Mama Lam’s Story
Mama Lam was born and raised in Ulu Yam, a town outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Ulu Yam is one of those towns where you knew everyone and everyone’s business. Mama Lam was the 8th of 10 children and she was very tomboy-like, climbing trees and running around. When she finished high school, she started working in the city (Kuala Lumpur) for a few years. Then, she had the opportunity to join one of her older sisters in America. In 1985, she arrived in New York City, specifically in Queens.
Young Mama Lam in her hometown
The Origins Of Mama Lam’s Curry Paste & Hot Sauce
New York City is a melting pot of cultures and foods, but back in the 80s, there were very few Malaysians that immigrated to America. It was not easy to get a taste of home back then. Even now, you can only find about 10 restaurants that serve authentic Malaysian dishes. As a new immigrant to NYC, it was only natural Mama Lam started to get homesick. Growing up, Mama Lam would run down the street in her hometown to get a bowl of curry noodle soup for breakfast or lunch. When she’s in NYC, she definitely can’t do that. So, she decided to call up her mom to get a recipe.
She finally figured out how to make her curry paste and had to tweak a few things to what she could find here. However, she felt like it wasn’t hot enough for her. If you don’t know, Malaysians love spicy foods! Mama Lam tried to add other hot sauces to her curry paste but it just wasn’t the right flavor. Eventually, she gave up on looking for one and decided to make her own!
Ever since then, she’s been making curry paste and hot sauce for herself and her family to enjoy for years. At family parties, her curry chicken dish was always a big hit! At home, she would whip up a quick bowl of curry noodle soup.
Mama Lam with her two daughters in Canada.
Mama Lam’s, The Company
Mama Lam never thought of selling her curry paste or hot sauce. It wasn’t until almost 30 years later, when her daughters, Cassandra and Carissa, suggested that it would be a great idea. The three of them were travelling in Canada and came across a Southeast Asian stand that was serving Curry Laksa. They ordered it and while it was good, they still thought Mama Lam’s was still better. This was in 2014, when the idea sprouted and the journey to launch the brand began.
In 2016, we finally launched the brand, Mama Lam’s with our first product – Malaysian Traditional Medium Curry Paste. We didn’t think it was a medium spice level but the average American would consider this medium. Back then, we only had one product and since then, we have added five more products to our line.