We’ve had delicious Penang food every day without realising its heritage. aCAT brings you the Startup Story of Delish Asia, where you’ll journey through Penang food story like none other.
Local food is undoubtedly one of Penang’s finest attractions.
Delish Asia is bringing the best experience of Penang food to you while learning the history behind them.
The latest article for our Startup Story Series shines the spotlight on Delish Asia, a startup that aims to change how we see Penang food.
Creating a new kind of food experience
Delish Asia is located in George Town, Penang’s capital city and historical hub. The startup wants to share stories about beautiful Penang through its famous food.
They organise themed food tours for visitors to enjoy local delights, see some sights and learn some history too.
On their tours, you will experience food the way we locals do. You will be treated to a 3-hour food-tasting extravaganza while picking up interesting facts about Penang.
Delish Asia is known for bringing guests to the less “touristy” parts of Penang. They want their guests to feel the intangible culture of charming Penang.
Their goal is to give visitors an eye-opening and unforgettable experience that will last with them even when they’ve left Penang. They want their visitors to create memories worth talking about for months, and even years down the road.
At the same time, they want their customers to see them as a friend. They know just how scary it can be to visit a new place. It can be confusing and frustrating to work around the language barrier and to learn our cultural norms.
But the awesome folks at Delish Asia are ready to make your trip to Penang a good one. You are sure to have a hassle-free experience with Delish Asia guiding you around Penang.
Building something from a love for food, travel and history
“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of [an] opportunity to eat badly.” – Anna Thomas, famous cookbook writer
Joy Cheong, Founder of Delish Asia, recalled how she got the idea for her startup. She has always been a huge foodie—discovering new eating spots, trying new recipes and watching food-related TV shows.
However, her interests go beyond just food. In fact, Joy is also a history buff and travel fanatic. The beauty and charm of old things fascinate her. She even spends her free time watching history and travel programs.
Joy’s husband, knowing about her passion for food, travel, and history, suggested she combine all three and create something out of it.
Back then, her Penangite husband wanted to return home after spending 12 years abroad. Their good friends also expressed their desire to visit Penang since Joy and her husband were living there.
Her husband’s suggestion and her friends’ visit eventually culminated in the idea for Delish Asia.
In the past, Joy and her husband had had unpleasant experiences while traveling. They encountered stumbling blocks in the form of a language barrier and unreliable travel booking agencies.
Joy’s aim with Delish Asia is to help tourists travel and appreciate Penang in the most relaxing and enjoyable manner.
Three is better than one
For the moment, Joy is juggling most of the roles at Delish Asia. But she knows she can’t be a one-woman show. That’s why she has two other members of her team.
A guide who works alongside Joy on the tours, Lily Aziz is a woman who loves Penang and food. She is a lifestyle writer and blogger who knows a lot about our local cuisine. Lily enjoys talking to people and teaching others Penang’s cultural heritage.
Delish Asia also has support in terms of transport such as Safiq. Joy first met him when she called for an Uber, and he responded. Since working together, she finds that Safiq values professionalism and comfort for his passengers.
No struggle, no progress
Initially, the idea of starting Delish Asia had Joy feeling giddy and excited. But once she actively put in efforts to make her startup a reality, she realised just how much work was involved.
Joy had to devote all her time to planning her business and finding like-minded people she could work with. She found this to be a great and constant challenge.
She was also worried that Delish Asia was not truly local or local enough for the visitors. Joy feared that people would point that out and somehow be unsatisfied with Delish Asia’s tours.
However, she was happily proven wrong.
Delish Asia’s tours received numerous positive feedbacks from visitors. An abundance of glowing reviews for Delish Asia can be found on TripAdvisor.
Many have praised Delish Asia for its one-of-a-kind Penang food experience. They especially enjoyed having Joy as their guide because of her warm personality and vast knowledge.
What’s Next for Delish Asia
Although Delish Asia is gaining prominence, they are still a relatively new presence in Penang.
Joy hopes to capture a larger online audience and make the public more aware of Delish Asia and its services.
She aims to create more publicity for her brand by continually compiling good reviews from guests.
Aspirations and Goals
Delish Asia has always been about giving visitors a unique experience that cannot be found on a map. Joy makes sure Delish Asia incorporates a personal touch in its every tour.
Furthermore, Joy stresses the importance of bringing convenience to her customers. From booking to payment, the process is as efficient as possible because she wants it to be quick and simple for visitors.
In the future, Delish Asia seeks to create a haven of sorts for visitors of Penang so that they can travel with ease and comfort.
They have plans to develop a space for workshops and food or travel-related events. The idea is to get people to open up about their experiences and connect with others in a meaningful way.
Advice to Readers and Budding Entrepreneurs
1. “Be positive.”
Joy wants you to know that it is perfectly okay to fail. Failures are part and parcel of any endeavor and especially when it is a business.
She had to endure many struggles when creating Delish Asia.
Joy learned that backup plans are vital in life as well as in business. When Plan A breaks, move on to Plan B. It may be different than what you originally intended, but it can still get you where you want to go.
Her positive attitude has kept her going even during her worst moments. Times may be tough, but we have to be tougher
2. “There is no foolproof way to build a business.”
According to Joy, the essential guidelines to follow are Learn, Adapt, and Change.
Running a business cannot be narrowed down to just one method. Some businesses are better suited for a particular purpose while others aren’t.
The important thing is to reflect upon your mistakes and see how you can change from there. It does not help to dwell on the past.
Joy understands that the hardest part is to change oneself, but it’s necessary if we want to be more efficient the next time around.
3. “We can never work alone.”
Talk to like-minded people. Get ideas from them for your business. Seek those who may be doing better in their ventures than you.
These people will surely have valuable advice to impart to you. And if not, they can at least be attentive listeners to your problems.
Throughout Joy’s life, she’s come to realise working alone can only get you so far. When you’re stuck, look to the people around you for help. You’d be surprised at how many are willing to guide you or lend you a hand.
- Find inspiration for your business in your passions.
- Form a team with people who are dedicated and professional.
- Running a business is not all fun; it requires a lot of hard work too.
- Provide an experience that differs from the norm.
- Offer solutions to your customers’ problems through your services.
- Continuously strive to increase your brand presence.
- Failures can make you better as long as you learn from them and change.
- Build connections with other people for they can help you in many ways.
“We work around our mantra – we only bring you to places that we enjoy and frequent ourselves.” – Joy Cheong, Founder of Delish Asia
If you liked this story, share it with your friends. Check back here next month for a new Startup Story. Have anything to add? Want to tell us how much you loved this article? Talk to us in the comments section below.