The Yang brothers were afraid that their family’s heirloom recipes would just die naturally, so they started Mommy Dolor’s Kitchen three years ago.The home-based brand started eight years after Mommy Dolor Perez-Yang died.
“I asked my Kuya Jairuz to make bagoong and bottle it so I could give it to my VIP friends, like what my family used to do in the ’70s and ’80s,” says Jaison Yang. “I asked him to be loyal to the original recipe of our Lola Cordia, which is more on the salty side. It uses fresh and live alamang with lots of crispy pork and garlic. Not long after, my friends began ordering. Christmas 2017, we were bottling hundreds of jars and got orders from as far as the United States and the United Kingdom.”
All the Yang siblings are involved, with Jaison taking care of sales and marketing; their youngest Janus, a fine arts graduate, in charge of labeling and packaging; and even Jairuz’s wife handling the accounting.
True to tradition, it’s the gentlemen in the family who run the kitchen, in this case, Jairuz, the eldest of the brothers who does the cooking. In their old house in Malabon, it was their Tio Isagani and Tio Crispin, their mom’s siblings, who tended to their daily meals because their mother had her own set of kids to prepare food for: the school children.
She used to run a small sari-sari store at the elementary school near their house. She would sell a lot of her cheese pimiento sandwich, Mommy Dolor’s Kitchen’s second product. It was introduced to the market last January and, like the bagoong, was well received.
With more time on their hands because of the pandemic, the Yangs decided to add to their lineup.
There is adobong pusit en su tinta and tortang alimasag, two dishes the family would eat on Fridays and during Holy Week. The pork hamonado is enjoyed whenever there’s a fiesta and also during the holidays. The tapang kabayo is a Sunday breakfast staple, while the rellenong bangus is what they would often give as a gift to balikbayan.
The Yangs are not fond of vegetables, “but we have this one vegetable dish, kilawing labanos, which Mom would put a lot of pork and liver into to make it ‘edible,’” recalls Jaison.
All their items are faithful to the family’s original recipes. “We want people to experience the real taste of an old-fashioned Malabon bagoong, the taste of a real handaan during a town fiesta through our hamonado, and the tortang alimasag, which isn’t like a commercially produced crab cake. It has no extenders and preservatives,” says Jaison.
Mommy Dolor’s dishes are all made from scratch, so orders require two days’ advance notice.
“I don’t think we will ever have a commissary because our items are not made for that kind of production,” adds Jaison.
Malabon is a city that has a lot of notably delicious food, and the brothers acknowledge that. That’s why they have extended their service and also accept orders for dishes made by their friends and neighbors.
These include the in-demand mechado from Aling Mely’s Carinderia, the pancit Malabon from their beloved shop, Nanay’s, the famous Betsy’s soft broas, Hazel’s Puto Pao, and Aling Tessie Punzalan’s turon called Trianggulo Valencia.
“Our family loves to eat. We are simple, but this does not stop us from having good food on our table. It’s an attitude that is very common among the families in Malabon,” says Jaison.
“I remember when we were children, our house would get flooded. We didn’t have the money to fix our roof, but still we feasted on that day’s freshest catch—the best mud crabs, sugpo and lapu-lapu—for an ordinary lunch. Why bother with the house renovation when you can have great seafood?!” INQMommy Dolor’s Kitchen: tel. 0929-3334661; follow Mommy Dolor’s Kitchen on Facebook, @mommydolorskitchen on Instagram.