Mamalan will open its fifth restaurant in the heart of Shoreditch this October, serving authentic Beijing street food. To celebrate the launch, Mamalan will be offering 50% off all food for a week from Thursday 13 October. But first, we get behind the scenes with Ning Ma, founder of Mamalan

Describe Mamalan in 3 words…

Family, hearty, tasty.

How did Mamalan begin?

Mamalan started as a weekend supper club in my living room. The idea was to do something fun with my mum serving food that I grew up with.

Don't miss the dumplings on the menu

Don’t miss the dumplings on the menu

Who are the team behind Mamalan?

The name Mamalan came from my mum (my mum’s first name is Lan) and she’s the person who taught me how to cook the dishes that are serving in the restaurant today. My mum still helps out in the restaurants on a regular basis.

I have built a team of managers that look after each restaurant and are helping me to grow the business.

Chicken buns at Mamalan

Spicy chicken buns at Mamalan

You were inspired by your grandfather’s stall in Beijing. Tell us a few memories of your family street food business…

My grandad and mum used to have a market stall selling dumplings and Beijing street snacks. The stall was on the back of a bicycle, that we used to wheel out every day.

I remember my granddad, my mum and my aunties would form a production line in our old family home making dumplings and other Beijing street snacks. Sometimes they had to make the dumplings overnight to keep up with the demand.

It wasn’t unusual to see people waiting at the entrance of the market to get their hands on the freshly made dumplings before my granddad’s bicycle even got to its stand.

Any why did you start in Brixton?

The market my granddad sold his dumplings in was a neighbourhood market and was buzzing. It was full of fresh fruits, vegetables and homemade goodies. A bit like Brixton Village market, which was the reason I fell in love with Brixton and started my first restaurant there.

Beijing Skewers

Beijing Skewers

What dishes should we look out for in the new Mamalan?

Of course our dumplings and noodles! Also, the buns are very good. We have a new selection of cocktails inspired by Asian ingredients.

From supper club to restaurant, how have you adapted and learned along the way?

It has been a very steep learning curve. In a restaurant, anything could go wrong from tables, equipments to electrics. The pressure of serving customers consistently at high standard day after day is immense. There’s no other way to adapt and learn except just push yourself to keep going and tell yourself not to give up as it was definitely tempting at times.

Vegetable noodle soup

Vegetable noodle soup

What are your #streeteatsloves in Beijing?

My favourite street eats in Beijing is definitely in Cow Street, where you can get freshly made dumplings, buns and BBQ skewers.

Top tips for making dumplings?

Flour all working surfaces so the dough is not sticking together.

Spicy Chicken Wings

Spicy Chicken Wings

Your favourite Local Loves in London…

I love eating anywhere on a street market and London is definitely great for that! From Borough Market, Brixton Village, Broadway Market… all amazing places!

Mamalan | Unit 9, Ground floor, 6 Rich Mix Square, London E1 6LD | See website for further locations.

Mamalan will be offering 50% off all food for a week from Thursday 13 October.

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