Things That I Can’t Wait to Eat in Cambodia!

Traditional Cambodian Foods to Eat

Tons more info over at my good friend, Wikipedia.

  • prohok ktis (traditional fermented river fish, pork, coconut milk)
  • num banh chok (breakfast, thin noodles with green fish gravy)
  • Cambodian Khmer red curry with baguette bread
  • bai sach chrouk (grilled sweet pork, broken rice, broth with onions on the side)
  • lok lak (stir-fried beef in brown sauce of oyster/soy/palm sugar)
  • ang dtray meuk: grilled squid
  • kuy teav (pork broth rice noodle soup with garlic, scallions, shrimp, lettuce, etc.),
  • kdam chaa
  • lort cha (stir-fry noodles with greens, bean sprouts, egg)
  • fish amok (curry in a banana leaf)
  • bread with cream cheese
  • coconut milk dessert in the food stands
  • fried crickets
  • omelettes
  • bobor congee
  • samlor korko (pumpkin soup, pork ribs)
  • tropical sour fruits
  • Ah Ping
  • beef saraman curry
  • kaw (braised chicken or pork, topped with egg, sweet sauce)
  • Cambodian sandwich
  • tai krolap tea
  • lemon tea (tai kdao kroich chhmaa) with sugar
  • mango salad
  • Cha houy teuk (sweet jelly)
  • grilled and fried bananas
  • Num sang khya l’peou (pumpkin custard with coconut milk on top)

All in all, I’m super excited for 2018!

Case Competition, Croissants, and the Christmas Market!

Cloudy skies started my weekend on Friday afternoon. I got a ride with Mr. Shiliang, who drove me to downtown Toronto for my first ever case competition!

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Friday night wasn’t exactly work-productive. Instead, I got to meet lots of new friends, team members, and even new UWaterloo friends! We chatted about school and life while munching on tasty nachos, sweet potato fries with cumin aioli, and some great spring rolls. This was at The Office Pub on John Street.

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On Friday night, I stayed at one of my team members’ house. Michèle and her boyfriend, Daniel, live in Roncesville, a subdivision of Toronto. We had croissants from Nadège Patisserie on Saturday morning, along with some of Daniel’s incredibly creamy eggs. What a good way to start the day!

We attended workshops, spoke with mentors, and got to work on our own presentation. This is what we came up with to deal with the problem of how we can reduce smoking in Indonesian children by 50% in two years.

Lunches were catered and involved a variety of vegetarian options – yay! I haven’t had broccoli in such a long time.

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On the Sunday, we got dressed up for our competition – everyone looked amazing in blazers, dress pants, suits, ties, and dresses. I have to say, though, that by the end of the day, my skin on my toes were a little tender from all the walking – and for wearing heeled booties for 13+ hours. Worth it!

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Here are some tidbits of our presentation:

We didn’t end up going to the finals, but I was proud of how we did. There were 16 groups, and just 4 made it to the final round. More slides here!

I was pleasantly surprised to meet some new Applied Health Sciences friends at the case competition – Mayank takes the best selfies and Chelsea knows the ins-and-outs of Toronto’s most exciting places.

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Local artists decorate the subway walls, which we thought was neat!

Buildings like this are a novel sight for me. Nothing like this in the Kitchener-Waterloo area for sure. We even spotted the Trump tower and I learned some interesting things about politics. As if 2016 didn’t have enough plot twists!

Adrian caught up with us, and then we went to the Toronto Christmas Market. Admission was  $6.00 but there was so much to see, do, and eat. We started with hot chocolate, AKA ‘drinking chocolate’. It was essentially melted chocolate diluted with a teeny bit of milk and reminded me of hot chocolate at Angelina’s in Paris. In other words, absolutely amazing. Super rich, decadent, but as Adrian pointed out, every sip just got better and better!

Good call, Chelsea 🙂

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When we finally gave Mayank a break from taking all of our selfies, we asked some nice strangers to snap pics. Not sure why I’m still holding that hot chocolate cup! Apparently I can’t part with my melted chocolate.

