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  • Summersdale

Fragrant Heart: A Tale of Love, Life and Food in South-East Asia

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True stories

We buy food we can point to. We stalk the streets until rush hour and wait for the little hatches to open in the sides of restaurants. From the steamy openings, cooks in overalls sell jiaozi (dumplings) and bowls of thick, sticky, white congee an unholy cross between soup and porridge. Baozi, steamed white buns, are light as air. I buy them filled with water spinach and nettle delicious dipped in sharp, black Chinese vinegar.

In 2008, Miranda and her partner set off for one last big adventure before settling down. They chose to travel through South-East Asia. All did not go to plan: Asian flu, falling off boats and the general chaos of a life abroad challenged them at every step, and yet, in the midst of it all, they fell in love with the culture and culinary delights of China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia.

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