Kay Kay is a vegan food business in the UK that offers plant-based Chinese cuisine. Founded by Angela Li, Kay Kay (琪 琪) takes online orders and delivers their Hong Kong inspired vegan dishes as chilled meals right to the doorstep of their customers.
Angela Li (李安琪) is a British Born Chinese and had the privilege of living in Hong Kong during her early years. Although she moved back to live in the UK permanently when she was six years old, she was still able to enjoy food from Hong Kong cooked lovingly by her grandparents.
Since turning vegan, Angela transformed the recipes of the food she grew up with and misses dearly to use plant-based ingredients. The recipes also combine flavours and ingredients that are inspired by other cultures that she loves. Her hope is that through experiencing Kay Kay’s food, her customers will be transported to the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong.
We from Honest Food Talks wanted to learn more about Kay Kay and Angela’s journey to founding this Asian-vegan food business. Here’s our interview with Kay Kay’s founder, Angela Li.
Where did the idea for Kay Kay come from?
I participated in Veganuary a few years ago and I started ‘veganising’ the food I grew up with. I was told the food was delicious and that I should sell it. It started off as a pop up then market stalls and festivals.
Kay Kay evolved from these formative years, adapting during the pandemic and it is why we’ve moved to postal delivery.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive, keep yourself busy?
Kay Kay is a small family business. I mainly deal with admin, social media and also some cooking. Kay Kay is a side hustle on top of my day job.
My dad is a trained head chef in Cantonese cuisine and has worked in Hong Kong, London China Town, various parts of the UK and Northern Ireland. He is the head chef and cooks the Kay Kay orders.
Meanwhile, my stepmom translates for my Dad and preps what needs to be cooked. We all pack and seal the food together. Kay Kay has brought us very close which I am grateful for.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive?
I think it is more a personality trait. If I agree to do something, I will do it no matter what, even if it means burning candles at both ends. I hate to disappoint people.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be patient. Success is not a race. Don’t compare your success to other people’s successes. Being “successful” can be anything and shouldn’t all be monetary or social standing.
I wouldn’t really change anything that has happened as it’s what has sculpted me into what I am and do now. I recently posted something about past mistakes, but my cousin correctly pointed out they were lessons for me and they really hit the nail on the head.
What is the one thing you do over and over again and recommend everyone else do?
Do things at your own pace and learn to say ‘no’. I’ve had burnouts for saying yes to everything. Know your limits. This is what I remind myself every day now.
What are some strategies that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
First is having a close network of friends to bounce ideas and for emotional support. The second is to not apply too much pressure on yourself.
You should also not be afraid to launch something and tweak things as you go. People often use the excuse that “It’s not ready” and will end up never launching their product.
What's one trend in the F&B industry that excites you?
The pandemic has changed the F&B landscape and I feel there are more opportunities for small businesses to start. Other businesses are providing more support for smaller businesses by providing a platform like Alta Food, Pippy Eats and Pezu. Before the pandemic, I never thought of postal delivery and here I am posting food as far as Inverness!
What is the best £20 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently moved and have been spending £20 here and there! I love scented candles as it is relaxing… and something more practical a longer internet cable to go along the wall so I’m not tripping over across the living room floor!
What is your favourite quote?
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
What are some of your favourite places to eat at?
I’m not in London so I rarely go out and eat. But, I recently went to Tofu Vegan and Royal China and highly recommend both places!
What's the best thing to order from Kay Kay?
Our black pepper sauce and Vegan XO sauce dishes. Our “Shanghai” is our signature noodle dish and is always very popular!
Are there any exciting plans coming from Kay Kay soon?
I will be hosting a pop-up stall on 29th and 30th January 2022 in Chinatown, London, after a couple of years of hiatus with a dear friend. The pop-up will be for the Lunar New Year celebration this coming year. I am really looking forward to that!
Kay Kay’s is based in the UK, where they take orders via their online website and post their culinary delights to homes across the UK. You can find their products and order directly from them through their official website.
Next, read about Noodle And Beer, a London-based restaurant offering authentic Sichuan cuisine.