Monday, 10 October 2016

Johor Kaki Book on JB Street Food - MAGistrate 杂志大人 Interview

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Finally, after a year of preparation, the Find Dining with Johor Kaki guide to Johor heritage and street food is ready 😀 

This guide book is not Johor Kaki's alone - it also belongs to the hawkers and Johoreans who generously shared tips on where are the best eats in Johor. 

My special thanks to MAGistrate 杂志大人 and UMLand for their wonderful support in lovingly producing and printing the guide. The guide book is available to the public this month through MAGistrate 杂志大人 and UMLand.

Here is my interview with MAGistrate 杂志大人 in conjunction with the launch of Johor Kaki JB find dining guide.

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1. Why blogging, why food blog and why Johor? 是什么让你想创立一个部落格?为何选择 Johor? 

These are actually 3 separate questions, so please bear with my rather long response. 

When I retired 5 years ago, I wanted to do things I enjoy for a short while before deciding on what next. I love eating, taking photos, discovering new places, and meeting people. I also enjoy writing. Blogging about food allows me to do all the things I enjoy, together. At that time, I just began to learn about blogging and thought of it as an online digital dairy which few people will read. 

Not long after I started blogging, from feedback and response that I am getting, I realised that my blog was making a useful contribution to small stall holders and people looking for food in Johor. My blog was connecting Johor food and beverage businesses with customers.

I felt encouraged that my limited resources (other than time, energy and commitment) could become something valuable to the community by leveraging on the ability of social media to reach and connect people. What was initially a personal pastime became a community service of sorts which I am deeply committed to.

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Why Johor? Because I love Johor food. I have enjoyed eating at Johor food stalls for decades and have the vision that one day in the near future, people will talk about Johor food like how they talk about Penang food and Ipoh food today.  Because of its rich history and special location at the crossroads between East (China) and West (India) and also North (Asian mainland) and South (Indonesian archipelago), Johor have many unique and delicious food to share with the world. I hope Johor Kaki blog helps more people discover the wonderful world of Johor food.

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2. What are the most memorable or unusual encounters in your blogging journey? 在觅食过程中有遇过什么样的趣事或难忘的事?

I shall not mention any specific encounter but it always leaves me energized and happy for many days whenever a small stall holder tells me that his/her business, and therefore their livelihood, has improved when people share about them on social media. Personal encounters like this make me forget the considerable difficulties I faced in keeping Johor Kaki blog going.

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3. Many bloggers are actually paid to write, why do you insist on paying for your own meals? 说说你坚持自费这回事吧?  

The matter of getting paid for food reviews does not arise as Johor Kaki is just a pastime and merely my online personal eating dairy. The only difference between Johor Kaki blog and a traditional dairy is that my food dairy blog is open for everyone to read.

At the moment, I like to stay true to the original purpose of Johor Kaki blog when it was started. Any change will only be when it is absolutely necessary.

Back to the Johor Kaki Find Dining guide book - we have decided that it shall be a gift. MAGistrate 杂志大人 and UMLand will sponsor the costs and distribute this book free of charge in appreciation of Johor hawkers and also their customers. 

We believe that for heritage and street food culture to thrive long into the future, we need both good hawkers and supportive customers, especially from the younger generation. We hope this little book will play a small part in growing this heritage and street food community.

请帮 Johor Kaki 把每一位好小贩上载网际网络 | Help Johor Kaki put every good hawker on the World Wide Web


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4. Having extended your food hunt beyond Johor, what are some of the similarities or differences you have observed? 从柔佛出发再走出海外,各地的街边小食有什么共同点或区别?

Johor have it's unique dishes which the Johoreans identify closely with. For example, we all know that every region of Malaysia have their own version of laksa, Laksa Johor being one of them and Asam Laksa Penang is the another. The variations are outcomes from historical developments, and the influence of different ingredients from the land and sea. These variations are important as it represents the unique identity of communities of people and differentiates one community from another. From a foodie's point of view, we have more recipes and dishes to enjoy. 

