Hi English/Spanish Learners! Ayleen here, your teacher from wespeakidiomas.com
In today’s episode Chris and I talk about condiments around the world. Not only will this episode help you improve your listening skills, but it will also help you learn a few new words since we’ll be using different words to describe condiments and sauces in English and Spanish.
In this podcast Chris used different adjectives to describes sauces:
Word in English
Definition in English
almost solid, and therefore flowing very slowly, or not flowing at all
not very strong or hot-tasting
a liquid mixture that is smooth has no big pieces in it OPP lumpy
food that is spicy has a pleasantly strong taste, and gives you a pleasant burning feeling in your mouth SYN hot
I used a couple of words that might be new for you:
Word in Spanish
Definition in Spanish
demasiado dulce (no en un buen sentido)
gusto con que se percibe el sabor de los alimentos
arbusto de la familia de las ericáceas que mide entre 10 y 40 cm de altura, con hojas alternas, aovadas y aserradas, flores solitarias de color blanco verdoso o rosado y frutos en bayas negruzcas o azuladas
representativo de la cultura
These are the condiments in Thailand I mentioned in the podcast.
The one on the left corner is known as chilli flakes. Next to it, you can see the white sugar. At the front, fish sauce and chili and vinegar and chili.
Oh! and of course, the peanuts!
Then I asked Chris a question he didn’t understand:
¿A qué crees que se deba eso? ó ¿cuál crees que sea el motivo por el que…? The translation to English is very simple, Why do you think…?
Now you know different words in English and Spanish to describe your favorite sauce!
I should have written this the day after it happened when the textures and flavors were still imprinted on my mind but it’s never too late to tell you about my best culinary experience in Malaysia.
He didn’t tell me where we were going, every time he looked at his phone for directions to guide the taxi driver, he was careful not to show me the name of the restaurant. It was a surprise!
He was anxious, he thought we weren’t going to make it—we had a reservation for 7 o’clock—we were only 5 minutes late, though. Did I mention he’s British? Time is important to him, five minutes late to a Peruvian is “only five minutes late”, to a Brit it’s “OMG we’re already five minutes late!”
We arrived and I walked in without reading the name of the restaurant. I found out what it was called once we were inside, “Dining in the dark”. The place was dark as advertised, “a romantic dinner with dim lights”, I thought. Little did I know…
We were greeted by our host, who explained to us what the procedures were… procedures?
While most restaurants try to overwhelm you with sensory stimulation, this one does the total opposite, it requires you to temporarily lose your sight to be able to explore your other senses.
When you go to a regular restaurant, you know pretty much what your dish is going to taste like by reading the description on the menu and looking at the photos, which help you avoid foods you don’t like.
For example, I don’t like cauliflower, so I wouldn’t order any dishes that have cauliflower in the photos, it makes sense. Why would I order cauliflower if I know I don’t like it? to see if I still don’t like it? After all, however it is cooked, it will still taste like cauliflower, right?
Well, this was no ordinary restaurant, there was no menu, food descriptions, or photos that could warn me against ordering something with cauliflower.
After a test that involved blindfolding us to try to find three paper clips in a bowl of rice, we were introduced to our “darkness expert” and led to a pitch-black room that made it impossible to make out any shapes with the naked eye. Having your eyes open and not being able to see anything triggers your imagination. You wonder what color the tables are, who is sitting next to you, what the foods look like…
Akay, our darkness expert, walked us through the procedures for the night and made sure we felt comfortable and ready to explore our sense of taste. He is a great conversationalist—I bet the job requires waiters to have good people skills to help customers reduce anxiety. He told us how a few people don’t make it to the main course and leave the room because they can’t handle the darkness.
He brought the starters, four different foods with different flavors and textures.
The dishes were four little bowls that fit in a tray like a jigsaw puzzle—to avoid accidents I suppose—so it was easy to grab them and create a tactile memory of where they were placed.
Akay told us to start clockwise and, since we weren’t allowed to know the name of the dishes, we labeled them with numbers. The first starter was kind of bland, it tasted like a pastry with a mystery herb I couldn’t recognize. Starter number two was salad-like, I could have sworn I was eating fish with onions and parsley, maybe tuna? Number three tasted like the Peruvian Jalea, fried seafood. Yes, it was seafood, I could taste the crunch of the fried squid and shrimp.
Next, we were served two soups, a cold one and a hot one. The cold one had the distinctive flavor of beetroot, it tasted like an extract my mom would make me drink as a child. It was OK, I guess, but poor beetroot soup was no match for the delicious, hot soup next to it. I’d never had anything more delicious in my life.
