My uncle is a tall and lively man. He blurts out English phrases in a terrible accent, chain-smokes, and worships white wine. But since he remarried and now busies himself with changing diapers and patting a milky-skinned baby’s back until he burps, his rituals consists less of the latter two. But more than his ability to swig hard liquor, I’m fascinated by his daily choice of breakfast: a big bowl of beef noodles from a noodle shop about five minutes away from our apartment.
Gud-eh Muhning was the greeting I woke up to at the early hour of six one morning. My uncle dragged me out of bed and the two of us made our way to the noodle shop, him with a light bounce in his steps, me still picking crust from my puffy eyes. We arrived to see other locals slurping dough strands loudly, stopping periodically to drink the broth and vocalize their content with a noisy, breathy Ahhh!
The waiter brought over the noodle dish with green, wilted water spinach and thin slices of salty beef bathed in a pool of red, spicy broth. I watched as my uncle expertly handled the chopsticks and weaved them through the strands like he was spinning gold. He ordered a bowl for me as well, and we spent the next ten minutes slurping and chewing and sighing.
Although here in the states, my breakfast consists of yogurt, bread, eggs, or oatmeal, I find myself craving noodles and missing my uncle’s awful English skills from time to time.