Food gives communities identity and at the same time, food has the power to bond peoples, within communities and between communities. No matter where we are, we find that people celebrate with food. People show love and care by sharing food. Eating together is a form of cultural exchange and strengthens relationships - people who eat together, stay together, be it family, friends and even international communities. So, I hope that greater awareness of Johor's unique food brings Johoreans and visitors closer together.

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5. Having had so much to eat over the years, what do you make out of their taste today compared to the yesteryears, are the traditional taste or way of cooking fast disappearing? 你吃过这么多美食,是否觉得从前的传统滋味已逐渐消失?有感触?  

It's natural that food changes over time just as places change, people change, everything changes. Food that do not change much even when many things around it have changed are naturally rare and should be treasured as living legacies. 

In Johor, it is fortunate that there are still a few such gems. Sang Heng noodle shop in downtown Johor Bahru is much the same to this day but we are not sure about the future. Hiap Joo's banana cake baked with a near century old wood fired oven looks secure in the hands of the next generation.

But, we need to recognise that these are living legacies which need to be supported if we hope to continue enjoying them in the future. I am glad that Johor Kaki blog plays a small part in this effort.

6. How do you keep fit, seeing that you have been eating “non-stop”? 吃了这么多,怎么保持饮食平衡健康?

No, no, no, I am not exactly fit as a fiddle. I am overweight and have too high cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. While eating, I have to watch what I eat and also exercise as much as possible. I brisk walk at least 40 minutes everyday and go trekking whenever I have the opportunity.

I am already blogging about healthy lifestyle activities like trekking. Next, I am going to include a healthy eating section in Johor Kaki blog. That will remind me to watch my diet.

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7. Apart from Johor street food, what other types of food can we expect from Johor Kaki? 除了柔佛的小食,你还推介马来西亚哪里的美食?

Johor Kaki is at it's core, just my online diary. When I have the opportunity to travel occasionally, I will share my personal thoughts about the food, people and places that I have experienced. 

I am especially interested in representative dishes through which we can understand a place, it's history and people. For example, Johor's Laksa Johor, Singapore's Hainanese chicken rice, Indonesia's nasi ambeng, Bangkok's boat noodles, and many more. This food adventure is a never-ending journey of wondrous discoveries.



Come along with me and discover the wonderful world of Johor food together 😄

请帮 Johor Kaki 把每一位好小贩上载网际网络 | Help Johor Kaki put every good hawker on the World Wide Web


Date: 10 Oct 2016

Return to Johor Kaki homepage.

17 comments:

  1. Congratulation. You deserved it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is really awesome! I have been following since I moved to JB in 2015! Congrats =)

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  3. Hi Tony, Congrats on the launch of your guidebook!
    Been following your recommendations for awhile.

    Where can we get the copies of this book?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Terence, there will be a series of distribution events. The time and place will be posted on my Facebook Page.

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  4. Tony, Congrats... Hope to be able to grab copy of your book in Singapore... Probably we can catch-up again in some event (not sure you still remember me)? lol

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    Replies
    1. Hi Richard. We may hold a distribution in Singapore. Will update when we have details. Thank you.

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  5. Great work in this compilation Tony. Congratulations for this book launch and recording your passion on Johor food for others to enjoy.

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  6. i saw the paypal donation button
    done my part
    as token of appreciation
    cause i have visited almost twenty places in johor state for food from johor kaki blog

    many asked me did i get to know their place from tony
    i said yes

    now i want buy the book
    to keep in my bike for easy acess to food in johor

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your support. Wish you happy eating and safe riding :-D

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  7. Well done Tony. You are really a star. Wish you all the best on all your endeavours. Thank you for all your generosity and wealth of knowledge. M

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    Replies
    1. Thank you JT. The stars are really the hawkers. This little project is also possible only because of readers' encouragement, and generous support from MAGistrate and UMLand - all who are passionate about Johor food.

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  8. Replies
    1. Can i have one soft copy! i cant make it to the event! :)

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I firmly believe that taste is subjective and so, warmly welcome differing viewpoints :-D But, I disapprove negative comments that are anonymous or hide behind fake identities. I feel that that is the same as speaking ill of others behind their backs. I look forward to all your comments :-D Thank you. (Date: 18 Dec 2015)

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