Walking into T&T feels like coming home. I always go in with a list of what I need, but I inevitably leave with way more than I planned to buy, staggering back onto the bus while carrying my grocery bags filled with random Asian snacks.
When I walk through the aisles, I pick up random products that I recognize — the 皮蛋 that’s in my dad and brother’s favourite type of 粥, the sausages that my cousin used to make by hand, the 小笼包 that I always make sure to order at dim sum — even when I’m not entirely sure how to use them, all because they remind me of home.
I always get myself a carton of sweetened soy milk — one time when my dad picked me up from the airport for the holidays, he told me that he made sure to stop by the grocery store late at night to pick up soy milk because he knows that it’s my favourite. My parents have always been slightly awkward about showing affection, but since I’ve left home, they’ve been slowly improving. I still think about that car ride with my dad sometimes when I buy my own soy milk, and I try not to cry in the middle of the dairy aisle.
Even though I’m usually not that hungry when I walk into the store, I end up salivating at everything in the hot food section. It’s hard to keep myself from picking up ten different things when I know I’m going to have to suffer through Grand Noodle Emporium’s food before I’ll be able to make it to T&T again. The grocery store can’t replace my parents’ cooking or my brother’s sarcasm or my family’s love, but I guess it’s good enough for now.