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Love on a Plate

This Mother’s Day, the Burpple team shares heartfelt stories of the women in their lives who fill the dining tables, and their hearts.

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It is often said that cooking is the deepest act of service, and the purest form of love. And let’s face it. Even though we live in the foodie havens of Singapore and Malaysia, nothing warms the belly quite like a home cooked meal. This Mother’s Day, the Burpple team shares heartfelt stories of the women in their lives who fill the dining tables, and their hearts.

A Taste of Home

Daniel Hum, Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer

“Back when I was studying overseas in Indiana, I found myself seriously missing my mother’s cooking. I mean, those Prima Taste pre-mixes I brought over were great, but they just weren’t doing it. Thankfully, mom was always just a phone call away, and she was so happy to share her simple recipes. I didn’t learn to cook many dishes, but few I did were the enough to tide me over with a taste of home while I was out there. One of these is her white boiled chicken. It’s easy to cook and it’s one of my favourites because it’s simple and light — think chicken rice, but much less oily. To complement it, she’d also throw some cabbage and chives into the boiled soup and there you have it, a comforting and complete dinner for one.”



The Popiah Apprentice

Hwans Lim, Graphic Designer

“As children, my siblings and I really looked forward to visiting our grandparents on the weekend, as that meant getting to eat my grandmother’s popiah. I’ll have you know that this is no ordinary popiah. In fact, growing up, I rarely ate popiah outside as it often looked and tasted so different. What’s with the sweet brown sauce, lettuce and peanut crumbs? The difference in grandma’s popiah starts with the skin. Made from scratch with a lot of elbow grease, the skin was thick and chewy, almost like mochi skin — it remains my hallmark of a good popiah skin. Her table would always be filled to the brim with an array of savoury ingredients — bee hoon with shredded carrots, fried beancurd cubes, crispy pork belly tossed in lots of sugar, and chopped salted vegetables — just begging to be wrapped into big fat burrito-like rolls. I learned from my youthful mistakes that bigger is not always better. A massive roll that wouldn’t fit perfectly into my mouth meant not getting every ingredient in a bite, and that’s terrible!

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All the goodies that go into grandma's popiah

After grandma’s passing, my foodie mom is now the one who prepares the labour intensive popiah, and it feels like we are honouring grandma’s legacy every time we eat it. I hope to one day be the one to continue this tradition but for now, I’m still the apprentice.”


The Best Cake in the World

Leigh Khoo, Contributing Dining Editor

“I grew up in the care of my late aunt, who I fondly called ‘kor kor’. Like most Peranakan women her time, kor kor was an excellent cook, and she had an extra soft spot for baking. After a long day at school, nothing perked me up like the aromas of pandan cake baking in her precious Baby Belling oven. Made using fresh pandan juice and hand-squeezed coconut milk, the chiffon cake was light as air and so, so delicious. With my pinafore unfastened, I would stand at the kitchen counter, gallantly burning my fingers and tongue as I bulldozed through slice after slice of the cloud-like cake. ‘Aiyo girl ah, slow down! Leave some for your father,’ she’ll nag, behind a pleased smile she was never very good at hiding.

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The perfect pandan chiffon cake

She moved in with me during her last days braving terminal cancer, and along came her beloved Baby Belling. On days her energy allowed, we’d spend mornings in the kitchen baking pandan cake. She’d grudgingly let me to weigh the ingredients and steady her hands as she sifted flour, but would always insist on stirring the batter alone. By some stroke of kitchen magic, even though the 25-year-old oven was now cranky as hell, every pandan cake came out perfect. It is and always will be my favourite cake in the world.”


Eating for Two

Alison Khong, Content Executive (KL)

“My grandma does the cooking at home. As I come from a half Eurasian home, dining at her table always means plenty of delicious Eurasian fare. My favourite has to be debal curry, which some call ‘devil curry’ because of its uncompromising fieriness. That certainly explains my undying love for spicy fare! We always have the same conversation with grandma, which leads up to eating the dish. She’ll comment that she hasn’t cooked for the family in awhile, to which we’ll say we miss her cooking. Before you know it, we’re there in her kitchen, gobbling up greedy spoonfuls of curry and rice. Her version of debal curry sees a mixture of pork and chicken, with potatoes thrown in for extra bite. Cooked till tender to the bone, the meat is coated in a thick blanket of spicy, tangy curry — so good! I always end up eating for two at hers, and that’s simply because no one cooks curry like grandma does!”


Mom’s Home Bakeshop

John Kuan, Software Engineer

“I fondly remember the times I would wake up in the mornings to the smell of freshly made mee siam. Mom usually prepares the dish when we are expecting guests, and as family, we get first dibs as ‘official tasters’. Mom’s mee siam is the perfect balance of sweet, spicy and citrusy, and cooking it is an extensive process that can take up to two days, depending on the party size. Now that we don’t host as often, and with ingredients getting a lot more expensive, mee siam hardly makes an appearance on our dinner table anymore. 

These days, I’m most likely to find mom in the kitchen baking up a storm. She is an awesome baker — the praise comes not just from me, but from all who have tried her goodies — and I think she should seriously consider making this her full time job. I used to accompany her to baking classes, where we’d learn how to make specialty bakes, but she’s so good now that our kitchen is like a mini bakery of sorts. She even created an Instagram account (@lilyjoybake) to document her baking journey! Pssst. Her dark chocolate cake is the best.”

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Documenting her baking journey