What happens when you have Georgetown’s go-to food guide and Penang’s very own David Chang equivalent, Andus Yeap of Metisser Patisserie and Tea Room and The Haven Harbour Cafe, over for a coffee date? Let’s just say things became wild and loud quickly, and it only took few rounds of caffeine (and cans of beer) for an unadulterated banter of all things food and why we should shut up about melted cheese already.
It was a scorching afternoon in Penang when Simply Enak’s founder Mark Ng offered a ride to take us to his favourite watering hole, Coffee Addict (right off Hutton Lane) to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. There, we were also meeting Andus Yeap, who owns Metisser Patisserie & Tea Room and The Haven Harbour Cafe for a sit-down to learn more about themselves and their synergy as friends in the industry especially being born through and through Penangites.
Mark Ng earned his recognition as a corporate-turned-food tour guide in Penang. Just like many of us, he had his fair share of working a mundane 9-to-5 job in a corporate setting which brought him a fair deal of stress. It was at a breaking point where he decided to take the plunge to quit his job and take up something related to his first love, that was food. Utmost friendly and very relatable, Mark told that starting a website and running a food-trail business isn’t as fancy as it sounds.
“There were days you just go on from one tour to the next without break because that’s what that brings you the dough at the end of the day. It was started with a passion but you can’t help it when it has a tendency to feel like a job these days, because it is indeed a full-time job for me. Nonetheless, it has been very rewarding and I am truly grateful for this,” says Mark, beaming with pride.
How does a food tour guide differ from a printed food trail guide from the internet?
” Well, firstly, a printed guide doesn’t crack a joke in between, like I do,” laughs Mark.
“I would say that Mark is very good with tailoring each food trail according to the clients’ taste—literally. He is efficient with his suggestions and it is a major plus point as he has a good rapport with all the anneys’ (colloquial term for managers) of the Nasi Kandar and stalls, till the chefs of the fancier restaurants in Penang. This alone promises a unique feasting experience for the clients,” Andus continues, as Mark breaks a toast with an ice cold beer.
Andus Yeap, like Mark, is an unforgettable character too. Ripe with experience training under notable chefs and F&B guns, Andus too, returned to hometown to start his very own outlet which led to a huge success. With his accolades of cafes, we wonder why Penang is booming with cafe culture with the sudden mushrooming of cafes overnight.
” In Penang, you don’t have to do much about decor and ambiance when it comes to starting a cafe because the history of each area and building suffice it. The charm is effortless and I suppose that’s the bonus factor of the successes of cafes in Penang. However, with each establishment of cafes, comes competition too. Hence why I feel Metisser is unique as it offers something new to our customers by introducing a tea room concept and haute French desserts,” Andus explains.
With all these talks about food and trends, we just had to pepper it with some controversy— what are the food trends that need to die in 2018?
“Melted cheese on everything— here melt, there melt..” quips Andus, joined in by Mark, with his sentiments.
” I’d say truffle fries, wine pairing, and salted egg yolk anything.”
As food connoisseurs (acclaimed by UPPRE), Mark and Andus also shared their views on ingredients they want to see make it as food trends this year and onwards.
” Easy— ulam and cumin need more attention where food trend is involved. I am intrigued to see what we can come up with that,” Mark suggested.
“I would also like to experiment with garam masala, Szechuan peppercorn, and gula Melaka next,” Andus joins as we continued our debate on melted cheese and the ubiquitous take on Nasi Lemak.
Mark Ng and Andus Yeap were truly a dynamic duo if we were to imagine friendships in the same industry. Sharing the same passion for food and love for their hometown, it is through their relationship we gathered that what they have is rare and sought appreciation. Simply Enak’s popularity is epitomized because of the humility of Mark, who makes it his mission to help others to experience the best of Penang. Complimenting that with the intelligence and acumen of Andus Yeap, we get variety and an alternative take on cafe culture from Metisser and Haven Harbour.
So the next time you are in Penang, just follow a guffaw of laughter at dusk if you happen to be at Coffee Addict. There’s a high likelihood it would be Mark and Andus with friends caught in another banter and trust us, there is never a dull moment with these two. In a true millennial expression, Mark and Andus are “iconic”.
For more information, please refer to the detail below:
Mark Ng’s services:
Métisser Pâtisserie & Tea Room
Add:140, Jalan Pintal Tali, George Town, Penang
Tel: 04-251 9739
Hours:2pm-9pm, Thu-Tue; closed Wed
Add: 209 Hutton Lane, 10050 Georgetown,Penang
Tel: 016 – 302 0283
9am – 8pm (Sunday – Thursday)
9am – 10pm (Friday – Saturday)
Closed on Tuesday
*Images by UPPRE.