It was quarter to eight when my family and I arrived at Amsterdam’s Nam Kee Restaurant after a painfully long journey from Brussels, brought even longer by heavy rain and traffic congestion. Everyone was hungry. Mom was tired of Western food, my friend can’t wait for Nam Kee’s delicious “wanton mee” while I look forward for the delicious roast duck recommended.
After settling down, the waitress served a bowl of soup as starters. The bowl of soup didn’t look appetizing to me but I decided to take a sip for I was too hungry to wait till the main courses to arrive. After the first sip, I reckoned that the taste is very familiar. I then took a second sip and I almost cried with nostalgic happiness.
At the instant, my memory wandered off to faraway Auckland, to the Chinese restaurant by the name of Love A Duck in Dominion Road where I went almost daily for a simple lunch or dinner. Over there, my usual order was a bowl of Dried Vegetable with Spare Ribs soup with a bowl of white rice and nothing else. Throughout my Auckland years, it can be said that Dried Vegetable with Spare Ribs soup with white rice was what I ate the most. After leaving Auckland, I never had Dried Vegetable with Spare Ribs soup that tastes exactly the same as Love A Duck’s again until that night in Amsterdam. It was my comfort food.
|I almost gave it a miss but glad that I didn't|
“This soup was my favorite when I was staying in Auckland. Mom, can you cook this at home next time?”
“You better don’t. She will just make you another version,” retorted Yong, knowing too well that mom likes to add extra ingredients to soups or dishes till it can be a completely alien thing.
When the duck was served, I was almost full after taking two bowls of rice with the soup. Yet, that still didn’t stop me from asking a refill of the soup and another bowl of rice. Time flies over us but leaves its imprint behind, just like the simple Dried Vegetable with Spare Ribs soup.