What you need to know about Chinese New Year

 

Even though 2017 started over a month ago, we’re not ready to stop celebrating the New Year. That’s right, Chinese New Year is now on the horizon and that means loads of celebrations and delicious food!

If you’re not familiar with this holiday, we’ve got your back. Chinese New Year at Oriental Teahouse is all about sharing Chinese food and culture with your closest family and friends. Here are the basics you need to know:

The Chinese Zodiac

Each year is themed by a different animal so when we celebrate the New Year, we welcome one of the twelve zodiacs to protect and look over us. 2016 was the year of the Monkey and on the 28th of January 2017, we’ll transition into the year of the Rooster.

According to ancient Chinese superstition, in your birth sign year, you will offend the God of Age, and have back luck that year. The best way to avoid this is to wear something red year round, such as socks, scarf, underwear, wristband, etc.

Your Animal Sign

Your Chinese Zodiac sign is determined by your birth year, according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Determine your animal sign by finding your birth year below.

  • Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
  • Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
  • Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
  • Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
  • Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
  • Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
  • Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
  • Goat: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
  • Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
  • Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
  • Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970
  • Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971

Red envelopes

As a child, one of the most exciting parts of celebrating the New Year was receiving the red envelopes given by extended family. Why? Because they’re full of cash! They’re a wish for health and wealth ­– and traditionally it’s the red paper itself that carries the good luck.

Chinese New Year foods

At Oriental Teahouse we get super excited about the infamous New Year dinner. It’s a significant part of the celebration, uniting family members over a gigantic, delicious Chinese meal. That means seeing distant aunts and uncles and all 537 of your cousins. It’s a great time with heaps of food, laughs and great company.  Some of the must-have foods are:

Dumplings

Dumplings are super popular in Northern China and especially during the New Year as they represent prosperity. They’re typically made the day before and eaten at midnight. Apparently, the more dumplings you can fit into your gob during the celebration, the more money you can expect to make in the New Year. We dare you to give it a go!

Fish

Families often buy a whole fish and prepare it with some ginger and soy sauce. This dish is accompanied with the phrase “nian nian you yu” which means, “may the year bring prosperity.” It’s customary to save leftovers, not just for your lunch the next day, but also to symbolise prosperity overflowing into the New Year.

New Year cake

If you’re into cool textures, this stuff is for you. Also known as Nian Gao, New Year cake is made with glutinous rice flour and sugar. It is considered good luck to eat nian gao during Chinese New Year because nian gao is a homonym for “higher year.” It’s a popular gift to bring to a New Year party and can be moulded into different shapes for decoration. Pretty and tasty? Don’t mind if we do!

Now that you’re more familiar with some traditional Chinese New Year foods, why not come down to one of our venues and try some of them for yourself? Celebrate Chinese New Year at Oriental Teahouse and have yourself banquet with some loved ones!

5 Teas That Will Help You Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s pretty obvious that we’re passionate about tea – but not just because it’s delicious. Teas have been used for thousands of years for their amazing health benefits. That’s why we think there’s a cup of tea to help you achieve every kind of New Year’s Resolution.

At Oriental Teahouse, we know you might need some help sticking to your goals, so we’ve paired some common resolutions and the teas that can help keep you on track.

Resolution 1: looking and feeling better

By the time the New Year comes around, we’re starting to feel the effects of all the late nights, indulgent dinners and drinks with friends. Fun in the sun also takes a toll on our skin. No one wants to start a new year looking and feeling less than their best. Give yourself some love with a delicious brew.

Our recommendation: Refreshing Tea

Our Refreshing tea is known to calm, cleanse and leave you feeling refreshed. It might be the essential pick-me-up you need to kick start your year the right way. It’s also great for your eyes and skin. Drink it in the morning and start feeling the benefits straight away.

Resolution 2: sleeping better and relaxing

There is no substitute for a good night’s sleep. Winding down properly and clearing yourself of the day’s stresses can help you get some quality snoozing – it’s no wonder “sleeping better” is a popular New Year’s Resolution. No better way to prepare for a night full of Z’s than with a warm and cosy (caffeine-free) cuppa before bed!

Our recommendation: herbal tea

Herbal tea helps to calm your system right down. Our Chrysanthemum Tea is perfect to sip on as you unwind. It’s a classic that has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to help you relax.

Resolution 3: cutting coffee and feeling more energised

If you can’t face your workmates before you’ve had your first shot of espresso in the morning, you might want to rethink your coffee habits in 2017. We’re all guilty of guzzling coffee to get us through the day but a dependence on caffeine isn’t healthy. Tea can be an awesome alternative to help you kick your addiction.

