We’ve seen well-loved restaurants say goodbye due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the past year, and now another family business has made the tough decision to call it a day.
Oriental Cravings bid goodbye to its supporters as it closes the chapter on its 17 years of operations in 1 Utama. The restaurant served home-style Chinese food, reminiscent of the dishes that one’s grandma would cook at home.
Its farewell post on social media thanked customers for their patronage over the years which has helped support the team’s families and allowed the recipes of their elders to live on.
It also expressed its gratitude for the shared memories such as birthdays, first dates, and friendships experienced at the eatery. The small business even got to see some of their patron’s kids grow up.
Passing down traditions
Oriental Cravings was founded by friends Doreen Tan, Fay Cheng, and June Yap in 2003. The trio met over the defunct 18-20th Centuries Restaurant in Taman Tun founded by June which used to serve Western food. When the popularity of the cuisine waned, they decided to move onto something different.
As non-halal restaurants were rare at the time—according to Malay Mail—the ladies saw a gap to fill in the F&B scene. When they pitched the idea to 1 Utama’s management, they were surprised to learn that the higher-ups were also on board to welcome such a restaurant on their premises.
Oriental Cravings’ offerings showcased the recipes of dialect food that Doreen, Fay, and June grew up with as children. Doreen is of Heng Hwa heritage, Fay has a Hainanese and Cantonese background, while June is Hakka.
Many recipes like their uncommon chicken curry with ham choy (preserved vegetables) have no distinct origin but are just a part of their family history.
Though predominantly shaped by the trio’s mothers, these recipes have been passed down from generations before them. They were used to nourish their many growing children and grandchildren; they were the source of the families’ bread and butter.
The restaurant’s centrepriece was a wall of black-and-white photographs that proudly displayed the restaurant’s heritage. They comprised friends and family, one of them being a group of 3 women in the centre displaying Doreen, Fay, and June’s mothers who taught them how to cook.
“As we take the photos down from these walls and flip the switches off for the last time, we are filled with both sadness and overwhelming gratitude for all the joy this space has held for us,” Oriental Cravings said in their final goodbye.
It will be missed
The restaurant’s closure announcement on Facebook has received over 100 comments from patrons thanking Oriental Cravings for its dishes and hospitality. On Instagram, its post has received over 200 comments doing the same.
Based on the sentiments shared, it’s clear that the restaurant was a fond place for customers young and old who frequented it.
“It’s goodbye for now, and we sincerely wish you the best,” the team wrote to customers in the social media post. Being a business with loyal supporters and many family recipes that are well-loved, we wondered if they would return under a new name when things have improved and stabilised in the future.
Only time will tell, but we’re sure that if they decide to do just that, families will flock to their doors once more, eager to enjoy food the way grandma makes it.
Editor’s Note: We’ve reached out to Oriental Cravings’ team to learn more about their situation, and will update this piece accordingly.
- You can learn more about Oriental Cravings’ closure here.
- You can read about more Malaysian F&B brands we’ve covered here.
Featured Image Credit: Chuang Lanying on Google Maps / Oriental Cravings