21-23 December 2015
It’s always a thrill to travel whether within or out of the country. But I won’t deny that there are places that I don’t exactly have the heart for, like Hong Kong.
I have travelled there in 2014 and going back did not once cross my mind until my siblings planned a trip for the family in time for the holidays. Who was I to say no? It’s a family trip, of course I’d tag along. I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
Ask me what I dislike about Hong Kong and, more often than not, I won’t be able give you an exact answer. Truth is, there is none. I simply have less affinity for it the same way we are less attracted to certain people regardless of how desirable they may be. This does not mean I prohibit myself from noticing the good things. In fact, my eyes and mind were wide open delighting in whatever is amusing, exciting or gratifying that this region showed me. But I have to admit that it’s still the heart that chooses who I’d be falling head over heels for. And Hong Kong is not ‘the one.’
Even so, it would be unfair, unjust and improper for me to talk about it and say that Hong Kong and I parted ways without any good and lasting impressions, because it did. The evening of our first day of my second time in this region, we were at the Causeway Bay area in the quest for a place to eat and my brother insisted that we go to Mak’s Noodle along Leighton Road. Trying local food and different cuisines is always an adventure I am enthusiastic about, so I did not protest.
There was nothing grand about it – no over jolly staff; no fancy utensils, lighting or furniture; no marbled floors; not even a state-of-the-art kitchen – but it felt real and authentic and that was enough.
I am a dumpling person. Needless to say, I ordered a Wonton and Dumpling Noodle Soup for I wanted to taste it all! The serving was small and it’s easy to prejudge that we may be paying too steep a price for a bowl of noodles and a handful of dumplings and wonton. But a sip of the soup was sufficient for that first impression to not last. A bite of the wonton was so satisfying that it put a smile on my face. I glanced at my dad, nodding and smiling just the same, while slurping on the soup and saving the rest of his wonton for later – saving the best for last, he said. The wonton was already great but the dumpling was to die for! Both my mom and sister agreed.
Right there and then I knew it’s the best soup I have tasted and will be for the months or years to come. This one is truly off the charts and it would be hard to find something that can surpass it. If there was a reason why Mak’s Noodle, or Hong Kong as a whole, left a great lasting impression on me, it would be because of this simple dish that most people would potentially just pass by or ignore.
Sometimes, it’s the simple things in life we neglect or forget that is why it’s so hard to be happy. Being happy, truly happy, after all does not rely on the value of what we have but on how we appreciate the littlest things life throws at us. I am not saying I have mastered the art of finding joy in simple things but, each day, I try. Because in a great big world where everything seems complicated and contentment has become hard to find, it would be a crime not to.