Hello there! I’m Shanly Tan and I'd like to welcome you to my website! To welcome you properly, why not take a walk with me down memory lane to find out how Mama Tan’s was born...?
Firstly, I have to say that growing up in Malaysia was an absolute rollercoaster ride for me. I went through ups and downs in life just like everyone else, but somehow for me the down times didn’t usually last long. The minute all the wonderful Malaysian dishes I grew up with were put in front of me, my face would light up and life would go on happily again!
You see, I was born in a lovely Malaysian town called Malacca, about two hours drive south of the capital Kuala Lumpur. Soon after my birth my family moved to East Malaysia (Borneo Sandakan) where my parents began their first restaurant adventure. With a rich Malay, Dutch, Chinese and British heritage (from times past), it was a fantastic place to grow up. I was just five years old. My sister and I spent a lot of time in the restaurant helping out . . . mmm 'helping' perhaps not so much, but eating yes, mostly! We simply couldn’t resist eating the food around us. Those delicious dishes kept enticing us, calling out our names (and I’m sure you will agree they're delicious if you try all our recipes and spices!).
Our family rarely got to spend quality time together because running a restaurant was such hard work. It certainly meant long hours for my parents. But when we actually did, it would usually be for our standard feasting routine; namely, an unlimited dim sum for brunch (small dishes like dumplings and buns steamed in a bamboo basket or deep fried snacks) and very often snacking on 'street food' before dinner at the restaurant too!
When I came to the UK in 1999, life was very different. But I liked it and very quickly adapted to the UK lifestyle. The food, people and cultures have been a real eye opener for me. I didn’t really miss much about Malaysian food back then because I was too busy trying out all the different cuisines over here. It was only when I went back to Malaysia after two years in the UK, that I realised how much I’d missed Malaysian food.
The first taste of the roti canai, wonton noodles, nasi lemak and 'steamed juicy big bun' (to name just a few) were enough to make my mouth water again. I began searching for good Malaysian restaurants when I arrived back in the UK but, sadly, they just weren’t the same. However, I was lucky enough to be offered a job in Hong Kong (also known as a shoppers’ and foodies’ paradise). Whilst there I liked travelling around all the other nearby Asian countries; Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam and different parts of China. I guess you could safely say I adored trying all those amazing cuisines.
As much as I loved Hong Kong, I found its pace a little too much for me; rushing here, there and everywhere in crowded places. So I thought, "That’s it, it’s time for me to leave Hong Kong and go back to my favourite city of Manchester!" But after being back for a while, I started missing Malaysian food all over again, and my mum’s wonderful cooking. All the travelling and tasting lovely authentic foods in Asia made it even harder for me to find a good Oriental restaurant in Manchester that could satisfy my palate. One evening, it came to me in a flash; if I can’t find all those delicious dishes I liked, and that tasted as if they were home-made 'with love', then why not make them myself? After some months of trials and experiments the "ta-dah" moment finally came and Mama Tan’s was born (named lovingly after my mother). Most of these recipes have been passed down from generation to generation. Like many women, I was taught to cook the way all of our grandmothers, aunts and mothers did.
There are many Malaysian food recipes out there but to make a proper Malaysian dish from scratch is challenging. Most recipes require lots of different ingredients and it’s really time-consuming to make just one dish. So we’ve made life easy for you. We’ve sourced the vital ingredients - the very best and freshest herbs, spices and flavours - and blended them in our own special way to create a range of authentic Malaysian tasty pastes and sassy spice mixes. All you have to do is to buy a few fresh veggies, tofu, or meat ingredients and follow the simple instructions on the recipe card that comes with each of our products and, well, it's "meal done"!
Finding good Malaysian pastes or sauces out there isn't hard, but trying to find one that is made with natural ingredients is a real challenge. You’ll never find ingredients like palm oil, preservatives, colouring or additives in Mama Tan's products and I promise you we make all our products with 100% love; just like it says on the packaging.
Since our launch, we have had taste-ins and offered our products at food festivals and the feedback we received from the customers was absolutely amazing, especially for those who have been to or are from Malaysia and Singapore. Your approval of these products means so much to us. All the positive feedback has certainly kept us going and made us work even harder to promote Mama Tan's products. Enough said! I really do hope you enjoy our foods and recipes. And whatever your feedback, I always love to hear from you.
Shanly Tan and the Mama Tan Team x
"The sambal is phenomenal! love seeing mama tan at the local food festivals.
I had mines with some prawns and they were ace."
Tasneem, Anglesey Wales
"Absolutely delicious pasty. Great pastry and great tasty spicy filling. Thanks Anita."
"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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2019 Food Festivals
We look forward to seeing you all soon!
Shanly & Mama Tan team x