A Lifestyle Blog by Mwahaki King


Saturday 15 July 2017

MEJU: The Captivating Culinary Delight in Davis Square

A short walk down the hill from Tufts University, on the outskirts of Boston, brings you quickly into the bustling streets of Davis Square. There you will find the welcoming aroma of freshly brewed coffee, mingled with the sweet and spicy scent of enchiladas wafting up from the Painted Burro Mexican restaurant. Into this delightful mix of sights and sounds comes a Korean restaurant to rival any of the culinary competition on the block.

Aptly named "Meju" due to its prevalent use of the popular ingredient throughout its menu; the dishes that come out of this kitchen are so delectable they’ll have you planning your next visit before you've even finished the appetizer. Speaking of starters, Meju has a great selection ranging from traditional dumplings to scallion pancakes, spicy rice cakes and sweet potato fries. A personal favourite is the restaurant’s fusion take on Korean buns. These fluffy, feather-soft buns are dripping in bright orange sauce filled with succulent pork and delectable cream cheese and pickles.

Friday 17 March 2017

5 Songs I’m Loving Right Now

As I write this, large parts of the world are enjoying the start of Spring. Birds chirping, flowers blooming, sun shining! Here in Boston however, we are still deep in the throes of winter, having just emerged from yet another massive snowstorm. I’ve been listening to a lot of new music lately, so I thought it would be good idea to share some of these tunes; to either complement your joyful springtime vibes or to help you combat the lingering winter blues.

First up:
Leave Me Alone - Calypso Rose ft. Manu Chao (Kubiyashi Remix ft. Machel Montano)

This energetic new installation from the queen of Calypso herself, the indomitable Calypso Rose, has taken the Carnival 2017 season by storm. The living legend joined forces with “King of Soca”, Machel Montano and Franco-Spanish musician Mano Chao to produce an exhilarating song, full of the vibrant pulsating rhythms for which the genre is known.

The institution of Carnival has come under scrutiny in recent months, given the sexual harassment of women during parades and the wider discussion regarding violence against women in the Caribbean. “Leave Me Alone” has come at the right time, emerging as an anthem for women who just want to have a great time and celebrate the effervescence of Caribbean culture in peace.

“Leave Me Alone” has old school calypso vibes, new school swagger and an international dimension that makes it both familiar to soca junkies and a perfect introduction for Caribbean Carnival newbies. Manu Chao’s gentle guitar and subtle Spanish inflections complement the exuberance of Rose and Montano; culminating in a song that is at once comforting, fun and ultimately thrilling – the true spirit of Carnival!

Monday 27 February 2017

Stormzy’s Stunning Debut Album – A Review of Gang Signs and Prayer

 Image Source: www.stormzy.com

Michael Omari a.k.a Stormzy a.k.a The Problem a.k.a Wicked Skengman, dropped his much-anticipated debut studio album “Gang Signs and Prayer” this past Friday to the excitement of grime fans everywhere. After a surprise performance with Ed Sheeran at the Brit Awards earlier in the week, there was a great buzz around Stormzy and this new album does not disappoint. “Gang Signs and Prayer” not only excellently captures the South London youth experience, but also takes the listener on a compelling journey as the album tackles issues of love, race, religion and urban culture at large.

Saturday 25 February 2017

What's for Dinner? | Jamaican Curry Chicken & Basmati Rice

Hello everyone! Today, I’m sharing another childhood favourite: Jamaican Curry Chicken. I can still recall many Sunday afternoons sitting on a veranda in suburban St. Andrew with a plate of curry chicken and rice in my lap as Beres Hammond’s melodious voice drifted over from a neighbour’s radio, crooning out hits like “I Feel Good” and “Rockaway”.

Jamaica has a sizeable population of Indian descent given the history of indentured servitude which began in 1845, due to the social and economic changes that arose after the emancipation of slaves in 1838. Between 1845 and 1917 over 36,000 Indians came to the island, and after this period smaller numbers came to Jamaica in the twentieth century as merchants rather than labourers.

Fast forward to 2017 and it’s safe to say that the varied ethnic cultures in Jamaica have influenced each other greatly. As a natural product of this passage of time, recipes have evolved accordingly. Thus, the Jamaican Curry Chicken we see today is distinct from the original chicken curry seen in contemporary India. It has become a Jamaican culinary classic that embodies the nation’s motto “Out of Many, One People.”

