Beijing street food restaurant opens in East Village

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 December 2015

Wai Maung, Teresa Rego and Andre Wibauo at Mama Lan restaurant in East Village

Wai Maung, Teresa Rego and Andre Wibauo at Mama Lan restaurant in East Village

Vickie Flores/Archant

A former City worker who grew up in Beijing has opened a restaurant in the East Village inspired by her parents’ market stall.

Interior view of Mama Lan restaurant in East VillageInterior view of Mama Lan restaurant in East Village

Ming Ma, 32, launched the newest Mama Lan eatery in Victory Parade, Stratford, last month, selling a range of noodles, dumplings and street snacks fused with flavours from the Chinese capital.

After studying maths and accountancy at university and landing a job in finance, she opted for a career change to launch her food business in Brixton in 2011, just 13 years after arriving in the UK with no knowledge of English.

The food on order contrasts greatly to the traditional Anglo-Chinese restaurant offering, which often stock Cantonese food from the south of China like rice dishes.

She said: “My Mum and Dad had a market stall in Beijing after the cultural revolution, selling the same sort of food I do now.

Vegetable balls at Mama Lans restaurant in East VillageVegetable balls at Mama Lans restaurant in East Village

“It was a nice family thing that we did together.

“After we moved to the UK I went to university and then worked in the City, but it wasn’t really my thing – I didn’t enjoy being stuck in an office.

“One day I was watching a Jamie Oliver show on TV with my mum. He was going to South America and they showed someone setting up their own street food restaurant which gave me the idea.”

Still working with mum Lan – hence the name – Ming also has restaurants in Clapham and Dalston but insists her attentions will be firmly focused on the East Village for the time being.

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