Our recommendation: black tea

Try our earthy Pu Erh Marjian Tea. It’s compressed to preserve bold flavours and intensity, making it a great substitute for your latte. Rich and satisfying, you’ll quickly realize that tea can be your healthier savior.

Resolution 4: detoxing and losing weight

After all those delicious holiday meals, you might feel like your body needs some cleansing! Good thing tea has some detoxifying properties that help to flush out the nasties.

Our recommendation: green tea

Naturally high in antioxidants, green tea is great at flushing out toxins and boosting your immune system. Try our Gen Mai Chai Tea to give your system a cleanse. With roasted brown rice, it’s a delicious way to get back on track.

Resolution 5: drinking more water and staying hydrated

Fizzy drinks are quenching on a hot day, but they’re often laden with sugar and preservatives. If you struggle to drink enough plain water, why not give some tasty, sugar-free iced tea a go?

Our recommendation: fruit tea

Keep cool with our refreshing Raspberry and Lime Tea – a hydrating solution to a hot summer’s afternoon. Keep hydrated and replace sodas with this natural pick-me-up. Tasty and sweet, it’s packed with vitamin C and is great served both hot and cold.

Now that you know which teas can help you stick to your New Year’s Resolutions, why not come down to one of our stores and have a cuppa with us? Or feel free to order any one of our dozens of teas online for yourself, family and friends. Cheers to 2017!

Create Your Own Dumpling + Win Free Dumplings for a Year!

Dumpling lovers, we’ve got something special in store for you!

Tell us your wildest, wackiest and tastiest dumpling recipe and enter to win a full year’s worth of dumplings at any of our three Oriental Teahouse locations. Simply comment your idea on the pinned post on our Facebook page to enter. Good luck!

Terms & Conditions:

  • To enter, participants must post their dumpling creation idea within the comments section of the competition post between from 25/11/16 to 9/12/16.
  • Entrants can enter as many times as they wish.
  • Entries will be open until 10PM 9/12/16. The winner will then be chosen by Oriental Teahouse’s head chefs based on creativity, potential tastiness and general creation appeal.
  • Winner will be contacted by Oriental Teahouse on 10/12/16 and asked for identification details for ongoing redemption of prize.
  • Dumpling will then feature on Oriental Teahouse’s South Yarra location specials menu for 1 month.
  • Winner will have access to free yum-cha across Oriental Teahouse’s South Yarra, Chadstone and Little Collins locations to the value of $40 per visit, limited to 1 visit per week.
  • Oriental Teahouse will send the winner vouchers that can be used to redeem the prize (valued $40 each week).

9 Times Dads Dressed Their Kids as Food

Every father is different. Each dad brings his own style and personality to parenting to connect with their child in their own special way. But judging by the internet, there’s one thing the majority of dads have in common – a strange but wonderful need to dress their child as food. We’re prepared to prove it with nine examples of dads dressing their kids as food. It’s Father’s Day coming up and this is our tribute to the fathers of the world, Oriental Teahouse-style.

1. Congratulations, it’s a kiwi!
We applaud this dad for his keen observational skills – most parents wouldn’t notice that their baby’s head looks like a giant kiwi!

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Source: Bored Panda

2. Son of a glue gun
The father that came up with this snack machine situation probably feels pretty smug about his mad costume-making skills.

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Source: Pinterest

3. Adorable dinner
Chef dad knows the recipe for a successful couple costume.

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Source: She Finds

4. Taco ‘bout a good costume

This baby’s dad took his love of tacos to the next level with this culinary crawler costume.
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Source: Shein

5. Foodie family
The whole family got involved in making this barbecue ensemble happen.

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Source: Hub Pages

6. Baby table
This problem-solving papa got hungry after 2 hours of holding his baby in her favourite sleeping position.

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Source: Bored Panda

7. Tiny takeout
This papa put his noodle to good use coming up with a costume that transforms his little girl into a takeout box brimming with chow mein.

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Source: Obsev

8. We apologise
Using nothing but a tortilla, this child’s father made his sweet baby look scarier than at least half the things on the internet.

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Source: Bored Panda

9. BLT: Baby, Lettuce and Tomato
Fathers, be careful not to get too hungry – you might deliriously mistake your baby for a tasty sandwich filling!

