Sweet Mandarin – Helen Tse
Spanning almost a hundred years, this rich and evocative true story recounts the lives of three generations of remarkable Chinese women. Their extraordinary journey takes us from the brutal poverty of village life in mainland China to newly prosperous 1930s Hong Kong and finally to the West. Their lives were as dramatic as the times they lived through.
A love of food and a talent cooking pulled each generation through the most devastating of upheavals. Helen Tse’s grandmother, Lily Kowk, was forced to work as an amah after the violent murder of her father. She honed her famous chicken curry recipe as she crossed the ocean from Hong Kong in the 1950s, and she eventually opened her own restaurant where her daughter, Mabel, worked from the tender age of seven. But gambling and the Triads were pervasive in the Chinese immigrant community, and they tragically lost the restaurant. It was up to Helen and her sisters, the third generation of these exceptional women, to re-establish their grandmother’s dream.