Welcome to My Long Table | Tok Panjang
This site is about Family Relationships, Your Culture and Encouragement!
Moving to a new country, whether it is for work or by choice, involves lots of decision making, planning, research, commitment and sacrifices on all parties involved. It may be researching new schools for the children, learning a different language, accllimatising to different weather conditions, having new customs, new net working for the stay at home parent as well work front, dealing with the loss of family support, and maybe financial stress etc.
However, I want you to know that no matter where you are in the world, no matter where you are in your journey, I am here to support you.
I want to assure you that you are capable of having a wonderful life, and can overcome cultural challenges in your new country. You can bridge generational gaps with your children despite cultural, generational and language challenges, and how to cope on your own in your new adopted country without the support of your loved ones close by.
Also, know that you have the power to take advantage of the adventure being in a foreign country. You have an opportunity to learn new cultures, to expend your outlook and life experiences, and at the same time to learn more about yourself and to grow together as a family.
I am honoured to be able to share my journey with you. Let’s connect through Facebook! Let’s share our journey together.
>> My Mission
About Lay Ean
My name is Lay-Ean Eng. I am an amateur cook who simply loves everyday home-cooked traditional Malaysian dishes and believes that food is always cooked with love.
I believe that the kitchen is the most important part of the home – the best place to have fun, to connect and to share your love with your family and friends through food.
I was born in Penang, Malaysia and came to Australia to study almost 30 years ago, and ended up settling in Australia. I married and settled in this beautiful city of Sydney with my loving and supportive husband, Patrick, and my two adult children, Jonathan and Eileen.
I was born into a traditional Baba Nonya family (Chinese migrants who intermarried with the locals and settled in Malaysia during the early 1400s), and was the second child of three. I can speak Malay, Mandarin, Hokkien and English. I grew up in a very close-knit family who just loved food; also I came from Penang – which is the heart of “food nuts”.
Family. Culture. Encouragement
Why The Long Table?
This is the story of my long table. In the Malaysian language, a long table is called “tok panjang”.
Tok, means table, and Panjang means long.
In my family, we used to have a long table (tok panjang), where members of the family would gather around for meals or for special occasions, such as birthdays or weddings. It is a place where people felt relaxed and comfortable to be among loved ones, and to share, bond and reconnect.
Meal time at the long table was an important time of the day for my family. It was a time when family members gathered and enjoyed good food together. It was the time to share our daily experiences, interact, and so bond and build relationships with our loved ones.
By sharing meals together with your family and friends around your long table, you can see the importance of family, relationships with family and friends, and your culture, values and your heritage. It is a time for FAMILY and friends to connect while sharing meals together.
Share your LOVE, share your CULTURE
Everyone has their own culture and traditions, no matter where you are in the world. Your culture is about your language, your food, your birth name, your tribe, your sense of identity, your religion and your mannerism. Your culture gives you your heritage; it is the basis of your identity, your foundation of WHO you are and WHAT you stand for.
So no matter where you are in the world or if you are far away from your family and missing those cultural celebrations of your birth country, instead of feeling lonely, the best way to beat the home-sickness is to share your long table with your friends? Share your culture and make the transition into your new home easier and more fun – by introducing cultural food to your new found friends.
By sharing your culture with your family, it will also help you and your children keep in touch with their heritage!
Traditional foods (which shaped our traditions and culture) are wholesome homemade dishes that have been consumed by our ancestors for generations. They were created from the freshest, naturally grown nourishing whole ingredients, thoughtfully prepared and enjoyed for generations. Our family dishes are passed down for us to enjoy – in other words, they represent your culture, your roots and who you are.
By introducing these dishes to your children, it is also introducing your culture to them. These traditional dishes also mean remembering who you are and allowing your children to understand your culture, and where their parents are from. Most importantly, traditional food allows them to establish deeper and more meaningful relationships with their roots and connections with you.
Would we still be eating those traditional dishes every day?
I am sure we would have, however, due to the demands of modern lifestyles, busy families are opting to outsource family meals to other people (eating out most days) or corporations (i.e. buying frozen food from supermarkets) – which are not only low in nutritional value, but most importantly we are losing touch with our roots – who we are!
I am passionate about getting parents to start reconnecting to the kitchen! Reconnecting to your roots, reconnecting to who you are and start bringing back your traditional dishes back to your long table, and share them with your children and family.
Furthermore, it is said that food is prepared from love; I totally agree with that saying. When I think about those traditional dishes that we shared during festivities, it reminded me of the FUN time we had as children during the food preparation processes. And fun eating them as well.
When I share traditional dishes with friends and relatives, it gives me a sense of connection and belonging.
Therefore, I am going to share with you not only my childhood baba nonya dishes that I grew up with that I loved, but I am going to fine tune those dishes to suit your current situation. I will include ingredients that you can get in your home/adopted country AND within the time frame that you have, so that you are able to share your LOVE, your culture, your values, your beliefs with your family and friends.
My focus is on you and your family:
- Encourage you to start reconnecting to your kitchen even if you are a reluctant cook. We will start with simple dishes and the ingredients, PLUS based on the time frame that you have and what ingredients you can find in your country. This way, you will be encouraged to step out of your comfort zone and start enjoying delicious simple everyday (Malaysian) dishes from your own kitchen and share your love with your family.
- I am going to encourage you to invite your children to join you in the kitchen, spend time with you, create connections and open up communications with them the FUN way, while bonding with them!
- I believe that learning starts from home! I will be sharing with you fun activities from the kitchen that you can enjoy with your children while preparing your meals together. You will be surprised how much your children will learn by simply helping out in the kitchen. I will be sharing simple activities can be from everyday interactions such as photos I take along the roadside or from home or something I draw or an image I upload.
I believe that no matter where you are in the world, you can still enjoy your culture through your traditional dishes and reconnecting with your roots and bonding with your children – it all starts in the kitchen!
Let’s start cooking and connecting NOW!