To understand a country's cuisine, it's often helpful to know something of that country's history. And the Mama Tan website is certainly proud of the wonderfully diverse, vibrant and full-flavoured nature of Malaysia itself. Officially an Islamic country, it nevertheless has a sizeable Chinese and Indian population besides - each ethnic group contributing a great deal to the many cuisines available on a thousand city-street corners. Our multiculturalism has made Malaysia a gastronomical paradise and home to hundreds of colourful festivals. It’s no wonder that we love celebrating and socialising. As a people, Malaysians are warm, friendly and most of all we love everything about FOOD!
Like a number of other south-east Asian countries, Malaysia was once British colony. Nevertheless, with ancient kingdoms and Dutch settlers also playing an equally influential role in shaping Malaysia, the modern nation is full of unexpected surprises. These various cultural, and indeed economic, influences have created the modern society we love today, yet the country has never forgotten its rich, traditional roots.
The Portuguese were the first country to establish settlements throughout the Malay Peninsula, primarily around Malacca (a historical little town where I was born). However, the Dutch took control soon after and their empirical ambitions spread ever further across Southeast Asia.
(Traditional Malaysia - Dutch Christian influence clearly visible in the second city of Malacca below).
(The capital city of Kuala Lumpur is also a concentrated blend of the old and the new - see below)
In WW2, British forces quickly fell to the Japanese armies, and lost the region until the Japanese surrendered when Britain took back control of the Malay states. My father still talks about how he and all the kids loved chasing after the British troops on the street hoping that they will give away all their chocolates, Snickers then called Marathon Bars and Mars Bars. After the war, Malaysia gained its independence from Britain in 1957. As the nation of Malaysia as born, it adopted additional neighboring states including Sabah, Singapore, and Sarawak. Just two years later however, Singapore was expelled - largely as a result of ethnic riots due to the growing threat of Chinese influences on the land. Singapore then became an independent nation in its own right, with Kuala Lumpur becoming the state capital of Malaysia (see below)
These many influences really have had an impact on the cuisine in Malaysia... and here at Mama Tan we are delighted to introduce you to the many mouthwatering recipes that make it what it is today. So we hope you will enjoy your tour today through our website ... and we'd love to have you choose something from our wide range of spices too!
"Shanly Tan is INSPIRATIONAL! Her recipes are mouthwatering!"
"I've tried many of Mama Tans delicious dishes, savoury pastries and peanut satay sauce being my favourite!
The pastes last for ages and the recipe cards are really simple and easy to make with great results (even for someone with such limited cooking experience as me!). After trying laksa in Malaysia i wanted to try and make it in the UK until I realised how many different hard to find spices were in it and also couldn't buy the paste anywhere so was super excited to find than Mama Tan is making her own. A real taste of Malaysia!"
"love the Satay Marinade Sauce and Peanut Sauce. Drove to Leeds Vegan Festival to get some more peanut sauce [I'm not a vegan] the recipe cards are so easy to follow even I can be a Master Chef for the night. Keep up the good work"
"Just made some ramen with your laksa paste and it was so delicious � The little recipe card you gave us was very helpful too, thanks so much x"
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