Grace Chin Yang Moi’s dining table is laden with all the customary meals that typically make up her family’s Chinese New Year reunion meal.
Chin is a sweet soul who intermittently tends to her 90-year-old father-in-law Leong Siew Nyap or quietly speaks to her son Jebb Liong as she ladles soup into bowls and feeds her family.
In many ways, Chin’s nurturing qualities have largely been inherited from her own mother, who came from a large family of 13 and frequently cooked for the whole extended clan.
“At any festival or occasion, my mum would be the one cooking and my sister and I would be there to help. Because I watched my mum cook so much, I knew what ingredients she used, but didn’t keep it in my head or write it down anywhere, ” admits Chin.
But when she moved from Sabah to Kuala Lumpur in 2000, Chin was forced to cook for her own young family and had to recall her mother’s many recipes.
“That’s when I really picked up cooking. And from there, I slowly improved and soon found that cooking is not actually that difficult. These days, you can just give me any ingredient and I can come up with a dish!” she says euphorically.