Kung Fu Spice by Brennan Frank

Kung Fu Spice by Brennan Frank

The main character of this story is Alex Chen. He is a shy and not very confident teenager. He thinks he isn’t good at anything except maybe cooking. The boy lives in Liverpool with his parents. Alex’s Chinese grandmother always comes to Liverpool for the Chinese New Year. This time she surprises everyone by some news. Her younger brother Tong Po is going visit them soon. Tong Po used to study kung fu at the Shaolin Temple. Alex is excited. Now he can tell his school friends that his great uncle is a kung fu fighter. To the boy’s disappointment, Uncle Tong Po is only a kung fu cook. He decides to help Alex improve his cooking skills. After some hard work his cooking indeed becomes much better. Besides, Uncle gives him a magic kung fu spice. However, when a crucial day comes, Alex can’t find it.

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Kung Fu Spice by Brennan Frank

I kicked a stone into the road as I walked home. My confidence was low and I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. I felt like a failure at seventeen years of age.

I was no good at anything. OK, I could cook, but nobody at school thought cooking was cool. Not unless you were on TV. That wasn’t going to happen. Not to me.

Ah, well,’ I told myself, so Alex Chen is never going to be one of life’s stars’

I was nearly home. I was thinking about food. My home is The Golden Dragon, one of the best Chinese restaurants in Liverpool, so I think of food a lot. I cooked here at weekends for my dad. Dad always said I was a really good cook. He even said I was good enough to enter the Young Cook of the Year competition on TV. But I wasn’t sure. I mean, I liked cooking, but did I want to be a cook? Well, yes I did – but I wanted to be the best. I wasn’t sure I could be that.

Kung Fu Spice by Brennan Frank

So far, I’d never been the best at anything. The school football team had turned me down. I had failed my driving test. Huh! If only I could be the best at something.

‘The trouble with young people today,’ said Grandmother as she helped herself yet again to the chicken and rice I had cooked, ‘is that they don’t care about the old ways and traditions. Nobody cares about old people any more.’

By ‘young people’ she meant me and my dad and by ‘old people’ she meant herself. Grandmother was the oldest person in the Chen family and she came from Hong Kong every February to see Dad, Mum and me for Chinese New Year.

‘A son should visit his mother – not the other way round. Isn’t that the way in England, too, Delia, dear?’

‘I’m from Liverpool,’ said Mum. ‘Don’t ask me about the rest of England. I’ve been married to George for eighteen years now and I still don’t understand how they do things in Hong Kong.’

Dad smiled. It was the same every year. Grandmother and Mum always pretended to act as if they didn’t understand each other, when we all knew they did really.

‘And you know how busy the restaurant is at this time,’ said Dad. ‘Nearly every Chinese family in Liverpool eats out at Chinese New Year. That’s when we make most money. And it pays for you to come here, doesn’t it, Mother?’…

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