So Keith and I were the other night having a few drinks at Rising Sun by the river when the Soup Messenger came by. Here’s what it sounded like:
[audio:https://www.abejero.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Sound-clip-clak-clak1.mp3|titles=Sound clip clak clak|righticon=0x0000ff]
It’s a relic of the olden days, when food carts roamed the city streets and a little boy was sent ahead to let people know the food is coming. The kid taps a stick against a piece of bamboo, the sound of which the dead of night really carries– especially back when houses were mostly wooden. (The concrete shophouses along the river also bounce a healthy bit of noise). The sequence and rhythm of the clak-clak-clak is code for what kind of food they sold – bohboh (rice soup), nom ban chok (white noodle soup), etc. If you want some, the kid will run back to the cart and bring a bowl of soup to you. The cart pusher will wait until you finish eating (cuz s/he wants his bowl and chopsticks back), and the boy will go on ahead looking for more customers.
When we heard the familiar clak-clak-claks, Keith chased the kid down for a photo (we’ve been trying to catch a picture of him for months!). But it just doesn’t really do it justice. So when the kid came back around to go into the opposite direction I chased after him for a sound clip. It was dark and hardly a soul was out on the streets, so he was probably thinking how loony foreigners are.