At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Thursday, January 05, 2017


When I arrived there was only one other table there. An elderly couple were sharing some fried river noodles, nearing the end of their repast.
I sat down in the back with a good view of the entire restaurant and quickly ordered baked Portuguese chicken rice and a milk tea. Having spent most of the afternoon either reading or bathing, I was relaxed, refreshed, and ravenous.

Baked Portuguese chicken rice is comfort food, especially on a rainy day.
I had toyed with the idea of requesting that they dump the chicken and sauce over French fries instead, but decided that my Cantonese was almost certainly not good enough to communicate that idea.
Still, one of these days.

[Fried river noodles: 炒粉 ('chaau fan'), utilizing broad rice stick noodles (河粉 'ho fan') with ginger, scallion, soy sauce, and beef slivers, stir-fried. Baked Portuguese chicken rice: 焗葡國雞飯 ('guk pou gwok gai faan'), a layer of egg-fried rice with chicken and potatoes covered with mild coconut-milk curry sauce, a sprinkle of cheese, and (not always) some shredded coconut strewn over, heated under the broiler till bubbly. French fries: 薯條 ('sue tiu').]

By the time my order came it had filled up a little more. There was a very neat young lady with spectacles four tables over, a trim Hong Kong type two tables across, and a table with middle-aged ladies a little further away. A white couple with eccentric hair, young, and accompanied by a durian. Also two working men, and a table full of Mandarin speaking women.

The very neat young lady with spectacles ordered wontons in broth.
The trim Hong Kong type had wonton noodle soup.

No, I don't know what the white couple with the durian ordered, nor what the middle-aged ladies or the Mandarin speakers got.
Too far away to understand.

[To clarify, I had not actually heard what the bespectacled miss with the long ponytail OR the HK person said, but some things are recognizable from a distance. Especially when they are being eaten.]

Neat miss Spectacles experimented with chili paste once her bowl was in front of her. The Hong Kong person paused to photograph her food.
The elderly couple packed their leftovers and departed.

There is something hypnotic about elegant fingers manipulating rigid plastic shafts to pick up small dumplings, either thoughtfully dipping the food in the condiment saucer for a smear or crimson chili, or (HK person) shoveling it in with gusto. The neat person scrolled through her messages while eating. The HK woman added tonnes more sugar to her lemon tea, then asked the waitress for more lemon.

[Lemon tea: 香港凍檸茶 ('heung gong tung ning chaa') or simply 檸檬茶 ('ning mung chaa'). Strong tea, simple syrup, multiple slices of lemon (four to six), and ice. Very refreshing during warm weather, but obviously also good on rainy days in winter. Served in a tall glass with a long spoon for pressing the lemon slices, and a straw. To make, use Liptons yellow label tea bags.]

What the white couple with the hair had I could not see, but thankfully it would not involve the durian, which was still whole off to the side.
Nor do I know if their fingers were elegant.
I suspect not, but that's just a glib and superficial snap-judgment.
That hair, you know, and certain other details.

We all have our own comfort foods.
The neat woman has wonton.
Others like noodles.
Or lemon tea.

I don't think the durian qualifies as comfort food, but fortunately I finished before they did anything with it. Perhaps it was never put into play. They'll open it up once they get back to the hotel, and it will negatively influence the dreams of everybody else on that floor.


I wandered around near the park in the rain after leaving, shielding my lit pipe with my umbrella. At one point I noticed a little girl in the back of a restaurant across the street, playing with a white bunny and a pink teddy bear. All three of them sat at a table, she served them.
I approve; everyone needs stuffed animals.
Even grown-ups. I have several.
They're fond of tea too.
And cookies.

I'm fairly sure they don't like durian.
But I don't really know.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.



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