Foo Hong


The other day Julie was shopping for yarn at a yarn store. I’m not much of a knitter, so I walked around and snapped some photos.


Chinatown in Victoria isn’t much more than a block or two of Fisgard street. It is rich in colour though, and I am very partial to the old architecture and vintage signage.


I came across Foo Hong – a greasy chopstick that doesn’t really stick out too much from the other restaurants, but it triggered a dormant memory for me.

I remember stopping there for some chow mein when I was a 20 year old art student in this town. Foo Hong was known for a high calorie per dollar value ratio, so that fit my bill at the time. I was placed at a table for 6, even though I was eating for one. Other solo clientele were at the table as well. I wasn’t used to this – eating at a table with others I hadn’t met. I don’t remember much about the people at the table, but I remember the silence that seemed awkward only to me – I ordered and sat in silence, wishing I had a book or newspaper.


An attractive and similarly aged woman was seated across the table from me. I wanted to look at her but didn’t want to make eye contact. I tried to find something to place my attention on – I nervously fiddled with my chopsticks.

“Will you pour my tea?” I heard a voice ask. I looked up to see the woman across from me looking my way. I had to check over my shoulder. Surely it couldn’t be me she was addressing.

“It’s bad luck to pour your own,” she said. Then she repeated, “will you pour my tea?”

“Uhh, yeah, sure,” was my mumbly reply.

I poured the tea. She poured mine. Butterflies in my stomach flew around a bit, then my order came and they settled down. I tried to consider something to say or a conversation to start, but I was much too nervous. I ate, paid my tab and left.

I never, ever would have remembered that experience had it not been for the sign I walked by the other day. It is creepy and oddly comforting to be living in this place that has so much history for me – and so much of that being from a time when I was a completely different person.

Lately I am finding it more oddly comforting than creepy. Hopefully this trend continues.

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