OTH_food costume_baby sandwich
Source: Pinterest

 

How to Prepare for the Ultimate Friday Night In

So you’re staying in this Friday night. Great decision. Staying in is a great way to avoid the winter chill, pants and other people. But all Friday nights in aren’t created equal; you’ll need to lay a little groundwork to make it a success. We’ve done heaps of scientific research to come up with the perfect five-step plan to WIN at staying in on a Friday night.

OTH_Friday Night In
1. Let people know it’s a choice

Some people may see your Friday night in as a sign that you have no friends. But we both know you’re cool as hell, so make sure you tell the world in no uncertain terms that you’ve chosen this path. Post a cute selfie with the caption ‘FRI-YAY NIGHT IN!’ early in the evening. This won’t be the last photo of the night, stay tuned.

2. Construct a nest
Helpless baby birds couldn’t survive a Friday night without a nest and neither can you. Gather your fluffiest, warmest, comfiest blankets and pillow and arrange them in front of the TV. You want plenty of padding for where your bum will be but you also want mountains of manchester surrounding you as well. Here’s a good way to make sure your nest is cozy enough: climb into the nest and if you feel like you might leave within the next hundred years, you need more blankets.

OTH_Friday Night In Blankets

3. Use technology to get people to bring you food
Before you settle into the nest, you’ll need to sort out your snacking. Food is the backbone of a good Friday night in, but it’s also important that you lift as few fingers as possible to get that food. We have a simple solution for this one. Whip out your phone, download the Deliveroo app or visit deliveroo.com.au and order Oriental Teahouse dumplings, noodles and other dim sum delivered to your door. They have a reputation for delivering food in about 32 minutes, so you won’t have to wait long.

4. Select your viewing for the evening
As mentioned above, it won’t take long for your Oriental Teahouse food to be delivered, so you can’t partake in too much mindless scrolling. Ideally you’d been thinking about what to watch while you should have been working at work that day. But if you’re really stuck in a scroll spiral, you can narrow down your choices by asking yourself, ‘What would someone who didn’t have thousands of movies at their disposal watch?’ Or, WWSWDHTMTDW?

OTH_Friday Night In Scrolling

5. Post another photo
This follow-up pic should quash any rumours that you have no friends and had to stay in. After your nest is constructed and your food has arrived, take a bird’s eye shot of the whole situation and post it with the caption, ‘When my Friday night in is better than your Friday night out.’

 

Animals That Are Really Ready for Winter

When the weather turns chilly, humans pull on the jumpers, wrap up in scarves and stock the tea cupboard. And as it turns out, animals prepare for winter in a similar way. Did they learn it from us or did we learn it from them? We’ll never know. But we do know you’ll love this list of animals that are really ready for winter 2016, With or without the hashtag, #WINTERISCOMING.

1. Fair-weather ferrets

Thanks to these ferret-shaped ferret jumpers, not even the chilliest of days will stop this pair from feeling fine!

Winter animals_ferrets
Photo: Very Hangry

2. Teenage mutant cosy turtles

These turtles throwback to their dino ancestors while enjoying the warming benefits of shell sweaters.

Winter animals_turtles
Photo: Distractify

3. Hot chicks

Chickens don’t have mirrors, but that’s okay because they can bend their necks to get a good look at their dapper winter wear!

Winter animals_chicken
Photo: Awesomely Cute

4. Long-necked llama

Also known as A Llama Happily Demonstrates the Inefficiency of Human Scarves on Long Llama Necks.

Winter animals_llama
Photo: The Loft On Broome

5. Piggy banking on winter rain

It’s ironic because people put money in a piggy bank to save for a rainy day.

Winter animals_piggie
Photo: Pinterest

6. Penguin Sweaters

True story: A 109-year old Australian human knits sweaters for penguins to protect them from oil spills.

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Photo: Spy Hollywood

7. DIY hedgehog spa

This little hedgehog is patiently waiting for someone to pour themselves a cup of tea and turn his hideout into a spa.

Winter animals_hedgehog
Photo: Cutest Paw

8. Partially-covered parrot

Polly really likes his hoodie, but she’s worried about her wings getting cold (and the crackers running out).

Winter animals_parrot
Photo: A Plus

9. Puppy perfection

This list wouldn’t be complete without a good old-fashioned puppy in a sweater situation.

Winter animals_puppy
Photo: Cartoon Doll Emporium 

10. High fashion horses

Thank goodness tiny horses take their winter fashion cues from humans – the result is adorable!

