Virtually everyone who grew up in Kota Marudu knows about Mi Sup. Many of us look forward to going back to our city of roots so we can once again enjoy Mi Sup. We may make such a promise as ‘OK, let’s go for Mi Sup. My treat’. Ask a native dweller of Kota Marudu about Sup Bongos, and she/he will give you an answer worth a thousand smiles. What exactly is Mi Sup, and why is it such a huge element of the Kota Marudu cultural landscape? Well, Mi Sup is… chicken noodle broth. It is one of the simplest dishes one can possibly have in this city of corn. It may not have a Michelin level of quality, but its value runs deeper than the simplicity of the dish itself. From one perspective, it has acted as a connector for families and friends. After a period of absence, that group of youngsters who attended the same high school decided to meet again…at a Mi Sup stall. After a visit to the Sunday tamu (market), a family stopped by a Mi Sup stall to have their regular after-market meal before driving back home. From another perspective, Mi Sup has brought together the societal members of Kota Marudu. Mi Sup stalls are not places of a certain income level, of a certain age group, or of a certain ethnic group. They are frequented by people from all walks of life who come and eat at the same tables. Mi Sup stalls are loud and vibrant; they are filled with chatter and laughter of the patrons.
I had a chance to visit one of the Mi Sup stalls when visiting my parents in Kota Marudu for a short holiday. While waiting for my food to arrive, my mind drifted to that sweet, memorable part of my childhood that sees my mom, my little brother and the very young me sitting together on a long wooden bench of our favorite Mi Sup stall enjoying our treat before making our long walk home . Beads of sweat appeared on my nose from the heat of the dish and of the sun, but it was all fine because what would be sweeter than enjoying a bowl of simple chicken noodle broth while feeling very close to my mom and little brother?