Tastes like home: Linda’s Home Kitchen

7 Jun

The Family, for as long as I can remember, have always spoken about opening a restaurant. Many would hold their ground and affirm that their own mothers were the best cooks in the world, and I am no exception. It has always been a family dream to put The Mother’s food out there, and last September, we finally made the dream into reality: Linda’s Home Kitchen was born.

Not being in Singapore myself at that point in time as I had returned to Sydney for uni, I was unable to experience the entire process of setting up the restaurant, save for the beginning stages and contributing a little bit of writing. It seemed to happen so quickly even hearing about it from afar; the renovations, finalising the menu, getting ready for the opening, etc. Opening the restaurant last September was only achieved with massive efforts by everyone involved; Family members, friends, and staff who have grown as extensions of the family.

The restaurant is all about good home-cooked food, without the MSG. Family meals at home were given the utmost importance while I was growing up. It brought all of us together at the same time to share a simple home-cooked meal, and to catch up on each others’ day. The family tradition has continued on and continued strong, becoming something dear to me as well. Plus, it’s not difficult to make your way home for dinner when you know there’s amazing food to be had in the comfort of your own home, right?

As The Family is Hakka (a Chinese dialect group) , the menu features Hakka cuisine, recipes The Grandmother passed down to her daughter-in-law (The Mother), but we also have other dishes of different Chinese styles – Cantonese, Hokkien, Teochew, and even Nyonya, which The Mother have included in her repertoire over the years. Here are just a few of my favourites:

Ngoh Hiang - Deep-fried Nyonya meat roll

Growing up, Ngoh Hiang has always featured at all our major family gatherings, and I remember pouring a whole saucer of tomato ketchup for me to dip the meat rolls in while the rest of the family had chilli sauce. I never really thought to eat what was sold in the restaurants, and when I finally did one day, I asked my parents if it was a fake ngoh hiang. A traditional Nyonya dish, it is actually a mixture of seasoned pork mince, water chestnuts, and vegetables, wrapped in beancurd skin, steamed, then deep fried. Several commercial ones in Singapore tend to add too much starch to bind the mix, while The Mother believes in keeping it all about the flavour and texture of the meat. I recall vivid memories of The Mother painstakingly wrapping each roll neatly by herself all day on the weekend (something she still does at the restaurant), leaving a couple of rolls out for me after steaming them because she knew I preferred them that way. A true crowd-pleaser, as it is a favourite with The Family and customers alike.

Pork Rib Curry

The Pork Rib Curry has a special place in my heart. Many people are more familiar with curry chicken than pork rib curry in Singapore, but I simply love pulling off the tender chunks of pork away from the bone, slurping up the thick curry sauce, mixing it up with rice and mashing a little of potato with it. I have been told that it is more of a Malaysian-styled curry than Singaporean,  as it is thicker and stronger in flavour. It truly makes for a hearty dish.

Hakka Yong Tau Foo

Hakka Yong Tau Foo is traditionally tofu stuffed with pork mince, but other vegetables like bittergourd and eggplant have been included for variety. Yong tau foo is not uncommon in Singapore, but is usually filled with only fish paste, which therefore separates the Hakka and non-Hakka types. Each piece if fried lightly then braised, covered with a gorgeous sauce. I am partial to the eggplant ones, so I would constantly sneak a piece (or two!) while at the restaurant.

Minced meat omelette simmered in tomato sauce

The Sister and I loved the Minced Meat Omelette Simmered in Tomato Sauce whilst growing up. Fluffy egg omelettes encasing the pork mince, simmered in a tomato sauce, best eaten with rice. It is something I truly connect to home, as it is not a fancy dish at all, but definitely a special one for me.

Hakka Yam Abacus

The Hakka Yam Abacus is actually one of my new favourites, to be honest. I grew up never really liking this dish, but I found myself asking for it over and over at the restaurant. It is again, a traditional Hakka dish, and the yam ‘seeds’ are actually meant to resemble the seeds of the Chinese abacus, hence its name. The dish takes a fair amount of handwork, and all the staff would gather to help make the yam abacus seeds, which is later fried with minced pork, black fungus, yellow beancurd, and dried cuttlefish. Ours might be different to others as The Mother adds very little starch into making these, ensuring the taste of the yam is not compromised. Yet another favourite at the restaurant, particularly with the Hakkas.

I could go on raving as I would, but the best way is to always try something for yourself. For those not in Singapore, yes, it would be a tad more tricky, but if you ever do make Singapore a stop in your travels, do drop by! So when you do get a chance, make yourself feel right at home and enjoy some great home-cooked food with great company at Linda’s Home Kitchen.

Oh, and if you do, say ‘Hi!’ to The Family for me!

*All photos taken by Marc Wang.

Linda’s Home Kitchen
206 Telok Ayer Street
Singapore 068641
Telephone: +65 62847272
Mon-Sun: 11.30 a.m. – 3.00 p.m.; 5.30 p.m. – 10.00 p.m.
Facebook: Linda’s Home Kitchen


3 Responses to “Tastes like home: Linda’s Home Kitchen”

  1. YW June 8, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    Congrats to The Family on this great achievement! Will definitely make a note to visit when I go to SG next 🙂

    • Simon @ the heart of food June 10, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

      Nice work with the family starting up a restaurant. Nice work with some of the photography too. All the dishes look quite appetising 🙂

      I’ll have to bear it in mind if I ever make my way to Singapore.

  2. Spencer Samaroo August 11, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    I’m planning a trip to Singapore next year so I’ll keep it in mind to visit the restaurant.

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