PETALING JAYA: It’s no secret that Malaysia is a foodie haven like no other. In fact, it has been mentioned in several lists as one of the world’s best countries for food, and how could it not?
With various influences such as Chinese, Malay, Indian and Portuguese cuisines to name a few, Malaysia is quite literally a melting pot of food and culture.
On top of that, the possibilities are endless. From kopitiams bustling in the morning to mamak eateries tending to night owls, there is always something new for Malaysians to try out and enjoy at any time of day.
Where else can you get a hot plate of Maggi goreng ayam at 4am in the morning?
But joy from good food shouldn’t be kept secret; it should be shared with everyone.
No one knows this better than Kar Yeong, a keen foodie and the man behind the popular food blog, KYSpeaks.
Since 2005, he has been writing about Malaysian food for eager readers to eat up, especially when it comes to culinary treasures they have yet to discover and taste for themselves.
His dedication to food is undeniable and he has served as a judge for multiple cooking competitions. In 2014, he was officially named as an NTV7 Foodie Blogger.
During a chat with FMT, Kar Yeong joked that his entry into the world of food began as soon as he stopped drinking milk.
There is indeed a grain of truth to every joke, as Kar Yeong did spend his growing-up years in food-centric Penang — a city known for its world-famous street dishes and hawker cuisine.
After relocating to Kuala Lumpur, however, the full-time IT professional was uncertain about what the nation’s capital had to offer in terms of good food.
“I’ve always been passionate about food and willing to try out new culinary experiences,” said Kar Yeong.
Hence, he decided to write about his discoveries on a blog for himself, as well as for others to read.
Ever the adventurer, Kar Yeong said that while he loves wandering about on his own exploring new restaurants, he is more than happy to try out recommendations from friends and readers.
Having tried and tasted food from many different restaurants — so many that he’s lost count — he does happen to have a favourite haunt of his own.
“Some of my Instagram followers may notice that I go to B & Best quite often. It is my favourite fish noodle place in Klang Valley,” he admitted.
Kar Yeong explained that it is due to the plethora of fresh seafood to choose from, a soup base that’s not overly-flavoured and a fairly reasonable price point. All these reasons keep him coming back to B & Best for more.
But deciding if a certain dish is worthy of being called good is a highly subjective matter, and can be affected by several factors.
“It can be a taste that reminds me of childhood or a brand-new experience that I’ve never had before,” explained Kar Yeong.
He also added that finding unexpectedly great value in an otherwise normal dining experience, or tasting normal-tasting food with great service could be a determinant too.
His blog posts are rarely overly-critical of the restaurants that he dines in, which is a deliberate move on his part.
“I often prefer to give feedback directly if the quality of food or services is less than ideal to allow the restaurants to improve,” said Kar Yeong, before reasoning that restaurateurs pour their heart and soul into their business.
Hence, making disparaging remarks about their food without providing helpful feedback would be harsh.
Although Kar Yeong doesn’t blog full-time, he does believe that the KYSpeaks blog still serves its purpose of helping fellow Malaysians when it comes to deciding where to have their next meal.
“Many food blogs serve as a great way for readers to narrow down the possible answers to the whole ‘What do we eat next?’ question.”
Just like everybody else whose plans and routines have been stalled by the Covid-19 pandemic, Kar Yeong’s food journey hit a roadblock.
Nevertheless, he managed to navigate and pivot around this major change by cooking on his own at home and sharing the recipes on his blog.
The ‘new normal’ is something that Kar Yeong admitted he can live with, as the extra space between tables is more than welcome. But that doesn’t come without any form of concern.
“Many restaurateurs, even with the best to offer, may not survive this economically turbulent period. I hope many of my favourite restaurants will still be around,” he said pensively.
In any case, Kar Yeong has no plans to stop working on his blog and will continue to chronicle his Malaysian foodie experiences.
For readers who are thinking of starting their own food blog for a change, Kar Yeong’s advice is simple, “Start a blog only if you love writing and sharing, and first and foremost, do it for yourself.”