WHO IS SANTAN BOI?
I'm Santan Boi (AKA Tom).
I moved to Malaysia in 2018 and immediately fell in love with the food.
The colours, the textures, the flavours, and the sheer variety. It was a revelation.
I ate every single thing I could get my hands on and loved every mouthful.
Starting a food business had long been a pipe-dream of mine, but I always lacked the reason to take the plunge.
Malaysia changed everything.
But if I was going to do this, I needed to do it right.
You see I cannot hide the obvious fact that I am not Malaysian however, there was no way I could risk bastardising the cuisine I love.
A year into living in Malaysia I quit the career that had led me to move there. The next 6 months were spent focussing entirely on the job at hand: How to do this food justice.
Travelling up and down Malaysia, I researched dishes, took lessons, begged for recipes, and continued to eat like a pig.
As a non-native custodian of Malaysian cuisine, authenticity was never a realistic aim of the game. The aim was, and still is, to develop an appreciation of flavour, technique and cultural context so I could recreate dishes that a Malaysian would see as "legit".
I will never seek to dilute or commercialise any aspect of this cuisine. As Malaysian food is what I love, the aim of the game will always be unadulterated Malaysian flavour.
The last couple of years have been a really exciting time for Malaysian food in the UK. It feels like there is a buzz around the cuisines, with more and more attention being paid to just how amazing it is.
I aim to contribute to that excitement, collaborate with Malaysian businesses here and in Malaysia, grow sustainably and ethically, get Malaysia even more of the recognition it deserves, ultimately introducing more and more people to the dishes we all love.