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It’s worth having all the disappointing meals knowing there’s a place just for me

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I like to think I have a good palate. I dabble in expensive restaurants and will try just about anything. I go to Indian eateries and don’t just order a tub of butter chicken. I watch cooking shows like Iron Chef and dream of being one of the judges. However, no matter how far I run, how well I hide, my tastes will always be defined by Kooringal Chinese.

Kooringal Chinese is unsurprisingly a Chinese restaurant in Kooringal, a suburb of Wagga Wagga. It features lazy Susans, fortune cookies and a table of old Women’s Weekly magazines in the foyer. From the outside, or a stranger’s perspective, it appears to be a normal takeaway joint.

I can’t quite remember the first time I ate Kooringal Chinese. I was either eight or nine but in my head, the shop has always existed. My Mum taught piano lessons on Thursday nights and Dad was in charge of the cooking. Naturally, he would instead order Chinese food and a movie from Video Ezy. My Dad, my sister, and I would then huddle around the TV. We’d eat spring rolls and wait for the sound of Mum’s car. This happened every week until I graduated from high school.

My favourite food was the honey chicken. I must have ordered it over 266 times.

However, if you were to ask me during those years if I loved Kooringal Chinese my answer would have been,........

© The Guardian