When people ask me how I am here, I do say “I’m okay.” or “I’m fine.” or sometimes “I’m really happy here.” I really am okay. I really am fine. I really am happy here. But there are times that I do feel lonely, every once in a while. Good thing that food is there to ease me out of the loneliness I feel.
When I feel lonely, I usually go out for some falafels, crispy garlicky balls of ground chick peas, with tahina dipping sauce, creamy sesame seed paste, or a manakeesh, which I personally think is the Arabic pizza stuffed with labneh (soft cheese made from yoghurt) and honey, from the little shops across the street. But this time around, I was surprised to find some comfort in Filipino food from Delmon, a Filipino restaurant in Karama.
The tapsilog (tapa / cured beef + sinangag / garlic fried rice + itlog / egg) reminded me of the smells from the busy morning kitchen wafting into my bedroom, which was right above the kitchen. The gulaman (sugar pandan drink with jelly cubes) reminded me of the hot tropical summer afternoons when we: my mama, my sister and I, would stop for these roadside thirst quenchers. The chicken mami (chicken noodle soup) reminded me of the many times we’ve been caught stranded in the floods on waterlogged monsoon nights.
The meal wasn’t spectacular, but they were delicious reminders of the wonderful life I had with my family back home. Every spoonful of tapsilog with an equal portion of salty vinegary tapa, creamy runny sunny-side up egg and garlic rice sent me spiraling into the comforting arms of memories that I’ve managed to bring to Dubai, along with an overstuffed, fuchsia suitcase of my belongings.
I miss everyone terribly, but I realized that despite the loneliness, I still am blessed to have someone, actually a lot of someones, to share my meals with and create new memories with. Maybe sometimes all you need is someone to share a table (filled with food, no less) with to help alleviate the loneliness.
So I am sending out a big thank you to The Husband and my new found friends here in the desert! Thank you!
Delirious about delicious,