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Send Noods: Love Letters to Three Dishes

Updated: Mar 12

To: Char Kway Teow

My Love,

Every day apart from you has been unbearable, the heat that simmers within me has never been satisfied the way your warmth has. It has been too long, far too long since I last embraced such indulgent desires as I used to every morning with you for those six weeks.

My chest was clamped in a tight vice the moment I had to board the plane and wave goodbye to you. A hot burn crawled down my throat as I held back my tears; I didn’t want my father to catch me in such a vulnerable state. I shoved the pain down into the pit of my empty stomach and waited to leave you — something I never experienced to be so bittersweet when I arrived in Ipoh.

I am consumed by you in such an artery-clogging way, I want to go back for more… and perhaps more after that. Letting go of you was a permanent end to our temporary affair but I will never forget you.

I miss you. I want you.

I want to relive my first time — our first time. The way every tile in the market was stained with an off-white colour. The way every colour, movement and smell mingled in the thick humidity, every culinary layer became indistinguishable. The way my senses were seasoned with a sprinkle of salt and sliced ginger.

It was only until my eyes fell on you —

everything stopped.

Everything felt like I was on a movie set for a romance. A rosy spotlight focused only on us. Frolicking prawn fairies scattered the floor with flower petals. The string quartet swelled. My pupils enlarged. I had my first taste of you. Hugged by a lavish coating of soy sauce, the flat white strips of rice noodle curled with the fresh pieces of chilli that prickled my tongue. The bean sprouts burst with crisp juiciness. The prawns stole my heart and my arteries with their gentle texture and tenderness.

My second bite and a mariachi band appeared. My third bite and a Bollywood performance overtook my mind with a chorus of sitars and high-pitched hums. My Facebook status changed from ‘single’ to ‘it’s complicated’.

If anyone told you that finding your favourite meal wasn’t like falling in love in a film, they would be lying. They haven’t yet found someone like you. I found my love with plastic cutlery, and a fish in a nearby tank glaring at me whilst we had our moment. I think they were jealous of our intimacy.