14 Sep 2019
The owner of the cafe tucked in the alley behind the military headquarters(总兵署) was very detailed in giving us directions to Wu Miao (武庙), the temple that we needed to locate in order to be at Houpu Teahouse (后浦泡茶间).
He taught us two routes to our destination: one for the local people and the other for visitors like us. And he was fairly insistent that we took the latter because he didn’t think we could read the landmarks meant for the locals.
We took his advice & had a great time.
The next day El suggested that we took our dinner at the cafe as a gesture of gratitude for the owner’s kindness.
When we arrived, the local patrons chatting with the cafe owner immediately offered us their table in the courtyard because they believed their position was the coolest and nicest part of the cafe on a hot summer day.
The cafe owner’s wife gave us our evening meal of cooked rice, slowly braised dishes, lightly fried cabbage & pickled vegetables.
When we complimented the wife for her amazing food, she smiled & told us her secret ingredient was time.
She said what we just had were ordinary produce braised in soya sauce with a bit of sugar over slow fire for 3 hours. Some dishes were cooled and then chilled in the refrigerator in order for the flavours to gather & settle.
And so what we ate was essentially Time, as she revealed with glowing pride.