Meet Joyce Shih, a 22-year old vegan living in Kuala Lumpur. Her journey in creating and running SSAYANG, a blog that posts vegan recipes using local ingredients, has led her to overcome challenges and unexpectedly found a community she never knew existed.
Being a vegetarian since the age of 13 and now a vegan for three years, Joyce finds joy in cooking. It first started by helping her mum in the kitchen but she only really learned to cook while she was studying abroad and ended up working as a head chef at a brunch restaurant.
“I would actually spend more time cooking rather than doing the stuff I should be doing like studying. Cooking is something I really enjoy and it was like an outlet for me,” Joyce added.
While attending university, she created a Tumblr page to showcase all of her creations from the kitchen and received many questions about the recipes in return. This sparked the idea of creating the blog but Joyce only officially established SSAYANG after delaying it for over a year.
“I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I knew what I wanted in my mind but I knew I wasn’t able to do it. So I put it off for over a year, trying to figure out the name, basically just trying to figure out how everything works.
“But eventually I just forced myself to do it. I realised that I just have to start somewhere and I could learn along the way. So yeah, I’m really glad that I did!”
Even with a full-time job as a Digital Content Editor, Joyce still manages to make SSAYANG a success and connect with local vegans. Connecting with other vegans was not her original intention but she's glad it turned out that way as it allows her to meet interesting individuals and offer support for homegrown businesses that offer vegan-friendly products.
When asked whether she would like to open a restaurant one day she replied, “That’s the goal! That’s the dream! It doesn’t have to be a restaurant – though I would love that – but I would love to have my own food business, whether it is a delivery, café or maybe even something online.
“It will be a platform where I can share what I create. Now, you can see my photos and feast with your eyes but if I could have something where people could actually taste it, that would be really cool.”
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