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Alone Together: Audrey Kwan

May 28, 2020

I was about 10 when I realized that the samosas at the store were different from the ones I knew. For the next 18 years, I would eat them at plenty of restaurants, cafes, and even out of questionable cardboard boxes sold by fundraising undergrads on campus. But none would ever stand a chance next to my grandma’s.

A stack of golden brown samosas on a dark blue plate with a pattern of white lines around the edges
“The comfort they give me isn’t just in taste but in the feeling of being taken care of — the feeling of being loved, and nourished, and provided for. That’s what I’ve been craving.”

Everyone’s grandma is the best cook. But my grandma is the best cook. My dad’s family is Chinese; and although he was born in Hong Kong, my grandparents got married and lived in India until 1956. After learning this a few years ago in a round of Kwan-family trivia, I was finally beginning to make sense of how special these samosas really are.

My grandma sent us lots of different food growing up, but I was always most excited when my dad came home with a bag full of her frozen samosas. Potatoes being my favourite vegetable, my love for them was only natural. I’m not sure when her samosas stopped appearing in our house, but I do know that it’s been at least a decade since I last ate one. And since quarantine started, I haven’t been able to stop craving them. There was no way around it— I had to make them myself.

Armed with a list of ingredients from my dad, I took to the kitchen. After guesstimating proportions for the filling and prepping the wrappers, I fumbled through the first samosa despite carefully following each step on YouTube. This shouldn’t come as a surprise but wrapping is hard. Over the hour and 15 minutes it took me to wrap only 17, I couldn’t stop thinking about the amount of time it must have taken my grandma to put together those seemingly bottomless bags. Not only for my family, but also for the 11 aunts and uncles, and 8 cousins who also lived in Vancouver.

A large white bowl with samosa filling and two spoons, and a small white and blue bowl, and a baking sheet with five pieces of triangular samosa wraps.

After several minutes of gingerly prodding my samosa babies in hot oil, they were ready. Taking that first bite was like coming home, jumping into a hug, and traveling back in time all at once. The golden triangles were crisp on the outside and packed with warm memories on the inside. In that moment, I realized that the comfort they give me isn’t just in taste, but in the feeling of being taken care of — the feeling of being loved, and nourished, and provided for. That’s what I’ve been craving.


My grandma’s English is limited and my Cantonese is, unfortunately, all but non-existent, but I’m hoping she’ll understand when I bring her a bag full of frozen samosas the next time I see her. Mine are not nearly as good as hers, but I guess I’ve got the time to practice.

— Audrey Kwan

Audrey is the Business & Development Coordinator at The Theatre Centre.

Alone Together is a series of shared stories by The Theatre Centre. Over the next several weeks, our team is going to offer you some of our own personal joys, those things that nudge us, the arms that extend to us in the dark, those things that catch our hearts off guard. And we’d love to hear from you in return… what’s blowing your heart open these days?