Oriental Cravings' Owner Opens Small Online Business Serving Tasty, Homey Burmese Meals

Forced to close down due to the pandemic, she helped her Burmese staff open this small business to support them.

Cover image via SAYS

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Sad endings often leave room for new beginnings, and that's exactly what Oriental Cravings' owner, Faye Cheng, has proven

Though she was forced to shut down her over 17-year-old well-loved restaurant due to the pandemic, Cheng has since helped open a small food business called Myat & Potatoes, serving some of the restaurant's popular dishes, along with really delicious Burmese food.

Image via SAYS

"It was sometime in June when we got wind that MCO (Movement Control Order) will be extended and one of my staff who is an ardent cook, together with some of his friends, wanted to start a home-based business, as a few of them lost their jobs," she shares with SAYS.

"When I heard their idea, I wanted to help them promote and since I love their food, it was easy for me to sell it and it was something to occupy my mind. So that was how this kitchen project started."

Cheng helped to market them and set up their Instagram page, sharing that all proceeds go back to them after deducting costs.

"In fact, this was what kept me sane during the lockdown," she says, adding that Oriental Cravings' closure had left her devastated so this has kept her going.

Kyet Thar See-Pyan (Burmese Chicken Curry).

Image via SAYS

Myat & Potatoes' team started with seven of them, including a couple of her staff who were working at Oriental Cravings and some of their friends. But it has now dwindled down to three, as most have gone back to full-time employment.

"Those left helming the project are waiting to go back to Myanmar once they are allowed to." The ones currently involved are Maung Maung Oo, Su Su Win, and Khin Mawng Lin, who are all from Yangon and were previously working at Oriental Cravings.

"Maung O and Su Su are the parents of the twins whom we used the middle name for Myat and Potatoes (because it rhymes with Meat and Potatoes hahaha)."

The menu includes five delicious Burmese dishes, as well as three local ones

These are the Burmese dishes:
1. Mohinga – widely known as the national dish of Myanmar, consisting of a fish-based broth with rice vermicelli, fish floss, fish cake, eggs, raw long beans, and chickpea crackers.
2. Nan Gyi Thoke – A dry noodle dish consisting of lou shi fun, dry curry pork, fish cake, eggs, raw long beans, and chickpea crackers.
3. Mot Phat Thoke – Cold noodles consisting of rice vermicelli tossed with fish floss, raw long beans, chickpea crackers, crispy shallots, and garlic oil.
4. Lahpet Thoke -– A refreshing salad of fermented tea leaves on a bed of cabbage, tomatoes, and topped with a crunchy mix of peas, nuts, garlic, and dried shrimp.
5. Topu Thoke – Protein-packed chickpea tofu in tamarind dressing with crispy garlic and kaffir lime leaf.

The Malaysian dishes include Oriental Cravings' signatures:
1. Claypot loh shi fun
2. Bittergourd mee hoon
3. Yam cake

On occasion, the small team also adds weekly specials to the menu.

"The most popular item I would say is Mohinga and Lahpet Thoke, as they are the more well-known dishes," Cheng shares.


Image via SAYS

SAYS got to taste them and we would honestly order them again. The Mohinga is thick, packed with flavour, and kind of tastes like a combination of laksa and mee jawa. 

We loved the fermented tea leaves in the Lahpet Thoke, which was crunchy and refreshing to pair with the Mohinga. 

Lahpet Thoke.

Image via SAYS

The Burmese chicken curry, which came with rice and egg, was also yummy. Overall, the dishes were flavourful and each one tasted comforting in their own way.

For first-timers who've never had Burmese food, Cheng explains that it's "very much influenced by its neighbouring countries and you will find similarities in ingredients and taste from those countries".

"It is also very close to our local food but they are generally lighter and cleaner in taste, relying on a lot of fresh ingredients — largely onions, lemongrass, and tomatoes."

Image via SAYS

"You do find a combination of sour, bitter, salty, sweet, and spicy in most of their dishes. And they do like texture, so you will see a lot of nuts, seeds, legumes, and crackers in their food. Also, if comparing with Thai, the flavours are much lighter but you can enhance it with the addition of fish sauce, chilli flakes, and other side dips."

Though this started as a way for her to help her boys temporarily earn an income, the overwhelming support has been encouraging

As for future plans, Cheng shares that it really depends on how things pan out.

"This is a temporary thing and once they find gainful employment, it will probably be the end of it. But they are happy they get to showcase their country's cuisine which seems to be catching up in a lot of countries. There is a very popular Burmese restaurant in San Francisco where you see constant queues.

"I would like to see it go further but really depends on the acceptance of this cuisine and with this current climate it is quite risky to start a new business. But who knows what the future might hold."

Since Myat & Potatoes is home-based, they operate on a pre-order basis to avoid food wastage.

You can order via WhatsApp.

They deliver anywhere in Klang Valley that is covered by Grab and MrSpeedy.

Check out their Instagram or drop them a WhatsApp message at +6012-2200837.

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