We’re celebrating Christmas this year with my husband’s family in Australia. The first night, we managed a quick dinner at home with the whole gang and, as usual, it consisted of takeaway from Nando’s.
This was a family ritual that kinda developed around the two of us, because over the years, the husband and I had somehow managed to convince everyone that we were rabid, crazed fans of the South African roast chicken chain.
I don’t really remember how exactly it happened, but I do have an idea. Whenever we paid a visit, husband’s family being the lovely and hospitable people they are, always used to ask what Australian foods I preferred or what I wanted to eat that I couldn’t have in Hong Kong.
And me, being the uncultured foodie that I was and still am, having done no research into Australian culture and food before I got married and started my yearly pilgrimages to the land Down Under, always defaulted to two answers: pavlova and Nando’s.
I had grown up in North America and had zero exposure to the peri-peri-poultry empire prior to seeing them ubiquitously in Oz, so even though the chain is not even native to the country, I came to associate the brand with Aussies and my Aussie family — and no one has bothered to correct me.
It also didn’t help that hubby corroborated my story with a slight Nando’s obsession of his own, which he had acquired during his years of working in London.
My pavlova fix was eventually forgotten, but the church of chicken remains our defining religion. “Why do you guys like Nando’s so much?” One of the family members would ask us, usually in the middle of one of our Nando’s lunches or dinners.
And the truth is, there’s magic in that chicken alright — it makes me realize how lucky I am to have a family that cares.