Traditionally, Jamaican Curry Chicken is served over white rice, with curried Russet Potatoes (or Irish Potatoes as they are known in Jamaica) mixed in with the chicken. However, in the recipe below I have made a slight change and replaced the potatoes with red bell peppers. Don’t get me wrong, I love the conventional way of cooking curry chicken; but as we’ve seen culture is fluid and there’s always room for innovation. As such, I thought this would be a fun and delicious tweak on tradition. Plus, the sweetness of the peppers compliments the curry sauce beautifully; providing a depth of flavour that the potatoes can sometimes lack as they tend to absorb the sauce and blend in with the rice, rather than add another dimension of their own. So, whether you’re a Jamaican looking for a taste of home or a foreigner looking to experience the cultural complexity and flavours of our island paradise, this dish is for you! Let’s get started:

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Protoje’s Powerful New Single - Blood Money

“Come take a look inna Jamaica, injustice in the place. If what you see nuh really faze you, then you ah di problem weh we face too.”- Protoje

Video Source: Protoje’s YouTube Channel | https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYZo7CbLJjjfEOqYwknzzow

If you are Jamaican or have any ties to the country, you’ll know that it has been a harrowing time for the nation recently. Despite its reputation, Jamaica has been anything but paradise in the past months as the tropical isle is once again being choked by the vice-like grip of crime and violence. Now, high levels of crime and violence are hardly a new phenomenon for the country. According to the United Nations, Jamaica had the highest murder rate globally in 2005 and it remains one of the highest today[1]

Violent elements of the nation’s history are seen in “Blood Money” with references to the Tivoli Incursion of 2010[2] and the long-standing institutionalized nature of corruption through patronage politics[3]. Historically, such political corruption has cost Jamaica approximately US$18 billion[4]. However, although high levels crime and violence are not new, this does not make them acceptable. Furthermore, crime and violence should not be allowed to spiral out of control unchallenged. As Protoje states, “If you build it pon crime then crime will haffi find you, and that’s how it’s been always. That nuh frustrate you like it do to me?”

It should be said that while violent crime levels in Jamaica were higher than others with a similar per capita profile, they were on the decline nationally until recently. Now, there is a different atmosphere in the air. The general lawlessness, not to mention the elevated abduction and murder of women and girls has struck a chord with the populace. The volatile situation has inspired small scale protests and widespread fear throughout the island. Moreover, while the situation in Jamaica is alarming; violence, political corruption and socioeconomic stratification are not solely Jamaican issues. As such, Protoje’s single “Blood Money” could not have come at a more appropriate time. Its articulate depiction of the current state of affairs in the country and call for change resonate with concerned Jamaicans, reggae aficionados and contemporary viewers of global politics alike.

Monday 6 February 2017

Seasonal Favourites - Winter

“In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow” – In the Bleak Midwinter, Christina Rossetti. January 1872

Hello everyone! I hope 2017 is treating you well so far. The hymnal lyric above was one of my favourites growing up and the chilly weather in Boston has gotten the tune stuck in my head lately. If it does leave my head, it is quickly replaced with California Dreamin’ (all the leaves are brown and the sky is grey. I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day…) Suffice it to say, I could feel a theme emerging in my head. At the end of last summer, I compiled a few of my favourite things (Cue: Julie Andrews and some Austrian children) from Summer 2016. So, I thought the best thing to brighten up my winter would be to do something similar and share with you some of the products that are helping me to survive these long months.

So, here we go:

L.L. Bean Ultrawarm Coat, Long
The first item up is this deep chocolate coat from L.L.Bean. The down insulation has kept me toasty warm in some truly frigid Boston winters. Furthermore, the coat comes with ample storage space; two zipped pockets on the outside, one smaller pocket with a Velcro closure on the inside and a very deep breast pocket with a zip to keep items safe.

We all know that quality winter apparel can be a bit of an investment; and at $239, this supremely soft winter coat may be a bit pricey. However, it is still a fraction of the cost of similar Canada Goose products that can retail upwards of $1300. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the style and design of the popular Canada Goose coats but we can’t always afford such an expense; so it’s great to have this gem from L.L. Bean. Furthermore, it’s exquisite craftsmanship, comfort and utility have made it well worth my while.