CAI 蔡 was eventually founded in 2020 by us, the Chua siblings — Irwin, Amanda and Charmaine — after decades in the making, growing in the love and comfort of the various kitchens in our family. With much fondness, we have always been learning from both of our ah-mahs' cooking.
While keeping the bellies of our Hokkien family filled and delighted, our late paternal ah-mah Ah Keow, kept generations of family recipes alive to be savoured and shared among family, friends and neighbours; who were always fed very well on account of her passion for cooking excessively!
In the melting pot, are the secrets of our maternal ah-mah Ah Mui, whose recipes are strongly influenced by her and our ah-gong's heritage, as a Hainanese-Peranakan from Terengganu, Malaysia. Numerous members of the family as well as our friends, from the Strait of Malacca to the United States of America, attest that Ah Mui is their favourite cook.
Interestingly, both our ah-mahs have the same response whenever we beg for their recipes. “No recipe!” they would maintain. Both of them taught us that the best way to cook is to agak-agak, insist on quality ingredients and “cook with the heart”—and from what we have observed with CAI, they have been absolutely right.
We strongly believe in the importance of keeping our Hokkien and Hainanese-Peranakan heritage from both sides of the family alive — and what better way to do so than to learn our ah-mahs’ “recipes”, master them, and share them with our community.
Offering authenticity with a twist of our own flair, our aim is to add finesse to what’s already amazing; and share the home-cooked love we have been so lucky to experience.