Joy Cheong from DelishAsia – street food tour company in Penang – shares with The Yum List her love for the island and some insider tips on the most delicious street food dishes in Penang.
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
Falling in love with Penang’s rich culture and heritage scene, for her charm and uniqueness and most importantly the people is what brought me to this industry. I am a Singaporean who is married to a Penangite. Even though we met in Singapore, his heart is always for this little island. So the time came for him to decide to return back to Penang, many friends came visiting since Singapore is so nearby.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part is that I get to meet all these wonderful, like-minded, foodie people from all walks of life, sharing and embracing each others’ cultures and heritage while sharing delicious food together
The worst part is pretty much the weather. Penang weather can get unbearable sometimes. It’s hard work.
What’s your favourite meal and drink in Penang?
Hainanese toast bread with butter and kaya together with smooth silky cup of hot coffee or tea is comfort throughout the seasons. This has always been my favourite since I was young.
The perfect day off would be…
… soaking in nature for a few hours. Eg. Forest bathing. Be surrounded by people I love and cherish, and, not forgetting a good cup of flat white to round the day off.
A day in the life of a food guide is…
always thinking of new ideas and new things to try. Change is the only constant in our life.
What do you do for fun?
Trying new recipes at home, making slime with the children, exploring new places in Penang
What’s something you’d like guests to know about DelishAsia?
Even though we are a small and young team and this may seem more like a ” hobby” to most people, we actually take our work seriously and we hope it comes through during the time we spent together with each traveller.
What’s your favourite food and beverage pairing?
I accidentally discovered the perfect pairing while on tour – asam laksa with icy cold chendol
Technically, chendol is not a drink. However, the locals treat it as a drink rather than a dessert, drinking the melted ice often while having the noodle dish. I found the light, milky sweet ice blends in so well with the tangy, spicy taste of laksa. In fact, it is like a palate cleanser, literally. Try it.
What’s your view on the street food scene in Penang?
I have to admit it is one of Penang’s traditional but dying trades. The main problem is a lack of ownership from the younger generations. People here know that it is hard work to be a street hawker and many young people have dreams of working in bigger cities such as KL or abroad.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
We hope to have more collaborations with like-minded hotels in Penang as well as create more unique tours for travellers popping by the island. I’d also like to start blogging with useful content as well as connect with our customers online.
More on interviews like the one with Joy Cheong here.