Being one of the world’s least liveable cities is hardly a glowing testimonial for the place that I grew up. According to the report, Port Moresby is a place with high personal risk, poor infrastructure and limited availability of goods and services. Looking back, I can see how this might be the case as the risk to personal safety was implicit in everything around me: six-foot-high fences crowned with razor wire that circled fortresses guarded by large gnashing dogs … Yet, I never really felt unsafe. I guess, as a child I didn’t see the danger – but rather just accepted it as part of life – and in some cases it was fodder for a little excitement in my day.
I can remember once, when out with a friend and her mum, being led into a lingerie shop because her mother had noticed that we were being shadowed – while standing amongst lace and silk negligees, we were instructed to walk directly to the car, jump in and lock the door immediately. While Mrs C was focused on driving a safe distance away (including a couple for circuits of the block to ensure that we were not still being followed) we played at being spies trying to loose our tail, every now and then popping our heads up to peer out of the rear window. For us, it was a little bit a exhilarating fun, but now as I think back, I can only imagine how stressed out her Mrs C was.
Aside from this pervading threat, life as an expat was great – there was a fabulous sense of community. Since there was little to do, life was mostly centred around parties which everyone you knew was in attendance – in many ways we all became like family and I still count many of those people as significant people in my life today.
What was also surprisingly great, was the amazing food we had access to – there weren’t that many restaurants but what we had was pretty good! One particular restaurant, a local Chinese establishment, had on their menu a salt and pepper flounder which even though it has been years since I last ate there, I still remember. This recipe below is inspired by this dish.
Salt and pepper flounder with lime and snow pea sprout salad
1/4 cup cornflour
1 tsp ground white pepper
1/8 cup salt
1 small chilli, finely chopped
1/3 bunch coriander, finely chopped
1 whole flounder/ sole, scales removed (you could probably use any white fish)
1 egg, beaten
small amount of oil for cooking (I used the spray canola oil)
1 lime, thinly sliced
1/3 cup coriander leaves
40ml light soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
bunch snow pea sprouts
1. Rinse and pat dry fish with a paper towel.
2. In a tray that will fit the fish, combine the cornflour, pepper, salt, coriander and chilli. Press each side of the fish into the mix.
3. Coat the fish with the egg, shake of excess egg and then coat (again) with the seasoning you made in step 2.
4. Heat a small amount of oil in a large frypan. Panfry on each side until cooked.
5. In a bowl, toss together the snow pea sprouts, coriander, lime, soy and sugar.
6. Plate up.