Spicy, Delicious, Singaporean Street Food: Meet Emily Lim
This April we're celebrating Southeast Asian street food and luckily there's several restaurants and small businesses serving up delicious street food right here in the Bay Area.
We're excited to highlight Emily Lim, the boss babe behind Dabao Singapore, a pop up in San Francisco delivering Singaporean hawker food!
Emily Lim is Singaporean born and raised. She studied Mass Communications for her diploma and did marketing for many years. Feeling unfulfilled and itching to work more with her passion being food, she decided to make a career switch and attained a degree in Culinary Arts Management via the Culinary Institute of America in Singapore.
In 2014, she moved to San Mateo, California on an internship as a cook at a 1 Michelin Star Indian-Californian restaurant, then progressed to other fine-dining restaurants in San Francisco, while never looking back from cooking.
In 2020, when COVID-19 hit and she was laid off, she felt a need to help build her motivation back as well as to create jobs for her friends who were also let go from their jobs due to the pandemic. June 2020, Dabao Singapore, a Singaporean food pop-up based in San Francisco that was doing take out and delivery foods only, was born!
Fun fact: Emily has competed on a television cooking show, using her Singaporean food repertoire to her advantage and has won a number of challenges there. The TV show is Guy’s Grocery Games and is aired on Food Network Channel or other cable providers.
Follow her on Instagram: @em.limweiling
Follow Dabao Singapore: @dabaosingapore
What inspired you to become a chef/food biz owner?
I think deep inside of any cook is an artist itching to create something that brings together their sensory elements. I resonate with that. I want to create tings for people to taste, so that they can experience a sensation.
Why did you want to highlight the food you are creating?
I think Singaporean food lacks representation in San Francisco. I may be a ripple in the ocean of Southeast Asian foods in The Bay, but I am more than happy to recreate and share with people the foods I grew up with.
What is your favorite dish? Is there a story behind it?
As a child, it was simply a very delicious dish that had some heat to it. But as an adult, laksa is a seafood noodle soup dish that has a rich history in terms of melding a variety of cultures together - which in turn I believe is the epitome of Singapore. Rempah, the spice paste that is used in Laksa, originated from Indonesia and/or Malaysia. However, the dish contains rice noodles - which was introduced by the Chinese immigrants that came to Singapore in the mid 1900s. Not only that, the key ingredient, the laksa leaf, is known as Vietnamese mint! The dish is a melting pot of at least 3 different races’ influence! How amazing is that?
What does courage mean to you?
I think being courageous is to be 100% true to yourself.
Where can we expect to see you in the next few years?
Hopefully all over The Bay! With Dabao Singapore!
Thank you so much Emily for sharing her story with us! Tuk Tuk Box is proud to exclusively feature Southeast Asian ingredients and include refugee, migrant, and generational stories in every box.
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