Winter animals_tiny horses
Photo: Imgur

 

7 Unique Ways to Give Mum Flowers on Mother’s Day

Every single mother is unique: each has an individual outlook on life, their own way of parenting and their own personality. Some bake cakes, some garden and others run around doing so many things it’s hard to pin down what they do. Regardless, mothers are awesome. There’s no denying it, but we should also celebrate their diversity. Why give your mum the same thing as all the other mums this Mother’s Day? What makes your mum your mum? Here are 7 twists on the usual bouquet that you can try to make this Mother’s Day extra special.

1. Paper flowers

Grab your mum’s favourite colours on card, crepe or paper and craft your own bouquet to last years, not days. Here are some step-by-step instructions.

2. Plant a flower in advance

If you really want to get in early, plant your own flowers or herbs in a pot and present her with something home-grown. After all, home is where the heart is. Follow tips for gardening basics through Today’s Homeowner.

3. Pressed flowers

Preserve your mother’s favourite blooms by pressing and mounting them behind glass onto a framed board. We’ve found some examples for you.

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4. Put flowers in cake

Purchase some edible flowers from the market and use them to decorate a cake. If you’re stretched for time, there’s always the quick option: buy some chocolates, muffins or cakes with a flower theme. If you need some pointers, try these.

5. Seed card

The gift that keeps on giving: somewhere in the super eco world, someone invented plantable stationery – paper and cards sewn with seeds. Choose from a range of options, from carrots to daisies, to give your Mother’s Day card a twist. Here and here are some seeded cards available in Australia.

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6. Jewellery

Is your mother a brooch or badge kind of woman? Or is she the kind who enjoys long and loopy necklaces? Bracelets, rings, earrings and hairpieces – the possibilities of flower jewellery available are endless. Find some inspiration from Georgia P designs.

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7. Oriental Teahouse Mother’s Day Tea

There are few people who don’t like tea and mums especially enjoy it. Our Mother’s Day special pack is twice as nice: a box of silver needle tea coupled with a treasure chest of carnation flowers that blossom when brewed in hot water. A sweet and delicate treat for the number one lady in your life, available now here.

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How to Pick the Right Flowers This Mother’s Day

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Source: Flowers Across Melbourne

Showering someone with love often involves flowers. But before you pick a bouquet of blooms for mum this Mother’s Day, take a minute to make your choice extra meaningful. Here’s a quick guide to the best buds for Mother’s Day, based on what each flower traditionally symbolises.

Pink rose: admiration/appreciation

People are named after them, Shakespeare wrote a soliloquy about them, the President of the United States has a whole garden of them – it’s safe to say that people love roses! Roses are a safe choice but a foolproof one.

Pansy: loving thoughts

Pansies come in a crazy number of colour combinations, so a mixed bunch of them really pops! These flowers are especially cool because they can sing. Well, they can in Alice in Wonderland at least.

Orange blossom: fertility

Not only do orange blossoms smell AMAZING, they’re also quite relevant to the whole mother thing. You probably see the connection.

Sunflower: adoration

Could any flower be more cheery than the sunflower? They’re big, bright, beautiful and totally underrated when it comes to bouquets.

Pink tulip: caring

We like tulips because they’re kind of cup-shaped and we like to dream of sipping tea out of them at some sort of whimsical flower-themed tea party with talking woodland creatures. Your mum probably daydreams about stuff like that, too.

Wisteria: steadfast

‘Wisteria’ is kind of a stern-sounding word, but these blooms are LUCIOUS. They’re a gorgeous purple colour and they hang down so elegantly. A real treat for the eyeballs!

Jasmine: grace and elegance

Your mum has a lot in common with the jasmine flower! Graceful, elegant and perhaps she smells nice, too? Don’t ask us, we haven’t smelled your mum because that would be weird. These flowers are pure white and delicate; a beautiful choice for a bouquet.

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Source: Etsy Cold Porcelain

Pink carnation: gratitude

Carnations are possibly one of the most widely-used blooms in the world – perhaps because they’re pretty or perhaps they’re easy to grow. But if you associate them too strongly with ‘prom’ scenes in American movies from the 80s, maybe gives these guys a miss.

Camellia: graciousness

Camellia flowers are crazy-pretty. Like when you were a kid and you drew the most beautiful flower you could think of, it probably resembled the camellia. And it means gracious, which your mum almost certainly is!

Gardenia: joy

If you’re happy and you know it, go with gardenia! These blooms don’t last long, but their stunning fragrance will flood your mum with some serious joy.

Iris: inspiration

Bet mum has inspired you on more than one occasion! Irises have a lot going on in terms of petal shape, making them beautiful and complex to the eye. Does that sound like anyone you know?

