Wednesday, January 23, 2013

a heartfelt goodbye to Linda's Home Kitchen

Linda's Home Kitchen served its last customers last weekend on 19 Jan 2013. If you've been following and read my first post, you'd know that my mum is Linda. The restaurant was really close to my heart and its closing is somewhat bittersweet. Over the years, Linda's has come to be my second home. In fact, I spent more time at the restaurant more than I did in my own home whenever I was back for holidays. When I was still based in Singapore, it was where I would be right after work (yes, I did have a full time job on the side) and it was where friends would meet me on weekends. Friends asked if I was ever tired but as hard work as it was, it was fun because I've always loved food and meeting people. The restaurant gave me that and I've been blessed to meet many like-minded folks who appreciated the dedication, passion and pride that my mum put in day after day for almost 3.5 years.

We've had the privilege of being a part of important events in our customers' lives - families celebrating their grandma's 60th birthday, golf kakis celebrating a hole-in-one on the golf course amongst others. Birthdays were especially special because I remembered many occasions where customers were surprised by our little gesture of a simple bowl of mee sua with 2 eggs for the birthday boy or girl; a tradition that is practiced in our own home. We've also made many friends out of our regular customers and found distant relatives (and one of them turned out to be an ex-colleague)! Their support has been relentless and precisely why we've been able to say goodbye with a bang.

Having Linda's has been very much a personal journey for all of us. It was almost as if we opened our home out to the public. I've always felt proud and slightly amused when customers asked me, "You mean you get to eat like this at home???!" And when I nodded my head, the reply would always be "So lucky!" I used to have friends visit my home during the Chinese New Year and this carried on for 10 years until Linda's came about. Since then, Chinese New Year gatherings have taken place at the restaurant. My dad, fiercefully proud of being Hakka, managed to share stories about his travels to Hakka provinces in China, the food my grandma used to make in his younger years and more. If my grandma was still around, I know she would feel that my mum has done her old recipes proud. My mum, as tired as I knew she was at times, immensely enjoyed cooking for her customers and got to live her passion through the small operation she had with Linda's. Although the time spent at our actual home was less, our family actually spent more physical time together after Linda's came along. We've actually gained a lot out of this whole experience.

So where do we go from here? I guess we are a bit wiser, my mum will have more time to herself; to travel and eat more and Chinese New Year gatherings will now revert to take place at home. I've never got to say this directly to my mum but I'm extremely proud of her and the steel she has. I can pay to eat at the best restaurants in the world but in my heart, the best food will always be the ones cooked by my mum, in the comforts of our own home.

To our family, friends and customers - thank you for your support and patronage over the years. It has been a pleasure having you in our "home". Hopefully, we've been able to shed light into the world of Hakka cuisine for you. And please don't hesitate to say 'hi' if our paths ever cross. Singapore ain't that big anyway.

To Linda's - you will be sorely missed.

Monday, January 07, 2013

bring on the new yr!

It's been a quiet year on this blog. I thought I would have had more time to write, more time to reflect but instead, I've been loads busy especially in the 2nd half of 2012. There's been many highs but along with that, some lows as well. I've also experienced many firsts and I've got a feeling that streak will continue on in 2013. Despite all that, I've not stopped. I may have stopped writing for a bit bug I've not put my fork down. So here's to more eating and more good fun at the dining table with your loved ones in 2013!