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Vanilla Beans For Sharing

Posted by on 29 January 2010

I’ve been the lucky recipient of a huge bunch of vanilla beans quite recently. They’re of the Vanilla planifolia species from Madagascar, more commonly known as “Madagascar-Bourbon” vanilla. They were given to me neatly tied up in strings just like in this photo that I found on the internet.

I was astounded to read in Wikipedia that vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron due to the extensive labor required to grow the vanilla seed pods. Apparently, these Madagascar beauties retail at $60 per pound (!) at

vanilla beansIn Malaysia, these vanilla beans are sold in the supermarkets at RM27.25 (USD8) for a small jar with 3 scrawny vanilla beans. Yes, they were pathetic scrawny little things, nowhere near as long or as big as the heady-scented magical black pods that I have back home.

Then a small light bulb lit up in my head. Why don’t I share my vanilla beans with you? I mean, it would be such a shame to put all that lovely vanilla to waste, considering that I’m just a weekend baker sort of person. There’s simply no way I can finish off all the vanilla beans that I have in my stash even if I baked every weekend for the whole of 2010 and made vanilla sugar for everyone in our neighbourhood.

So that’s just exactly what I’ll do! I’m giving away 10 vanilla bean pods each to the first 10 people who leave a comment answering this very simple question:

What would you like to see more of in this blog? More travel-related stories and photos? More stories about Malaysia — its sights, its food, its culture, its people? Or is it fine the way it is now — a hodge-podge of my ‘adventures’ with my 3 passions in life: travel, children and photography?

Then please tell me the city and country where you are from, just so everyone else will get to know to which corner of the world the vanilla beans will be shipped.

Easy-peasy, right? On your marks…get set…go! :D


P.S. And while we’re on the subject, please head on over to The Girl With A Curl’s blog to read a wonderful write-up that she has in her archive about vanilla entitled “The Real Thing“.

30 Responses to Vanilla Beans For Sharing

  1. caryn

    Sali ako!!! ;-)

    I love your blog as it is Mimi. I like the nice mix of articles that you post about your life in Malaysia (it’s always interesting to find out about other cultures), and about your family (especially the twins!). Thanks for all the mommy advice! Plus, we get to travel vicariously with you c/o your fabulous pictures ;-) Hugs!

    Caryn, Tokyo, Japan

  2. Joana

    My day is not complete without checking your website. The adventures that you share enrich my life in more ways than one.

    Since I am hoping and praying that God will bless me with twins this year, I look forward to seeing more children-related stories. I believe you have so much to share about your adventures with them. I am also convinced that your other passions (travel and photography) will also be tackled as you write about your wonderful children.

    Thank you so much for being an inspiration, Mimi. All the love and prayers from where we have woven a lot of beautiful memories – General Santos City, Philippines!

  3. sheng

    I love your blog posts about anything under the sun. I have always been “more” fascinated with your travels though, and the adventures of the sleepless Mom in KL together with your kids. The amazing photos you share with us are reasons enough to keep checking on this blog.

  4. Lola

    MIMI, will you ship to US, too? :D

    To tell you the truth, I love you for who you are. I love how open hearted and passionate you are about your life, your children and your hobbies. I love how you take on every opportunity to help people. Thus, entering your blog is a travel to a house with filled with heart warming articles, ideas and pictures. I would love to see more of your travel oriented posts. Additional to that, me and my husband really enjoy your philosophical posts. I get amazed how you clearly are able to explain your thoughts. I come to your blog to read and learn! I could not suggest anything more than you are already doing!



  5. odette

    count me in!!! i am miss vanilla!!! ♥♥♥
    thank you in advance. :D
    i am. SO. excited!

  6. odette

    sorry, out of my excitement i submitted my comment without my answers. :)

    i love all your stories and photographs. you are very inspiring, and for that i’ll keep coming back for more of you. whatever you write about, it’s always something worth reading.

    blabbing, er, blogging from dublin, ireland -> littlemsfirefly

  7. fortuitous faery

    More “insider” travel tips from your own travels and anything Malaysia!

  8. fortuitous faery

    Oops. I’m a Jersey Girl.

  9. janet

    i love your blog the way it is, Mimi.

  10. mama safiyyah

    Salam Kak Mimi,

    your blog is perfect as it is…..i sooooo love reading about the kids and you travel experiences…….your pictures are so sharp and beautiful…..

    do keep blogging kak mimi….

    follows but rarely comments…
    mama safiyyah

  11. kg

    hi mimi!

    do you know i am in KL right now [yeahm ypu might have known]? sayang i am the 11th to comment! but it’s ok, i enjoyed going around KL so much! we are leaving tonight. I am just taking advantage of the free internet [and the quick internet check] access here at the hotel. :)

    will make kwento when i get back!

    KL is so nice mimi! i loved the petronas and the KL tower!

  12. kg

    by the way, i’d love to see more posts on malaysia. i love elarning about other places!

  13. witsandnuts

    I hope I am not yet late. =)

    I love your blog as it is now. I find a great balance amongst the stuff you write. Happy weekend!

  14. a-moms-diary

    Aiya…I’m 4.5 hours late :-) Well anyway, I like your blog just the way it is…a mixture of everything, and of course, I love your lovely photographs. And being a Malaysian, some of your posts serves as a reminder of how lucky I am to be Malaysian, despite the many misgivings I have about my country.

  15. Mimi

    Congrats to the first 10 commenters! Please email me your names and mailing addresses: mimi[at]sleeplessinkl[dot]com. I’m traveling (again!) this week so I can only send out the vanilla beans next week.

  16. Agus Ramada S

    Need information about Vanilla? Please to visit:
    Organic Indonesian Vanilla
    Thank you:-)

  17. Mimi

    Pak Agus, sample gratis ada ngak? :)

  18. Agus Ramada S

    Salam Ibu, stock Kami sangat limited sekali, mohon maaf bu belum bisa untuk sampel gratis saat ini….:-).

  19. Mimi

    Oke Pak Agus :)

  20. Arthur

    Hi, Mimi. Been looking for Vanilla beans in around supermarkets in KL but could never find them. Where did you even managed to find those in the photo selling for RM27.25?
    BTW, there’s a website that sells 10 beans for RM56.00, 20 beans for RM75.00 and 50 beans for RM124.00. Haven’t tried to order from there yet so would be good if anyone who’s had the experience of doing so can share with the rest of us.

  21. Mimi

    Hi Arthur. I found the 3 pcs vanilla beans for RM27.25 in Tesco Ampang. I also saw some in Cold Storage Damansara but more expensive.

    I’ve been buying all sorts of stuff thru the internet but never tried buying vanilla beans before.

  22. helwa

    Hi Mimi,

    If you turn that bunch of vanilla into extract, that would last you for a life-time! Anyway, thanks for mentioning my store ( My vanilla beans aren’t any like the ones sold in stores. They are of single-estate Grade-A Gourmet variety, fat with ‘caviar’, very moist, supple and aromatic. Drop me an email, if you want a sampler pack. :)

  23. Taufique

    oh dear, now ive been looking for vanilla but its just too expensive in KL. any recommended places to purchase them?

    Helwa: I cant seem to access your website.

  24. Mimi

    taufique: the only vanilla beans i’ve seen in KL were in tesco ampang.

  25. rachel

    Amazing blog & good sharing.
    Pure vanilla sharing…..

  26. Sarah


    Where can i buy the Vanilla paste? do u sell to consumer directly?
    product no: MS-VS.001.1


  27. fatima

    Hi, where in sabah can i get these vanilla beans. Im dying to try a recipy with it :-)

  28. Mimi

    Sorry, Fatima. I have no idea.

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