Hello, friends! As the co-founder and host at Heritage on a Plate, I host people from around the world on explorations of food, culture and history in George Town, Penang. I believe there's something special to be gained from keeping an open mind, exploring the city and letting it tell you its story. It took me a while to realise this, despite being from here. And I wanted to share a little bit of my journey with you.
In 2017, I had the opportunity to produce a show for the George Town Festival. It was scary, it was harrowing and I had very many sleepless nights. But I also had really supportive people around me, and it helped me realise a couple of very important things.
Penang is a historical place that has experienced wealth, poverty, peace, war and so much more. It is a city of migrants with so many poignant stories to tell. But if we don't document and celebrate those stories, they're going to disappear. That will destroy any opportunity we have to know who we are and where we came from. And it would make it impossible for us to tell you who we are, what is important to us and why.
We produced a storytelling night with amateur Penang storytellers for the festival. It was amazing to find so many great, almost forgotten stories and so many people excited to hear them. I realised that a city is made, really, of its people. That sounds obvious, but we often forget this important lesson. We become focused on the buildings, the instagram-able sights, the top ten list-icles. But it's the people that bring it all to life.
As I've been experimenting with what a food hop could be, I've slowly come to realise how to tell the story of a city, it's people and it's history. And the reason I chose a walking food tour to tell the stories of George Town is because what more exciting, more engaging way is there that everyone can relate to? In many ways, it's storytelling at work through the experience of food.
Do Good Work
When we started Heritage on a Plate, it was just a crazy idea. Wouldn't it be cool if we could tell people stories and eat good food and have a great time?
You could say we led with our hearts rather than our heads. People enjoyed our stories, they loved the food and I think they sort of fell in love with this city, like we did. I've always believed that when you do something you gotta do it good. So we learned as much as we could, shared all of what we had and always tried to keep in mind to do good.
Now that we've got our sea-legs, so to speak, I'm also excited about what kind of a positive impact we can have on George Town. For a long time, travel has been seen as destructive activity. But for the first time, we're finally having the opportunity for travel to be a positive and enriching experience for the traveler and for the local. So I'm very excited about food hops being the best way to eat and see Penang. And I'm also excited to explore how we can use that to do a lot more positive things for our city.
So that's just a brief peek into how and why we do what we do. I wanted to keep it short this time, but I'm happy to tell you the entire story on a hop someday. Take care of yourself and have something good to eat today!