Being in Hong Kong for almost a month has really been great! Traveling around and getting to know the area is terrific. The smells of the streets are starting to get very familiar and the food taste better and better each time. However, being away from family and friends does still resonate sometimes and the feeling of home is lost. You can’t go home to your closest friends to tell them about your day because of the time difference. Your family is half way around the world and your normal routine is changed for four months. How do you make yourself and the friends you made here feel better? Cook some good ol’ mac and cheese and chicken!
Even though it is great to try different foods everyday and not have to get sick of eating the same leftovers for three nights, you can still end up missing your comfort food. One night I was talking to my roommate about our favorite foods we like to eat back home and why we love them. I started naming some dishes, such as chicken, halal food truck meals, my favorite veggies, and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. I told her what I missed the most was mac and cheese. She looked at me funny and asked what that was. I started to explain to her what mac and cheese was and showed her pictures. She told me that she loved cheese and wished she could try some. Of course I love cooking for others because it brings me so much joy when others eat my food and hopefully enjoy it; so I offered to make her a mac and cheese dinner one day. She was really excited!
Since our hall doesn’t have a kitchen, Ada told us we could use her kitchen in her apartment in Jockey Club. Ada and I weren’t really in the mood for eating out again because we wanted home cooked food. So last weekend we thought let’s make dinner. It was perfect because then I could make the mac and cheese for Youli. We went over to the apartment and planned out what we needed for dinner. At the grocery store, I showed Youli everything we needed to make the best dinner. She was most excited about the cheese because she loves cheese. She loves it so much that at her university in Japan, she joined a cheese club! That has to be the best club in the world!
The hardest part about cooking was that we had a small pot and a small conventional oven, but we made do. I taught Youli how to boil the water and when to add the pasta. She was really excited to learn how to cook something she’s never heard of before. We washed and seasoned the chicken. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find some seasoning for the chicken, but I found Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, so we were set. While we were waiting for the food to cook we watched movies and talked about what else we want to do in Hong Kong. Once the pasta was ready, it was time for the cheese! It’s very obvious that Youli was the one to pour the 4 bags of cheese onto the pasta and stir everything together. She loved it! She was smiling and laughing so much, which made me really happy. Ada steamed the broccoli because vegetables are very important. When the chicken was done, it was time to feast!
They both loved the mac and cheese and chicken. I felt so good because they loved my cooking! Ada told me that she couldn’t wait to see what I would cook for our Friendsgiving in November. Sharing food with others is always the best bonding experience because it brings people together and allows others to learn about each dish. Before I came to Hong Kong, I knew that I wanted to be able to cook for other exchange and local students that I meet here. This would would help me share my favorite dishes. Just from one small conversation, I was able to introduce a very basic dish that we all know and love to someone who has never heard of it before. Youli told me that she’s excited to make more mac and cheese in the next coming months. I always like to mix things up a bit, so I think next time we’re going to make baked bacon mac and cheese and see how much Youli enjoys that!