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!
"We met you at the Warrington Makers Market a couple of weekends ago and bought the Laksa paste then. Wow! It is SO good!!! I had to have more!"
"The sambal is amazing. I cannot wait to try the other pastes. So fresh.!"
"I bought from you last Sunday at the Withington Maker's Market and I absolutely loved the curry paste and sambal! I cooked dishes from both in the week and they are the best tasting Malay dishes I've had in years. I need more!!"
"Bought from Mama Tan in Northwich Artisan Market this weekend - fantastic product, I would encourage others to try it next time she visits!"
"Bought the curry paste from food festival and followed the recipe. WOW amazing!!!! Perfect heat, full of flavour. This is definitely the best curry I've made at home. I will definitely have to order more!!!! :)"
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Shanly & Mama Tan team x