There’s nothing sweeter than a second long consecutive weekend to get our hearts racing for adventure; or in this case, our tummies craving for succulent treats. We are after all Malaysians and food has a special place in our lives deeply rooted to our culture. “Have you eaten yet?” is the first question my grandma would ask when we used to visit. And before we can reply with our bird-like chirrups of yes and no, at the swift stroke of grandma’s invisible wand, the dining table is magically set with sweet treats and afternoon delights; enough to make Marie Antoinette green with envy.
With her memory in mind, perhaps this is why food is such a force of anchor within my family. Breakfast is always set with the usual suspects: Milo or coffee (mum fancies the 2-1 coffee sachets – I question this preference), half-boiled eggs served with wholemeal bread as our family is into “health”, and a rotation of fruits including apples, papayas and delectable dragon fruits. Lunch is planned within 10 minutes into breakfast – a common practice in my household that my foreign friends find amusing. “But Ai, you haven’t even finished your breakfast yet!” they would say with a giggle before joining me (and my tummy) on a hunt for my mid-day meal.
But what about tea? And dinner? Gluttony is not a good look, but with so many good food and snacks in Malaysia, it’s terribly difficult to contain myself! While most students overseas miss their family and friends, my first reply would always be the food and well, yes, my family straight after (LOL!). I digress, but let’s be honest with ourselves. Hunting for Malaysian food was always on the agenda for most of us who studied or lived abroad. And even if we did find a restaurant that was given the “okay” by the majority, we would still find ourselves wanting more. The most common aftermath from weeks and months of withdrawal would often be overindulgence, and we did this with overwhelming gusto – Malaysian-style of course.
This year’s Malaysia Day might feel a little different. But at the heart of this feeling is the sense of unity and creeping nostalgia that we are constantly reminded of when we think of our diverse, multicultural and amazing Malaysian food. Happy Malaysia Day everyone!