Tok Tok Mee: A Portrait of Penang Street Food

explores culture underpinning lifeline of UNESCO site

WINNER: 2019 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards – Best Book: Street Food

SPECIAL HONOUR: Best-of-the-Best Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 1995-2020


The cuisine of George Town sizzles in a culinary memoir
by Gerald Tan, featuring images by Benjamin Emery

George Town, Malaysia:  From the charcoal-kissed noodles of char koay teow to the mackerel-sweetened broths of asam laksa, street food in Penang has been steadily gaining global acclaim, in part because of the island’s reputation as a haven for cross-cultural flavours.

Tok Tok Mee: A Portrait of Penang Street Food captures the romance of life on the UNESCO World Heritage site, with its people and food taking centre stage.  Authored by journalist Gerald Tan, the culinary memoir features childhood stories and historical snippets about the world-famous dishes.

Meet vendors who are still clinging on to intricate methods and age-old traditions to prepare their dishes.  Some of the hawkers intimately profiled have inherited their business from generations past.  Many have remained in the same location for decades, while others are adapting to keep up with the changing times.

The anecdotes are brought to life through the stunning pictures of award-winning cinematographer Benjamin Emery, who has consciously chosen to photograph the stalls and the proprietors in their natural element – no embellishment, no alteration.  The result is a vivid yet honest portrayal of Penang’s street food unlike anything seen before.

About the author – Gerald Tan

Gerald Tan is a television presenter and food writer.  He has spent the past 13 years working for Al Jazeera English and CNN.  Apart from his political reporting, he has also hosted his own travel series profiling the culture of food: AJEats.  His articles on food appear in several international publications, including the inflight magazines of Qatar Airways and American Airlines.  His travel journal is found on:

About the photographer – Benjamin Emery

Benjamin Emery is an award-winning cinematographer and photographer.  Currently based in Sydney, Australia, he owns his own production company and has been the principal director of photography for numerous documentaries and news stories.  Ben has also directed commercials and music videos.  A selection of his wide-ranging works can be found on:

About the publisher – Trishaw Press

Trishaw Press is a boutique Penang operation.  Founded by Alan Lau, the publishing house aims to promote local content through collaborations with authors and artists working on heritage matters on the island.

Tok Tok Mee – A Portrait of Penang Street Food
ISBN: 978-967-15117-0-1
192 pages, hardcover

Media Contact:

Alan Lau
Tel: +6016 421 8848