A few days ago, in conjunction with IWD, I celebrated my womanhood by having a burger festival. Burger for lunch, burger for dinner, in the company of friends.
Over dinner, my friend Nina started a story, and because she is Malaysian, she included the food she was eating into the general description of events, even though it had no bearing whatsoever on the story.
- Nina: So I was eating this nasi lemak…
- Lainie: Wait. Was the nasi lemak delicious?
- Nina: Yeah! It was delicious.
- Lainie: Sorry. I just interrupted your story to check if the food you were eating when it happened was delicious. Am I being Malaysian?
- Nina: Yes, and like a good Malaysian, I responded.
Was it a sandwich? A nasi lemak? I don’t rightly recall. What was the rest of the conversation about? I don’t remember the details not because I’m a Malaysian, but because I’m a bad friend. Even the moments of self-awareness, where I stop myself to wonder why I have to know the quality of this non-essential food, are rare.
But I do remember that we talked about food, because that is a crucial part of being Malaysian.
Then we talked about how it’s so strange to learn that people from other countries don’t talk about food all the time. Like, isn’t it natural to discuss over lunch what you will have for dinner? Or to discuss over dinner where our next dinner will be? To eat food we like, and to talk about both our meal and other foods we like? And if the food is far away, how we will travel together and be rewarded at the destination?
By the way, I love the chicken chop burger in Gasing 123 cafe on Jalan Gasing.