November 30, 2022


The Food Universe

How a 77-Year-Old Indonesian Chef Cooks 300 Lunches Every Day

When Siu Chen got bored throughout the pandemic, the 77-12 months-aged chef determined to begin Medan Kitchen, a Los Angeles acquire-out cafe serving up the Indonesian foodstuff she was cooking at household.

“I would just look at Television set and rest, I was worried of likely senile,” says Chen. “Now I’m joyful and enthusiastic about cooking.”

At Medan Kitchen area, Chen cooks anything herself and without a recipe, which include favorites like fried rooster, lontong sayur, rendang, yellow rice, and a lot more. Every working day, she prepares all over 300 bins of takeout.

“I have not identified any person to enable me cook, mainly because it will flavor various, and I’m fearful people today will end coming listed here,” she claims.

Chen has discovered a group by her cooking, with the restaurant getting well-liked via term of mouth, especially in the nearby Indonesian neighborhood.

“Indonesians listed here guidance me a good deal,” says Chen. “They all like to take in what I cook dinner.”

The chef commenced cooking when she was 17, after notice her mother as she produced a blend of Chinese and Indonesian dishes. She remarks that “when I make lontong, emi, coconut rice, and yellow rice, it reminds me of [her]”

In addition to her mother’s cooking, Chen is also sharing the traditions of her home town of Medan. In her restaurant, she wraps yellow rice, rendang, fried hen, tempeh, and shrimp paste chili in a banana leaf — an Indonesian takeout customized prior to boxing the foods.

At the front of the property, Chen will get enable from her young children, her daughters-in-legislation, and grandkids, which allows her to target on cooking foods.

“Now that my little ones are in this article, I almost never go back to Indonesia. Everything I could want to consume is right here,” claims Chen. “I’m just happy that persons like to take in what I prepare dinner.”