
Here’s my weak attempt in making a quick ramen bowl. It totally doesnt taste like ramen but it tastes pretty good.
My mapo tofu which just took about 5 minutes to cook.So easy!
My omelette with minced meat. Once again super easy but surprisingly tasty!totally similar in taste to what i bought in Singapore’s hawker stall.
Even attempted beef stew. Spent quite a long time on it though the end result doesnt really taste like beef stew but tastes decent.
Teochew fish porridge!Made with my leftover sashimi pieces.
My soybean noodle soup for quick lunch.
My fried rice cooked with leftover preserved olive veg. Very original dish i have to say.
My minced pork string beans.
Amazingly I sort of cook all these on a whim without looking at recipes and they all tastes pretty good. For a super beginner like me, this is so satisfying. I realised that cooking is truly a form of art. It needs creativity and patience. And trial and error. Nowadays one of my biggest satisfaction comes from cooking and I have even gained an interest in watching cooking videos.
Next step: Mastering bak chor mee, taiwanese beef noodles and hokkien mee!