You mentioned hibernating


My cravings have been satisfied. This morning, I made what we call num bao, or Chinese steamed buns. These ones in particular have minced pork, egg, and Chinese sausage fillings, and are my favourite kind of savoury buns along with BBQ pork. Besides the savoury kinds, I’m also a fan of the sweet versions which have fillings such as taro, sweet bean paste, and Lotus seed paste.

When I was in grade school, whereas my classmates would sport aesthetically pleasing goodies at bake sales, such as cupcakes, cookies, and brownies, I’d bring these steamed buns which my mother helped me make. It was unfortunate that my sales turned out to be a miserable fail among the children cohort. But what made me feel understood was when fellow Asian classmates smiled at me and said, “I know what these are. My mom makes them too. They’re really good.” I didn’t feel so lonely after all with my foreign-looking eats.

The buns I made this morning were incredibly good. The texture, taste, and everything about them was spot on and to my liking. I was pleasantly surprised. I think they were the best I’ve had since what feels like the Neolithic era. But eating them made me think of my grandmother and our time making them together last year. She loves steamed buns. If I didn’t live so far away from her, I’d bring her some so that she may enjoy them with her cuppa coffee.

Le mal du pays

My ideal Saturday afternoon involves hibernating at a bookstore, my humble abode, and reading. Yesterday, before meeting a friend, I ventured to Chapters, picked up Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, sat in a quiet corner on the second floor, and read my afternoon away. Before I was aware of it, by the time I had to leave, I was already 136 pages into the book.

I’ve been meaning to see N ever since she stepped foot into the city for school, but due to work and volunteering, I couldn’t muster the time and energy to do it. So seeing her yesterday was sweet. We took a stroll in the ByWard Market, had brunch at Cacao 70, attended Nuit Blanche and witnessed the cool works of art, and tried steamed buns from Gonfu bao, a cart that I’ve been virtually stalking and meaning to try.

It wasn’t surprising that we ended up back at Chapters later that night, given it’s our second home. Despite feeling fatigued, we were still able to carry a stimulating discussion about doctoral theses and lab experiments, and the ethical issues with which they’re associated. We both purchased Murakami too. Sometimes I feel as if we’re an awkward, old couple. Like PB&J or Humpty Dumpty.