It’s been an emotional year for me this year; I would actually say that 2012 has been defined by the tears I’ve cried – From the deepest grief and sorrow at The Mothership passing away right at the beginning of the year, to trying to pick up the pieces of my life in the aftermath and getting on with my own life. For the past few months however, there have been yet more tears in trying to plan a trip back to Hong Kong – the Motherland.
Initially, it was just going to be a trip back to HK for YKL and myself because it felt right that we should go back to HK and attempt to reconnect with our roots, given we’d just lost one of our closest and most loved connections. Then we discovered that for all members of my family, their spirits were guided back to the Ancestral Family Home by one of my cousins and so the same would have to be done for The Mothership. Being her daughter, neither YKL nor myself could actually do it so that honour fell to my Brother. We then set about seeing if he could possibly go back to HK around the same time as YKL and myself and if there were any suitable dates in the time period. It was always going to be that (in my case), we had a 3 week period and if we could do the ceremony during that time, brilliant! If it had to be outside of that 3 week time period, then I would have to miss out. As it turns out, we found a suitable date – On a Saturday too which meant that possibly other relatives in HK would also be able to attend the ceremony should they wish to. Then, more and more of my sisters also expressed an interest in going back for the ceremony so now, 6 of us (from a possible 8) are going back.
But the other reason for going back, was that I haven’t been on holiday in over 2 years now and I wanted to go somewhere where I could get some awesome food, too. As it happens, my niece lives in Singapore with her family and has been going on at me for the past 5 years in going to visit her. Of course that wasn’t possible when the Mothership was still alive and as it happens, my niece is moving back to HK in the New Year, so this was my one chance to see Singapore with a native guide and possibly save on hotel costs. Then, it worked out that it was actually cheaper for me to buy a plane ticket to HK, buy a separate flight to Singapore, then fly back to the UK from Singapore than it was for a return ticket to HK (!). So we thought that we would fly to HK, then stop off in Singapore on the way back before returning to the UK. But it didn’t work out that way at all because it turns out my niece is actually being sent on a Business trip to Osaka, Japan that week we were planning to be there. D’OH! Back to the drawing board, then!
So, how about we do Singapore BEFORE we go to Hong Kong? The plane ticket would still be as cheap (and would still need a flight from Singapore to HK), but it also gave rise to the possibility of flying to Singapore with my eldest sister and brother-in-law. Which, if I’m to be completely honest, wouldn’t be too bad as we can keep each other company. So it was all set, I would fly out to Singapore before going on to HK. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am at the prospect of eating the delicious food which is going to be on offer – Hainanese Chicken Rice, Char Kway Teow, Bak Kut Teh, Teh Tarik, Popiah, Different type of rotis, Fish Head Curry, Nasi lemak, nasi goreng, prawn mee, laksa.. The kind of food which you (still) can’t get a decent version of in this country (unless you make it yourself). As for HK, we don’t really have to plan our eating because we know that our relatives there will take us to some really awesome places (they’re as greedy as we are – We are family after all). I think YKL summed it up perfectly in saying that she expects to eat her body weight in dumplings.
But that’s not it, my friends… So we’ve booked Singapore and HK, we’ve got everything sorted for the ceremony for the Mothership, so we can have a few relaxing days in HK, right? Well, yes.. But how does a short trip to Seoul sound? Being the complete sucker for Korean food that I am, I leapt at the opportunity – It was again trying to see if the rest of my family wanted to, also. Well, I’m more than happy to report that 5 of us girls and my brother are going for a a short break to Seoul too. So in terms of food, you can add beef bulgogi, beef kalbi, dolsot bimbimbap, jjigae, pajeon and of course, kimchi to that list of foods I am going to gorge myself on. Actually, we’re staying by the National Museum of Kimchi and am seriously considering sending them an email saying they need to get in extra supplies of samples for us all to eat!.
In short, I’m going to eat nothing but Asian food for the next three weeks and there’s part of me that thinks that before I fly in a couple of days, I should eat as much European, or Latin American food as possible as I won’t be eating very much of it over the next three weeks. I’m seriously thinking of ordering a Godmother from Anderson and Hill to eat on the plane so that right up until I land in Singapore, I will have eaten what will probably my last taste of cured meat and cheese for 3 weeks.
It’s going to be an emotional trip and no doubt there will be more tears, but I’m hoping there will also be tears of happiness and laughter over the next 3 weeks. But 1 thing is for sure, there will be some fantastic food memories to be made and will once again show how food can bring people together. I look forward to sharing some of my food memories with you all.