Logo - Mama Judy Restaurant

Unapologetically Authentic

Welcome to Mama Judy


Mama Judy will open in a cozy little corner of Park St. Alameda, this August 2023, bringing her vision alive – a place where delectable Singapore favorites make its meaning through comforting and connecting.

Judy Wee is a native of Singapore, a food paradise with colorful and multicultural culinary traditions. She started cooking as a little girl, helping out in the kitchen of her mother – a resourceful homemaker with eight children, who always fills the house with aromas of home cooked food. The home cooking origins of Mama Judy came out of this unfiltered perspective of food, cooked for loved ones, in its practical and humbling dailyness. It is not haute perfection, poised for instagram. Rather, it is an everyday view of cooking that finds its truth and ingenuity in making whatever simple ingredients from the pantry work, and trusting good instincts for flavor creation.

Mama Judy’s love for cooking progressed through the years and found some structure as her culinary and hospitality dreams landed her in Hawaii, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business, with a major in travel industry. With the travel and service industry being the economic backbone of Hawai’i, Judy was exposed to all facets of the leisure industry through internships with major hotels and travel providers as well as restaurants, integrating her love for cooking with her excitement for hospitality. Here…was also where she found her life partner, Henry (aka Papa Henry), who brings his own formidable skills from the Cantonese kitchen into a shared culinary journey with Judy.

Judy’s desire to bring delicious food to the person on the street, meeting them in their everyday life resulted in her engaging in food business formats that do just that. In 1999, Judy returned to Singapore and opened a cafe in the heart of Singapore’s glittering Central Business District, serving quick grab and go meals to busy office workers. The day started in the wee hours of the morning, where busy hands meet sizzling woks to deliver local favorites like Nasi Lemak and Bee Hoon to crowds scurrying to and from work. The meaningfulness in bringing a spot of breakfast/lunch delight into a worker’s stressful life was the highlight in this phase of Judy’s life. From the grab and go format, Judy transitioned into running a Kopitiam – “coffee shops” that are deeply interwoven into the social and cultural fabric of Sinaporean lives. These are often casual eating and gathering places where common folks of all ages and ethnicities gather over a bowl of mee goreng (fried noodles), kaya butter toast (toast with coconut jam, sometimes with a side of soft boiled eggs), and local coffee. This phase of life came to an end after eight years, when life in the United States beckoned again.

In 2007, life for Judy and her family began in California. Life as a new immigrant was hard. After an unsuccessful attempt in running a Chinese Hunan restaurant that folded within a year, Judy entered the healthcare industry, working in a fertility clinic. Even as this new industry brought a stable income and new learnings, Mama Judy’s thirst for bringing good food to people led to her catering lunch boxes for her coworkers, doctors and embryologists. Here, Judy learned that the appeal of her food expands beyond Singaporeans, as non-Singaporeans could savor the taste of heartfelt nostalgia for an immigrant’s birthplace, even as the cuisine is unfamiliar. The catered lunches were a roaring success until the global pandemic brought it to a complete halt.

With true grit and resilience, and upon encouragement from a friend, Judy started making local favorites for informal group buys. It started as a trickle, but Mama Judy’s food buy business expanded beyond her wildest dreams into a familiar household favorite amongst Singaporean/Malaysian diaspora here in the Bay Area. Judy’s food acted as a timely healing balm for homesick bellies of Singaporeans who could not travel due to the COVID shutdown.These food buys were literally supported by a clandestine network of supporters who volunteered to pick up food for their neighbors, and others who offered their homes as pick up locations for the food.

Always fuelled by an adventurous spirit, Mama Judy also explored new formats in presenting her culinary offerings. In spring of 2022, she ran highly successful pop-up events (with a rotating menu for six consecutive Tuesdays) at the Original Pattern Brewery in Oakland Jack London Square. These events attracted unending lines that wrapped around the block. From food buys to pop-ups, when homesick Singaporean bellies gather for Mama Judy’s food, friendships are forged and vibrant Bay Area Singaporean/Malaysian communities flourish.

And this incredible journey has brought us to this new milestone. Because of the overwhelming love and support of this wildly expanding loyal base that craves for the eating and the connection at all hours of the day, Mama Judy is ready to take the leap into owning her own establishment. Mama Judy’s passion for cooking and pride for the Singaporean cuisine has, from the beginning, been fuelled by her love for food’s meaning for the common person, enjoyed in an everyday moment, making the mundane extraordinary and comforting. So here’s Mama Judy on 1708 Park St, Alameda, welcoming you as a place to meet old friends and bring new ones. Here’s a place, a long time in making, for friends to connect over food that brings sentimental reflection of memories from that little red dot a vast ocean away.


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