Saturday, October 17, 2009

Congee talk

An old lady, probably in her 70s: “That 炸兩 (fried dough wrapped in rice noodle roll) of yours looks really good.”
Author: “Yeah.”
L: “Enjoy it while you are still young. I could not afford it when I was young. Now I am too old to enjoy it.”
A:“Is it because it is “hot”(熱氣)?”
L:“Yeah. Whenever I eat it, I will get a sore throat and other problems. It works every time.”
A:“Can you get something “cool”such as “cool tea” (涼茶) to counter balance it?”
L:“No. It (熱氣) works too fast. I feel the effect right away. Even if I drink something cool it is too late already.”
A: “Yeah. It seems bad things affect you more quickly. But good things take too long to work.”
L: “Yeah. I don’t know why. So, enjoy it while you are still young.”
A: “Actually I am not that young.”
L: “At least you are young enough to eat it. It does not affect you as much.”
Her made-to-oder 牛肉腸 (steamed rice roll stuffed with beef) arrived after a long while.
A: “Your 牛腸 looks very good too.”
L: “Yeah. The 腸粉 (steamed rice rolls) here are better than those in restaurants. That’s why there are so many people here. I come here for it all the time.”
A: “I got to go. See you.”
L: “See you.”

This little congee shop in Hung Hom is one of my favourite eateries. It is very crowded, particular in the morning. Most of the patrons seem to be people from the neighborhood. For some reason, many old ladies come to eat by themselves. This one struck up a conversation with me while I was enjoying my 艇仔粥 and 炸兩. That’s part of the fun of eating here - the people seem more “real”, and down to earth.

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