– No, it tastes like something else, it’s got to be a vegetable…
The main course blew up my mind. Mashed potatoes with a meat I couldn’t guess, it wasn’t chicken, it wasn’t pork, it definitely wasn’t turkey—it would have been a bit dry. It wasn’t lamb because there was a side dish with the distinctive flavor of lamb and the meat on top of the mashed potatoes didn’t taste anything like it. “Could it be rabbit?”, I thought to myself. The thought of it scared me a little, I probably have no right to feel sorry for rabbits when I eat other animals, but still…I think of the pet rabbit I had when I was a child, all I picture when I think of a rabbit is cute long-eared Daisy having alfalfa
Maybe it was goat, I’d had Curry goat once (a famous Jamaican dish) but it was hard to remember the taste of the meat when it came soaked in an overwhelming curry sauce. Maybe the meat was an animal from Malaysia I’d never heard of? I gave up and ate the meat praying to God, “please don’t be rabbit”.
I was already kind of full but there’s always room for dessert so that was next. The desserts kept me guessing for a while, Akay would laugh at our inaccurate guesses every time we told him we had finally guessed what we were eating.
– Akay, we know what this is! It’s lemon ice cream!
– Haha it does taste like lemon, doesn’t it? Sorry, keep guessing.
It tasted like lemon—or vanilla or something white. It’s funny how even though I couldn’t see anything, I was so sure the ice cream was white. Maybe I was biased by the chocolate mousse next to it. Who eats chocolate mousse with dark-looking ice cream? It had to be white.
We left the dark room with a dozen questions about the foods we’d eaten. Our host led us to another table—this one in a well-lit room—and asked questions about our experience. We said we absolutely loved challenging our taste buds and that we couldn’t wait to see whether we were right about our guesses.
She left us with the menu. I carefully opened it and… What???
The first starter was a Mushroom quiche and the mystery herb turned out to be thyme. The second one was Salmon tartare with cucumber, celery and shallots… Wait, no onions? But I tasted onions! No, Ayleen, you did not.
I turned to the next page to see starter number three. What I thought was crunchy fried seafood was actually broccoli! Deep fried broccoli with cheddar fritter. I couldn’t believe what my eyes were reading.
It was time to see the soups. I was right about the first one, it had beetroot, yay! I finally got one right. However, it was the second soup that made me realize I had unfairly labeled a vegetable as “bland and boring”. Cauliflower cream! What! No, it couldn’t be. “You must have that wrong, I don’t like cauliflower and that soup was mouthwatering. These people are teasing me, they’re lying to me.” —I was in denial.
Or… had I been living a lie all my life and cauliflower was actually delicious? I almost felt ashamed of having advertised my hatred to cauliflower all these years. That soup was one of the tastiest I’d had in my entire life. The main ingredient, “cauliflower.”
The meat that came on top of the mashed potatoes was duck!
Time to reveal the desserts. I got the color of the ice cream right, it was white! But my taste buds failed miserably, it turned out to be Olive oil ice cream! But wait, isn’t olive oil, a kind of “oil” that you use for salad dressings? Isn’t ice cream made with fruits or nuts? Not at this restaurant.
This experience helped me realize how we categorize foods unfairly. If you ate something once and didn’t like it, if your parents made you eat it as a child and you didn’t like it, guess what! There’s a chance you could actually like that food. Having tried it once or twice is not enough to ban it from your diet forever. Maybe they were not good at the restaurants where you had them. Let’s be honest, the fact that you didn’t like it as a child only means you didn’t like the way your parents prepared it for you. I adore my mother but boiling the cauliflower did very little in her attempt to make me like it—sorry mom, no hurt feelings.
The chefs at Dining in the dark tease your senses by cooking foods in an unconventional way. For example, not many people like broccoli, so they fry it to give it a crunchy texture and make you believe you’re eating something else, a few people I know don’t consume olive oil because its flavor is too strong, but they would surely have eaten that ice cream!
Giving in your sense of sight can really make you “see” the world in a different way. If you are visiting Malaysia, I highly recommend you visit this restaurant.
Imprinted on my mind (literary) to become fixed in your mind or memory so that you never forget
imprint something on your mind/memory/brain etc
The sight of Joe’s dead body was imprinted on his mind forever.
Hi English/Spanish Learners! Ayleen here, your teacher from wespeakidiomas.com
Today I want to share my happiness with you. I’m back in Thailand! Yayy!
In this episode Chris and I talk about what we missed the most from this beautiful country. Tune in to practice your listening skills and learn some new vocabulary related to foods and the grammar point of the day-using “although” and “even though”.
