Travelling to Malaysia from Taiwan, let alone eventually settling in here, was never something that Silver Yang had in mind. To her, Malaysia was just “One of the countries in Southeast Asia, that’s it!”
But that’s just the thing about Malaysia, right? You never know what you’re going to get.
Sure, we have one of the tallest mountains in Asia, the Petronas Twin Towers, the world’s best low-cost airline… just to name a few. But one of the things we’re most popular for is our food, of course. Speaking of, we have no idea why we were excluded from Netflix’s new food docu-series, Street Food.
Bitterness aside, all faith in humanity and food justice was restored when we came across Silver, who actually creates her art based on Malaysian food. We consider this a good reference, just in case you think asking a Malaysian to ‘review’ their own food is completely biased. So here we go, a bias-free third-person with a neutral stand.
We had to ask her thoughts.
Tell us about the first time you came to Malaysia.
I was kind of surprised with the culture, because there are different races, religions and languages. Some Malaysians can speak at least three different languages. But, I was most impressed by the variety of food, which isn’t seen in Taiwan.
What really stood out the most about Malaysia?
Besides food, the history and culture. What I remember the most are the small towns I visited, each of them with their own stories. I was obsessed with the old buildings in small towns, not to mention the local food.
Describe the first moment you fell in love with Malaysian food.
I actually can’t recall the first dish that made me fall in love with Malaysian food, maybe it was just too many and too delicious to remember! But I remember some which made me want more after the first try. It was Char Kuey Teow and Banana Leaf rice. I have to admit, I’m so in love with these two dishes!
I have tasted something very similar to Char Kuey Teow in Taiwan, but the taste was totally different. I like Banana Leaf with some vegetarian side dishes, and of course, the curry!
What is your most favourite food at the moment?
I would say Banana Leaf rice … because I haven’t had it for a month now. I miss it already.
What made you want to do art on Malaysian food?
At first, my intention was to keep track of the food I tried. I continued to do so for almost three years. Then, when my friend and I discussed about postcards one day, we found that we loved to send them but never found ones that we liked.
So my friend encouraged me to turn my food drawings into postcards. From then on, I continued and I am so glad I get the chance to promote Malaysian food!
If a fellow tourist was planning on visiting Malaysia, what food would you recommend they try at least once?
- Nasi Lemak
- Roti & Kopi
- Banana Leaf Rice
- Char Kuey Teow
- Bak Kut Teh
Why do you think it’s important for artists like you to preserve the culture of food in your work?
I was actually shocked when a few of my Malaysian friends didn’t know some of the dishes I drew. Since I only draw the food I have tried and liked, I hope that people will at least have a desire to try out the food when they see my drawing.
If you could say anything to Malaysians who don’t appreciate their food, what would you say?
Seriously?! Just throw away any bad thoughts you may have, and you will find out how super delicious Malaysian food is!
Silver Yang now resides in Selangor with her husband, and continues to go on her foodie journey throughout Malaysia. Check her out on Instagram to follow her work, or maybe even send her Malaysian food postcards to your international friends!