Feeling's Kitchen

July 15, 2015


Her name is Feeling. I knew her through Skylar, the girl whom I worked with for Hotel Room Magazine. All these interesting people seem to be connected to one another. 

For this interview, Feeling and I met at a chic Japanese restaurant in Ampang. I liked the yellow light, wooden table and relaxing ambience - it helped my brain to unwind and listen attentively to the interesting things Feeling told me.

She loves cooking and experimenting new recipes from Europe, especially Scandinavian. On our previous meeting, we talked about different cooking methods and flipped though a thick book of Jamie Oliver's recipes together. I had never met anyone who can discuss this interest with me.  

How did your love for cooking begin?
I used to stay away from the kitchen. It all began in July 2012 when I went to Sweden. It opened my mind to a new world and new definition of cooking and enjoying food. 

What happened?
I was working in a travel agency. I experienced a bottleneck in my job and needed a break.  To escape from the bottleneck, I wanted to live in another country for a while. Looking at the world map, I thought of a friend in Sweden.
Sofia was a guest at the resort I worked in Pulau Perhentian before I was working in the travel agency. That job introduced me to many foreigners. At that time, Northern Europe was not a popular travel destination, most people would choose London or Paris. I wanted a place where it's less crowded. Sofia agreed to be my host, so I went all the way to Sweden. Haha.

That sounds like a fun move! 
Yes! It changed my mindset. Besides Sweden, I went to Oslo too. There are some differences between here and Europe, of course. For instance, I got into the driver side of the car. And I called Sofia's mother by her name, Bobbo instead of calling her Aunty. 

How was Sweden?
Sofia was a wonderful host. I spent a few days with her in Gothenburg and then followed her to her hometown, Lysekil, which is a small town by the sea. 
On my first day in Lysekil, Sofia and I were hungry and shopping for instant food that we could heat up at home. Her mother heard this, stopped us and came to the grocery store straight from work, saying, "No, we can't let our guest have instant meatballs!" She decided to get fresh ingredients and cooked for us - the real authentic Swedish meal. 

And that's when you started to love Scandinavian style?
Yes! After shopping, we stopped by Sofia's brother's house, which is right next to the port. 
Sofia said, " Shall we jump into the sea?" "Now?""Why not?" Moments later, Sofia, Bobbo and I were in our swimsuit, jumping into the water.

Bobbo? Her mum jumped into the water too?!
I genuinely like their warmth, friendliness and spontaneity.
After jumping into the sea, we returned to Sofia's house and began cooking. Usually in Malaysia, we would take a shower after dipping in the sea, but they wouldn't. And interestingly I didn't feel sticky or uncomfortable. 
We began cooking. It was a simple meal - Swedish meatballs, pasta, potato with lingonberry sauce.
In the middle of dinner, Bobbo proposed that we should make pastry. Then we started making cinnamon rolls.
That dinner lasted for hours. I couldn't forget the friendly and warm atmosphere, fragrance of food and the people.

"That night ended beautifully - Sofia prepared a bath tub full of water and essential oils. It's wonderful."

Photos by Feeling: (Top) Feeling jumping into the cold sea. (Bottom) Cinnamon rolls - after and before baked. (Bottom right) Meatballs, potatoes, pasta and lingonberry sauce.

Sounds like a good life there!
Yeah! We visited Sofia's grandmother, who hadn't been out of the country for her life. She was curious of me and prepared lunch for us. That lunch was unique: porridge with milk and butter, flat bread, soda, dessert was a bowl of milk, sliced strawberry and sugar. 

"I enjoy recipes with a family history or traits like that."

How do the story continue when you return to Malaysia?
I started serious cooking last year when I was staying with a bunch of foreigners and had to manage my own meals. 
Here in Malaysia, if we want to have a good meal, it's either we need to drive a distance, endure the traffic jam, look for parking space - and eventually the food served is below our expectation. 
Why don't we cook at home? I began experimenting different recipes.

How would you describe your style?
Scandinavian, Kinfolk-style.

You mentioned you have a big dream right?
One day, when I am more financially stable, I want to open a restaurant that serves only dinner. The menu changes every month, with recipes I collected from each country. Maybe January I'll serve Swedish meatballs, February I'll serve Norwegian food...
I wish that through food, I can build connections between different people and create precious moments.

Once I was playing with French recipes and my friend surprised me by bringing in two French guys I hadn't met before! "I'm serving French food to French guys!" I was anxious and nervous of what they might think about my food and presentation. Surprisingly they gave wonderful compliments, saying that the meal exactly resembled the taste back at home. They also gave constructive suggestions. We had a great time together.

"That is exactly what I love - food connects people."


You can find Feeling on her Facebook Page: My Kinfolk Journey & Feeling ~ Around the World
She's been running a mobile kitchen in which she will cater for small gatherings. Do contact her if you want something different from usual caterers for your intimate gathering.

Feeling and I talked about some other things and a bit about future. And we both agreed on one thing - people of similar interest will eventually be attracted together. I love that. 

It's my pleasure to have her here on the blog. She's not your average girl, not your average girl.

While waiting for my arrival, she was reading this book entitled

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