You can learn more about the new vocabulary used in this conversation below:
Consecutivos, seguidos: in a row
Readily available: a tu disposición
Guava: guava o guayaba
Dragon fruit: pitaya
Lime: limón o lima
*La traducción depende de tu proveniencia. Si eres de Perú, se va a traducir como limón, lime significa limón. Si eres de Argentina, se va a traducir como lima, lima significa lima. Recuerden la descripción de la fruta, lime hace referencia a la fruta verde, pequeña y más agria. Si esa fruta verde pequeña y agria en tu país se llama lima, entonces lime significa lima. Si a un peruano le dices la palabra lima, va a imaginar una fruta totalmente diferente. Nosotros le llamamos limón, uno de los ingredientes para preparar ceviche es jugo de limón.
Recently, we have started to become aware of the harm we are doing to our planet by having so much excess at Christmas. It seems quite interesting that we appear to be returning to the Seventies when people had much less money and yet still seemed to enjoy the Christmas albeit without Secret Santa, Elf on the Shelf, endless gifting and enough food to keep you going until the Spring. I have been listening to quite a few programmes on Radio 4 extolling the virtues of having a greener Christmas. Whilst I am not quite at the stage of wrapping my presents in newspaper and giving used items away as gifts, then I would like to be more mindful of waste during the Festive Season. Here are some ideas that I shall be using and for some I have looked to my own childhood for inspiration. Planning is integral to…
This podcast presents everyday conversations in English and Spanish and is hosted by myself, Ayleen, and Chris, from London. What is different about this podcast is that you will listen to a conversation in both languages, I will be speaking Spanish and Chris, English.
Our content will help you improve your listening skills in the language you are currently studying. This podcast is for you if:
a) You are an English speaker learning Spanish
b) You are a Spanish speaker learning English
c) You have a different native language but are studying English and Spanish.
In this episode Chris and I talk about our impressions on shopping in Indonesia. Tune in to learn about the tactics Indonesian people use when trying to sell an item and how we feel about it.
We had one day to explore Dubai before flying to Thailand -Dubai was a one-day stopover- and decided to go to a mall, not too far from the airport. We got on the train a little unsure whether we’d jumped on the right line, so my fiance asks ‘Does this train take you to the mall?’ Everybody looks at him, nobody answers. He asks again, ‘can someone tell me if this is the train to the mall?’ Silence.
They were all staring at him, so they did acknowledge his presence but didn’t respond. After the doors closed behind us, a woman says ‘yes, this line takes you to the mall.’ I was thinking ‘has the cat got their tongues?’ Maybe they just don’t understand any English…
We kept speculating about the reasons why they didn’t respond and were still staring at him. Well, the answer had been in front of our noses the whole time. There was a sign that read “Are you in the right cabin? 100 Dirhms fine.”
It turned out we were in the women and children cabin, where, of course, men are not allowed. According to the sign if a man were found in the wrong cabin, he would have to pay 100 Dirhms (about USD 27). These women were staring at him and looked shocked because he wasn’t supposed to be there, he was an intruder.
Almost immediately after realizing he was in the wrong cabin, the same -and only- woman who gave us information said ‘you are in the wrong cabin, men go over there’, pointing at the adjacent cabin.
Everything made sense. These women must have felt their space was being invaded by an intruder who didn’t know the rules. My fiance went to the men cabin, which does allow women (at last we have more choices than them!)
I wonder why men and women can’t be together, religious reasons? Dubai is a Muslim city, so could it be an Islamic thing?
I don’t know the reasons but I love the fact that cabins are separated. So far Dubai has been the one city where I’ve felt really uncomfortable because of men looking at women as if they were a piece of meat. It would be unfair to generalize -I’m not judging or blaming the entire population in this city- but many men on the streets show this kind of offensive behavior.
This blog compares cultures and for me it hurts to admit that this behavior is comparable to the one observed in my country, Peru, where this occurs mainly because of the fact that Peru is a chauvinistic country whose culture lets men engage in this action and get away with it.
Unfortunately, outrage of modesty and street harassment is something every Peruvian women, teenager and child has to deal with when using public transportation. According to the Peruvian newspaper Perú 21, seven out of ten women have been harassed on public transportation. Nevertheless, the law is still lenient with offenders.
Only after Peruvian actress Magaly Solier was a victim of this outrage of modesty on Metropolitano, did street harassment make it to the headlines and called for a new law to be passed. Unfortunately, according to the Ombudsman’s office, to this date six regional governments and three ministries still haven’t approved the regulations for these cases. Out of 21 cases reported to Regional governments, the Judiciary and the Ministry of Public affairs, only two culprits were punished.
We would feel safer if there were assigned cabins for men and women (I speak for all my female friends and relatives). Now I’m not in my country but would love to see some sort of solution or at least an attempt to tackle this problem in a near future.
Outrage of modesty: a term commonly seen in the papers – for example, where a man gropes a woman inappropriately