Friday, November 1, 2019

The story behind Madam Kwan’s

If you were to ask someone who is the most popular chef in all of Malaysia, most of the people would say “Madam Kwan”. Today she is 81 years old and lives in Kuala Lumpur. When people get to know about her celebrity status in the restaurant business and her cult following of admiring customers, they tend to think that she must be someone who loves to cook and has been doing so from a very young age. But the truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. She actually hated cooking and used to despise the entire process.

Madam Kwan was born in Kluang but at the age of 14, she moved to Kuala Lumpur. The move was primarily motivated by better academic opportunities in Kuala Lumpur. After moving to the new city, she joined Kuen Cheng Girls’ School. After leaving the school she was exploring different career opportunities and finally decided to become a hairdresser. But it didn't work as she had hoped and later decided to become a beautician. Most of the people do not know that her first venture was not in the restaurant business. She first opened a beauty salon on Jalan Imbi. She named the saloon Sakura as she was very fond of the pink flowers from Japan that were known as Sakura in Japanese.
Now you must be thinking that soon after opening her first salon she must have decided to quit the salon business and decided to venture into the restaurant business. But again you would be wrong with this assumption. She stayed in the salon business for more than two decades. She gave 24 years of her life to that salon and it even became really successful. She recalls that when she was 42 she started feeling tired from the salon. She had done hair and make up for 24 years and now felt bored at the salon. It was this time when she decided to do something new.
She once visited a close friend who used to have a small local restaurant. She noticed that her friend used to cook for one hour and made decent money with this minimal effort. She says that if she did a facial at the salon then it would take about an hour and she would make only a few ringgits. Then the idea came to her mind. Why not to cook for one hour and then make decent money from it all day long. This way more people would be able to enjoy her work.
She recalls that when she announced the idea to her salon staff, they were quite shocked. Soon after that, the Sakura Salon became the Sakura Cafe. In its initial days, people were very impressed to see the level of attention to detail that went into designing the Sakura Cafe. All of the dining tables had a glass top and all of the plates were imported from Japan. Back in those days non hotel establishments never used to invest so much.
The restaurant business started gaining traction. But soon after things became stable, disaster struck. Her head chef called it quits. It was this time when she started learning cooking. She says that the first dish she learned to cook was Nasi Lemak as it was also her personal favorite. As she got familiar with cooking, she started experimenting with the original traditional recipe. She knew what she was looking for so she kept on making the same dish again and again until she got it perfectly right.

Today it's the same Nasi Lemak dish that has become so popular in Malaysia.
Madam Kwan menu has so many wonderful and aromatic dishes to choose from, but we would highly recommend trying her lasi nemak.

You can even order food from her restaurant. The delivery via FoodPanda Malaysia is quick and hassle free. The food is packed in such a way that it stays hot and retains its freshness and aroma.

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