At the beginning of our term in Texas A&M University, our small group of fellow SUTDents decided to cook some Asian cuisine to make Texas feel more like home. We stumbled upon mala paste while exploring a nearby Asian market and decided to cook up a mala hotpot.
Eventually, we met Alfonso, a local friend and self-proclaimed foodie. We spent most of our weekend cooking together in his house, exchanging each other’s culture and cuisine.
Alfonso also took us to H-E-B, a renowned grocery store in Texas, which, according to him, stands for “Here Everything is Better”, and I would believe it since the amount of variety the store had is astounding.
Throughout our five months in Texas, we have cooked a variety of dishes, which succeeded more often than not. Alfonso cooked us enchiladas, apple pie, flan and barbeque, while we cooked mala, dumpling, stir-fry, paneer with noodles and bubble tea. Spending time with him also exposed us to Mexican culture, lifestyle and delayed perception of punctuality, aptly called the “Hispanic time”.
Alfonso also brought us to see the festivities held during Cinco de Mayo (translating to 5th of May), a yearly celebration celebrating Mexico’s victory over the Second French Empire. The fair hosted a lot of Mexican food stalls, where we ate tacos, tamales (corn dough filled with minced meat and wrapped in corn husk), horchata (white rice drink) and chicharrones (fried Mexican wheat crisps). The fair was very lively and packed with a lot of people dancing to Mexican songs.
The cook-offs and culinary adventures we had were loads of fun and we’re glad to meet an amazing friend thousands of miles away from Singapore.