Mother’s Day 2023
It’s just around 9am, and Aishah is at her daughter’s Nasi Padang stall in Chinatown Complex. While business has been good since the stall opened in July 2022, she still personally cuts and trims the veggies, sometimes heading to the market to scour for fresh ingredients when they run out.
Of course, she has help. Mum Daughter Kitchen is no less than a family effort: Jahan, her first daughter, is founder/owner, recipe-maker, cook; Nadiah, her second daughter, is in charge of PR and marketing; and finally, Clarence, her son-in-law, is the all-round helping hand with decades of experience in the food industry, sourcing and lugging ingredients from the market.
Left to Right: Aishah, Clarence, Jahan and Nadia. (Image courtesy of Mum Daughter Kitchen)
As for mum, “She’s the one who inspired and encouraged my sister (Jahan) to start this business,” Nadia says, “It was during the lockdown in 2020, and my mum called my sister and told her, you should sell Nasi Padang.”
Family inspiration… to celebrity endorsement
While the original dream was for Jahan to run the business from home and for Aishah to eventually join her, things look different today.
Left: Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck drops by Mum Daughter Kitchen. Jahan (second from right) and Nadia have to explain who he is to Aishah after the visit. / Right: Jahan and Clarence pose with local content creator Aiken Chia. (Images courtesy of Mum Daughter Kitchen)
The good is that the family business has successfully moved to a physical stall and has even hosted a number of celeb chefs (including Wolfgang Puck!) — but they’ve also had to overcome unexpected twists, like Aishah’s health that prevented her from being as involved as once imagined.
Mum and Daughter Kitchen started out as a home-based business, working through the COVID-19 pandemic. (Images courtesy of Mum Daughter Kitchen)
In spite of this, Jahan still keeps the “Mum Daughter” name, honouring her mum who not only inspired the idea of the stall, but also fiercely loved and empowered her kids in their growing-up years.
Chef Malcolm, from the first Peranakan Michelin-starred restaurant in the world, visits the stall and poses with Clarence and Jahan. (Images courtesy of Mum Daughter Kitchen)
Food = love language
“We were a family of six and ate a lot as children,” Nadia says, “but my mum never failed to prepare good meals for us. Even though she was working two jobs, there would always be food in the kitchen from breakfast to supper.”
Breakfast, perhaps like Lontong that the stall still has on the menu today, paired best with handmade Bergedil and Sambal Egg. Supper, much like their signature Ayam Masak Lemak Chilli Padi or range of Berlado dishes that sell out super quickly.
Lemak Chilli Padi reminds Jahan most of her mum. She would always prepare it thick and full of flavour from her rempah, inspiring the recipe Jahan uses today. (Images courtesy of Mum Daughter Kitchen)
The dishes are a labour of love, and even today, Jahan and Clarence spend hours cooking, like making their rempah and epok epok from scratch. Yet between juggling two jobs, taking care of her children, and cooking for her family, Aishah had a remarkably positive attitude and unwavering faith in her kids.
“Whenever you tell her negative things, she would always laugh and say that it’s part and parcel of life,” says Nadia. “I understood that she’s not brushing things away, but crossing out the negative thoughts to make you feel better.”
Left to Right: Nadia, Aishah, Jahan at their stall in Chinatown Complex. (Image courtesy of Mum Daughter Kitchen)
There was also virtually no nagging from Aishah in their Kallang home, not even when Nadia stayed out late after soccer practice or had dirty laundry in the room. No spam calls, no hovering, no insisting on control — she had the strength to let go, trust her kids and give them space to grow.
A lifetime and more of love
Today, Aishah is still much like her old self. She’s funny, quiet, and listens through speaking less. Her love has trickled down the generations, too, as Jahan herself has a wonderful closeness with her kids despite the long working hours of running the store. (According to Nadia, Jahan’s teenager still often texts “I love you”s to his mum!)
Three yummy sets at affordable price points. (Courtesy of Mum Daughter Kitchen’s video, here)
And though Jahan, Clarence and Nadia have got things covered, she still itches to support them in any way she can. There’s sourcing and buying ingredients from markets, prep work for the stall on some early mornings, and if you’re a lucky customer, she might even try to strike up a conversation to make you feel welcomed.
Mum Daughter Kitchen is now run by Clarence and Jahan, who were married in 2008. (Image courtesy of Mum Daughter Kitchen)
Certainly, this mum’s love has not gone unnoticed. As Nadia says, “My mum always taught me to be strong for my kid, no matter how little sleep or tired physically I am.” “I just want good health for my mum, both physical health and mental health,” she adds.
And as for Jahan, “I hope I can make my mum proud of all her effort and determination to raise me to become the person I am today. Thank you for giving me the encouragement I needed and always pushing me to hit my goals in life, and supporting me emotionally, mentally, and physically all these years.”
Mum and Daughter Kitchen
335 Chinatown Complex #02-159 Singapore, Singapore 050335
Open Mondays to Fridays, 8.30am to 2pm
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Tel: 8157 6616
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