Lotus: ultimate perfection (a favourite in Chinese culture!)

Lotus flowers are big, so if you can get your hands on them, one or two would do! In Chinese culture, it symbolises purity of the heart and mind and represents long life, humility, honour and tranquility.

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Source: New Flower Wallpaper

Everything you need to know about Year of the Monkey, 2016

Another year, another chance to revisit the Chinese zodiac.

In Chinese culture, New Year’s Day isn’t January 1st 2016, it’s February 8th. This year that means leaving behind the year of the goat and making way for the monkey. There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac — those born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004 and this year are monkeys. Here’s what you should know.

Lucky numbers: 4 and 9
Lucky days: the 14th and 28th of any Chinese lunar calendar month
Lucky colours: white, blue, gold
Lucky flowers: chrysanthemum

Monkey Traits, According to Pictures

Those born in the year of the monkey have a magnetic personality.
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Source: Spirituscapere

They are smart, witty and sharp minded…
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Source: Strangefunkidz

…but additional traits such as cheekiness and curiosity can lead to problems.
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Source: Flickr

Monkeys get a kick out of a practical joke but can sometimes take things too far. They don’t have bad intentions though, and are quick to learn from mistakes.
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Source: Zap2It

Monkeys are crafty and naturally inquisitive. This means they need a life partner who can keep them interested or they become restless. Those born in the year of the ox or the year of the rabbit are most compatible with monkeys.
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Source: PlayBuzz

They’re also creative.
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Source: The Wondrous

They prefer city life to the country.
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Source: Flickr

And are healthy thanks to their active lifestyle.
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Source: Ask Ideas

As hard workers, jobs that are taxing to most or require great attention to detail are great for monkeys. Think accounting, engineering, science and even film directing.
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Source: YouTube

Do you know a monkey who fits this description?
Share this blog post with them or treat them to a special Chinese New Year
celebration at Oriental Teahouse with a free lion dance show. Bookings essential.

Chapel St: Feb 6, 8pm
Chadstone: Feb 7, 12.30pm
Lt Collins: Feb 11, 1.30pm

Christmas Party Tips + Etiquette

OTH Christmas Party Etiquette

1. Food Etiquette

Have you ever seen a picture of a little squirrel stockpiling acorns for the winter? This scene is your inspiration for handling nibbles at a Christmas party. Never let a tray pass you by without plucking something from it and feel free to pursue the waiter if he misses you. As for chewing, make black holes your muse and try to inhale edibles quickly and infinitely.

2. Dancing Etiquette

No one wants to be that guy or girl who cops flack on Monday morning for dirty dancing at the Christmas party. This is a unique opportunity for you to boost your office persona as well as save colleagues from humiliation. Scan the dance floor for a colleague that’s getting a little too low or toying with the idea of twerking and nip their dirty dancing in the bud with a ‘clean-up conga’. Invite them to hop on first and within moments, everyone will be snaking around the room in a good, wholesome clean-up conga line. Not a dirty move or hurtful party recap in sight!

3. Drinks Etiquette

The ‘tab’ or ‘drinks package’ is always a hot topic of conversation in the lead-up to a work Christmas party – this is because the tab usually runs out before people want it to. What you should do is pick up a couple cases of a popular beverage and stash them somewhere near the party. When the tab inevitably runs its course, set up shop with your back-up booze. If you’re in it for the money, charge your colleagues triple what it cost you. If you’re in it for the glory, charge them double. Cha-ching!

4. Fashion Etiquette

Obviously, if the host has mandated a theme, go with that. But if it’s a fashion free-for-all, your best bet is to wear something that passes for a good party outfit just as well as it passes for a waiter’s uniform. All kinds of things pop up at Christmas parties – staff shortages, technical difficulties, etc. You never know when you’ll need to masquerade as staff to save the day or keep the party going smoothly. It’s just good business.

5. Follow-Up Etiquette

On Monday morning, there’s going to be a lot of Christmas party talk going on. Some people will focus on the negative (‘Did you see his cuffed pants?’) and others will enjoy reminiscing about the positives (‘All the twinkling lights made me feel like I was in Rome.’). What you should focus on is the food. But don’t just stop at saying it was ‘delicious’ or even ‘exquisite.’ Every time the Christmas party comes up, launch into your nibble appreciation with startling detail. This sample praise should get you started: “When I sunk my teeth into the Thai chicken croquettes, I was transported to the streets of Bangkok – the bite of the chilli, the mystery of the cumin, the lingering coriander… together they became the bustle of Asia’s Sin City.”