My father, Lee Hao-Sen
I was born in Taiwan, but raised in South Africa. Most of my family is still in Taiwan and our family reunions are rare, but legendary when we are together. When Dad’s lung cancer advanced in 2018, I decided to resign from my job at a nutrigenomic testing company in Cape Town to spend time with him in Taiwan. I didn’t realise then that my days with him were numbered, but I learned the importance of family and not taking the time you have with them for granted.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
Juggling between visiting Dad at the hospital and fetching my two children from the local Taiwanese crèche was challenging. By the time I fetched the kids at around 5pm, I was stressed, rushed and still feeling anxious for leaving Dad at the hospital. Dinner was often eating out, choosing from one of the many neighbourhood street vendors. Although convenient, this was often not the healthiest of choices (however scrumptious). It wasn’t long until I began desperately searching for an alternative that was quick to prepare, met the dietitian-mom standard – and that the kids were happy to eat.
New best friends
Frozen dumplings seemed to tick all the boxes. I could buy them in bulk from the local supermarket and kept them in the freezer. In one bite, they had all the carbs, protein and veg we needed! Most nights, I took out the amount I needed for the three of us and, in 10 minutes, dinner was served. Watching the kids eating them happily (with all the hidden vegetables inside), I poured myself a victorious glass of wine!
My dad fought bravely for the next two months and sadly passed away in December 2018.
Dad was all about bringing the family together. This wasn’t an easy task, as my grandfather took five wives (crazy to think polygamy was only two generations ago in Taiwan) and each wife had between two and five children. Dad managed to keep the big family united, even towards the end, when I had the opportunity to really bond with all of them.
There were many lasts spent by the hospital bed with Dad. Last Christmas Eve with Dad, singing Platters greatest hits. Last dance with Dad. Those memories are priceless treasures that he left me. Best of all, his last words were:
“If you live life without fear, then your death is without regrets.”
I decided to follow those words and be fearless! In honour of Dad, I created Home Bao.
We want to offer the same kind of convenience I found in Taiwan back home in South Africa – delicious, healthy Asian food made from top-quality ingredients available in the comfort of your own home. Our dumplings and potstickers arrive at your door frozen and are quick and simple to prepare.