Under pressure: how Lime Face reacted to challenges of pandemic

Sook Foo of Lime Face.

Sook Foo of Lime Face. - Credit: Lime Face

We have so many talented female chefs working in our local area, but I particularly want to tell you about Sook Foo, aka Lime Face. You might know Sook from various food festivals and pop-up events in St Albans – she specialises in south-east Asian food, mostly inspired by Malaysia. One of her specialities is bao buns and she has sold those at pop-ups at Bishop’s Cave and Waddington Road Café.  

When Covid hit last year, Sook was faced with no more festivals and events, and no income, so had to move fast to do home delivery. She had lots of loyal customers from her events, so decided to offer delivery to homes in St Albans and the surrounding area.

Customers order during the week for delivery on Saturday lunchtime. You then reheat it when you want to eat. Sook told me: “I would like to thank the St Albans community – they have been so supportive. Also all the fellow food bloggers and Instagrammers who helped me to tell people.” 

Lime Face’s menu varies each week and is always quite short, because Sook makes everything herself. There is always a fish dish, something meaty and something vegetarian, with a refreshing salad and rice to go with.

Bao buns from Lime Face.

Bao buns from Lime Face. - Credit: Lime Face

On the week we ordered we had one of each dish: chicken rendang, fish curry and vegetable curry. The chicken was cooked on the bone with coconut milk, cardamom, lemongrass and chilli, and was packed with flavour. Our eldest chose the fish and prawns curry, and I think this was the stand out dish – generous and perfectly cooked in a tamarind sauce. You have to be happy to get your fingers in there and peel the king prawns.

My Lontong lodeh butternut curry was mild and delicious, with cabbage and tofu puffs. If you think cabbage is a bit boring, try it in this – really lovely and more-ish. Prices are great value, from £3-10.50, with a ‘special feast for two’ being most popular, which includes all five dishes and rice for £38, so you get to try everything. 

Other regular dishes include beef rendang, Ayam Masak Merah (chicken in ginger and turmeric in a spicy tomato sauce), tadka dhal with cauliflower, telur dadar omelette, pineapple acar salad and coconut rice. Sook cooks the beef is cooked for eight hours, with lemongrass and coconut milk.  

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For Mother’s Day Sook is doing a special Bao buns and wings special. It’s really tricky to get proper bao buns locally, so if you are missing them from your London visits, do book ahead to get these. Sook makes various fillings including duck, tofu and kimchi and beef rendang. She is also making vegetable spring rolls and pork and chive dumplings. If she has sold out by the time you read this, follow Lime Face on Facebook for the next Bao buns day.

Sook Foo found time to cook for staff at the Royal Free Hospital.

Sook Foo found time to cook for staff at the Royal Free Hospital. - Credit: Lime Face

As well as being busy with work and young family, Sook also found time to cook for staff at the Royal Free Hospital, with her church helping with the cost. She made 50 rice bowls with Malaysian curry and vegetables, with spring rolls. It is always amazing to hear how people have helped each other this past year, and it always seems to be the busy ones. 

Sook clearly marks which dishes are gluten-free (most of them) and dairy free. To order, check Facebook and Instagram for the menu and message her or email thelimeface@gmail.com. Sook holds a current 5-star food hygiene certificate. The delivery slot for St Albans on Saturdays is between 11am-2pm.

Sook’s instructions (she emails them to you) say to place the dishes in your own beautiful plates or bowls and heat for three to four minutes in a microwave (I am sure on the hob would work fine too). If there is demand Sook will also deliver to Harpenden and nearby. I can’t wait for the festivals and pop-ups to happen again but in the meantime, this is a delicious option.