Sometimes it’s extravagant but most days it’s simple. On certain days I only see greens and eggs on the table. Other times I come home greeted by the whiff of stewed meat. Whatever is on the table, I know everything will be my favourite. I used to be super fussy. I nip and pick and I dislike a lot of food. My grandma changed that all. Now? I put just about everything in my mouth apart from raw oranges. I just cannot get pass the rough hairy texture of the citrus fruit.
Her cooking is legendary and my favourite is still her fried eggs with onions (大葱炒蛋). I’m lucky to stay with her for most of my childhood. She used to do more elaborate dishes that requires her to be in the kitchen the entire day. But she’s not the same energetic woman when I first call her Grandma (婆婆). But even so, even something simple like bean sprouts stir fry with chilli & salted fish (咸鱼炒豆芽) in her hands, beats any food at the army camp cookhouse. I kid you not. Her rendition glisters in oil and taste fresh and crisp. The ones I had in camp are yellow and taste full of salt.
I am trying to replicate some of her dishes. Somehow it just doesn’t taste the same as hers. I used the same condiments brands and her old and heavy wok. Perhaps, I still haven’t grasp of her array of tips and tricks. Even my mum, an accomplished cook herself confess that there are some dishes she can never apprehend from her own mother.
Grandma always ask, why am I always snapping photos at the table even though it’s restaurant food. I always shrug her curiosity off. But deep down I know it is the simplest food that taste the best and the hardest to master.
One day, I hope to call a kitchen of my own and cook for the person I love most.