(Words by Samy Ahmed)
50 cents of love for a bowl.
This story of love starts a very long time ago. It starts when I tried noodles for the first time in Paris (yes, I did) and it was love at first sight (but don’t worry, now I’m not that ignorant). After 6 months from this moment I planned to travel all around south-east Asia, and I dreamt of the different kinds of food I would experience during this trip: my stomach and my heart were preparing for one of the most thriving and succulent experiences of my life.
Only one month after I heard of the internship opportunity in Tainan with Jia Jia and I decided to apply: at that moment I didn’t know about Taiwanese food culture, and I thought I had to renounce to my dream of having a culinary tasting and biting tour of Asia.
Fortunately, I was wrong.
As soon as I started looking for information about Taiwan and especially Tainan, I found I was about to travel to the capital city of Asian food! I swear that in that moment my stomach and my brain were only thinking about how much I would be eating and what and how to enjoy and make the most form this opportunity that was really a dream come true. Since I landed in Taiwan I kept looking for the perfect meal to fall in love with, and the wait was not long. In Taipei I had tasted so many delicious different things going around night markets, open restaurants and even fancy ones, but when I arrived to Tainan, that was the moment when my heart stopped.
It was my first lunch on my very first day: I saw a little open-air restaurant which served dry noodles and dumplings, both of them very simple, with no special seasonings, just the love for fresh food and the speciality of hand-made noodles that makes everything so tasty and delicious.
I ordered one bowl, and after three minutes a nice lady arrives with this fragrant dish and asks me to pay: 25 NTD, which is about 50 euro cents. I was shocked about the fact that such a quality could be found in such cheap places and that at the same time it was one of the most delicious things I had ever tasted. It was – and it is, since I had other chances to experience similar places to eat – the most appreciable fact about these restaurant: the offer of a top quality food for only a few dollars.
I found my perfect place to satisfy my stomach and fill my heart with love. I found Tainan, and I’m already sad I have to come back home.