ABOUT OUR RESTAURANT
Ma Khin was my great-grandmother. She was born in Moulmein, a city in Burma situated at the mouth of the Salween river. My great-grandmother made cheroots, similar to cigars, which she sold in the city bazaar. That’s where she met Sir William Carr, my great-grandfather, an official in the Indian Civil Service, who bought cheroots from Ma Khin and inevitably fell in love with her.
Ma Khin was business-like, tough, and non-conformist; strict but fair and given to acts of generosity. Committed to her husband but never submissive she was a great host and conversationalist who loved to eat and cook. She provided the inspiration for this restaurant, rooted like me in both Asia and the Mediterranean
Ma Khin Café is Steve’s second restaurant in Valencia. Anglo Burmese and trained as a physics teacher, he first visited Valencia in 1991 and decided to stay. After a few years working as a teacher here Steve decided his future was in cooking, and he applied for a job in London as a trainee chef with Alastair Little, the father of modern British cooking. Steve came back to Valencia in 1996 and opened Seu Xerea, the first restaurant in the city to offer fusion food.
Ma Khin Café opened in 2014, a new concept in Valencia it serves Decolonial Asian Food. Firmly rooted in the gastronomic culture of Burma, this is food that takes history and gastronomy seriously. It respects culinary traditions, celebrates cultural encounters and sharing, and looks forward to a world where people are welcomed as much as their food.
GOING SLOWLY, COMING NICELY
Our mother worked as a hospital doctor and wasn’t always at home when we got back from school. Like many mothers she depended on our grandmother, Grandy for help with child care. Grandy, the third daughter of Ma Khin was there to make our tea, and to treat us to her wonderful home-made toffee. I was her favourite, and I loved to help her in the kitchen, watching her stirring a heavy iron pot of condensed milk and sugar as she murmured “Going slowly, coming nicely” and kept my appetite at bay with her stories of life in colonial Burma.
Later on, when I was at university, I would cook for my flat mates. I’d often call Grandy and ask for recipes which she gladly read out to me, reminding me always “…and don’t forget the going slowly coming nicely”