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We tried to get the big Christmas tree in the centre square…

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we tried.

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We even got red foam noses, which were cute! The shops were super elaborate, with amazing handmade (read: expensive) goods. What an amazing experience.

The GO bus brought us back to Waterloo by around 7:00, and from Laurier, it was an easy walk home. Mom sent me a bunch of pictures of the new zucchini bread that she made.

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Then I was off to shower and sleep!

PB toast and a mushy pear. Ew. This is why I stick to oats on the daily!

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And a cheese-less pasta recipe using nutritional yeast. Once I tweak the recipe, it’ll be posted!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Nepal: Cultural Differences

As you may have already seen on my brand-new NEPAL 2016 page, I spent four weeks in the city of Kathmandu, Nepal, where I completed a 2.5-week medical internship with an international program called Volunteering Solutions.

I lived in a volunteer house with a host family and numerous other volunteers and spent three hours every weekday (including Sunday, which is a weekday in Nepal), shadowing doctors at Kanti Children’s Hospital, Nepal’s only pediatric hospital. For half a week, I volunteered in the Physiotherapy ward, where many children were treated for sternocleidomastoid tumours or burns. For the remaining two weeks, I observed various surgical procedures in the Surgical Ward, where children received operations in the Operations Theatre and recovered with their parents in the ward.

After volunteering, and on weekends, I would often visit tourist attractions like the famous plaza, heritage sites, temples, and Buddhist monasteries. One weekend, I was even lucky enough to go paragliding in Pokhara,  a city known as the City of Lakes, which is an 8-hour bus ride from Kathmandu, the capital city.

Nepal is a beautiful country with many cultural differences to both Canada and Taiwan (where my parents are from). Below, I have listed a few of the cultural differences that I noticed during the month.

  • People regularly wake up at around 4:00 AM and go to bed at 8:30 PM. They wake up early to do chores and enjoy tea and a meal before going to work/school, and the sun rises and sets quite early.
  • Tea and biscuits are often enjoyed for breakfast at 7:00 AM. The main meal of the day is lunch, which is eaten and 9:00 AM and includes rice, dahl (lentils), vegetables, potatoes, and curry. Tiffins are snacks that are enjoyed at around 1:30 PM, such as noodles, momo (dumplings), or more biscuits. Dinner is eaten at 7:00 or 8:00 in the evening, and would typically look the same as lunch – rice, dahl, vegetables, and more.
  • You’ll never see any females wearing clothes that reveal shoulders or knees. Men rarely wear tank tops, and even on the hottest days, dress in t-shirts and jeans. Unlike in Canada, Nepali men will never go shirtless in public!
  • Men hold hands all the time without being gay. On the streets of Nepal, one will often see young men (friends) with their arms around each other, or with intertwined fingers.
  • People are open to bargaining in all kinds of stores. While bargaining is looked down upon (and may even be seen as disrespectful) in Canada, Nepalis view bargaining as a way to incorporate casual small talk. Without bargaining, tourists might end up paying triple the regular “Nepali price”!
  • The signal for “okay”, or for agreement, is a double tilt of the head in Nepal. Initially, I was confused and thought this gesture meant “no”.
  • Showers are taken weekly, every Saturday, because water is so scarce. In addition, clothes are washed once a week by hand and hung up on lines to dry.
  • Water vessels are shared by everyone at the table, and the jug never touches anyone’s lips. Instead, Nepalis pour the water into their mouths from a “public” jug of water.
  • Toilet paper is practically nonexistent – I had to carry around my own! Instead, Nepali toilets have an attached water hose that is used for cleaning rather than wiping.

Overall, my time in Nepal was unforgettable and I am really looking forward to spending more time there in the future. The Nepalis I met were truly helpful and thoughtful people, and I felt 100% safe in this developing country. I would certainly love to complete another medical internship or to see Nepal once more.

Don’t forget to check out my Nepal page for many more photos of travelling, housing, and food! 🙂