The world is a terrible place at the moment, and most of the time I feel helpless about it.
When there is nothing that I can do about a situation, I normally turn to my good old trustworthy friend – food. During my thesis writing period where I felt mostly helpless about not panicking as much as other people thought I should, I consumed some scary amount of chocolate that could make anyone rethink their friendship with me for fear of contracting diabetes by proximity.
But now that I have no more excuse to lead a sugar-clad lifestyle, I stopped doing irrational eating and started consuming healthy stuff again. As I’m writing this, a tray of grilled courgettes are in the making in the oven, drizzled with some conservative amount of olive oil and salt plus a generous dash of black pepper and cayenne pepper.
I know, I almost can’t recognise my own reflection in the oven glass sometimes.
(Nevermind that I gobbled down a big cup of frozen yoghurt after lunch earlier today because that is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to this story.)
So what I’m trying to say is, because I can’t consume irresponsible food for the time being to pacify myself about the world crumbling down, I try to do the next best thing, i.e. recalling some of the delicious food that I had and writing about them. The first guilty pleasure that comes to mind is the pork belly muffin from the Muffin Man & Co. at the Primrose Hill Market.
During my second visit to the market, I vowed not to have breakfast before visiting so I could taste one or two of the stalls piled with delicious looking delicacy.
I was recently introduced to a friend of a friend who went backpacking around South East Asia last year. When I spoke to her, I felt a familiar feeling of shame creeping into me, the same one that always appeared whenever I spoke to travellers like her.
She, after a few weeks in my side of the world, has visited more places than I have the twenty six years I was living in the region.
Usually, a few minutes into the conversation, the name Cambodia would come up and I would have to reluctantly admit that I haven’t stepped on that country’s soil even once.
“I have been to Myanmar though,” I normally added in a bid to present myself as a more appreciative South East Asian.
I attribute this shameful phenomenon to what I call proximity ungratefulness. When a place is so close to where you live, you will naturally find it less exciting and will not go out of your way to visit.
I am thus careful of not letting the same thing happen to me here in London. I try to appreciate things around me, even stuff that is within walking distance from my flat.
One of my most recent finds was the Primrose Hill Market.
Primrose Hill is world-famous, and I have been there countless times. It has a beautiful unobstructed view of London and is equally charming during the day and night.
But today I’m not here to talk about the Hill. I’m here for something that happens at the foot of the hill every Saturday, unbeknownst to many: the Primrose Hill Market.
I’m having a slight sore throat, most possibly because of my rather unhealthy lifestyle over the weekend. What made it worse was the lack of fruits in my fridge that I can just pop to my mouth to soothe the throat, or more importantly, to soothe myself psychologically that I have eaten healthy today.
So since I can’t get my fruits instantly, I shall do the closest thing that can get me to them – writing about them. And no, I’m not going to list down the health benefits of different types of fruits, but rather, I will transport myself back to March last year when I chanced upon the most copious mountain of fruits that I have seen in my life: at Yau Ma Tei Fruits Market in Hong Kong.
As always, the best things during travel are the ones that you stumble upon accidentally. We certainly did not plan to visit this fruit market, not at 2 am in the morning at least. What we were doing before that was definitely not of people who were sophisticated enough to appreciate how fruits came about to our table every morning.