Made In Romania

November 25, 2013
It's funny isn't it, how people can bond over the most unusual things? At first I danced up a storm with Kate and Hannah the night they wore candy bras to a themed party at Tonteria...and then we bonded over our love of rice. Not just plain rice, or steamed rice, or even fried rice...a special kind of, ummm, 'love spell' rice. Their people (Romanians) and my people (Malaysians) more or less use the same rice recipe to magically ensnare men. And so, with our love for spells, folklore, superstition, ridiculous food puns, and laughing at our own cultural stereotypes (K&H unabashedly embrace being 'Romanian gypsies') the Nasi Kangkang gang was born.

For Kate's birthday portrait I just had to depict her as my version of a Romanian gypsy cum fortune teller cum spell maker...crystal ball, headscarfs, hoops, sinister glint in the eye and all.

That symbol on her pendant is a Romanian gypsy symbol! According to Google, anyway...

I know than in this day and age of ridiculous political correctness (changing blackboard to chalkboard because the former has the word black in it? madness) making fun of stereotypes is just inviting the PC brigade to jump and bang you on your head with their iPads (homepage set to The Guardian, of course) screaming 'cultural insensitivity' but come on. Everyone is secretly (some less secretly) slightly racist and has fun with stereotypes...they'd be lying if they say they never have. Besides, a bit of casual racism among close friends never hurt anyone...I certainly wouldn't cry foul if my best friends rapped at me "Got my chigga in Paris, and we goin' gorillas haaaah" but I would growl if someone I didn't know very well said "Oh my God you are literally Mulan!" No, sweetie, no, are you the same as Honey Boo Boo just because you're American? No.



In keeping with the Eastern European theme of the night we had Kate's birthday dinner at Mari Vanna, an adorable Russian restaurant in London.

Which reminded more than a few of us of grandma's quaint little country house. Even the bathroom felt like a babooshka's boudoir.

Carpets on the wall to keep out the drafts and insulate the place, how very Russian.

Knick knacks scattered everywhere, I wonder, would anyone notice if one of these went missing? I'm certain naughty children away from their parents' watchful eyes have been tempted to slip a little porcelain doll or two in their pockets... I would have with these salt & pepper shakers if I was five years old.

Kate ordered a selection of things for the table...

...for someone as ignorant about Russian food as I it was like playing Russian Roulette or 'mystery meat'. I piled a huge lump of what I thought was pate onto my brown bread, took a mouthful, and realised I'd just eaten a chunk of butter the size of my fist. I regret nothing.

I thought this was a leek and felt like Hatsune Miku. I was informed it was really a spring onion. I am sad.

I loved these dumplings and had practically a whole bowl to myself.

The birthday cake was sadly not a Romanian love potion rice cake (that would have been beyond hilarious) but instead a very pretty giant cupcake...!

Mari Vanna wanted to charge us £7 a head (that's £70) to cut and eat a cake we brought. The cheek! It certainly does not cost £70 to wash ten plates, ten forks, and a knife. We brought it back to Chez Pollard, and instead had birthday cake not in a noisy restaurant but at home where we could have a decent conversation with friends without having to shout. Although there was a lot of shouting over Han's speech, mostly coming from Johnny interjecting with hilarious anecdotes about Kate.

Han acting out hilarious stories of sisterly love and Romanian madness.

Highlights included; Ordering kebabs to the VIP area in Le Baron, being kidnapped by a group of Arabs in their fleets of super cars, Han dragging a man by his collar and making him apologise for eyeing Kate's legs "How dare you look at her that way! She's not a camel in a market! APOLOGISE!" , and doing a giraffe impression...

I'm so jealous, I wish I had a sister!

Well I'm not alone because I have been made an honorary Romanian! Clearly their influence is rubbing off on me because I know all the lyrics to Dragosta Din Tei (Numa Numa Hei)

My first ever Youtube upload only because I wanted to blog this video, I think it ties up this post nicely and sums up my newfound love for Romania.

Happy Birthday Kate! I love my Nasi Kangkang girls.



  1. i never knew of nasi kangkang believe it or not. (and i'm born bred malaysian!)

    1. HOW HAVE YOU NEVER!??!?!!
      Nasi Kangkang has the same status as the f-word; it's an adjective, a noun, a verb...!
      Everytime I see a horrid woman with a nice, meek, loving man I just nod sagely and say "Ah, nasi kangkang...."

  2. I think you should DEFINITELY do more video uploading - you're hilarious! x

    1. Hahahha thank you Maria! Not sure if the internet has enough room for my lameness ;)

  3. "Dragostea Din Tei" - ah that takes me back... That song was everywhere in the UK around 2003/4, but for some reason I thought the band was Andorran, not Romanian! Learn something new everyday x

    1. Andorra is a REAL country?! I thought it was a planet or moon in Star Wars! Well that's something new I've learnt today thanks to you! :D x