In 1950, Tomas Fung opened a modest hole-in-the-wall “eatery” on Alonzo Street, Sta. Cruz, Manila and called it Ling Nam.
The name Ling Nam comes from two Chinese words, his son Peter reveals. “ʻLing’ means mountain, and ʻNam’ means south. During the old days in the Southern mainland, when someone said ʻI am going to Ling Nam,’ that meant he’s going south of the mountain range, alluding to Guangdong Province.”
Guangdong is what we know today as Canton. “We take pride in calling ourselves Cantonese and in being a Cantonese restaurant. That’s why we called the business Ling Nam.”
As the family was of Cantonese descent, the Fungs served what they knew best: Simple but traditional Cantonese fare like noodles, congee, and dimsum.
“It was like alfresco [dining]. We put tables and chairs outside, on the sidewalk. The cooking area was inside,” Peter recalls.
The business grew steadily. Soon, the Fungs built their own three-storey building right along the same street.
Fast forward to 2005. The young Fung, who has an MBA from Asian Institute of Management, created a franchise program for Ling Nam and introduced it a year later at Bakery World Expo, where it enjoyed positive reception.
There are now seven Ling Nam restaurants in the country. The first one is in Sta. Cruz Manila. There is one branch each in Glorietta and Greenbelt 1 in Makati City, Greenhills in San Juan City, the Liberty Center in Mandaluyong City, Banawe, Quezon City, and in Metro Vigan in Ilocos Sur Province.
print ed: 07/08