We were in a car, grey wet sky and the faint stain of mountains behind clouds visible through the car windows. I had no idea where we were going.I’d been on a plane for five hours. Got four hours sleep the night before.
We drove on and off of various ramps, veered past fast food joints and suburbs teetering uncertaintly on the edges of highways. Arrived at an industrial park in the heart of Richmond, on the outskirts of Vancouver. A sign with the name Hakkasan.
She’d researched and planned this for weeks. She’d read about some Asian chef with an innocuous tiny restaurant in Richmond. He’d been discovered by a famous food writer. People began to flock to his restaurant, he couldn’t deal. The place closed down, he opened this one. It was rumoured to have some pretty good contemporary Asian food.
It was such a carefully planned food adventure. No one had ever done anything quite like this for me before.
We settled in. Waves of flavour, aroma and texture flowed towards our table. Stuffed curried whelk. Prawn with vermicelli. Panko-breaded pork chops, a savoury custard on the side. A fragrant soup inside of a coconut shell.
We glanced at each other, sighed. She had a delighted, contented smile on her face.
There were a hundred different tastes in my mouth. I could feel muscles relaxing, that had been tense for months. I could feel myself landing, brought to awareness and stillness by sensation and the complex salty spicy sweet language of food and love.