Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Le Souk, Adelaide Central Market

A word of warning: this is not the full post for the café.

An exhausting morning of classes left me wanting a momentous break from the assignments and seminar work to immerse myself to something relaxing. It'd be perfect if it was related to food and travel. With a half-dozing mind, we took the ride down to Central Market to kill two birds with one stone.

Le Souk is an Algerian-owned, Adelaide-based cafe with a traditional and authentic cuisine to boot. For someone who’s never been exposed to Middle Eastern cuisine before, let alone Algerian, it was something worth tasting. The only association I had with Algeria and its cuisine was its colonization by France.

Keeping a budget in mind and in the mood for something different, I followed the boss's recommendation and ordered a plate of Chicken Couscous. The boss revealed that not only was the couscous double-steamed to ensure that it was soft on the taste buds, it required some 6 hours of slow-cooking for the ingredients to be cooked to perfection. It includes the use of the cafe's Kefta Mix blend with a slight trace of cinnamon. The chicken meat had to be tender to the point where it fell off the bones with ease as it was an Algerian custom to eat it by hand, and not with the help of cutleries.

Chicken Couscous (AUD$ 14.50)

As it was a slightly cool afternoon when we went to Le Souk, I really loved how the Chakchouka warmed the palate. The chicken meat was surprisingly still supple and not chewy, which can sometimes occur when it has been on the stove for a long time. The only setback was that the green peas were overcooked and yellow in complexion.

Blending with the homemade sauce known as harissa produced a different wave of flavor. Its piquancy and spiciness was manageable. It will assuage even the chili-fearing diner.

It was satiating, considering that it was a small, shared plate between us.

Mint Tea (AUD $8.00 for 2; AUD $ 4.50 for 1)

Realizing that it was my virgin exposure to Algerian cuisine, the boss continued to recommend one of his house specialties: the mint tea. It consists of fresh mint leaves that are immersed in boiling water before being topped off with roasted pine nuts for a nutty flavor.

It was brought to my attention - before I could sink my face in it - that the tea had to be poured from a higher angle to ensure that the liquid would be cooler when it landed in the glass (as illustrated in the image above by the boss himself).

The drink was fresh on the plate and had a minty twang to it. It was unfortunate that the amount of saccharine threw me off. Maybe I had forgotten to make that special request for less sugar after all.


A variety of merchandise is available for sale, ranging from the aforementioned mint tea (in powder/sachet) to a cranberry-looking red berry as a flavor infuser and Algerian spices among others.

Le Souk Pty Ltd,
Stall 10,
Adelaide Central Market,
23A Victoria Square Arcade,
Adelaide SA 5000

Here's a map of Adelaide Central Market, which will help you ascertain the location of the cafe.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Short Thoughts

Author's Note: I can't believe that it's been ages since the last creative piece. Certain parts of today's short story is based on my experience. It'll take more than luck to correctly guess it... 

The sudden gush of rain poured through the clouds and slammed onto Tricia’s glass window, lulling her into a hibernation mode. She didn't want to be anywhere else; she didn't want to do anything but hide beneath her blanket and be left alone in the sorrow evening.

Almost a year has since fast forwarded since the shocking revelation and it still felt like it was just yesterday when she heard the news. The outer layer of her heart was peeled off like an apple skin. She didn't know what to think or do. She could stood there with a gaping mouth as her mind attempted to digest the news.

"Tricia, they are both after you and fighting neck to neck to gain your hand," was the words thrown at her face.

It was a platonic friendship with them both. She was close to them as if they were her brothers from another mother and to hear that they were at loggerheads because of her broke her trust. She didn't want to lose either one of them as a friend but she was not keen on advancing the friendship either.

A frown formed on her forehead when she recollected how sweet one of them treated her when she went out for lunch with him - one to one. He offered to pay for her meal on one afternoon and suddenly surprised her with a phone call en-route to campus the next morning, casually mentioning that her share of coffee was with him. He wanted her to pick it up from him while it was hot and still full. He joked that if she didn't arrive fast enough, he'd drain the coffee for her in his thirst.

She shook the memory away, unwilling to face it again. As much as she desired to expunge the events from the past or at least suppress them in a dark pit somewhere in her heart, the memories always creep on her like a silent murderer at dusk. She has tried to take each day in her stride and not allow herself to have negative thoughts, but one thing stood in her way: her degrading friendship with the person.

Now that she was a year older and wiser, she was sure that she did harbor an interest in him once but the fear of ruining their friendship killed all hopes of a blossoming love. If she had known that she stood to lose him as a friend no matter what, she'd have taken the gamble and allowed nature to take its course. it was in a different time, she would have given in to the whole idea of love.

Losing him after a breakup would be kinder because it will give Tricia and him a reason to fade in each other's memory instead of her current situation.

She doesn't have any inkling as to why he was becoming cold blooded towards her.

And only her.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Birds of Paradise Soap Studio

It is not quite often that you'll see me loitering in night markets, especially the ones abroad, due to the distance from my place, but the one that I went to left me doing just that, browsing through the various stalls.

The one I attended is unfortunately the last one of the year. I wasn’t alerted to its existence until a newsletter from the university arrived in my inbox, encouraging all of the international students to visit the place while we still could.

According to Splash Adelaide, Adelaide Night Market is an event that brings together small business in retail and food with entertainment under the sunny evenings every Sunday until the Sunday before Easter.

There was a particular booth that caught my due to the visual aesthetics of the products. When I approached the stall, I saw that there was a variety of products being offered for sale, such as lip balms, body scrubs and soap bars (of various flavor and color).

Birds of Paradise's official mascot.

A quick word with Erika, who happens to be the brainchild behind Birds of Paradise Soap Studio, revealed that all of the products are handmade with love and care. There are new products that will be launched as soon as it has been cured for a number of weeks.

Body Scrubs, which are available in an assortment of flavors.

Face and Body Soap Bars, which are available in a wide array of colors and fragrances.

The one that attracted me was ‘Salty Mariner’ because it was something that I’ve never seen before - be it here or back home in Malaysia. The shells on the soap are made out of sea salt.

Birds of Paradise Soup Studio's next stop would be at That Dapper Market in Bowden, North Adelaide on the 12th April 2015 (that's this Sunday, folks!). There is more array of merchandises being offered than the ones featured in today’s posting.

Feel free to browse through Erika’s Facebook page here to have a look at all of the items or to know the list of places that she’ll be selling at.
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