The love of free food (Malaysia)

I dropped into a café in Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Bintang and was surprised to hear the staff speaking Khmer. Most of the wait staff in the area are from Vietnam or Burma. They were equally curious about me when I got them to play some Khmer songs from my phone. One girl came over to chat with me. She was 19 and left her home to support the education of her younger sibling after the death of her parents. Unlike others in the shop, she was not glued to her phone. She said she liked talking to the customers as it helped her improve her English and learn Chinese. We spoke about life in Cambodia, recent politics - she follows the news online, and the food. I said that I missed the food the most. The girl offered to share her dinner, and I accepted. She took her bowl of chicken porridge and poured a generous helping into another bowl for me. She picked a larger piece of meat for me, added pepper and lime, and offered this to me. I never miss out on free food because it always tastes better. There is no better garnish than the affection we share with people who start as strangers, but soon enough become friends.