The inspiring story of the new family-run Asian street food restaurant in Cambridgeshire
A family who moved from Hong Kong to Cambridgeshire to live a “free” life have opened a popular East Asian takeaway in their town.
Sandy opened CLS Asian Street Food on Churchgate Street in Soham with her younger sister and brother. The family’s decision to start a restaurant stems from their passion for East Asian cuisine.
Sandy said, “We all love to cook, and we always try to make so many different dishes: Japanese, Thai, Korean, Hong Kong.”
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Sandy said the community has been “so kind” and very curious about their food, sparking some fascinating conversations.
When asked why they chose such a variety of Asian dishes, Sandy replied CambridgeshireLive: “In fact, Hong Kong food is a combination of influences from all over the world, variety, quality and taste… Usually the quality is quite high. There are so many different varieties of food. Hong Kong embraces food from other countries and fits in well with its own style.”
Some of the menu items include Bulgogi, a Korean dish of marinated beef or pork, and Japche, a Korean specialty of stir-fried glass noodles. Diners can also enjoy Taiwanese bubble tea and an assortment of desserts, including Hong Kong egg waffles, popular with street vendors in downtown Hong Kong.
Sandy added: “It’s a small place, and that’s why we can only do a small menu. We can’t do everything we want right now. The locals are so nice and kind, and the conversations we have with them about our cuisine are so interesting. They are very curious.”
Sandy said CambridgeshireLive she was “impressed” with the UK and is “tremendously grateful” to have been so well received, saying they wanted to “work hard” and give back to the community.
Sandy first moved to the UK on her own in 2020 and was later joined by her family when she became eligible for the British National Overseas (BNO) visa.
She said: “To begin with, it was just me coming here, in September 2020. It was not easy to make the decision, because my family was in Hong Kong and there was no visa for them. , so my family had found it difficult. to follow me. My siblings’ families then joined, and we were initially seven in total in the UK. My parents then changed their minds six months ago and joined us.
“My younger sister’s family also came five months ago. We are now 15 here!
Sandy, a savvy businesswoman, former financial planner in Hong Kong, currently lives with her sister and brother’s family in Soham, alongside her sixty-year-old parents in what is a multi-generational home. Soham’s proximity to Cambridge, excellent road links and ‘history’ combined to make it an attractive place to move to.
Despite worrying about their safety in Hong Kong, the family did not make the easy decision to move to the UK. She added: “We have decided to move, but it is still not easy to make the decision to leave a place where we grew up and that we love, and we know that our English is not good!
“We made the decision to leave because I wanted to be free. I wanted the children in my family to grow up in an environment where they could express themselves. From my point of view, if they stay in Hong Kong, they must lie to protect themselves because there is no freedom of speech there. What we want in an environment is freedom and respect. I think those two things go together. With these two things, I think it’s very good, we found that there is neither in Hong Kong.
On the question of the English language, she told us that there was still a long way to go for her family: “My father said that I like English, and I know that there are 24 letters.
“I knew then that there was a lot of work to do!”