Treasuring a flavor of home
2018-04-09, Zhang Hao

I have been living in the Philippines for 12 years. My family is here with me. I interact with mostly Chinese people at work, but I have not had the chance to visit China since the move.

The thing that challenges me the most is the drinking scene here. I like to have a sip once in a while, although I don’t usually drink hard liquor like whiskey and vodka. There are some brands of Chinese distilled spirits available in the market here but they are either too cheap or too strong. Anyway, my desire for drinking has not been satisfied here.

Last May, a friend came to visit me from China and gifted me a bottle of Kweichow Moutai. I treasured it very much. I kept it safe in a cabinet and took it out only to admire it, imagining what it would taste like. Every time I thought about the day I would finally open it, my mouth would water.

Last October, I finally finished a huge project at work and decided to visit the beautiful Boracay Island with my family. I even packed my beloved bottle of Moutai to go with me on this trip.

Unfortunately, my partner knocked over the suitcase when we were packing and the bottle broke with a loud bang. The room smelled so fragrant as the liquor splashed out. I felt heartbroken as the bottle broke but I could not blame her. I just said: “Don’t pack anymore. Let’s go.”

I wished the house would still smell like the liquor when I returned home in a few days.

Boracay Island is a tourist haven. We had a lot of fun and I slowly began to forget the pain of breaking the bottle. On my third day there, we went to a Chinese restaurant called Hong Kong Seafood Restaurant. We ordered a couple of seafood dishes and some stir-fried dishes. They were delicious and the owner was enthusiastic, but I felt something was missing.

Suddenly, I smelled the fragrance of liquor. “It must be the Moutai! I would never forget that scent,” I thought. Following the scent, we saw two middle-aged couples. They were opening a bottle — Kweichow Moutai.

I hesitated for a long time, until I could not stand it anymore and spoke to the owner about my request. I would pay for their meal in return for a glass of their liquor. They were surprisingly hospitable and invited me over to drink with them.

It was wonderful to be finally drinking this Moutai and I even made some new friends, yet it was regrettable that there was only one bottle and I couldn’t drink as much as I would have wanted.

The next day we returned to Manila. Three days later, we decided to travel back to China. For this 10-day trip, I will visit my old friends and drink as much Moutai as I want.


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