Published 27 May 2022
by Henry Southan
We caught up with Malaysian chef Abby Lee, who burst onto the London food scene in 2020 with her excellent meal kits. In June, Lee will launch her modern Malaysian concept Mambow at Market Stalls in Peckham. We talk about the comfort dish she makes at home, and the difference between the London and Malaysian food scene.
To be honest I am little stressed, ha! But who isn’t in the lead up to opening a restaurant, especially in this new world! But that being said, I am so excited to see where this new concept goes. After closing Mambow 1.0, the last two years has given me a lot of time and headspace to think about everything I’m doing and what I really want to achieve with Mambow. As it turns out, Mambow has now become something much closer to my heart.
With Mambow we are trying to preserve traditional Malaysian recipes whilst giving it some modern energy. Whilst all the recipes are Malaysian, we use locally sourced, seasonal and sustainable produce. It’s very personal. I’m cooking all the dishes I remember growing up around including lots of Nyonya recipes; this is a cuisine which combines Chinese cooking ingredients and recipes with Indo-Malay flavours, herbs and spices – the ultimate combination of tangy, spicy, herby and aromatic flavours.
Ikan Assam Pedas, the combo of the tamarind, laksa leaf and my grannie’s spice paste gives me the feels.
After I moved to England I lived South first and its always had a special community feel, especially around Peckham. There are some great spots in the area, like Larry’s for example, but I feel there is still room for more.
I miss the street food and night markets in Singapore and Malaysia. The effort a street vendor will put into one dish, which is passed down through generations, is just incredible. At the same time, I ‘gotta love London for being able to eat at a Turkish grill tonight, Israeli tomorrow and a wine bar the night after.
Kimchi-jjigae (kimchi pork belly and tofu stew)
Umut 2000 in Dalston
Pork and century egg congee with youtiao (chinese doughnut)