I brought a Cantonese friend who considered herself a Wan Chai expert to a noodle shop she had not been to before. She was quite surprised that I had discovered it on my own, given my very limited grasp of the language.
What’s the equivalent of the phrase “old hand” or someone with knowledge of the area I asked her.
She laughed and said colloquially people in Hong Kong with in-depth knowledge of their surroundings are called worms 蟲. They are able to wriggle into every crevice and find every single hole in the ground.
Initially, I thought it sounded rather strange and unappetising but upon reflection, worms perform a very important function in the ecosystem. From aerating the soil through physical movement, transporting important matter from one place to another and generally improving the ground for growth and renewal. Yes, it’s nice to be a part of that somehow.
Thanks for wriggling around Wan Chai with me.