Last Prata Supper

Ephemeral; impermanent; temporary; over all too soon…

No, I am not talking about my bedroom exploits. The time has come, my friends, to lay down the mantle of existential vacation-dom. The Big Doss is over. Yes, it had to happen sooner or later. Ultimately the search for enlightenment must end, and end it has.

I am back where I began. I have taken my belongings out of the storage facility and put them on a boat bound for England. I am revisiting the places here that I love, and the people, and bidding farewell to Asia, at least for now. I’m cancelling the roaming cellphone account and getting on a plane with a one-way ticket to Manchester. I have taken a job. I will find an apartment. I will rejoin reality.

So, the question: was it all just a big waste of time? Who knows? Instead of trying to answer this futile question, I will take this last opportunity to write about one of my favourite subjects: food.
And what better location for it? October has been spent in the makan-tastic locations of Singapore and Taiwan. To augment this final blog experience, I have recruited the help of the Thought-provoking Chicken from Taiwan’s Rueihong Night Market in Kaohsiung.

The Thought-provoking Chicken is a kind of gastronomic guru, an ovulating oracle, a squawking shaman, a feathered philosopher … the alliterative monikers could go on forever. But as our subject is the ephemerality of life, they won’t.

As many deeply spiritual beings know, most problems of the soul can be fixed by eating stuff, whether it’s chicken soup, dover sole or ice kachang to counter the heatiness of a surfeit of durian. So in this last ever Existential Vacation, I and the TPC offer you a comprehensive guide to Eating Your Way to Nirvana. In this first and final installment, we list the philosophical properties of various excellent foods.

1) Snails
If you were born in the year of the dog, and mars is ascendent in uranus, try these Taiwanese snails in chilli sauce. If you suck hard enough, or winkle them out of their shells with a toothpick, you will be rewarded with a blend of gastronomic yin and yang.
TPC says: “Snails are much tastier than chicken!”

2) Korean Tinned Meat
I am always on the lookout for authentic ethnic cuisine in the countries I travel to. Sometimes I find a genuinely new, delicious and exotic taste experience. While in Korea earlier this year I came across this delicious potted meat – a genuinely novel culinary encounter for me. Some travellers might stick with what they know, but I bravely tucked in! It made me feel… somehow filled with energy and light. I still wonder what it was.
TPC says: “A delicious alternative to poultry!”

3) Stinky Tofu
If your feet measure more than a six on the Stinchter Scale, try eating this amazing Taiwanese delicacy! It might taste like drains, but at least you won’t be able to smell your feet any more.
TPC says: “Mmmm… tofu…”

4) Beermats
We all know beer is the best medicine. But if you’re too young to drink (like Oli), simply suck on a beermat! Nutritious and delicious.
Oli says: “Gurgle pthththt barp!”

I trust this last, final, ultimate and terminal installment of Existential Vacation has provided the food for thought that you have become accustomed to.

Thank you and goodnight.