Retrenched because of Covid-19, ex-hotel workers in Penang provide delicious packed meals at W. Kitchen

W. Kitchen staff prepares lunch boxes for delivery and takeaways. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE

W. Kitchen staff prepares lunch boxes for delivery and takeaways. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE

GEORGE TOWN, March 11 — When The Northam All Suite Hotel closed its doors last June for a massive two-year renovation, most of its employees were laid off.

Wang Chen Yee, 54, who was the general manager, decided to start a small food business and roped in some of the former hotel employees.

“We were retrenched so I was thinking of what to do next and I wanted to do something to help those who are talented but with nowhere to go,” he said.

This saw the birth of W. Kitchen in late June, a catering and lunch box business located in a shophouse at Arratoon Road in George Town.

The team of about 10 people, all retrenched hotel workers, started producing hotel-quality and reasonably-priced breakfast, lunch and dinner sets for delivery and takeaways.

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Takeout from the Trading Post | On the Table

If you’re looking for a bowl of khao poon noodles, pad thai or even basic Chinese beef and broccoli, Hoopa might not be the first place you look. But Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to around 7 p.m., it’s not unusual to see a line of cars, some from Willow Creek and Orleans, pulling up to the Hoopa Trading Post to pick up those dishes and more from Young’s Kitchen. On an average day, some 60 customers might come through for Thai, Lao, Vietnamese and Chinese food delivered curbside by Nathan Phetsouphanh and his wife Amanda Young Phetsouphanh. On a busy day, according to Nathan, it’s closer to 100.

Since December, they’ve been hauling in propane — as Hoopa doesn’t have natural gas lines — and cooking in the Trading Post’s commercial kitchen, where, as long as they operate according to the tribal food code established in 2003,

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