A Little Bit of Grandma


All grandmothers it seems have this innate ability to whip up the most amazing dishes ever so effortlessly. Throw in some pork here, a few glugs of soy there, add some Chinese wine, and voila! – dinner is served.

I’m every bit a Cantonese girl (despite failing miserably at speaking the dialect) who loves her soups, and rightly so because my grandmother’s soups are perhaps the most legendary I’ve ever tasted. No one makes soups as tasty and nutritious as she does, and every Sunday when we visit her for dinner, there’s always a bowl of Cantonese soup, or dun tong on the table without fail. My favourite, no, make that our favourite soup has got to be her watercress and pork rib soup, what we call sai yong choy tong. Sis and I would often relish every single drop of it, almost to the extent of licking the bowls if it weren’t imbued in us to observe our table manners, and Dad would sing of Grandma’s praises to the high heavens.

While shopping at Prahran Market yesterday for my week’s groceries, I stumbled across a shopfront that had baskets of vegetables laid out, all looking rather ordinary (read: boring), except for one that contained a small pile of watercress. It’s easy to miss it if you just glanced over the area, but somehow it stood out to me. I’ve never seen it here before (after all everyone here only ever has cream of watercress soup – yuck -, and so instinctively bought myself a bunch while dreaming about Grandma’s watercress soup.

Fast forward to this afternoon. Some pork bones, red dates, honey dates, watercress and an afternoon run later, I’m in Chinese soup paradise.


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