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I had a random craving for Hakka mian yesterday and so I put my no-meat agenda on hold for a bit, and got myself a bowl, only I wasn’t so sure if I was actually craving for something else, the noodles serving as mere decoy. I’ve been missing things I am only subconsciously aware of for a while now — that much I knew.
Perhaps it’s the banter tucked in between mouthfuls of food.
Perhaps it’s how I start to smell like my food halfway through.
Perhaps it’s the cham c peng which had a more important role than I give credit for.
Perhaps I was longing for a certain type of feel: the humid, airy, sunlit food court above a wet market, floating in musical background chatter. Perhaps I was missing certain memories. Perhaps I was missing people. Perhaps it was life after all that I was on the lookout for, watched over by the relaxed busyness of the hawkers running the show.
I guess it was a little bit of everything — a soul’s latent craving for a time, place, feel, and memory, and to an extension, the bliss of being completely alone while surrounded by strangers. It wasn’t lonely, because it felt closer to something else, not unlike how we feel whenever we stop to take in all that is nature.
But I know that this isn’t sustainable. The middle path is only practical once you clear out the bushes and other metaphors alike.
Whenever Malaysians gush about food, I’ve always felt that there was something more to that — romanticising food was just our easy way out.
I had a strange dream last night, about familiar people and places within an absurd storyline. Maybe it meant something, maybe not, or maybe it was something in between. I don’t remember seeing any food around though, or perhaps I had forgotten to remember that part.
But as for now, Hakka mian never tasted so good.
Cover image by FoodAdvisor.