Our history, food, family and conflict

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Ma Khin

Ma Khin Café is inspired by and pays homage to the life of Steve Anderson’s great-grandmother.

“My great-grandmother Ma Khin was born in Moulmein, in Myanmar. She belonged to the Mon ethnic group, and grew up in a poor family. She made a living in the market selling cheroots which she made herself.

This is where she met my great-grandfather, William Carr, an English judge who worked in the colonial civil service of the country then known as Burma”.

Stephen Anderson

The coexistence of the two traditions has always marked Steve’s life, inspired his food and encouraged him to open Ma Khin Café.

Going slowly, coming nicely. Let us be your guide, and remember, ‘going slowly, coming nicely’.

Mum’s job meant she couldn’t always be at home when we got back from school, so our grandmother was called upon to help. Grandy, Ma Khin’s third daughter, would be there to make our tea, including her wonderful toffee. I was her favourite and loved to be in the kitchen with her, watching her stir a heavy cast iron pot of bubbling condensed milk and sugar, and as it slowly darkened and caramelised she’d tell me ‘going slowly, coming nicely’, entertaining me with stories about her life in Burma.

Later on, as an undergraduate student, I’d cook for myself and my housemates, often calling Grandy to ask for recipes that she gladly shared over the phone reminding me ‘… and don’t forget the going slowly, coming nicely’.