The umbrella peaked above the ocean of crowds gathered for their noonday meals. It drove forward with a shark’s intensity. In it’s wake followed the scurrying pilot fish gawked and took photos. Those around them ignored them, hunched over their bowls and chatting with one another as they were.
Lee, smile at the ready, led the tour group to Kwan’s stall. Kwan was nodding vigorously at the demands of the few customers there and attempting appease the few that couldn’t find a seat. Even as Lee approached Kwan was chasing someone off of the table reserved for Lee’s customers, which in turn became Kwan’s customers. And a select few hawkers that were allowed to hassle the tourists as they ate but not so many as were allowed elsewhere.
The guests cooed and cawed at Kwan’s various offerings, but in the end they all went for the same thing, something they knew and something the locals never bothered with - fried rice. Tourists for wanting the real experience didn’t. Lee knew this. Kwan knew this. The other shop keepers, tour guides and restaurant owners in the market didn’t.
Lee pulled up a stool and Kwan set a bowl before him. Two bites in and he finally felt his face relax. He’d been smiling all morning and talking non-stop for his clients. He teeth ached from the effort and the noodles in their gooey goodness helped. The warm broth was buoyed by the kick of chili. The sweetness of the vegetables exploded when it met the soy, And through all of it no one said a word to him.
Today’s art is courtesy of Fenglai L from Shenzhen, China.