A Long Day’s Travel – Lost Luggage – Mom’s Comfort Food

This post may contain affiliate links where, at no additional cost to you, I receive a small commission when products are purchased through those links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Any commisions earned helps keep this site sustainable. Click here for privacy policy.

Another way to avoid the oppressive Dubai heat? Leave it completely!

Wee Scotch and I are visiting my parents for the next 6 weeks. We’ve arrived safely to our New York City home after a long day of flying. Unfortunately our luggage did not made it – not even Wee Scotch’s carseat nor gate-checked stroller :(.

Wee Scotch on Plane
Wee Scotch on the plane

Wee Scotch and I flew British Airways from Dubai to London Heathrow and when we landed in London, our connecting flight to Newark, that was taking off in 2 hours, wasn’t listed anywhere on the monitors. How strange, I thought, as I tried to keep the Uh-Oh feeling that was slowly forming from within the core of my stomach at bay.

Long story short, our flight was cancelled due to unavailable aircraft and we were luckily and thankfully booked on the last seat to New York JFK otherwise we would have had to overnight in London which I shudder at the mere thought of.

Wee Scotch was well-behaved on our British Airways flight. I did not buy him his own seat but he did have a bulkhead seat to nap on and was well-entertained by the cartoons on the video console, the flight attendants were extremely friendly and helpful, and there was plenty of free alcohol for me :).

Wee Scotch in his bulkhead bassinet on British Airways
Wee Scotch in his bulkhead bassinet on British Airways (photo from our December trip) 

In comparison, our American Airlines flight was not as pleasant. Wee Scotch was still well-behaved and sat on my lap the whole time but the flight attendants were barely civil, the seats were a bit more cramped, there was not a single cartoon to entertain Wee Scotch, and alcohol was not free! Not that I drink much when I fly but I think this was the first time I flew international and alcohol wasn’t complimentary.

Arriving in NYC after a long day of traveling, we continued to experience more bad luck – our bags didn’t make it on the new flight from London and for the first time I didn’t breeze through Customs and Border Patrol in the US but was sent to a special counter for questioning. Of course they wouldn’t tell me why even though I asked repeatedly.

Here is a video of Wee Scotch super excited at the baggage carousel:

Finally, after visiting the delayed baggage counter and providing all the required details, Wee Scotch and I were finally ready to leave the airport and head home with my parents.

An hour later, upon arriving home, my mom announced that she had made one of my favorite comfort foods: arrowroot soup with smoked oysters. She knows that I am constantly craving this soup and no matter how hard I have scoured the Asian shops in Dubai, I have not been able to find arrowroot.

Arrowroot – a root vegetable about 12 in (30.5 cm) long

Sliced arrowroot, pork bones, smoked oysters, and honey dates (“mut jo”) are simmered together in a large pot of water for 3 hours to achieve a light brown soup naturally sweetened by the honey dates and further enhanced by the smokiness of the oysters.

Arrowroot soup
Arrowroot soup with smoked oysters

As a child coming home from school, the smell of simmering soup always had me quickly running up the stairs to the kitchen, hoping that the soup would be ready after the long simmer, peeping under the lid, and ladling a few scoops into a waiting bowl. Sometimes, out of impatience, I would just ladle the soup from the pot…straight to my mouth.

Mmm, soup.

The next morning, another familiar food not available in Dubai greeted me: Bánh Mì, a Vietnamese sandwich of meat (in this case BBQ minced pork with Vietnamese cold cuts), pickled daikon with carrots, and some kind of special sauce or mayo spread – all served on a French-like baguette. Some families have scrambled eggs with toast for breakfast. In my family, we have Bánh Mì.

My mom took out half a Bánh Mì from the fridge and popped it into the toaster oven to crisp up the bread and to warm up the meat. Within minutes I was assembling the sandwich (the vegetables are kept separate by request to prevent the bread from becoming soggy) to my liking: two jalepeño slices, one slice of cucumber, a few sprigs of cilantro, and lots of pickled vegetables.

Bahn Mi
Bánh Mì

Mmm, sandwich.

It’s so good to be home.

Subscribe to my monthly newsletter and receive a FREE noodle guide PDF:

I believe it’s not just noodles we are creating, but memories, traditions, and a sense of pride. Learn Noodle-Making With Kids. Create, Bond, Transform.

*We respect your privacy and will not send you spam. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Hmmm, the photo you show of Arrowroot, looks nothing like the Arrowroot I dig up in my backyard. Mine is whitish, much narrower, and has “scales” (for lack of a better word). Are there two kinds of Arrowroot? or maybe they look different grown in different parts of the world (I received mine from South America). Here is a link to a photo of what mine looks like: http://www.anniesbacktoedengarden.com/arrowroot.htm
    Just curious.

  2. AW. hammy is so cute at the luggage carousel. i got pulled in for special questioning once too upon returning back to NY, forget when or where I was coming from. I believe I did ask why and he said it was "random."
    AW, THATS MY FAVORITE SOUP TOO. Arrowroot and oysters.

    you should taste the banh mi's in Vietnam, my last trip i had at least 2 a day (less then $1 USD per pop). They are DELISH, but there are somehow much less ingredients in them while still being flavor packed. They make the ones in ny seem very…american.

  3. What a heartwarming entry! That soup looks incredibly delicious and I am so craving a Banh Mi right now! It's making me homesick. Safe travels and enjoy your holidays.

    1. It's funny but even though I've had Banh Mi all my life – I have no idea how to order one at a store! I go completely blank at the menu as mom has always taken care of the ordering so I have no clue what all the different selections are. This is me at the counter, "uh, the one with the pate and the ground meat?"

  4. I'm pretty sure you get arrowroot at Lulu. If you find a Malayali assistant, ask for "Koova." The soup looks amazing!

  5. I read this post and felt instantly sorry (flight hassles) and smiley (Wee Scotch!) and oh so dang 😉 jealous. I want that banh mi woman, I WANT. Eat up in NY…can't wait to hear more of what crosses your plate.